Bob Smith (right) and MCSWCD employee Marlon Old discuss the stream exclusion project on Glade Creek.

Bob Smith has been recognized by Mountain Castles Soil and Water Conservation District with the Botetourt County Clean Water Farm Award. Smith owns and operates a 96-acre beef cattle farm in the Glade Creek area of the county.

Smith completed a “Stream Exclusion with Grazing Land Management” conservation project on the farm in 2016. In addition to installing fencing to keep cattle out of 2,000 feet of Glade Creek, the project, a “best management practice” for agriculture, created nearly four acres of streamside buffer which will help to protect the creek from sediment and animal waste.

Over 4,000 feet of stream exclusion fence was constructed along Glade Creek, which is part of the Roanoke River watershed. Due to its spring-fed origin, Glade Creek has historically supported a wild brown trout population, however heavy development in the watershed has resulted in the depletion of this native fishery.

District funding for agricultural projects to install best management practices is based upon location. The majority of the Mountain Castles Soil and Water District is in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which is reflected in the amount of cost-share funding it receives annually. For farms located outside the Bay watershed, such as Smith’s, finding funds to complete projects can be difficult. Fortunately, the District was able to make this project a reality. Smith completed much of the work himself.

Technical assistance and cost-share for the project was provided by Mountain Castles SWCD. Mountain Castles SWCD works with landowners to help reduce non-point source pollution in Craig County and Botetourt County through technical assistance and cost-share programs. Homeowners who are not associated with farming may also take advantage of cost-share programs through the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP). For more information, visit www.mountaincastles.org or call 977- 2698, Ext. 3.

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