Central Virginia Wildlife Habitat Cooperative
The Central Virginia Wildlife Habitat Cooperative began in 2014 as a pilot project to join and coordinate the efforts of landowners within a particular river valley to create and maintain wildlife habitat. The Cooperative is a 501-3 program of the Center for Natural Capital. The Cooperative provides planning and consulting services to landowners to prepare for eventual habitat establishment. Members share the costs of specialized equipment for habitat planting and maintenance. For projects that connect multiple landowners and/or convert agricultural lands to habitat, costs may be a charitable deduction. The Cooperative cooperates with the NRCS and VDGIF. Once plans are complete, the Cooperative works with it’s allied Partner SoilKeepers LLC to implement and manage projects and through SoilKeepers subcontractors Neuhauser Hay and Rappahannock Landscape and Nursery.
Virginia’s quail and pollinator insect populations have suffered significant declines in recent years due to loss of habitat. For terrestrial species, such as box turtles, habitat loss is compounded when their habitat is fragmented by roads. While creation and preservation of habitats needed by these species at any scale is helpful, for quail and box turtle, large patches of habitat are needed to maintain breeding populations. This presents a problem in areas like the East Coast, where the average land holdings are smaller than breeding habitat requirements. The proposed solution is to connect separate parcels into a “quilt” of parcels (as shown below) with the habitat needed by these species.
Hundreds of square miles of landowners in the Upper Rappahannock, York, and James river valleys voluntarily cooperating to manage interconnected quail, pollinator, and box turtle habitat sufficient for breeding populations of those species. .
The Mission of the Cooperative is to provide planning, logistics, and neighboring landowner coordination for establishment, maintenance (including soil disking and prescribed burning (in coordination with the Virginia Department of Forestry). We aim for this work to provide the following multiple returns on investment to our clients.
• Human Health
• Environmental Health
• Efficient Access to Resources
The Cooperative is currently working with farm and estate landowners on planning and research for the following projects:
- Wilding of grazing forage paddocks
- Whole floodplain early successional habitat
- Cool season grass pollinator meadow
- Upland pollinator and quail meadow
- Wetlands restoration
Contact Michael Collins at 540-672-2542 for more information.