Joseph Pines Preserve to Expand!
On October 28, 2009 the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced their intent to loan Meadowview $290,000 to pur-chase 134 acres for land conservation. We have been working hard to secure a grant or loan to acquire land adjacent to Joseph Pines Preserve and this was particularly good news after so much effort. The loan is under the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund which has a special category for land conservation. The loan would be for 20 years at 3% interest.
The purchase of two adjoining tracts of 98 and 36 acres will more than double the size of the Joseph Pines Preserve, significantly enhance the scope of our restoration efforts, and provide important air and water quality benefits. The properties will enable us to protect almost the entire preserve watershed and give us buffers from future development. Part of the loan agreement with DEQ is that a conservation easement be placed on the property. We have selected the Virginia Depart-ment of Forestry as the best candidate to hold an easement which would give us maximum latitude in our restoration efforts.
Our next step in the loan process is to obtain approval of the loan by the Virginia Re-sources Authority (VRA). Meadowview met with VRA in November and they are going to expect the existing note on Joseph Pines paid off (10K), a year of payments on the new loan in escrow (19K), and proven ability to make the payments ($1600/mo). We are confident we can pay off our existing note by the pro-jected settlement date in March, 2010. Accu-mulating almost $20,000 in a reserve account is a challenge but we think our members and donors can rise to the occasion. We have one donor that has pledged $1000/month to the payment on the new note. We need more do-nors and pledges to make this important con-servation work happen. Please donate and spread the word about what we are doing so we can increase our membership and donor base and acquire these important properties. Con-sider committing to a monthly pledge for the preserve expansion.
One of the most exciting things about the expansion of the Joseph Pines Preserve is how it fits into a greater grand preserve plan. Meadowview continues to grow and prosper and this allows us to consider a long range con-servation plan. Two major properties that ad-join the preserve, John Hancock and Common-wealth Forest Investments, could be purchased along with the remaining portion of the Con-servation Forestry tract (adjacent to state land at Game Lake with the endangered black-banded sunfish) leading to the creation of a 1758 acre longleaf pine/pitcher plant preserve. The total current estimated cost to achieve this preserve goal is approximately 4 million dol-lars. This grand preserve could then connect with additional land purchases to the state pre-serve at Cherry Orchard Bog. If we can ac-quire these lands we will have one of the most outstanding preserves in the mid-Atlantic. We have made tremendous progress in land protec-tion and we may one day turn this dream into a reality. We continue to pursue grants and funding to purchase these properties.