Clean Water

Beaver Creek Reservoir, Albemarle County

To protect the water we drink, we need clean air, expansive forests, responsible farms, wooded stream banks, and communities and individuals who make choices to avoid pollution.



Conserving Water

By reducing impervious surface.

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Land conservation and land use planning/advocacy are the primary ways that PEC works to reduce impervious surfaces.
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Improving Water Quality

Through land management.

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From rural to suburban to urban, there are best management practices (native plantings, livestock fencing) that make water cleaner.
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Restoring Connections

By removing barriers.

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Culverts, low-water crossings and linear infrastructure (i.e. pipelines, highways) can serve as disruptions to healthy stream flow.
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Measuring Success

Through stream monitoring.

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Monitoring water quality, biological populations, and physical features of stream habitat are all vital to understanding stream health.
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From the Piedmont View

The following articles appeared in PEC's Membership Newsletter -- The Piedmont View

A Few Highlights from 2019

Dec 16, 2019
Through the generous support of our members and help from PEC's partners, a lot of great things have happened this year! We've pulled together this quick list of some of the highlights from 2019…

From the Blue Ridge to the Bay

Sep 15, 2019
In June, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, working with the Montpelier Foundation, donated three conservation easements to PEC that permanently protected 1,024 acres at James Madison’s…

A Dirty Secret: How Construction Waste is Making its Way Onto Rural Lands

Sep 15, 2019
Steve and Jennifer Rainwater's world was turned upside down in 2017 when an access road was built along their property line and hundreds of dump trucks started arriving to dump dirt, non-stop, on a…

Protecting the Goose Creek Watershed

Dec 14, 2018
PEC was recently awarded a $15,600 grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment to further our work identifying and prioritizing opportunities to implement agricultural best management practices…

Headwater Stream Initiative kicks off!

Sep 22, 2016
Do you own land along a stream? If so, then you may be interested in the Headwater Stream Initiative, a joint project from PEC and Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR). The initiative provides free…

Fenced in at Roundabout Meadows

Sep 22, 2016
Polluted water is not only bad for us and the environment, but it’s bad for livestock as well,” says Celia Vuocolo, habitat and stewardship specialist at PEC. A significant stewardship project is…

Rural economies thrive when farmers practice rotational grazing and promote water quality for their animal and land’s health. Local infrastructure is sustained as good investments when communities choose green infrastructure, and roads are built to minimally impact the health of streams and forests. Communities are connected by the scenic and historic places that we can protect and promote through land conservation.

  1. Riparian Buffers: Have you seen the ribbon of green growing along a stream, edging fields and mountains with vibrant life? What you are looking at is a riparian buffer, an essential part of our ecosystem in Virginia’s Piedmont. Riparian buffers are the vegetated areas along rivers, streams, creeks, and other waterways. These areas are the single most effective means of protecting water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Healthy riparian buffers, we can ensure the water we drink throughout the watershed is clean and can be a sustainable resource for future generations.  

    Headwater Stream Initiative: An effort to provide FREE technical assistance, project design, materials, and labor for the planting of native trees and shrubs in riparian zones on properties in the headwater counties of the Rappahannock River Watershed. A joint project of The Piedmont Environmental Council & Friends of the Rappahannock. Learn more >>  

  2. Agricultural best management practices: Fencing, rotational grazing, warm/cool season grasses, watering systems, etc. Agricultural best management practices (BMP’s) include a wide range of management strategies to conserve natural land and water quality while simultaneously improving agricultural production. These best management practices have many benefits that protect water quality, such as decreasing chemical runoff and fencing around streams to prevent harmful erosion. In addition, agricultural BMP’s such as rotational grazing, fencing, and protection of native grasses increase cattle safety and soil health, benefiting the rural agricultural economy.  

    Improving PasturesFind out how Mike Sands of Bean Hollow Grassfed used best management practices to revive worn-out pastures and improve farm profitability . Learn more >>  

  3. Suburban & urban: PEC’s promotion of smart urban and suburban development and growth ensures sustainable long-term land use and best management practices for conserving land. Partnering with landowners and working with developers towards these goals ensures the continued sense of place for future generations in the Piedmont.

    Greening Your HOAThe health of local ecosystems, streams and drinking water sources are all impacted by how the large swaths of land under the control of area HOAs are managed. PEC has been working closely with leaders at Loudoun HOAs to act as agents of change. Learn more >>  


Trout stream restoration project on the Robinson River. Photo by Bri West

The job of our rivers naturally is to move the mountains to the sea. Dams and other barriers like culverts can disrupt natural stream flow, disconnect fish and wildlife habitat, and impair water quality. Removing unnatural barriers and disruptions is particularly important for conserving our waterways.

Restoring stream connections restores aquatic habitat and creates a healthy stream flow. PEC promotes eco-friendly alternatives to traditional culverts and low water crossings that improve stream health.

Pipelines for gas and transmission lines for power can disrupt watersheds, too. Forests and fields that provide habitat and filter clean water for streams are impacted by large-scale infrastructure. PEC encourages smart management of energy infrastructure, so the placement of gas pipelines and transmission lines do not create a harmful barrier for stream pathways.

  • Culverts
  • Low-water crossings
  • Energy infrastructure -- such as gas pipelines, transmission lines

Trout Stream Restoration Projects: We are working to improve stream health and connectivity by removing or replacing culverts in the upper Rappahanock watershed with more wildlife-friendly versions. Learn more >>

We’re continuing our efforts to increase the habitat available to the eastern brook trout and other fish species with two pilot culvert removal projects...

During the summer of 2017, PEC Fellowship participants Dana Ek and Callee Manna put together this stream monitoring guidebook as part of their final practicum project. The guidebook is meant to serve as a reference for PEC and other entities who are planning of stream restoration projects, especially in the development of improved monitoring procedures.

SYRIA, VA: The new 35-foot span bridge across Cedar Run offers hikers and nature-loving community members improved access to the popular Whiteoak Canyon trailhead and opening up three miles of stream habitat to native fish for the first time in decades. The effort is a public-private partnership between Shenandoah National Park, The Piedmont Environmental Council, Trout Unlimited, and the local landowners, the Graves family.

Loudoun's Clean Stream Coalition

The following articles were posted by Loudoun's Clean Stream Coalition

  • Curious About the Streams Near You?

    Check out this great interactive map and find out more about your local stream conditions in Loudoun! Read More
  • History of the Chesapeake Bay Act in Virginia

    The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (“the Bay Act”) was originally adopted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988, taking effect in 84 localities, including suburban and urban communities like Fairfax, Alexandria and Richmond, and rural counties like Caroline, King William and Chesterfield. The General Assembly of Virginia passed the Bay Act in an effort to promote “the general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth” (section 10.1-2100) by protecting the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries (i.e. all bodies of water that ultimately flow to the Bay and thus constitute the Bay’s watershed), and other state waters. [i] Read More
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    Can a Horse Farm Improve Our Streams?

    Some citizens in the Commonwealth have been able to put into place innovative practices to protect the local streams from polluted runoff. This article is about how the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District, together with Oakwood Farm, have developed a cooperative model “Chesapeake Bay-Friendly Horse Farm”. Read More

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