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Land Protection Criteria

Primary Criteria

To solicit a landowner’s interest in protection, at least three of these criteria must be met.
To accept an opportunity for protection there is no hard and fast rule.


  • Protection of the property yields significant public benefit.
  • The property is in a primarily natural condition OR the property represents important farmland.
  • The property represents exceptionally valuable scenic or historic land.
  • The property is sufficiently visible for the public to be able to appreciate its scenic value.
  • The property has qualities that would attract the public.
  • The property contains resources of educational and/or research value.
  • The property contributes to the historic and cultural resources of the area.
  • The scenic resource is important for attracting tourists and/or businesses to the area.
  • Rare, threatened or endangered species and/or significant natural resources are present.
  • The resources comprise a high-quality terrestrial and/or aquatic ecosystem.
  • The property contributes to the ecological viability of an identified park, greenway, or natural area.
  • Protection of the property preserves open space that contributes to the community’s environmental quality, including water quality and soil improvements.
  • The public would have regular, although perhaps limited, opportunities for access to and use of the property.
  • The property could become part of a wildlife corridor or greenway system.
  • An easement will provide sufficient protection for the resource.
  • The property is large enough to adequately protect the resource.
  • There is no evidence of potential hazards or other liabilities on the property.
  • The potential exists for working with adjacent lands (landowners) to provide increased protection for the resource.
  • Current and/or proposed use of adjacent lands does not pose a significant threat to the protection of the resource.
  • Preservation does not conflict with other local government preservation programs.

Secondary Criteria

These criteria supplement the Primary Criteria in evaluating the need/opportunity for WLC to play a role in protection.


  • Protection of the property would secure the scenic character of the local landscape.
  • Protection of the property would secure a scenic view visible from a park, natural area, road, body of water, trail or historic site.
  • Preserving the property helps maintain the scale and character of the surrounding landscape.
  • Protection of the scenic resource is compatible with other land uses in the vicinity.
  • The property contains unique or outstanding physiographic characteristics.


  • The property meets the qualifications for a “historically important land area” or a “certified historic structure” (see IRS regulations).
  • The property is included in a government-sponsored inventory of significant historic sites and/or structures.
  • The property and/or structure is in good condition and could be maintained in perpetuity.
  • The property has been identified as archaeologically significant, or has the potential for archaeological significance.


  • The property has the potential to become part of the area Greenway Master Plan or become part of a local, regional or state park.
  • The property has open space value due to its proximity to developing areas.

Resource-wide Criteria

  • Protection of the property would support the objectives of several partners.
  • Protection of the property is consistent with clearly defined government conservation policy at the local, state or federal level.


These are questions to consider for any land protection opportunity.
  • Does the property lie within HVLC’s interest area (the lower James, York and Rappahannock River watersheds)?
  • Does the property have any existing environmental protection designations?
  • What is the legal status of the property? Does the owner have clear title to the land?
  • Does the property have an existing Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plan?
  • Are there financial liabilities (including tax issues) on the property or the property owner that would negatively affect the Historic Virginia Land Conservancy?
  • Are there environmental liabilities? Has a Phase 1 environmental audit been performed? Should one be?
  • Is the local government’s comprehensive plan designation compatible with preservation?
  • What are the costs to the Historic Virginia Land Conservancy for securing the protection of the property?
  • What are the costs to the Historic Virginia land Conservancy for the management/oversight of the protected property?
  • Are there potential collaborators for protection of the property? Who?
  • Could the property be incorporated into an area-wide greenway system?
  • Has the property been identified by another agency for protection?
  • Does the property have existing road access?
  • What protection tool is best for protecting the property and meeting the needs of the landowner?
  • What other tools could be used to adequately protect the resource?
  • Is the landowner able and willing to make an appropriate contribution to a property monitoring fund?
  • Are there marketable natural resources on the property--e.g., timber, sand/gravel? Are there buffer issues?
  • Is there a structure on the property? If so, what is its current condition and what would be its future disposition?