Virginia’s quail and pollinator insect populations have suffered significant declines in recent years due to loss of habitat. For terrestrial species, such as box turtles, habitat loss is compounded when their habitat is fragmented by roads. While creation and preservation of habitats needed by these species at any scale is helpful, for quail and box turtle, large patches of habitat are needed to maintain breeding populations. This presents a problem in areas like the East Coast, where the average land holdings are smaller than breeding habitat requirements. The proposed solution is to connect separate parcels into a “quilt” of parcels (as shown below) with the habitat needed by these species.
A 10-20 square mile area with interconnected quail, pollinator, and box turtle habitat sufficient for breeding populations of those species that reside in the area
The Mission of the Cooperative is to restore local wildlife habitat through landowner partnerships that provide multiple returns on investment.
• Human Health
• Environmental Health
• Efficient Access to Resources
The Rapidan Wildlife Habitat Cooperative is an organization of member landowners in a 20 square mile area centered over the Rapidan River north of the Town of Orange that work together to achieve breeding populations of wildlife species. Like a traditional agricultural producer cooperative, but focused not on crop services, the Cooperative will provide members with a wide variety of habitat establishment and maintenance services at competitive prices.
Beginning in 2017, the Coop has expanded to nearby watersheds, with new establishment projects and an expanded interest in floodplain restoration through what we are calling “conservation agriculture”. We define conservation agriculture as the agricultural enterprises in river floodplains that also improve regulating and supporting ecosystem services. Through 2018 the Coop is a project of SoilKeepers.
SoilKeepers, through the Cooperative, and through relationships with subcontractors like Neuhauser Hay, is working with estate and farm landowners not only in the Rapidan Valley, but in the Robinson and Hughes River Valleys, as well as in nearby watersheds, on a variety conservation agriculture establishment and maintenance projects and programs.