Regional group forms to boost land protection

Leaders in five neighboring towns have come together to form the Champlain Valley Conservation Partnership. Recognizing that natural resources cross boundaries, the municipalities of South Burlington, Shelburne, Hinesburg, St. George and Williston 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. Selectboards 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. These include to prioritize regionally significant parcels for conservation/protection and 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 and 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; and 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.

Additional goals include: understanding issues surrounding public access on conserved lands, and develop a plan that improves public access, where appropriate; allowing for connections throughout the partnership area where it makes sense; developing and applying a public engagement strategy that meaningfully involves our communities and other partners; and to share individual strategies currently in use within each municipality to conserve/protect land, steward land, and engage the public. The goal is for the entire partnership to 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.

Take part in local land protection and stewardship

As an example of cross-boundary conservation, the Champlain Valley Conservation Partnership hosts their first invasive plant removal event Saturday, Oct. 19, 9 to 11 a.m. at the Ewing parcel, a newly conserved property along the South Burlington and Shelburne town line. The event will focus on invasive woody weed removal. Registration is required. For more information and where to park offsite, contact Ashley Parker at the City of South Burlington, 846-4146,

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