The Washington Smart Growth Alliance’s conservation jury annually honors a few of excellent and pressing conservation efforts with “Conservation Priorities” status for the region. This year’s document emphasizes the importance of green infrastructure planning and funding at the local level, as well as identifying five crucial “regional conservation priorities” in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia
According to a new report by the Washington Smart Growth Alliance, the Marvin Gaye Park in the District is named a top conservation priority for the region. The Regional Conservation Priorities list, which is released annually by the Smart Growth Alliance, includes Greening of Tysons and preserving the South River Greenway, both of which are priorities in Fairfax County.
The report also demands a dedicated source of money and a collaborative intergovernmental effort to identify and protect natural resources like these, which make up our “regional green infrastructure.” Congressman Moran of Virginia introduced the National Capital Region Land Preservation Act of 2009, which might do so.
The legislation, if it passes, would offer up to a fifty-fifty match of Federal money to help leverage state and local funding for land acquisition, conservation easements, and other land conservation strategies. The National Park Service would administer the program, but it would also establish an intergovernmental process for regional cooperation in selecting sites to be preserved.
The Smart Growth Alliance’s initiatives aim to support the overall sustainability of a region by assisting smart growth options like compact and infill construction that may be more affordable in the near term while also being more long-term sustainable. Simultaneously, it is apparent that smart conservation – which entails preserving functional open space, parkland, or natural areas while restoring.
The National Capital Region, according to the Conservation Priorities Report, A Call to Action, will increase by 2 million people and more than 1.6 million jobs by 2030. “Without a region-wide effort to promote both infill development and green infrastructure preservation,” said Sam Black, president of the Smart Growth Alliance.
The objective of the Regional Conservation Priorities List is to promote conservation efforts that will have the most impact on our quality of life in the future. The five priorities for 2009 are as follows::
- The Marvin Gaye Park in Washington, D.C., is the District’s longest municipal park, following Watts Branch, the city’s biggest tributary of the Anacostia River. The park has recently been restored to its former glory after falling into disrepair and is now maintained by the community through major public and private restoration efforts as well
- The Greening of Tysons is one component of Fairfax County’s “Transforming Tysons” strategy, which was produced by the Tysons Land Use Task Force. In addition to transforming the automobile-dominated shopping area into an urban centre via increasing the number of people from 17,000 to 100,000 and jobs from 105,000
- The South River Greenway, which is only minutes from Annapolis, is made up of two of the biggest wooded areas in Anne Arundel County, as well as 100 miles of streams, 800 acres of marshes, and a variety of historical and cultural attractions. The Greenway offers important wildlife habitat for birds, reptiles, and aquatic
- A series of connected parks and natural areas will be formed by the new Green Crescent, which is a guiding concept of Alexandria’s Open Space Plan. The Waterfront Area is one of the most regionally significant sections of the Green Crescent, having been acquired through land acquisition and currently undergoing a new planning process with active community engagement.
- The Patuxent River Greenway/Watershed encompasses 900 square kilometers of territory that runs from Howard County, Maryland south to the Solomon’s Islands and is home to forests, wetlands, floodplains, wildlife habitat, farms, rural scenery, aquatic life, and archaeological and historical sites. Over the last four decades, the watershed has grown increasingly.
The jury, made up of prominent natural scientists and conservationists, reviewed numerous nominations and chose only those few projects or programs that give the most promise or are of the greatest urgency.
“We look at specific parcels or geographic areas that need to be kept working open space, parkland, or natural areas, as well as bigger projects and policies.” The Piedmont Environmental Council’s Michael Kane is the Alliance’s conservation jury chair. “Our focus is on preserving green space, capital projects that will benefit the natural.
The jury also picks projects that would benefit the most from independent help in order to raise public awareness, seek urgently required financial or legislative backing, or win local or regional acceptance or approval, according to Kane.
Because the Alliance is made up of real estate, business, environmental, and low-income housing groups, this independent backing demonstrates that these efforts are not only important to our region’s natural beauty and working environments, but they will also attract thriving firms and increase employment.
“This program parallels our Smart and Sustainable Growth initiative, which supports smart growth development in the region by conservation groups,” said Alliance Executive Director Deborah Westbrooke. “To support both environmental protection and smart growth, the Alliance’s various organizational members have overcome longstanding disputes over growth concerns.”
For more information about the Smart Growth Alliance, go to the: SGA Website or contact Executive Director Deborah Westbrooke at 301.986.5959; Board Chairman/President Sam Black at 202.626.6887; Mike Kane, Conservation Jury Chair at 703.371.4373; and Executive Director Deborah Westbrooke at 301
The Washington Smart Growth Alliance is a collaboration of the following organizations: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation | Coalition for Smarter Growth | Enterprise Community Partners | Greater Washington Board of Trade | Metropolitan Washington Builders’ Council.
Contact: Office of Rep. James P. Moran, 202.226.0015 for more information on the National Capital Region Land Conservation Act of 2009.