Hanover Naturally Update

Hanover Naturally invites you to join our education and advocacy efforts for natural areas. The following represents just some of our activities and areas of focus:

Poor Farm Wildflower Walk
We recently sponsored a wildflower walk in Poor Farm Park. We have also sponsored a plant survey in Washington Lacy Park. Plants are a reflection of an ecosystem. Naming them, learning their story, and what part of the world plants inhabit is fascinating.

Other Ongoing Projects
Please let us know if you would like to help. Interest is all that is required. If you’ve got knowledge or experience, that is great! Please feel free to contact Nancy (npecsok(at)earthlink.net) for more information.

Washington Lacy Park
We were involved in the original planning and design of the park emphasizing the education of park visitors about nature and the park’s ecosystem. This is a joint project with Hanover County Parks Department and Friends of Hanover Trails. If you are knowledgeable about native plants and ecosystems, please contact us.

Website, brochure and other media projects

We were recently offered a home for a web page. We’ve had wonderful support from the Design Center at VCU. T-shirts designed by VCU students are available for sale!

Native Plants, Wildlife, and Restoration Ecology
We are looking for knowledgeable professionals and/or individual demonstration projects. Do you have (or do you want) a native plant garden? Or a wildflower meadow? Do you have knowledge or experience about restoring healthy ecosystems? Or would you be willing to find the people who do? If you have any interest, let us know.

Green Building
How can we live on the land and have our presence be a benefit to life? We are networking with people and organizations who care. Let us know if you have incorporated green principles in your home, farm or office.

Hanover County & Regional Land Use Planning
We learned a lot about land use planning options and Hanover’s aversion to conservation practices during the last Comp Plan revision. There are ways to grow responsibly. One of them, Green Infrastructure Planning is a land use planning project that was offered to Hanover County through the Regional Planning Districts. Unfortunately, our County Supervisors turned down the offer.

What is Green Infrastructure?
Green Infrastructure Planning is a part of land use planning, like Gray Infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, etc.) and Social Infrastructure (schools, libraries, etc.) that:

1) Identifies significant areas like sensitive ecosystems, healthy wildlife habitats, rich farmland, historic resources and areas that give a community its unique charcter through research based data and community input.

2) Organizes these areas into a system of hubs or large land areas that provide significant habitat for wildlife that can not live near people, water protection, carbon sequestration and clean air and connects them with links that can serve as wildlife corridors or possibly, but not necessarily, greenways and alternative transportation routes. These land areas do not need to be open to the public. It is their significance in protecting natural resources that is the most important.

3) Protects these areas through partnership with the community and a variety of conservation techniques such as State parks, or conservation easements.

Invite a friend….

If you know someone who would like to be added to the list, let us know. If you would like to be removed from this list, let us know.

Nancy Pecsok
Hanover Naturally

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Environment VA 2008

At the Environment Virginia 2008 conference held in Lexington, Virginia, one session included three speakers with experience in Hanover County presenting under the banner: “Planning for Growth and Development.” The room was packed for a session moderated by Ms. Moira Croghan entitled: “Bringing Water Quality Into Land Use Decisions.” Ms. Croghan opened the session by explaining how watershed planning can be used to address a variety of local environmental requirements while also involving citizens. concerned about the impact of development.

Mr. Jason Espie of the Renaissance Planning Group located in Charlottesville, shared the results of a “build-out analysis” he performed – an innovative technique used to quantify existing land uses in Hanover County. Epsie described the condition of Hanover’s streams, and how pavement and other impervious surfaces, resulting from projected development under Hanover’s County’s newly adopted Comprehensive Plan, will likely to cause further stress to Hanover’s streams, rivers and bodies of water. “Streams become degraded,” Epsie explained, “if there are buildings, roofs and roads coverings 10% or more of the watershed or drainage area.” Epsie’s analysis demonstrated how Hanover County has designated a very large amount of land for development.

The last speaker, Jim Ellis, presented a lecture entitled, “Impacting Local Decisions with a Buildout Analysis: Connecting Citizens and Water Quality Choices.” Mr. Ellis ran for Supervisor (Chickahominy) in the 2007 Hanover County Board of Supervisors race as an independent candidate endorsed by Hanover Conservation Voters, taking 42% of the vote. Ellis drew on those experiences to suggest that more citizen involvement is needed to push leaders into action. Even though the technical issues involving watershed protection are complex, Ellis said that “connecting water quality issues to land use and development decisions is a good strategy for involving citizens in watershed planning.”