Preserving Viewsheds Efficiently Through GIS Mapping

Usually, when those of us in the land preservation community think of preserving land, we think of placing that particular piece of land under a conservation easement (or perhaps preserving it in some other way). But what if the property is so unique that placing even nearby properties under a conservation easement becomes useful or even necessary? Continue reading Preserving Viewsheds Efficiently Through GIS Mapping

Virginia Senate Votes to Allow Alternate Names for Buggs Island Lake

The Virginia Senate voted yesterday, January 21, 2015 to approve Senate Bill 972, which would allow state and local agencies to refer to Buggs Island Lake as “Kerr Lake” or the “John H. Kerr Reservoir.” Previous legislation required state and local agencies to refer to the reservoir only as “Buggs Island Lake.” Senate Bill 972 now goes to the Virginia House of Delegates, which must also vote to approve the bill. Continue reading Virginia Senate Votes to Allow Alternate Names for Buggs Island Lake

What Is This “Kerr Lake” of Which You Speak?

On Friday, January 16, 2015, a story ran on the Associated Press (AP) wire reporting that Virginia State Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr. had introduced legislation to permit state agencies to refer to Buggs Island Lake as “Kerr Lake” or the “John H. Kerr Reservoir.” The story was quickly picked up by several regional news outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, WRAL TV-5 out of Raleigh, North Carolina, and WTOP 103.5 FM out of Washington, D.C.  This legislation might seem somewhat random without knowing the historical background, so let’s delve into the sometimes controversial history behind the John H. Kerr Reservoir. Continue reading What Is This “Kerr Lake” of Which You Speak?

Governor McAuliffe Announces Funding for Farmland Preservation Grants in Six Localities

On Monday, January 12, 2015, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that six Virginia localities had been awarded a total of more than $1,581,000 in funding to preserve working farmland through the localities’ purchase of development rights (PDR) programs. The named localities include Albemarle County, Fauquier County, James City County, Stafford County, Clarke County, and the City of Virginia Beach. PDR programs provide funding for the purchase of perpetual conservation easements from landowners, as opposed to many conservation easement programs which rely on landowners to donate easements. Continue reading Governor McAuliffe Announces Funding for Farmland Preservation Grants in Six Localities

A New “First Stoplight” in Chesterfield

My car rounded the bend, and suddenly I felt a tick of annoyance at what I saw.

Great. A new stoplight.

A Moving Target

Many of us who live in Southside Virginia drive along U.S. Route 360 through Chesterfield County to get to Richmond, and those of us who travel that route with any regularity at all usually have a pretty good memory of where the “first stoplight” is. The “first stoplight” is the stoplight more or less marking the western edge of the high-density urban sprawl around Richmond. It’s the point at which open highway through endless forests and fields (punctuated by the occasional gas station) gives way to crowded suburbia. Continue reading A New “First Stoplight” in Chesterfield