Member Directory

American Climate Partners

Address P.O. Box 901
Orange, Virginia 22960
Phone (540) 672-2542
Website https://americanclimatepartners.org/
Primary Contact Mary Dennis
Primary Email mary@americanclimatepartners.org
Executive Director Michael Collins
Primary Focus Area Environment
Service Areas
  • Augusta
  • Albemarle
  • Buckingham
  • Charlottesville
  • Fluvanna
  • Greene
  • Louisa
  • Madison
  • Nelson
  • Orange
  • Statewide
  • Southeast U.S.

Mission Statement

American Climate Partners, formerly known as the Center for Natural Capital, is an entrepreneurial organization working since 2006 to restore the health of people, communities, and ecosystems. We design, create, and manage projects, programs, and businesses which help rural America become more resilient in the face of pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity, and disease.

Key Programs

Program 1
Description:Since 2011 the SoilKeepers program has been providing regenerative landscape management services to residential, commercial, agricultural grassland landowners through restoration and maintenance of biodiversity and the soil microbes and liquid carbon pathway the plants depend upon. We consider grasslands to include lawns, swards, meadows, pastures and hayfields. We use deep comprehensive soil chemistry, biology, and plant tissue tests synergized with remote sensing when appropriate to provide essential management data. Our work restores health to people, pets, farm animals, wildlife, and river ecosystems. Our senior contracting staff and associates team members have four-year and advanced degrees in agriculture, business administration, biology, environmental science, fisheries, and biochemistry. In addition, they are certified prescribed burn managers by the Virginia Department of Forestry, trained in regenerative landscape and Chesapeake Bay conservation management methods, and have completed seminars and our own multi-year projects using beaver habitat management to reduce flood impacts.
Program 2
Description:StreamSweepers began as an idea in 2012 funded by a group of eight friends in Orange, Virginia. It has grown to be the largest program of its type on the East Coast. This innovative program trains and employs crews of young adults each year. It has the power to transform their perspective on what they can achieve, their impact on the environment, and their communities.

The Rapidan River Clean-up, which began in 2013, was the first StreamSweepers project and grew into the Upper Rappahannock Comprehensive Clean-up Campaign, including the Robinson, Hazel, and Hughes Rivers, as well as the Rappahannock River upstream of its confluence with the Rapidan.

The Clinch River Clean-up Project in Southwest Virginia is the largest current StreamSweepers project. Over the past four years, Sweepers have assessed and cleaned over 56 miles of the Clinch River, removing over 6,000 tires and 68 tons of trash and debris.
Program 3
Title:The Rapidan Institute
Description:We created the Rapidan Institute in 2020 to focus on comprehensive fisheries and floodplain habitat restoration in the Rapidan and Robinson River Valleys through the restoration of the rivers and floodplains, through the creation of new riparian wetlands, through the healing of soil microbes, and through the growth of native warm season grasslands, including wildflowers and legumes.

The Rapidan Fish Passage Project is a long-term effort to complete one of the largest dam removal projects in North America, according to American Rivers, a nonprofit that has been at the forefront of protecting and restoring rivers for nearly 50 years. The goal of the project is to reconnect the Rapidan River headwaters with the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean by removing or modifying the old Rapidan Mill Dam in Rapidan, VA.

In 2021-2022, with the help of generous donors, we completed Phase I Due Diligence investigations and reports and completed the purchase of the dam and adjacent property in Culpeper County. In 2023, we will launch the second phase of due diligence, tackling projects such as preparation of a lengthy surrender report and application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, required before we can commence physical alteration of the former power-generating structure, and the research and analysis needed to explore public/private sources of funds to pay for the deconstruction work.

Other current projects include:

The Spicers Mill Fish Passage Project to assess and plan improvements to the diversion barrier in the Rapidan for the water intake that feeds the Town of Orange’s water treatment plant. The barrier is about 10 miles upstream from the Rapidan Dam and also blocks fish passage to the upper Rapidan.

The Rapidan Blueway to design a river trail to enhance river recreational activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and fishing with legal and safe put-in and take-outs. The Rapidan River was chosen for its scenic views and likely ability to create handicap access by a group of local river enthusiasts and landowners.
Program 4
Title:Southern Climate Restoration Solutions
Description:Southern Climate Restoration Solutions is a new program of American Climate Partners. The goal of the program is to develop natural solutions working with landowners and partners in the Southeast United States to restore our climate. The South has unique landscapes that with proper management can provide meaningful restoration of our planetary carbon, nitrogen, and hydrologic cycles. The program is an outgrowth of our SoilKeepers program which provides regenerative landscape services to estate, residential, agricultural, and commercial landowners in Central Virgina. Since 2014 SoilKeepers has been conducting and evaluating soil health-based tests for residential, agricultural, and solar energy clients. This effort led to an agreement in 2022 with a major utility company to test methods for sequestering atmospheric carbon in the soils under solar arrays.