Location: Accomack County, VA | Client: Accomack County and Green Infrastructure Center | Project Date: March 2014 – September 2015
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Accomack County, Virginia, located within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, is home to abundant natural resources of national significance, including critical habitat for local and migrating birds. The county includes high-quality fisheries, forests, wetlands, rivers, marshes, dunes and agricultural land. These assets, collectively referred to as blue and green infrastructure, directly support the county’s local economy, recreational opportunities and natural heritage. Traditional development patterns are threatening these natural resources by damaging and fragmenting lands with high ecological value.
Accomack County contacted the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) to develop a blue/green infrastructure study for the county. Skeo collaborated with GIC to work with the County of Accomack and local stakeholders to catalogue the county’s natural assets and develop recommendations for their preservation based on the best available science. Skeo utilized a state habitat model and integrated multiple data sources to map the natural assets of most significance to the county. Secondly, Skeo collaborated with the University of Virginia to identify the most recent scientific research available on the local habitat and summarize the scientific conclusions relevant to local land use decisions. Finally, based on stakeholder goals and the scientific recommendations, Skeo outlined strategies for prioritizing lands of greatest significance for preserving the local natural heritage.
As a result of this project, the County of Accomack now has a comprehensive framework for managing habitat conservation, water quality, ground water recharge, working lands, nature-based recreation and cultural heritage. This green infrastructure framework can support Accomack County as it plans for economic development alongside cultural and environmental priorities with specific strategies for protecting coastal zones, ground water recharge and habitat connectivity within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.