NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Newport News Waterworks, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation have joined to protect 550 acres of city-owned open space and wetlands in York County.
Officials said the land is owned by Newport News Waterworks and prior to the partnership, had only been protected by City Council Resolutions, the department’s Reservoir Protection Ordinance, and federal regulations for wetlands.
The property now has a historic preservation easement. The easement ensures that source water entering the drinking water reservoirs is protected for future generations while also preserving numerous historic and environmentally significant sites.
The city says the easement protects 550 acres fronting Beaverdam Creek, McCaulay Run and Harwood’s Mill Reservoir, which together help supply the drinking water provided to over 400,000 customers in Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, York County, and part of James City County.
In addition to archaeological features associated with the site, the area has multiple prehistoric and historic locations continuing abundant natural resources and wildlife habitats and lies within the study and core areas of the Yorktown Battlefield.
The project began in 2017 when Newport News Waterworks reached out to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources about expanding the Source Water Protection Program.
“Thanks to the persistence and collaboration of a talented team, the Virginia Peninsula will benefit from enhanced resource conservation and drinking water protection for generations,” said Yann Le Gouellec, Director of Newport News Waterworks.
Newport News Waterworks owns and manages approximately 8,000 acres of watershed property on Virginia’s Lower Peninsula. For additional information on the acreage, visit www.nnva.gov/waterworks.