Conservation funds available to clean up Rappahannock streams

E. Coli bacteria in county has exceeded clean water standards

The Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District has agriculture program conservation funds currently available in Rappahannock County and from a variety of sources — federal, state and local incentives.

The District has received its regular annual agriculture program allocation from the Commonwealth. The regular state program offers up to 80 percent reimbursement for grazing management projects that provide for the development of clean water resources for livestock, stream fencing and pasture cross fencing.

This might include controlled stream access points for livestock and stream crossings also. Maximum annual payment for this type of project is $70,000 unless you have done other projects the same year. A 25 percent tax credit is available for the owner’s out of pocket expenses.

Stream fencing projects typically require a 35 foot stream buffer although a 10 foot buffer is an option also, with a reduction to 50 percent reimbursement. The tax credit applies for this option, too. The primary focus of the state program is the reduction of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in streams of Rappahannock County and points downstream.

The Upper Hazel project, long a staple among conservation programs available in Rappahannock County and adjacent lands in Culpeper and Madison, continues to receive funding from federal sources, due to the continued progress being made in the Upper Hazel area which is most of Rappahannock County.

The Upper Hazel grant increases the reimbursement up to 85 percent for the 35 foot buffer option, with the same annual maximum as the state program. The tax credit is available for this also. The primary focus of the Upper Hazel project is the reduction of E. Coli bacteria in local streams that have previously been identified as exceeding the standards for clean water. Good progress has been made over the past 8 years and the District strives to improve more on that and restore streams to acceptable levels.

New this year, the Piedmont Environmental Council’s Krebser Fund for Rappahannock County Conservation has contributed funding to support livestock stream exclusion fencing and rotational grazing cross fencing at 50 cents/linear foot exclusion fencing and 15 cents/linear foot cross fencing. The Krebser funds are available in addition to either state or federal funds. First time applicants to the conservation programs offered by the District receive an additional 10 cents per linear foot of exclusion fencing as a bonus. The Krebser Fund seeks to encourage increase adoption of rotational grazing management projects and stream protection strategies.

Options also exist in the state programs for cover crops, forestry practices, cropland conversions to sod, and other projects for reimbursement. District staff members are well trained, well informed and provide consultations and planning at no expense to the producer. Now is a very good time to contact the District and take advantage of the current opportunities t 540-825-8591 or email davidm@culpeperswcd.org or amandac@culpeperswcd.org.

Staff/Contributed
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