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Fones Cliffs Rezoning Meeting This Thursday

1Along a pristine stretch of the Rappahannock River on the Northern Neck, a massive, proposed development threatens a place like no other in the Chesapeake watershed. Fones Cliffs is one of the most important bald eagle habitats on the East Coast and what many consider to be the jewel of the Rappahannock.

This Thursday the Richmond County Board of Supervisors will again consider a request from the Diatomite Corporation to rezone part of this extraordinary place. All to make way for parking lots, commercial development, and townhomes. 

Please join us on Thursday, November 12 to oppose this destructive, short-sighted development. Details are as follows: 

What: Richmond County Board of Supervisors Meeting on Fones Cliffs Rezoning

When: Thursday, November 12, 9 a.m.

Where: Public Meeting Room, County Administrator's Office 333-3415, 101 Court Circle, Warsaw, VA 22572

RSVP: Please let us know if you plan to attend the meeting by e-mailing:

Yes, we're concerned about the eagles, but our concern extends beyond threats to the bald eagle population. It extends to the health of this land and community—both environmentally and economically. 

The proposed development would require extensive clearing of trees, exposing the land's highly erodible soils directly to rain and risking the stability of the cliffs. The health of the Rappahannock and nearby streams would be at risk, as sediment and polluted runoff from the new homes, roadways, parking lots, and golf course would flow directly into them. 

And for what benefit? Our experts believe the project would generate little net revenue for the county when you take into account expected increased costs for roads and schools.  

Thoughtful stewardship can preserve Fones Cliffs' unparalleled natural beauty and rich history for residents and visitors while creating economic opportunities that last far into the future. Please join us on Thursday.

—Emmy Nicklin
CBF's Senior Manager of Digital Media

If you haven't yet, please sign our petition to Save Fones Cliffs!

Above photo: The Diatomite Corporation of America is threatening to develop part of this unspoiled place that is home to one of the most important bald eagle habitats on the East Coast. Photo by Bill Portlock/CBF Staff.



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The Fones Cliffs Golf Course Will Not Scare Away All the Bald Eagles!

Quotations from Center for Conservation Biology:

“There are currently no eagle nests at the Diatomite property.”
- 2015, Bryan Watts, Director, Center for Conservation Biology, Richmond Times Dispatch

“The portion of the bald eagle population that has become ‘urbanized’ is expanding. The bald eagle nestlings that are growing up in nests in people’s back yards, public parks, golf courses and other human occupied locations peer out of their nests viewing all our human activities and the sounds we make. When they fledge from their nests they are acclimated to these sounds, sights, and noises and do not shy away from our human locations.”
- 2014, Bryan Watts, Director, Center for Conservation Biology, CCB Eagle Nest Blog

“The bald eagle population is rapidly approaching saturation. You don’t have to worry about bald eagles in the Chesapeake Bay!”
- 2013, Courtney Turrin, Raptor Biologist, Center for Conservation Biology, Lecture to Northern Neck Audubon

“A recent investigation within the lower Chesapeake Bay has shown that success rate and productivity for pairs within the most human-dominated settings are not statistically distinguishable from pairs in the most pristine settings.”
- 2008, Bryan Watts, Director, Center for Conservation Biology, “Recovery of the Chesapeake Bay Bald Eagle Nesting Population.”

“In recent years, there has been an increasing number of bald eagle pairs nesting in close proximity to human activity. Over the past decade, the transition in the bald eagle population has been ongoing with an increasing number of pairs breeding in very disturbed settings. Productivity and young survivorship were not influenced by the location of the breeding territory relative to urban development.”
- 2007, Bryan Watts, Director, Center for Conservation Biology, “Status, Distribution, and the Future of Bald Eagles in the Chesapeake Bay Area.”

Center for Conservation Biology Eagle Nest Map shows eagle nests next to:
-Dahlgren Naval Warfare Airfield
-Quantico Airfield
-Norfolk International Airport
-Camp Peary Airfield
-Newport News Williamsburg Airport
-Surry Nuclear Power Plant
-James River Coal Fired Power Plant
-Possum Point Coal Fired Power Plant
-Grey’s Point Campground
-Harbor View Campground
-Wilcox Wharf Public Boat Landing
-Kingsmill Marina
-Hopyard Farm Subdivision

The US Fish & Wildlife Service first proposed de-listing the bald eagle in 1990 because populations had reached target levels. The Chesapeake Bay eagle population has increased ten-fold (10x) since 1990.

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