Agricultural lands within the Chesapeake Bay watershed of Botetourt County continue to be eligible for conservation assistance funds from Mountain Castles Soil and Water Conservation District (MCSWCD) for stream exclusion fencing, establishing rotational grazing fields, developing water resources, wells, springs and stream access points, reforestation of critical areas, and establishing or enlarging buffer areas along waterways.
Funds are also available for nutrient management plan development and implementation, cover crops, and numerous other conservation practices.
“The Commonwealth is making a huge commitment to get producers into voluntary conservation programs before any federal deadlines on Chesapeake Bay restoration projects arrive. A lot could change with program options and opportunities in the next few years as the Chesapeake Bay restoration deadline of 2025 approaches,” said Tim Miller, the education and outreach coordinator for MCSWCD.
Although significant program sign-up recently occurred under last year’s record levels of funding, additional funds continue to be available and now is a good time to contact district staff and explore project options. MCSWCD expects program funding to remain available into next year, although funding amounts beyond that are unknown. Program funding decisions are made in Richmond, typically one year at a time.
MCSWCD encourages producers to explore options now since program options have recently been revised and significantly improved for the producer.
MCSWCD has highly skilled employees who are well trained in both the technical aspects of conservation management and program delivery. Staff members assist producers in developing conservation plans that work for their operation and navigating program opportunities. Not all programs are created equal and staff members assist applicants in understanding the options and choosing the program that suits their farm’s needs.
Anyone interested in exploring the many benefits of conservation planning can contact the district at (540) 400-0707.