Category Archives: Land Use

Items related to agriculture, preservation, development, forestry, and other land-based activities that affect water resources.

Virginia Farmland Preservation Grants for Fiscal Year 2017 Announced on January 4, 2017

On January 4, 2017, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced recipients of farmland-preservation grants for Fiscal Year 2017.  Following is an excerpt from the news release on the grants:

“The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) Office of Farmland Preservation has awarded a total of $500,000 to six localities.  Localities must use the grants to permanently preserve working farmland within their boundaries through local Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) programs.  PDR programs compensate landowners who work with localities to permanently preserve their land by voluntarily securing a perpetual conservation easement.  VDACS allocated nearly $87,000 each to Albemarle, Fauquier, and Clarke counties as well as the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.  Warren County will receive more than $65,000.  These grant allocations bring the total allocation of state matching funds to more than $11.9 million since 2008 when PDR funds were first distributed. …

“This is the tenth time that the Commonwealth has provided state matching funds for certified local PDR programs.  Of the 22 local PDR programs in Virginia, 18 have received local funding over the past few years.  To date, more than 11,400 acres on 80 farms in 15 localities have been permanently protected in part with $10.5 million of these funds.  Additional easements are expected to close using the remaining funds over the next two years.

“Localities interested in creating a PDR program or applying for future rounds of grant applications for PDR matching funds should contact the VDACS Office of Farmland Preservation Coordinator Andy Sorrell at or call (804) 786-1906.”

Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces $500,000 in Farmland Preservation Grants; Four counties, two cities receive funds to place working farmlands under permanent conservation easements, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 1/4/17.

More information from the VDACS on farmland preservation is available online at

Request for Wetland Mitigation Proposals in Roanoke River Basin in Virginia – Deadline to Submit Proposals is March 10, 2017

Through March 10, 2017, The Nature Conservancy is soliciting proposals for wetlands mitigation in the Roanoke River basin in Virginia.  Information about the solicitation is available online at

According to the announcement at that site, “The purpose of the project is to provide wetland mitigation to offset unavoidable impacts for which the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund was utilized as the compensatory mitigation.  The Conservancy is seeking projects that will deliver 10 or more non-tidal wetland credits and can service multiple HUCs [hydrologic units] in the Roanoke River basin.  The primary objectives are to restore, enhance, and/or preserve wetland systems to address the credit needs in the Roanoke River Basin.  In general, wetland mitigation [comprises] activities that create, restore, enhance, or preserve wetland resources.  Such activities improve wetland functions and may result in gain of wetland acreage in the case of creation and restoration.”

More information about the Virginia Aquatic Trust Fund is available from The Nature Conservancy online at

More information about mitigation generally in Virginia is available from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality online at

Acquisition of Werowocomoco along Virginia’s York River Announced by National Park Service on Nov. 30, 2016

On November 30, 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) publicly announced its acquisition of Werowocomoco, the site along the York River in Virginia that was the center of the Algonquian Indians for centuries prior to European settlement.  Following is an excerpt from the Virginia governor’s office news release on the NPS announcement, Governor McAuliffe Celebrates National Park Service Purchase of Werowocomoco, 11/30/16:

“Governor McAuliffe today celebrated the National Park Service’s acquisition of Werowocomoco, the former capital of the Powhatan Chiefdom and the presumed site of Captain John Smith’s first meeting with the leader Powhatan and his daughter, Pocahontas.  When opened to the public, the 264-acre property, located on the bank of the York River in Gloucester County, will be the crown jewel of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

“…The announcement was made today during the recognition ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., and also served as an opportunity for tribal representatives to share their knowledge of the site’s significance with state and federal officials.  The private discussion among tribal leaders before the public announcement offered invaluable insight into the town’s sacred nature and affirmed the project’s historical and archeological significance.

“…Only about 1 percent of Werowocomoco’s 50-acre archeological core has been investigated to date, but initial findings suggest the extensive settlement was occupied as early as 1200 CE and functioned as a spiritual and political center for the region’s Algonquian Indians.  At its peak, the Powhatan Chiefdom spread across much of eastern Virginia and may have included 30 tribes with an estimated population of above 14,000.

