September 30, 2016
PORT ROYAL, Va.—The Conservation Fund and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), together with the Gouldman family of Port Royal, recently protected 395 acres adjacent to the Rappahannock River. While helping to enhance the health of the River, this conservation effort, made possible with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program, also furthers the goals of Fort A.P. Hill to preserve key buffer lands near the installation boundary. 

Comprised of three separate properties, the Gouldman family lands feature the nearly 70-acre Gouldman Pond, significant surrounding wetlands and Goldenvale Creek. The Conservation Fund helped place two Virginia open-space easements over the land using funding provided by the REPI program through Fort A.P. Hill’s Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program. The REPI program also provided an endowment that will support the ongoing stewardship of the easements by VOF. The Gouldman family will continue to farm the property, which has 279 acres of prime farming soils, and enjoy the recreational benefits of the Pond.

“My family and I have spent many hours in the woods hunting and at the pond fishing,” said landowner Tammy Gouldman. “It is important to protect our special place where we have created so many fond memories with family members that are no longer with us and where we continue to enjoy new moments together. We are glad that we can be a participant in all of the positive results that come from a program such as this, which has enabled us to move forward with some family goals that may not have been achievable. We are looking forward to many years of conservation use of the Pond and our surrounding farmland.”

The location of the Gouldman easements within the priority buffer area for Fort A.P. Hill made their conservation important to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as it works to protect the military’s ability to train, test, operate and prepare troops and equipment for real-world combat. Fort A.P. Hill is a regional training center, utilized by U.S. Army active and reserve-component units, specializing in training, maneuver and live-fire operations across its 44,000 acres of training lands.  Located in Caroline County, one of the fastest growing counties in Virginia, Fort A.P. Hill’s ACUB program is focused on promoting compatible land uses, like agriculture, conservation and open space near the installation boundary and high-noise areas.

"The Gouldman easement is of strategic importance to Fort A.P. Hill because it is within the Land Use Planning Zone for noise and provides other benefits, such as permanent protection for wetlands and streams which contribute to the Army's and DoD's Chesapeake Bay Restoration efforts," said Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Q. Jordan, Garrison Commander at Fort A.P. Hill.  "In addition, it protects the scenic viewshed for the Port Royal Historic District and the National Park Service's Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, while keeping working family farms in operation and contributing to the local economy."

Through the Congressionally-authorized REPI Program, the DoD partners with state and local governments, conservation organizations and willing private landowners to protect working landscapes and critical natural resources within the vicinity of installations, ranges and airspaces from incompatible development and encroachment. The U.S. Congress annually appropriates funding for the REPI program, including the Virginia delegation representing Fort A.P. Hill: U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Representative Rob Wittman. In the 13 years that the REPI program has existed, it has provided approximately $32 million to military installations in Virginia, including Fort A.P. Hill, helping to maintain the military missions of the more than 240,000 DoD personnel across the Commonwealth.

"This announcement represents an important win for our service members and the communities they serve,” said REPI Program Director Kristin Thomasgard-Spence. “The preservation of these vital working lands not only protects the critical mission at Fort A.P. Hill by maintaining compatible land uses, but also sustains prime farmlands that support the farming heritage of the region and contributes toward the health of the Rappahannock River, ensuring enjoyment for future generations. This collaborative effort epitomizes the primary goal of the REPI Program: to protect critical DoD missions through innovative public and private sector partnerships that also create positive outcomes for local communities, the environment and working landscapes."

“The Gouldman project demonstrates the important role that the REPI program plays in fostering collaboration between military installations and their communities,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). “The Commonwealth is proud to be home to many of our nation’s military installations, including Fort A.P. Hill, which contribute significantly to our national defense and to Virginia’s economy. Thanks to the Gouldman family and partners, this project will help maintain Fort A.P. Hill’s mission, preserve the region’s farming heritage and support the health of the Rappahannock River.”

“The Gouldman conservation project is a prime example of how much we can accomplish when we work together to find solutions that support our military, our communities and our environment,” said U.S. Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA-1). “Efforts like these are critical not only to land and water conservation in the Commonwealth but also to the maintenance of military facilities that are instrumental in making sure that our troops have access to top-notch training and our equipment is tested and battle-ready. This public-private partnership is a win-win for Virginia, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Since its creation in 2006, the ACUB program at Fort A.P. Hill has helped to protect over 11,000 acres in the region surrounding the base.  Not only has this helped to preserve the base’s critical mission, but these easements protect the farming heritage and cultural history of the surrounding communities. The ACUB program is also supporting the efforts of the Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge to preserve critical habitat for birds and other wildlife in the region.

“This is conservation working for America—finding a practical solution that meets the needs of the landowner, the community and the DoD, while helping to ensure a healthy Rappahannock,” said Heather Richards with The Conservation Fund. “We thank the U.S. Congressional delegation representing Fort A.P. Hill for their support for the REPI program.”

“The ACUB program has been a vital part of our success in the Rappahannock River valley over the last decade,” says VOF easement manager Estie Thomas, who is based in Tappanahannock. “Because of it, we have been able to protect properties, like the Gouldman family land, that benefit not only Fort A.P. Hill and Chesapeake Bay water quality, but also the viability of our region’s farming community.”

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.8 million acres of land. 

Media Contact:
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 |