PEC shows continued interest in land conservation


Data compiled by The Piedmont Environmental Council shows a total of 401,200 acres have been protected in Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock Counties by landowners working together with land trusts and public agencies. The total includes 6,237 acres added in 2017.

“Conservation easements help protect our local food supply, secure sources of water for the future, provide areas for wildlife habitat and preserve important historic and cultural sites,” said Chris Miller, President of PEC. “People love the rural character of the region and protecting the land is a way for them to take action and ensure that future generations will enjoy the same benefits.”

An easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and a land trust (such as a public agency or a non-profit conservation group like PEC) to permanently protect natural, scenic and cultural resources on their land.

“The success of conservation in the Piedmont reflects the appreciation hundreds of families and other landowners have for this region, which is demonstrated through a true commitment to the long-term protection of the resources that make this a special place,” said Michael Kane, Director of Conservation at PEC. “Fortunately, through programs like Virginia’s Land Preservation Tax Credit, there is a set of financial incentives that make it possible for landowners across the state to act on their love of the land through the donation of a conservation easement.”

Approximate county-by-county conservation totals in the Piedmont region are as follows:


County      Acres Protected in 2017 by Conservation Easements            Total Acres Protected by Conservation Easements

Albemarle                                          775                                                                                                 99,574

Clarke                                                308                                                                                                 25,247

Culpeper                                            317                                                                                                 18,917

Fauquier                                            2,541                                                                                             104,873

Greene                                                 0                                                                                                   10,448

Loudoun                                            1,174                                                                                              57,549

Madison                                            126                                                                                                 15,887

Orange                                              669                                                                                                 35,961

Rappahannock                               327                                                                                                  32,744


6,237                                                                                         401,200

In total, conservation easements in the nine counties have protected approximately:

  • 1,658 miles of streams;
  • 9,839 acres of wetlands;
  • 26,217 acres adjacent to scenic rivers;
  • 189,965 acres of prime farmland soils;
  • 189,265 acres of forests;
  • 107,303 acres along scenic byways;
  • 120,916 acres in the viewshed of the Appalachian Trail;
  • 126,637 acres in historic districts; and
  • 29,447 acres of Civil War battlefields.