On Thursday, December 2, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Water Control Board approved Stafford County’s application for a low-interest conservation loan in the amount of $30 million to purchase all of the properties on the Crow’s Nest peninsula owned by Stafford Lakes LP (also known as K&M Properties).

Now it’s up to the Board of Supervisors to negotiate the purchase of the property.

According to a letter submitted by Stafford County Administrator Steve Crosby, the County would operate Crow’s Nest as a nature preserve with public access for self-guided nature trails, wildlife observation posts, canoe launches, fishing and other related acitivities. Hunting for game or waterfowl would be allowed under managed conditions.

According to DEQ, all of the letters and comments received during the public comment period were in favor of the application. A number of applicants also expressed their interest in providing financial support and/or volunteer time to help in operating and maintaining the property for public use.

In summarizing the comments, DEQ noted that the enhancement of water quality in Accoceek and Potomac Creeks and the Potomac River was seen as a major advantage of preserving the 4,000 acre tract. Comments also noted the historic and archaelogical importance of the area, the mature hardwood forest, and the rare and endangered plant and animal species that inhabit Crow’s Nest. DEQ also reported that preservation would provide public access for low-impact educational and recreational activities.

Read the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star story,  “State OKs Loan for Crow’s Nest” and the related FLS editorial, “Crow’s Nest’s Hope.”