- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The state of Virginia is developing a new data-driven way to prioritize what parcels of land should be a top priority for conservation.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the new strategy Tuesday.

Matt Strickler is the state’s secretary of natural resources. He says the new analysis method will weigh factors like biodiversity, water quality protection and high-value forest cores.

Strickler says the system should be up and running in a “matter of months.” He says it’s too soon to say what parcels of land will be a top priority.

A news release from Northam’s office says his goal is to achieve the protection of the top ten percent of land identified through the new system within the next ten years.

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