Explore and sustain the James River Watershed

Amherst Streamside Tree Buffer Program


This program assists Amherst County landowners with planting native grasses, shrubs and trees adjacent to waterways in Amherst County. Stream side buffers have many functions and values including protecting drinking water supplies at the source.

Project Description

The Robert E. Lee Soil and Water Conservation District services the counties of Campbell, Appomattox, Amherst and the City of Lynchburg. The SWCD administers a grassroots program in Amherst County entitled Amherst Streamside Tree Buffer Program (ASTBP). This program was established to provide landowners in Amherst Co. who are either ineligible for VA Agricultural Cost-share BMP money or wish to seek an alternative funding source, with technical and financial support in the installation of riparian buffers on private lands.

These buffers are primarily installed to improve runoff filtration and sediment deposition and improve drinking water quality. Many other advantages are associated with the installation of these buffers, including the improvement of overall water quality, providing strips/corridors of natural vegetation for wildlife, improving the habitat of many fish and other aquatic species, and many others. The ASTBP is primarily funded through grants and is administered and managed solely by the Robert E. Lee SWCD. Monitoring efforts take place yearly to ensure the integrity and functions of the buffers are upheld.

The role of Envision the James is to provide support in both planning and funding efforts. Use of the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Conservation Innovation Center's high-resolution 1m x 1m land use land cover data will assist the district in identifying areas where buffer installation is most needed and where buffer effectiveness can be maximized. The data can assist in both small- and large-scale targeting of 1) riparian areas within the boundaries of a particular property and 2) specific lands/areas/properties within the scope of a district or region.

The Conservancy will also overlay flow path data (which shows where water runs across the land before reaching formal stream channels) to identify areas on specific properties and within regions where runoff appears to be deposited in its highest concentrations. Consequently, this kind of targeting will help planners and landowners identify areas where runoff and sediment deposition can be most greatly reduced.

This information will be used to inform 2015 plantings in Amherst County, to begin in Spring 2015 (March, April).

Lead Organization

Robert E. Lee Soil and Water Conservation District

Other Partners Involved

Chesapeake Conservancy



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