Riparian Forests for Landowners (RFFL)

Friends of the Rappahannock and the York River Steward are proud to support this effort!

The DOF Riparian Forests for Landowners (RFFL) program provides flexible, no-cost riparian forest buffer installation and one year of maintenance to landowners. The program is being implemented by DOF and partner organizations in a unique watershed-based partnership.

Funding is provided by the Inflation Reduction Act through the USDA Forest Service and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Water Quality Improvement Fund Act.


This program is open to private property owners including property/homeowner’s associations or civic leagues in rural, urban or suburban areas.

Funding and Requirements

This turnkey program covers the planning, site preparation, planting and one year of maintenance for riparian forest buffer plantings.

  • Buffers may be pine, hardwood or a mix of both.
  • Buffers must be at least 35 feet wide and no greater than 300 feet wide per side from the water’s edge.
  • Land must have less than 20% coverage by invasive plant species to qualify for this program.
  • The landowner must agree to retain the buffer as forest for 15 years.

Buffer Planting Location

Buffer can be installed on open land adjacent to a water feature where a forested buffer of at least 35 feet in width from the water’s edge can be planted. An existing buffer may be expanded up to 300 feet from the water’s edge.

The water feature may be any of the following bodies of water:

  • Streams
  • Rivers
  • Lakes, ponds and reservoirs/municipal water supplies
  • Seeps and springs
  • Karst features
  • Sloughs
  • Wetlands
  • Water features within wetlands
  • Fresh and saltwater marshes
    • Irrigation ditches, canals and other man-made water features

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