IW conserves Blackwater land

Published 10:01 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Isle of Wight County officials have entered into an agreement to prevent the development of 2,348 acres of forestland that fronts the Blackwater River.

The conservation easement was put in place through the work of the Virginia Department of Forestry, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Nature Conservancy. County officials said the agreement would protect a source of drinking water for South Hampton Roads residents and enhance the county’s public recreation activities.

Approximately a third of the property will become the Department of Conservation’s Blackwater Sandhills Natural Area Preserve, which will include 500 acres of Tupelo-Gum-Baldcypress bottomland that helps protect more than five miles of the Blackwater River.

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The rest of the property will be the responsibility of the Department of Forestry, which will oversee the management of the resource for timber, wildlife and recreational use.

The tract will remain the property of Isle of Wight County.

“Isle of Wight County is honored and very pleased to have other agencies join us in our efforts to preserve and maintain such unique natural resources,” said Al Casteen, chairman of the county’s board of supervisors.

“We in a rural county are particularly aware that we in the present have an obligation to those in the future to be responsible stewards of our natural beauty and bounty. We greatly appreciate the work and help from all concerned to make that goal a reality for this particular property.”