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Use Best Management Practices
Use Best Management Practices

Simple changes in farm management make a huge difference!

  • Plant and maintain streamside buffers (or “riparian buffers”) to reduce erosion and keep fertilizer and animal waste out of streams. We recommend at least a 50-foot-wide planting of native trees and shrubs along streams.
  • Fence livestock away from streams and provide them with clean alternative water sources. Keeping bacteria and sediment out of streams will improve the health of livestock, people, and the streams. Adaptive Stream Fencing Booklet
  • Adopt best management practices (BMPs) to conserve and protect soil and water. Your livestock, your wallet and our water quality all will benefit in the long run. Get the
  • See Valley District Stream Exclusion Info Sheet
  • Develop a manure management plan for areas where animals concentrate. It is better for herd health and water quality.
  • See Virginia’s Nutrient Management Program here>>
  • Have soil tested and use fertilizer at calculated application rates to prevent runoff and avoid wasting hard-earned money.
  • See Crop Description Bulletin here.>>
  • Avoid dumping anything in sinkholes which can pollute groundwater and ultimately surface waters. Remember, this groundwater may be your well water or your neighbor’s.
  • Read More about Karst here>>.
  • Avoid filling or clearing wet areas as these naturally filter and retain water runoff, reducing sedimentation and flooding.
  • Read More Here >>
  • To learn more, or for technical and financial assistance with these and other BMPs, please contact your Local Soil and Water Conservation District Office or local Natural Resources Conservation Service Office

Virginia Agricultural BMP / Cost Share and Tax Credit Programs

Reductions in nonpoint source(NPS) pollution can be attained by reducing activities that produce NPS pollutants, reducing the amount of pollutants generated by an existing activity and reducing the negative effects these pollutants can have by controlling their dispersal. To that end, NPS best management practices (BMPs) are important tools in controlling NPS pollution and environmental contamination.

While there are many sources of NPS pollution, agriculture is among the most significant in Virginia. Because agriculture requires many acres, its potential impact on water quality is great. For example, one EPA study estimates that 27 percent of the phosphorus and 60 percent of the nitrogen entering the Chesapeake Bay originate from cropland. These pollutants need to be controlled to protect the environment.

DCR administers programs through local soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) to improve or maintain water quality in the state’s streams, lakes and bays through the installation or implementation of agricultural BMPs. Through the programs, financial and technical assistance are offered as incentives to carry out construction or implementation of selected BMPs.

Funding varies by district. The state provides funds to the districts for targeted priority hydrologic units. Areas with the greatest need, therefore, receive the greatest funding.

Assistance is available year-round to individuals willing to carry out an approved conservation plan. The business of farming requires as much planning and organization as any other. Strategies to protect surface and ground water should be in those plans. Many plans qualify but all must be approved by the local district board to participate in these programs. Districts seek and recruit individuals whose efforts can make the greatest positive impact upon water quality.

Shenandoah County

Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District
722-B E. Queen St.
Strasburg, VA 22657
(540) 465-2424

Natural Resources Conservation Service
722-B E. Queen St.
Strasburg, VA 22657
540-465-2424 ext. 114

Rockingham County

Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District
1934 Deyerle Avenue, Suite B
Harrisonburg VA 22801
(540) 434-2853 ext. 101

Natural Resources Conservation Service
1934 Deyerle Avenue, Suite B
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
(540) 434-9126 ext. 118