Regional cooperation is essential to protecting the natural environment, quality of life and economic health of the city of Fredericksburg and the counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford, King George and Caroline. A draft plan released today by a group led by the University of Mary Washington outlines specific tasks necessary to achieve those goals.
The Climate, Environment and Readiness (CLEAR) plan is the product of a comprehensive strategy session attended by more than 70 area residents representing various segments of the community that UMW held in November. The suggestions and ideas of those group members have been refined in recent months to create a work plan that offers ways for everyone – from the individual homeowner to the large institution – to contribute to the overall health of the region’s environment.
CLEAR’s mission is to promote resilience within the George Washington Region. That means making sure this region’s basic infrastructure – its wetlands and forests, open spaces and agricultural lands, roads, water and electric utilities, communications networks, emergency services, healthcare institutions, government and commerce can regain functionality after a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, drought or sustained resource shortage.
Research shared within the CLEAR plan demonstrates that this region – like the world at large – can expect more frequent and intense climate perturbations and severe weather events going forward as a product of global climate change. A fundamental premise of the CLEAR plan is that the region’s natural systems are a critical asset to its environmental and economic health and quality of life. CLEAR seeks to offer strategies for protecting those natural systems.
The groups that helped assemble the plan’s recommendations have already started work on some of its key goals. However, it will take a much broader community effort to accomplish multiple goals set forth in the report. CLEAR seeks to engage members of the community through the Fredericksburg Regional CLEAR page on Facebook and online at http://cas.umw.edu/dean/clear/.
“The release of the plan is only a beginning,” said Richard Finkelstein, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMW and head of the CLEAR effort. “Our goal is to engage members of the community in forming a collective understanding of the risks we are facing and how best to prepare our residents and institutions to withstand those risks.”
CLEAR intends to launch a series of outreach events aimed at engaging all sectors of the public and educating them about our region’s progress and needs. These will include presentations to local elected boards, social and traditional media campaigns and a series of fun and engaging events that will help educate local residents of all ages and backgrounds about what they can do to promote the resilience of the George Washington Region.
On Wednesday, April 30, environmental consulting firm and CLEAR partner Marstel-Day LLC will bring Jeff Danter, a senior vice president at the Trust for Public Land to UMW’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Danter’s presentation, “A Priority-Setting Process for Land and Other Natural Resource Conservation,” ties in with many of the goals outlined in the CLEAR plan. Those interested in attending the event may contact Michelle Alford at MAlford@Marstel-Day.com to register.
CLEAR is made possible by financial contributions from Marstel-Day LLC, the National Academy of Environmental Design, Atlantic Builders, the Virginia Environmental Endowment and the PNC Foundation.