Rappahannock farm owners Rick and Dorothy Lessard and Stephen and Annette Willis received awards for conservation stewardship at the annual Clean Water Farm Awards dinner held by the Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District (CSWCD) in Culpeper Nov. 6.
The Clean Water Farm Award program recognizes farm owners in the commonwealth who use practices designed to protect water quality and soil resources. Within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the program is known as the Bay Friendly Farm Awards, and as the Clean Water Farm Awards in all other areas of the Commonwealth.
The Lessards received the 2014 Bay Friendly Farm Award for Rappahannock County for conservation efforts at their farm, which includes 25 cow-calf pairs on 75 acres, rotational grazing, 4,400 feet of stream fencing with 35-foot buffers, 1,050 feet with 10-foot buffers and two frost-free water troughs. These practices protect the Covington River.
The 2014 Forestry Award for Rappahannock County was given to the Willises, owners of Walton Mountain Timber Farm. Best management practices used on the certified tree farm include more than 7,000 feet of log road and skid trail stabilization, 75 acres of woodland harvesting, 2 acres of tree planting, 87 acres of invasive removal and 50-foot buffers along the streams.
Other awards were presented for Educator of the Year in each of the district’s five member counties and for Conservationist of the Year and Wildlife Habitat.
The mission of CSWCD is to promote the stewardship of soil and water and the conservation of our natural resources by educating and providing technical assistance to manage, protect, and enhance the land and water for the benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Culpeper, Greene, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties. Rappahannock is represented on the CSWCD board by directors Evelyn Kerr and Monira Rifaat and associate directors John Genho and Richard McNear.