The Clinch River Valley Initiative (CRVI) is a pioneering effort to build local economies in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia, focusing on the Clinch River – one of the most biodiverse river systems in North America. Working at a watershed scale with several local partners, this collaborative grassroots effort has developed significant momentum with applicability for communities in Appalachia and beyond.
Utilizing a consensus-based approach, project partners are articulating and prioritizing goals for connecting downtown revitalization, access points, water quality, entrepreneurship and environmental education along the Clinch River, and developing an action plan to realize the prioritized goals as part of the effort. Strategies are being identified to connect downtown revitalization with outdoor recreation along the Clinch River. Using a regional planning approach, the project connects to cultural and natural heritage efforts including the Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway, Round the Mountain, the Crooked Road, and other artisan networks. Finally, the effort builds upon the unique cultural and ecological assets of the Clinch River Valley to distinguish and create new possibilities in the communities along the Clinch. These new possibilities will create distinctive cultural and ecological areas, particularly centered around environmental education and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Building on a vision for the Clinch River Valley, five action groups are currently developing substantial actions around five goal areas as part of the Initiative.
By 2020, the Clinch River Valley will be a global destination based on its unique biodiversity, natural beauty, cultural attractions and outdoor opportunities. This collaboration will bring measurable economic, environmental and social benefits to the region’s communities while protecting the Clinch’s globally rare species.
The five goal areas are (click on each to view most recent meeting summaries):
- Goal 1: Develop a Clinch River State Park
- Goal 2: Develop and Integrate Access Points, Trails, and Campgrounds along the Clinch River
- Goal 3: Enhance Water Quality in the Clinch River
- Goal 4: Develop and Enhance Environmental Education Opportunities for all Community Members in the Clinch River Watershed
- Goal 5: Connect and Expand Downtown Revitalization, Marketing and Entrepreneurial Development Opportunities in the Clinch River Valley
Regular meetings continue to be held as part of the clinch River Valley Initiative, with numerous community events planned for 2013 and beyond. The Clinch River Valley Initiative originated at a forum in the fall of 2010 titled “Building Local Economies in Southwest Virginia,” and is coordinated by the Institute for Environmental Negotiation, at the University of Virginia, and with the help of numerous local, regional, and state partners. The next meeting of the Clinch River Valley Initiative will be in the spring of 2013.
Click Here for a one page, printable description of the Clinch River Valley Initiative.
Summaries of these meetings are available below:
- September 2010
- February 2011
- May 2011
- August 2011
- October 2011
- January 2012
- April 2012
- August 2012
- October 2012
- January 2013
- April 2013
This project was made possible by the USDA Forest Service/VA Dept. of Forestry, the Dept. of Housing and Community Development/Appalachian Regional Commission, the Blue Moon Fund, and the University of Virginia for supporting this effort.