The Capital Region Land Conservancy — a local land trust that aims to protect the area’s natural land and water resources — became the first land trust in the Richmond region to achieve national accreditation, the group announced Tuesday.

The conservancy now joins a network of more than 400 land trusts accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, becoming the ninth local land trust in Virginia to achieve that status.

In a news release, Capital Region Land Conservancy Executive Director Parker Agelasto said the group had to work for more than a year to ensure its lands met the alliance’s standards. The end result, accreditation, signifies a commitment to the ongoing protection of the lands.

“Permanent land conservation is essential to our mission,” Agelasto said in the release. “Yet it requires a sustainable model, since the public has entrusted some of its most valued resources to our stewardship. The national accreditation process has made us a stronger organization for having gone through such a rigorous review. Our strength means that special places — such as the James River Park System and Malvern Hill Farm — will be protected forever, making the Richmond region an even greater place for us and our children.”

Of the 44 land conservation associations in Virginia, which include both local and national lands, only 16, including Capital Region Land Conservancy, are accredited.

The group works to ensure the permanent protection of more than 11,000 acres in the region and holds or co-holds 2,127 acres through conservation easements. By accrediting that land, the Land Trust Alliance is signalling its confidence that it will be “protected forever,” the release said.

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