RICHMOND, VA – Forty years ago the City of Richmond’s 1983 Master Plan noted “the conversion of Mayo Island into public open space is recommended due to its accessibility by City residents, including the handicapped, the availability of excellent fishing opportunities, and the potential for boating access.” Twenty-five years ago in July 1996 the report “An Evaluation of Mayo Is Island for Potential Public Access for Recreation and Open Space Use” was issued. The acquisition of Mayo Island has thus been detailed in subsequent plans such as the Richmond Downtown Plan (adopted in 2009), Richmond Riverfront Plan (adopted in 2012), and James River Park Master Plan (adopted in 2019).
Last month, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (“VLCF’) awarded $1.5 million to the Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) toward its efforts to purchase the 14.5-acre Mayo Island. The application was the highest scoring in the Parks & Open Space category and the largest award made of the $14.9 million given to 40 projects.
Working in collaboration with the City of Richmond, an application was submitted to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund (“CFPF”) with a final decision expected later this month. An award from CFPF to acquire this private property and its development rights that are in the middle of the James River and between the floodwalls will ensure that future floods don’t cause significant harm to people and property on Mayo Island. It will also consummate essential funding for this elusive acquisition that has been in the City of Richmond’s long-range plan.
Mayo Island ranks among the most important properties to be conserved in the Commonwealth of Virginia according to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s ConserveVirginia model. It ranks among the Top 10 Percent of lands due to its significance for Cultural & Historic Preservation, Floodplains and Flooding Resilience, and Scenic Preservation. Equally important is the benefits that will come from removing nearly 8 acres of pavement and restoring hydrology to the island and water quality improvement for the Atlantic sturgeon, American shad, blueback herring, alewife, striped bass and yellow perch that spawn at the falls of the James River.
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About Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC): Incorporated in March 2005 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, CRLC seeks to conserve and protect the natural and historic land and water resources of Virginia’s Capital Region for the benefit of current and future generations. Visit www.capitalregionland.org to learn more about CRLC’s land conservation programs.