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Strategies for Conserving James City County’s Natural and Cultural Assets

 Format: PDF  Series/Project: Large Scale Landscapes  Author: GIC. Inc  State: Virginia  Publisher: GIC. Inc  Published: 2022  Pages: 63  File Size: 4MB  View/Download

This Plan showcases the natural and cultural assets of James City County, Virginia, and establishes strategies to conserve or restore them. It is the result of community priorities established during the recent update of the County’s Comprehensive Plan. Prioritizing the protection of natural lands and open spaces was the most
highly ranked and supported objective across all three rounds of community engagement during the County’s public input process called “Engage 2045.” In addition to implementing an action in the 2045 Comprehensive Plan, this Plan also fulfills an operational initiative in the 2035 Strategic Plan.

Natural Assets are the landscape elements that provide healthy surroundings, recreational opportunities, clean water, and food for people and wildlife. These natural assets include forests, waterways,wetlands, agricultural soils, and other natural resources. Cultural Assets are the landscape elements that people value, such as parks,
boat landings, trails, historic or archaeological sites, or scenic roads with outstanding vistas. Natural assets support cultural assets by providing scenic backdrops to historic sites, buffering them from storms, or providing settings in which to enjoy them, such as the trails through Freedom Park that allow users to access recreated cabins of a free Black community, one of the County’s premier historic sites.

This project created a model showing the County’s highest valued intact landscapes. These intact areas are called habitat cores,which are connected by corridors and patches of land that act as steppingstones. When landscapes are connected, wildlife can move across them, ensuring their ability to obtain food, find shelter, and maintain a diverse gene pool for healthy populations. Pollinators –which help sustain our food supplies and flowers – also need habitat to carry out their critical functions.

These connections not only benefit wildlife; people also need a connected landscape to allow for recreation, adventure, and alternate routes, such as using trails to walk to school. Connected landscapes help maintain the character of James City County by weaving together its natural and cultural assets, providing a scenic backdrop and a buffer against disturbance, pollution, or environmental degradation

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