“…Since 2003, Virginia’s Indians have worked with archeologists from the College of William and Mary to study and excavate the ancient town.  Their efforts led to Werowocomoco’s 2006 listing on the National Register of Historic Places and spurred a conservation easement to be signed in 2013 by then-Governor Bob McDonnell, covering the site’s 50-acre archeological core.  Werowocomoco is managed by the National Park Service through their Chesapeake office and their staff on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.”

For more on the site:
National Park Service, “Werowocomoco Planning,” online at

Werowocomoco National Park?  It would benefit both tourism and scholarship, William & Mary News, 5/21/14

Course for Va. Erosion/Sediment Control and Stormwater Inspectors to be Held Dec. 1, 2016, in Fredericksburg

On Dec. 1, 2016, 8:30 am.-4:30 p.m., in Fredericksburg, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold an Erosion/Sediment Control (ESC) and Stormwater Inspectors Course.  This course focuses on hydrology and plan-reading skills for ESC and stormwater inspectors.  Register by e-mailing

Information for this post was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  More information about the VWMC is available online at; or contact Jane Walker at the or (540) 231-4159.  Please feel free to forward this information; when forwarding, please acknowledge the VWMC.



Forest Heath Professionals’ Annual Conference Jan. 30-31, 2017, in Glen Allen, Va.

The Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals will hold its 25th annual conference on January 30-31, 2017, at the Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The meeting is a chance for representatives of state and local government entities and the commercial sector to exchange information, expertise, and ideas about managing and controlling forest pests and other problems.

For more information, visit, or e-mail

Virginia Forest Landowner Update October 2016 Issue Available – Items on Bears, Forest Fragmentation, Fall Tours, and More

As of September 28, 2016, the latest issue of the Virginia Forest Landowner Update newsletter is available online at

The newsletter is part of the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, which is coordinated by the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation in collaboration with several state and federal partners.  Each newsletter focuses generally on applied forest and wildlife management topics, innovations in wood products, exotic invasive species, useful resources for forest owners, non-timber forest products, and upcoming forestry education events.

The October 2016 issue has the following items:
What’s Going on with Bears in Virginia?
The Fragmented Forest;
The Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary!
Useful Resources;
Events Calendar.

For more information about the newsletter of the program, contact Jennifer Gagnon at (540) 231-6391 or

Ogallala Aquifer Research in Central U.S. States Receives $10 Million USDA Grant in 2016

On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a four-year, $10 million grant for research on water challenges in the region of the Ogallala Aquifer, a groundwater source providing domestic and agricultural water in several Midwestern and Great Plains states.  The grant will be coordinated by Colorado State University and also involves Kansas State University, the University of Nebraska, New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University, and Texas Tech University.  For more information, please see “Ogallala Aquifer is Focus of New USDA-funded Research Project,” in the Spring 2016 issue of Water Current (Vol. 48, No. 2) from the Nebraska Water Center, online at; or USDA Awards $8.5 Million to Improve Communities’ Water Sources, USDA News Release, 3/22/16.

The Ogallala research grant is part of a larger set of USDA grants related to sustainable water for agriculture, under the “Water for Agriculture Challenge Area.”  More information on that program is available online at

For another Water Central News Grouper post on the Ogallala Aquifer, please see, Groundwater Decreases in Texas Portion of Ogallala Aquifer Described in July 2012 Newsletter from Lubbock, Texas, posted 9/24/12.

ogallalaArea underlain by the Ogallala Aquifer.  Map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, “Ogallala Aquifer Initiative,” online at

41-lake-along-rt-20-in-cherry-county-jul13-2011-used-grouper-9-21-16View from U.S. Rt. 20 in Cherry County, Nebraska, July 11, 2013.  The area is part of Nebraska’s Sand Hills region, which is underlain by the Ogallala Aquifer.