NELSON COUNTY, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has selected two Nelson County wetland areas as conservation sites.
Both sites, designated the Spruce Creek Tributary and South Fork Flats conservation sites, are within the Horizons Village subdivision in the Rockfish River Valley.
The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline route is currently set to cross the Spruce Creek Tributary area and comes within a half mile of the other.
The DCR submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week, urging the protection of the sites by having the pipeline avoid them.
The sites were designated weeks after the ACP filed its formal applications to begin construction.
According to a release, the DCR says experts have determined that the Spruce Creek Tributary site would be destroyed by the pipeline's construction.
"A conservation designation was not really necessary until the Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposed a route that would destroy the surrounding forest canopy and wetlands," said Dave Bennett, a Horizons Village resident.
Conservation sites in Virginia are places that surround one or more rare plants, animals or natural communities thought necessary for conservation.
They are given a biodiversity significance ranking based on rarity, quality and other factors.
The DCR ranked the Spruce Creek Tributary a highly significant site and the South Fork Flats a very highly significant site.
Horizons Village is a 400-acre neighborhood in the Rockfish Valley that contains more than 100 acres of common land subject to covenants conserving the natural state of the land.