Purcellville Formalizes Nutrient Bank Partnership

The Purcellville Town Council Tuesday night formalized the creation of a nutrient bank on the Aberdeen property.

The vote established a formal relationship between the town and Davey Resource Group, which, according to a June 8 staff report, in late April planted thousands of budding trees on close to 100 acres of the 189-acre town-owned property. That work created a nutrient mitigation bank, which, according to Town Attorney Sally Hankins, the town will use to generate 75-76 nutrient credits to sell to developers required to offset the environmental impacts of their construction projects. Hankins said the town will sell those credits for $20,000 to $30,000 a piece.

But the number of trees planted and the acreage on which they were planted aren’t clear.

The June 8 staff report indicates that “at least 400 woody stems” were planted on each acre, but according to Mayor Kwasi Fraser, more than three times that numbers of trees were planted.

“That’s 111,000 trees in the Town of Purcellville being planted within the space of a month,” he said Tuesday. The Aberdeen property is not within the town’s corporate limits but is a town-owned property.

Those, he said on Wednesday, include 36,000 northern red oaks, 16,600 willow oaks, 17,000 pin oaks, 20,000 sycamores, 19,000 loblolly premiums, 4,500 river birches and 5,000 silky dogwoods—totaling 118,000 trees in all. The trees are 1 to 3 feet in height. It will take 5 to 10 years for canopy closure to begin. The trees will mature in 30 or more years, at which point some will grow to an average of 60 feet in height.

“Most … species of wildlife and insect[s] native to [Virginia] and this physiographic region will have [a] suitable habitat here,” he said.

For the Department of Environmental Quality to approve the credits for sale, Davey will need to provide the agency with financial assurance for the land conversion.

This story was updated at 6:10 p.m. June 9 to reflect updates on the numbers, types and heights of the trees, provided by Fraser.

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