Explore and sustain the James River Watershed

Soil and Water Conservation Districts

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Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) are local conservation-focused entities funded and administered by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). SWCDs were created to provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners wishing to implement conservation best management practices (BMPs) on their properties. The roles of SWCDs are to ‘develop comprehensive programs and plans to conserve soil resources, control and prevent soil erosion, prevent floods and conserve, develop, utilize and dispose water’ (vaswcd.org). There are forty-seven districts operating throughout the Commonwealth, with each district representing at least one county.

Specifically, SWCDs help facilitate the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practice (BMP) Cost-share Program, a program designed and funded by the DCR.The VA BMP Cost-share program was created to improve or maintain water quality in the state’s water ways by utilizing best management practices relating to agricultural practices, including crop, forest and pastureland treatment and management, animal waste and stream bank restoration. Through this program, producers can apply through their local SWCD for financial and technical assistance to plan and implement these best management practices on their lands.

SWCDs also facilitate the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practice (BMP) Tax Credit Program. Similar to the Best Management Practice cost-share program, the tax credit program offers landowners, specifically producers, with the opportunity to forgo direct monetary compensation and opt to take credit against state income tax. Tax credits for conservation equipment are also available for eligible producers. Producers must have an approved conservation plan for their properties to be eligible for the Tax Credit Program.

Source: dcr.virginia.gov

For more information about the cost-share and tax credit programs and elgibility, visit: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/costshar.shtml

For more information about additional programs not relating to cost-share or tax credit, visit your district’s local site (found below).

Below is a list of SWCDs operating within the James River watershed. To find an SWCD operating outside of the James River watershed or to locate your local SWCD, or for more information about SWCDs, visit www.vaswcd.org.  Source: Virginia Association of SWCDs; vaswcd.org


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Counties served in James River watershedAlbemarle,  Alleghany , Amherst, Appomattox,  BathBedfordBotetourt,  Buckingham, Campbell,  Charles City,  ChesterfieldCraig, Cumberland, Dinwiddie (website N/A), FluvannaGoochlandHenrico, Highland, James City, Louisa, Nelson, New Kent, Prince George,  Powhatan, Rockbridge 

Cities served within James River watershed: BedfordBuena Vista, Covington,  Lexington, Petersburg (AR),  Williamsburg

List of SWCDs within James River watershed: Appomattox River, Colonial, Henricopolis, James River, Monacan, Mountain, Mountain Castles, Natural Bridge, Peaks of Otter, Peter Francisco, Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jefferson

Appomattox River

Contact: Daniel Lee, Conservation Specialist; daniel.lee@va.nacdnet.net


Contact: Brian Noyes, District Manager; brian.noyes@colonialswcd.net


Contact: Charlie Lively, District Manager; liv042@henrico.us

James River

Contact: John Allen, Conservation Specialist; jallen@princegeorgeva.org


Contact:  Keith Burgess, District Manager; keith.burgess@vaswcd.org


Contact: Lorie Baldwin, Office Administrator; mswcdlorie@tds.net

Mountain Castles

Contact: Staci Merkt, Office Coordinator; mountaincastles@verizon.net; Marlon Old, Conservation Technician; marlon.old@va.nacdnet.net

Natural Bridge

Contact:  Margaret Spencer, Office Administrator; Margaret.spencer@vaswcd.org; Robert Hickman, Conservation Specialist; robert.hickman@vaswcd.org

Peaks of Otter

Contact: Gavin Sanderlin, District Manager; gavin.sanderlin@verizon.net

Peter Francisco

Contact: Sherry Ragland, District Manager; sherry.ragland@vaswcd.org

Robert E. Lee

Contact: Anne Marie Clarke, Amherst Watershed Coordinator; anne.clarke@releeconservation.com; Jonathan Wooldridge, Conservation Specialist; jonathan.wooldridge@releeconservation.com

Thomas Jefferson

Contact: Alyson Sappington, District Manager; Alyson.sappington@tjswcd.org

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