Headwater Stream Initiative
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An effort to provide FREE technical assistance, project design, materials, and labor for the planting of native trees and shrubs on properties in the headwater counties of the Rappahannock River Watershed.

A joint project of The Piedmont Environmental Council & Friends of the Rappahannock


Riparian buffers are 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.

Answers to the following questions

    • What will it cost me?
    • Who qualifies?
    • Who will provide the services outlined in this program?
    • What kind of plants do you plant?
    • What is covered by the program?
    • How big does the project have to be to qualify?
    • How long does it take to get my buffer?
    • Why do you use tree tubes?

Planting riparian buffers along native trout streams is a priority for the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) and Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR). Many of the headwater streams of the Upper Rappahannock watershed support Eastern brook trout, the only trout species native to Virginia. Most of the brook trout streams in the Headwater Stream Initiative region are in Rappahannock and Madison Counties.

Learn more about the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and Soil & Water Conservation District Ag BMP cost-share programs.

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This joint project of Friends of the Rappahannock and The Piedmont Environmental Council is made possible through generous funding by the Virginia Environmental Endowment, the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation's Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, the Lykes Fund of Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Virginia Department of Forestry, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and PEC's Krebser Fund for Rappahannock County Conservation.

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