I would like to thank the Bay Journal for continued, in-depth coverage of the damages and violations at Fones Cliffs along Virginia’s Rappahannock River. It is clear that many citizens across the Chesapeake landscape are concerned about what happens at this very special place rich in history and where eagles soar.
Fones Cliffs is a majestic place. This 4-mile formation of forested cliffs reaches heights of 80–100 feet and is composed of diatomaceous earth formed millions of years ago. This is the ancestral territory of the Rappahannock Tribe. It is also designated as a globally significant Important Bird Area for both resident and migratory bald eagles and other migratory birds.
As your loyal readers know, in mid-October, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality announced the filing of a lawsuit against the would-be developers for significant and repeated environmental violations.
While damage to archeological resources is irreparable, the habitat can be repaired, especially if the property can be permanently protected. Regardless, trees can and should be replanted on the illegally cleared area. Under a conservation scenario, archeological resources would also be protected.
We are pleased that Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration is taking this environmental and cultural loss seriously. We remain hopeful that we can permanently protect the cliffs for current and future generations. Thank you to the thousands of people who have voiced their support for Fones Cliffs.