JAMES CITY COUNTY — James City County is inviting citizens to take part in shaping strategies to conserve the county’s natural and cultural assets by holding an open house June 29 and an online survey through July 10.
The June 29 Natural and Cultural Assets Open House will be held in Community Room A of the James City County Recreation Center, 5301 Longhill Road. The public may arrive anytime from 4-7 p.m. to view natural and cultural assets and to comment on strategies to restore or protect them.
There will be a formal presentation from 5-5:30 p.m, and maps and an informational presentation are available online ahead of the meeting on the county’s website.
The online Natural and Cultural Assets Plan Survey is also available for those unable to attend the open house, now through July 10. Residents can also learn more about the project on the latest episode of This Week in James City County podcast.
“James City County is a special place, due in large part, to its rich natural and cultural landscape. Natural and cultural assets include trees and forests, waterways, wetlands, agricultural soils, and natural areas such as parks and trails, or areas of cultural significance to residents such as scenic or historic areas,” the county said in a press release. “The largest blocks of intact habitats support native species and can be connected by corridors to form a network. The more connected the landscape, the more resilient it is and the more pathways there are for people, pollinators or plants.”
The open house is part of a larger effort to develop a Natural and Cultural Assets Plan to help identify, evaluate and prioritize the county’s highest value natural resources and cultural assets and identify opportunities to protect and restore them, according to the county.
Communities can use such plans to protect current and future water supplies, protect or expand economies, create healthy communities, protect wildlife and biodiversity, provide or identify new outdoor recreation options, highlight land conservation priorities, and inform transportation projects, comprehensive plan goals or zoning decisions, the county said.
The current project began in August 2021 and is projected to be completed in fall 2022.
The county said when updating the county’s Comprehensive Plan, prioritizing the protection of natural lands and open spaces was the highest ranked and supported objective in all three rounds of community engagement.