VCTU sees conservation easements as the primary vehicle for ensuring long-term habitat health on private land. To that end, it is collaborating with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), the state’s primary easement holder, to promote conservation and recreational access easements that benefit trout habitat.
In 2011, TU established a Chesapeake Bay Coldwater Land Conservancy Fund, which provides matching grants to land trusts and conservation agencies to permanently protect habitat for Eastern brook trout through land and conservation easement acquisition. Grants must be used for the transaction costs (e.g. boundary surveys, appraisals, baseline documentation, other due diligence, monitoring, etc.) of land protection projects. Projects must be located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Support for the Fund comes from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Trout Unlimited.
In 2012, TU announced the first recipients, three of which were easements held by VOF and sponsored by VCTU that protect brook trout habitat. You can learn more about these projects and the Fund itself here.