Streamline - Winter 2011 - (Page 23)

IMPROVING VIRGINIA WATERS – VACS WHY DO VIRGINIA waters need improving? Nonpoint source pollution is one of the primary reasons. Runoff from suburban lawns, golf courses, roads and pastures, increasing in conjunction with population growth, give credence to this issue. farmer fences livestock out of streams and provides other sources of drinking water, the herd enjoys better health, and nutrient and bacteria levels decrease in local waters. Never lose sight of the fact that what one does will ultimately have an effect on those downstream, including localities that use treated surface waters as a primary water source. Cost share funding usually becomes available on July 1 for the following season. Demand for cost-share assistance can be great. SWCD staff offer assistance with the application process. They will ascertain whether a landowner meets the qualifications for VACS funding. There are state income tax credits for the purchase and use of certain conservation equipment and for specified best management practices. This article focuses on the VACS program primarily because of the practices and funding which significantly contribute to water quality. Many other agencies provide technical assistance and financial incentives - USDA Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Department of Forestry. The Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost Share Program distributed nearly 69 million dollars to farmers and landowners. Programs such as these have proven its worth in protection of our water quality in Virginia and have had a significant influence on the “SAVE THE BAY” effort. The next time you see a farmer or landowner using these practices, take a moment and reflect on what it means for our future water quality. 23 Many state agencies have addressed this issue by creating programs to help with public education and providing funding assistance. One of the programs available is the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost Share Program, BY JIMMY NORMAN or “VACS.” TRAINING COORDINATOR The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation administers VACS. The Commonwealth’s 47 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) carry it out. VACS helps farmers and landowners balance their efforts to be good stewards of the land and water with the need to be profitable. The program has been in existence for more than two decades. It has significantly improved overall water quality. The funding provided by your SWCD will cover as much as 75 percent of the cost to implement conservation measures that can help improve water quality. VACS offers more than 50 conservation practices that cover the full spectrum of agricultural and over all land use operations. Practices include controlling erosion, stream fencing and alternative watering systems, restoring riparian areas, preserving wetlands, protecting sinkholes, stabilizing streams and managing nutrients from animal waste. Many of these practices are known to improve or protect water quality while increasing farm productivity; they conserve soil and make wise use of agricultural resources. The most significant practice is livestock exclusion by fencFor further detail, look at these websites: ing livestock away from streams and providing them an alter native water source. When a VACS helps farmers and landowners balance their efforts to be good stewards of the land and water with the need to be profitable.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Winter 2011

From the President
From the Executive Director
Farm Tours for Source Water Protection
Preparing Yourself for an Emergency Response
One Step Ahead: Tappahannock Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade
Improving Virginia Waters – VACS
Variable Frequency Drives Can Save You Money
City of Emporia Water Plant Upgrade
The Woodstock Wastewater Treatment Plant
Bird Contamination and Your Water Tank
VRWA 24th Annual Exposition Preview
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefi ts
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are?
VRWA Mailbag
Welcoming New Members
Training Calendar
Board Of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index To Advertisers/Ad.Com

Streamline - Winter 2011