Suffolk receives land conservation grant

Published 9:47 pm Monday, December 2, 2019

The city of Suffolk will receive a $400,000 Virginia Land Conservation Foundation grant that it will apply toward expanding a state preserve and creating a public park.

The grant is one of 19 awarded for conservation projects to protect more than 17,000 acres of state land, according to a news release.

Gov. Ralph Northam last week announced the $5.89 million in grants, which will be used by private land trusts, local governments and state agencies to acquire and protect significant lands in the following categories: farmland, forestry, historic resources, natural areas and parks and open space.


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“These 17,000 acres of newly-conserved lands will generate tremendous benefits for the Commonwealth,” Northam said in a statement. “We are protecting our precious natural resources, building resilience to climate change, and ensuring Virginia remains a great place to live, work, and visit.”

The city has proposed to acquire an undeveloped 338-acre property adjacent to the Blackwater River and South Quay Sandhills Natural Area Preserve, according to the news release. Once the city acquires the property, it intends to transfer about 200 acres to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to expand the preserve. The city plans to develop the remaining 138 acres into a public park with paddle craft access to the Blackwater River.

Grant applications were reviewed and scored by an interagency workgroup that recommended projects to the board, which approved the awards Nov. 22.

“Thanks to the hard work of state staff, land trusts, local governments, and other visionary land conservationists, we have been able to fund a fantastic slate of projects this round,” Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring said in a statement.