Virginia News: Southampton County forestland protected forever
Nearly 493 acres in Southampton County have been permanently conserved by members of the Bain family. Judge C. Ridley Bain, Harriet Bain Duck and James Richard Duck have partnered with the Virginia Department of Forestry to ensure their property on the Nottoway River is conserved forever through an open-space easement.
The property has been in the family since before the American Civil War. Judge C. Ridley Bain reflected on the connection he and his sister, Mrs. Bain Duck, have to the land. “Many of our childhood memories of our grandparents are tied to this farm where they lived. Our grandfather was an avid hunter and fisherman who spent countless hours hunting this land and fishing in the Nottoway. We are delighted that this easement will insure this beautiful property will forever keep those characteristics that our family has cherished over so many years.”
Conserving this property brings many benefits to Virginia. More than a mile of this property fronts the Nottoway River, which is a state-designated scenic river, and the Cypress Bridge Swamp Natural Area Preserve lies across the river from the newly conserved property. The conservation easement creates a 122-acre habitat protection area along the Nottoway, preventing commercial timber harvests. This riverfront habitat protection area contributes to the views along the scenic river and the protections of the ecological systems within the natural area preserve.
The open space easement ensures that the majority of the property will remain forested and undeveloped, protecting its important natural resources, while also allowing for the continued economic viability of the property. It requires sustainable forest management activities that include adhering to Virginia’s Best Management Practices for Water Quality. These practices protect the Nottoway and its tributaries, both for wildlife and as a drinking water source for downstream communities. In areas where timber is harvested outside of the habitat protection area, trees must be replanted or allowed to regrow as natural forest.
The VDOF’s forestland conservation program focuses on protecting large, contiguous blocks of forestland for both the ecological and economic benefits they provide. This new open-space easement in Southampton County illustrates how the program attains that balance and simultaneously achieving both objectives in order to protect healthy, sustainable forest resources in Virginia.
The conservation easement was made possible through funding from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant awarded to Ducks Unlimited in partnership with VDOF and others, as well as the generosity of the Bain and Duck families, who donated a portion of the value of the easement and gave up the right to develop it.