July marks the start of a new program year for Mountain Castles Soil and Water Conservation District, resulting in new cost-share opportunities for farmers and homeowners in Botetourt County.
“We have record amounts of cost-share available for farmers this year,” said Tim Miller, the district’s education and outreach coordinator. For farmers who have considered installing conservation practices in the past, now is the time to take advantage of cost-share funding of up to 100 percent. “Our most common practice is stream exclusion fencing to keep livestock out of creeks, but we have many other programs, too,” said Miller. Many farmers who opt for the stream exclusion practice also qualify for a new well and watering troughs. Farmers may also apply for payments to extend the life of existing conservation practices. “We hope to have an additional conservation technician hired by early August to help meet the increased demand,” said Miller.
Homeowners can also receive cost-share for installing conservation projects that help reduce stormwater runoff and erosion. The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) pays up to 75 percent of allowable costs for homeowners to install projects such as rain gardens, conservation meadows, and permeable pavement. “The goal is to have rainwater soak in the ground instead of creating erosion-causing runoff,” said Miller.
While the agriculture program and VCAP are available to all qualified residents in Botetourt County, the Tinker Creek and Glade Creek Residential Septic Program is limited to homeowners in the southern part of the county. This area covers Blue Ridge, Cloverdale, Daleville, and Troutville. Qualified homeowners can receive cost-share of 50 percent or more for septic tank pump-outs, repairs, and replacement systems.
For more information on any of these programs visit mountaincastles.org or contact Grace Harwin at (540) 400-0707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.