Mountain Castles Soil and Water Conservation District (MCSWCD) and the Valley Conservation Council hosted the third annual “Farm & Float” on September 24.
Funded by a grant through the Upper James Resource Conservation & Development Council, participants from Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke paddled from Gala to Eagle Rock, stopping along the way to discuss the connections between land conservation practices and water quality in the James River – and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. The James River throughout Botetourt County is officially classified as a “Scenic River” by the Virginia Scenic Rivers Program, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Best Management Practices (BMPs) discussed included stream livestock exclusion, planting cover crops, planting and maintaining riparian buffers, and conservation easements. During the last program year, MCSWCD allocated over $650,000 for agricultural conservation practices.
“We want the public and elected officials to see a direct connection between BMPs installed and improved water quality in the James and its tributaries,” said Tim Miller, education and outreach coordinator for MCSWCD, which serves Botetourt and Craig. To find out more about conservation programs or to schedule a farm visit, see https://www.mountaincastles.org/.
Land conservancies such as Valley Conservation Council help landowners preserve their land for future generations. “It’s one of the few things we can do as landowners that will make a real difference 100 years from now,” said Genevieve Goss, Upper James program director for Valley Conservation Council. To find out more about Valley Conservation Council, visit https://valleyconservation.org/.