Purcellville establishes nutrient credit bank at Aberdeen | News – About Your Online Magazine


As part of Mayor Kwasi Fraser’s effort to monetize the city’s assets, Purcellville on Tuesday formally established a Nutrient Credit Bank on 93.4 acres of Aberdeen property with a 6-0 vote in the city council.

Fraser pushed for the initiative, which was designed to create a “green economy” for the city by planting trees.

By cultivating trees on what was once farmland, it creates a nutrient mitigation bank, which essentially introduces healthy elements into the soil and this environmental benefit can receive cash credits through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The credits range in value from $18,000 to $30,000 and would permanently restrict land to forest, according to city attorney Sally Hankins.

Last June, the DEQ approved the city’s nutrient mitigation bank, which is expected to generate 76 credits, according to Fraser. Credits can be sold to developers seeking to offset the environmental impacts of their projects.

In December, the city issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a partner to maintain the city’s approved nutrient bank in exchange for a portion of the revenue generated by the bank. The city received five responses and selected the Davey Resource Group, a national company with offices in Virginia.

The city purchased the 189-acre Aberdeen property in 2009 for $2.175 million for the purpose of providing additional well water to the city if needed. The property has three wells and a house that was built in the 1880s.

Fraser noted that with this project, the city is still able to access water from the well and is not at risk of further contamination of the water source with agricultural or residential development.

He estimated the value of the city’s claims to be between $1.52 million and $2.28 million.

The city’s finance director, Liz Krens, said the project’s resources would be directed to the water supply fund, as Aberdeen is a water fund asset.

Fraser told the Times-Mirror that 111,000 trees – including Northern Red Oak, Willow Oak, Pin Oak, Sycamore, Lobolly, Premium, River Birch and Silky Dogwood – were planted in Aberdeen to develop the nutrient credit bank and to continue efforts of carbon sequestration. The trees will take about five to ten years to mature and about 30 years to become fully grown, he said.

“This is the biggest initiative of its kind in Loudoun County,” said Fraser. “The city is expected to earn more than $700,000 from the sale of nutrient credits for large infrastructure projects in the watershed.” He said authorities hope the new forest will attract new species of birds, as well as deer, wild turkeys, raccoons, possums, bears, rabbits and more.

Aberdeen has been the focus of discussion for many proposed projects in recent years, including a proposal that it be used as a hop-growing site as well as a potential equine park. Another idea was to use the land as a {span} agricultural technology promotion laboratory, using drones to record videos and monitor crops. {/time course}

Each board member spoke in support of the project and thanked the team for their role in moving the process along.

“We came here with a lot of blood, sweat and tears from the team and Sally, you obviously played a big part in that,” said Councilor Tip Stinnette.

Councilor Chris Bertaut agreed, adding, “This marks an important point in the city’s history in terms of leveraging our assets for the greatest benefit of the public.”

Paula Fonseca