This news broke last week, but it’s hard to overstate its significance and bears repeating. From the Capital Region Land Conservancy:
The path of the James River takes many twists and turns along its 348-mile journey from the Allegheny Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, yet there is only one place that has come to be named “River’s Bend.” The 180-acre property, which was formerly a golf course, could have been developed into a dense residential subdivision with an additional 100-homes built along the James River. Instead, the property’s owner, Riversbend Land LLC, has protected the wetlands, views, and one mile of shoreline with a conservation easement held by the Capital Region Land Conservancy that also provides for public access.
“Finalizing this easement was a great way to end the year,” owner and easement donor Neil Amin said. “Having grown up in River’s Bend, I care about the future of this area and am proud to be able to help protect it and share it with the community.”
CRLC has been evaluating options for a conservation easement at River’s Bend since 2010. The property sits at the nexus of a wealth of natural, historic, and scenic resources.
It adjoins 144 acres of wetlands owned by VCU’s River Rice Center and two parcels separate it from another 25-acre privately owned property under conservation easement with CRLC since 2005 for its bald eagle habitat. It lies across the river from Chesterfield County’s Dutch Gap Conservation Area, comprising 810 acres of woods and wetlands. Presquile National Wildlife Refuge and the Brown and Williamson Conservation Area are also nearby. River’s Bend is within the direct viewshed of Henricus Historical Park, a 10- acre public park interpreting the site of the English colony’s second settlement in 1611.
The newly protected land includes 85 acres of emergent wetlands and forested or shrub wetlands according the United States Fish and Wildlife Service inventory. The easement’s terms include 100-foot buffer protections for the property’s mile of James River shoreline and 35-foot buffer protections for the wetland areas as well as the 11,000 feet of stream bank and 2,600 feet of pond border. The existing infrastructure of over two miles of paths will be available for public access and will be open to the public year round.
Chesterfield County Bermuda District Board of Supervisor, Dorothy A. Jaeckle noted, “River’s Bend is a great example of balancing growth and change with respect for our natural resources and our history. Private land conservation plays an important part in fulfilling our long term strategic goals for Chesterfield County along the James River for the benefit of all our citizens.”