There is a Season – VACS 2021 Program

The coronavirus pandemic has given us time to slow down and reflect on life.  The seasons are still coming and going “Turn, Turn, Turn," now is the season when Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are taking a look at conservation projects needed on our...

Upper Rappahannock Report Card: A surprise grade sparks community action

At Friends of the Rappahannock, we love Rappahannock County Park in Little Washington. It has everything we look for in a riverfront park, including trails, a large forest buffer, native plant gardens, and lots of interpretive signage to help visitors understand the...

Growing Trees and Family Traditions in Madison County

When Paul Goodall walks his farm, he has a lot to remember. As he crosses the hilly pastures, Paul remembers to check his water troughs for overflow, inspect his cattle fence, and monitor the growth of a stand of newly planted trees. On a 600 acre farm, something...

Stream restoration is underway in Madison County

After three and a half years of planning, fundraising, design, and permitting we are very excited to announce that one of our largest restoration projects is breaking ground! We are working on a large fish passage and stream restoration project on a tributary to the...

Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) and the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) team up together to offer the Headwater Stream Initiative. This program is designed to provide FREE technical assistance, project design, materials, and labor for the planting of native trees and shrubs on qualifying properties in the headwater counties of the Rappahannock River Watershed including: Rappahannock, Fauquier, Culpeper,  Madison, Greene, and Orange Counties.

What This Program Offers:

-We can offer assistance with finding and enrollment in cost-share programs through your local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) or Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offices. These partners offer a variety of programs that cover the costs of tree plantings, site prep, maintenance, fencing, and more. These programs range from 75% to 100% cost-share and can offer additional per acre incentive payments. Lets find the right program for your project!

-We can offer assistance with up-front costs and financing. Let us pay the upfront costs for projects and only get reimbursed once your cost-share payments are processed by the SWCD or NRCS. We cover whatever percentage the cost-share doesn’t. 

-Is the existing cost-share not enough? We can work with you and our partners to offer additional incentives that cover 100% of the project costs. This can often result in $ in your pocket after the project is complete to help care for the trees!

-Don’t qualify for an existing cost-share program? No problem. We can work with you to cover the cost of eligible projects thanks to generous grants and donations from our partners.

-Project is too small for a contractor and too large to install by yourself?  We have lots of dedicated volunteers that can help us install qualifying projects. 

Riparian Buffers…

Riparian buffers are a high priority and include the vegetated areas along rivers, streams, creeks, and other waterways. These areas are the single most effective means of protecting water resources throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Waterways protected by a healthy riparian buffer are cleaner, cooler, and provide better habitat for fish, wildlife, and livestock than a stream with exposed or un-vegetated banks.

  • Act as filters to reduce nutrients, sediments and other pollutants from entering waterways.
  • Help regulate water temperature and provide structure and cover to provide high quality aquatic habitat.
  • Slow the flow of runoff, stabilize stream and riverbanks, and reduce erosion.
  • Provide vital habitat for fish and wildlife species that rely on forested habitat corridors adjacent to water.

If you have property on a river or stream in the Rappahannock River watershed and are interested in helping to protect clean water, we want to help! This is a completely free program designed to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Please let us know if you would like to learn more.

Have Questions?

Bryan Hofmann: bryan.hofmann@riverfriends.org

Claire Catlett ccatlett@pecva.org

This program is made possible through generous funding by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, Virginia Environmental Endowment, Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, Arbor Day Foundation, the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Virginia Agricultural Cost-share Program (VACS) and The Piedmont Environmental Council’s Krebser Fund for Rappahannock County Conservation.



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