Living River Trust becomes Coastal Virginia Conservancy

Published 5:17 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Norfolk-based nonprofit The Living River Trust announced Monday it is changing its name to Coastal Virginia Conservancy. 

In a news release on the first day of spring, the trust said its new descriptor reflects the organization’s expanded goal to protect more of Hampton Roads’ precious land and water throughout Coastal Virginia. 

Since the board of trustees recognized the local need for conservation was much larger than a single river, they voted to expand their footprint and become the new Coastal Virginia Conservancy. The Coastal Virginia Conservancy will encompass all of Hampton Roads with a special focus on the southside cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.


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“Coastal Virginia Conservancy is excited to already be working with landowners in the expanded area,” Friel said.

The group plans conservation open houses for the community throughout the region starting later this year.

The organization seeks to forever keep environmentally sensitive land in its natural state, as achieved in the recently conserved Newton Neck Park, a new 88-acre open-to-the-public waterfront park in Chesapeake. 

“The organization is passionate about beautiful Coastal Virginia and honored to be able to work towards keeping our land and water natural, special, and protected,” Chair Mary Ann Saunders said.

Coastal Virginia Conservancy will continue to protect water by cleaning up the river bottom through its award-winning mitigation program, forever reversing past environmental damage such as in the just-completed Paradise Creek project in Portsmouth. 

“Our large-scale clean-up projects remain critical to the health of our waters, by erasing past environmental damage for the benefit of future generations,” longtime board member and Mitigation Committee Chairman Joe Thomas said. 

Executive Director Liz Friel explained the organization’s expanded impact area was important to land conservation because there is not another locally based non-profit conservation organization in the area. Over the past two years, many property owners had contacted the organization to conserve land. 

“We had to turn away potential conservation easements because they were outside the Elizabeth River watershed where we worked,” she said.