This category is intended to recognize exemplary land conservation projects that were completed in 2012 in the Commonwealth.
- Entries in the land conservation projects category may be submitted by (a) business and industry with operating facilities located in Virginia; (b) government entities that own or manage land in Virginia; or (c) individuals, for projects completed in Virginia.
- Conservation easements on the protected property must have been recorded prior to submission of the award application.
- Organizations who did not complete an eligible project in 2012 may wish to apply in the Land Conservation Programs category.
- Judges may not evaluate an application for an entity or individual with which they are associated.
- An application that won a gold level award for land conservation is not eligible for an award unless the applicant clearly demonstrates substantial changes between the current application and the past winning application.
In order to qualify for the Land Conservation Project category, the applicant must answer two threshold questions in the affirmative:
- Is the land permanently protected by either a conservation easement or a donation of the land to a conservation organization?
- If you were or are the landowner, was the land or conservation easement donated or sold at below market value?
Judging Criteria for Land Conservation Project Category:
Applicants should address each of the following criteria:
Public Access [20 points maximum]
- What kind of public access is available?
- Are there educational programs or interpretive signage on the property?
- What is the involvement of your employees and the community in the management and enhancement of the protected property?
Water Quality Protection [20 points maximum]
- Are best management practices for water quality being implemented on the preserved property?
- Are lands adjacent to streams and water bodies protected and being managed as wooded buffers?
- Are wetland areas identified and protected?
Protection of Rare, Threatened, or Endangered Species or Exemplary Natural Communities [15 points maximum]
- Are there rare, threatened, or endangered species or exemplary natural communities on the property?
- If there are rare, threatened, or endangered species on the property, how are they protected and managed?
- Describe the requirements to protect wildlife habitat contained in the deed.
Land Management [15 points maximum]
- Is there a comprehensive land conservation program throughout the applicants' holdings?
- Will the property which is the focus of the application be actively managed? If so, is there a written management plan and how does it address:
- Protective measures for indigenous plants and wildlife?
- Irrigation, fertilization and harvesting practices based on environmental protection?
- Preservation of wooded lands adjacent to streams and water bodies?
- Identification, protection and management of wetland areas in accordance with all applicable requirements and regulations?
- How activities in protected areas consider wildlife nesting periods and plant blooming and seeding cycles?
- For private sector applicants only: Is training in land management provided to employees and contractors?
Threat of Development or Green Infrastructure [10 points maximum]
- Do local development patterns threaten or affect the property?
- Is there an identifiable threat to the resource or a compelling need for immediate preservation?
- Does preservation of the property conform to the locality's comprehensive plan?
- Does the locality have a green infrastructure or other smart-growth plan?
Protection of Working Land [10 points maximum]
- Is the land currently in farm or forest use?
- How does the donation of the conservation easement or land ensure that the land can continue in farm or forest use?
- Is there a farm conservation plan or forest stewardship plan for the property?
- Are waterways on the property protected by vegetated buffers?
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