REGIONAL GROUP FORMS TO BOOST LAND PROTECTION
Champlain Valley Conservation Partnership will have municipal focus
Leaders in South Burlington and four neighboring towns have come together to form the Champlain Valley Conservation Partnership. The municipalities of South Burlington, Williston, Shelburne, Hinesburg, and St. George
--—all recognizing that natural resources cross boundaries--have committed to collaborate in their efforts to conserve and manage land.
The decision to join the partnership was approved by the South Burlington City council in late May. Select boards for the other communities voted to join during meetings held during June and July. Each municipality will appoint a representative to attend regular meetings and manage the collaborative work. There are no current financial obligations.
There are several outlined goals for the partnership:
- To prioritize regionally significant parcels for conservation/protection & to identify potential actions that would conserve/protect the parcels identified;
- To identify “best practices” for the stewardship of conserved land;
- To maintain the connectivity & integrity of forest blocks, in an effort to promote biological diversity and allow for the movement of wildlife in response to climate and land use changes;
- To improve the water quality of Lake Champlain by developing a strategy for wetland and riparian protection and/or restoration that can be applied throughout the partnership area.
- Understand issues surrounding public access on conserved lands, and develop a plan that improves public access, where appropriate, and allows for connections throughout the partnership area where it makes sense.
- Develop and apply a public engagement strategy that meaningfully involves our communities and other partners.
- Share individual strategies currently in use within each municipality to conserve/protect land, steward land, and engage the public, so that the entire partnership can benefit from existing experiences and knowledge and pave the way for a shared conservation approach to be employed throughout the region.
The group’s vision is to create a landscape that provides connected open space for wildlife and humans, recognizing that natural resources are not confined to political boundaries. As part of its effort to improve the connection of the region’s shared natural landscape, the partnership’s first project will be to create a map of regionally conserved land that will highlight opportunities for enhanced wildlife connectivity and better stewardship of natural resources.
Additionally, as an example of cross-boundary conservation, the group is planning a community event on a newly conserved property along the South Burlington and Shelburne town line. The event will focus on invasive woody weed removal and will be held on October 19th, from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM.