In 2008, the city placed under conservation easement the largest single tract ever recorded in Virginia – 6,185 acres – and earned the Western Virginia Land Trust’s “A. Victor Thomas Environmental Stewardship Award” for this action.
The city followed up with a second easement of 5,178 acres at the Cove in September 2009. The primary reason for, and benefit of, placing Carvins Cove under easement is to protect the watershed that surrounds one of the city’s main sources of fresh water.
But there are other “conservation values” that such easements preserve, including wildlife habitat, scenic views, forest resources, etc. In June 2010, City Council placed some 540 acres of Mill Mountain under easement, forever protecting its wooded slopes from development.