Natural Resources

The objective of natural resource planning is to ensure continued availability of natural resources and the services they provide for current and future generations.

Natural Resources-Cascades in Giles CountyNatural resources are defined broadly to include land, fish, wildlife, air, surface and ground water. In the New River Valley, natural resources support the local economy through tourism, outdoor recreation, hunting, and fishing. Breathtaking views and natural landscapes contribute to quality of life that attracts new businesses and residents to the region. Natural resources also provide less-visible services, such as mitigating flood impacts, filtering air pollutants, groundwater recharge, pollinating crops, and conserving and generating soils.

The New River Valley Planning District Commission (PDC) provides natural resource planning assistance to local governments in the region. With funding from the Virginia Department of Forestry, the PDC began Green Infrastructure Planning in 2006, a natural resource planning method to map and prioritize water, forests, farmland, wildlife habitats, views, and recreation opportunities. The New River Valley Green Infrastructure Initiative won national recognition as recipient of the "2011 Innovation Award," given by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO).

Natural resource planning for the New River Valley includes participants representing local governments, regional non-government organizations and several state agencies, as well as several dedicated citizen representatives from across the region.

Non-Government Organizations State Agencies
  • New River Land Trust
  • Conservation Management Institute (CMI) at Virginia Tech
  • The Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
  • Catawba LandCare
  • Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC)
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension
Local Governments
  • Community Design and Assistance Center (CDAC) at Virginia Tech
  • Floyd County
  • New River Highlands Resource Conservation and Development Council
  • Giles County
  • Montgomery County
  • Pulaski County
  • City of Radford
  • Town of Blacksburg
  • Town of Christiansburg

Natural resource planning continues as part of the New River Valley Livability Initiative. The Natural Resources Working Group is a forum for continued collaboration among citizens and public, private, and non-government agencies. The goal of the working group is to develop a region-wide natural resources plan, which can help inform future land use decisions at the local level.