Clean Water

Water is the lifeblood of our land, communities and economy. From the headwater streams of Shenandoah National Park to the Chesapeake Bay, water flows through all of our land. PEC helps landowners and residents across the Virginia Piedmont improve water quality in the region through land conservation, riparian buffer and stream restoration projects, the implementation of agricultural best management practices, and the promotion of more sustainable land use.

Our Watershed Approach

Locally, what we do in our backyards matters to downstream users. Activities on land can increase the amount of pollution that enters waterways, from car oils and fuels to fertilizers and animal waste. All pollution moves with water and sediment and rates of pollution can increase where there is erosion along streambanks in rural settings, or where there is increased impervious surfaces like pavement and rooftops in urban areas.

Efforts to maximize good land use, ranging from farming and forestry to cities and suburbs work to meet watershed goals for the Chesapeake Bay. Land use practices involving energy, agriculture, and urban, suburban and industrial development have a major impact on the available water supply.

Energy projects

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 does not create a harmful barrier for stream pathways.

Agricultural lands management

Agricultural best management practices (BMPs) 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 BMPs such as rotational grazing, fencing, and protection of native grasses increase cattle safety and soil health, benefiting the rural agricultural economy.

Urban, suburban and industrial development

PEC’s promotion of smart development and growth ensures sustainable long-term land use and complements best management practices for conserving land. 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. Partnering with landowners, residents, and HOAs, and working with developers toward these goals, ensures the continued sense of place for future generations in the Piedmont.

Rural Landowner Manual cover, featuring a rural landscape

Rural Landowner Manual: A Resource Guide for the Northern Piedmont

The publication includes a list of experts, programs and opportunities to assist landowners, with practical advice on navigating the complexities of rural property stewardship …
large boxy data center with cooling equipment on the roof

Tell Congress: Support the Artificial Intelligence Environmental Impacts Act

The human and environmental costs of the data center industry are only predicted to worsen with the rise of cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence applications. That’s why we’re supporting a new congressional bill, the Artificial Intelligence …
aerial view of a General Assembly chamber

Conservation Community Priorities for the 2024 General Assembly

With the many issues facing Virginia throughout the upcoming session, PEC staff will work with VCN and other allies to testify before the legislature, speak about budget priorities and amendments, and help lead with our …
Call for Volunteers: Upcoming Tree Plantings in Rappahannock County

Call for Volunteers: Upcoming Tree Plantings in Rappahannock County

PEC works throughout the year on private and public property to plant trees and shrubs to establish or improve riparian buffers. This fall, we are hosting two volunteer tree plantings in Rappahannock County …
This May, Orvis Giveback Days Will Raise Money for The Piedmont Environmental Council’s Tree Planting Program

This May, Orvis Giveback Days Will Raise Money for The Piedmont Environmental Council’s Tree Planting Program

During the month of September, when you shop at your local Orvis store in Arlington, Leesburg or Tysons Corner part of your purchase goes to support local land and water conservation efforts! For every purchase …
Working With Farmers to Protect Our Waterways

Working With Farmers to Protect Our Waterways

Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry by many metrics. It also represents the largest source of nutrient and sediment pollution reaching Virginia’s local streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Fortunately, addressing these pollution loads offers an …
Virginia’s Land Preservation Tax Credit hits a milestone

Virginia’s Land Preservation Tax Credit hits a milestone

In late April, at the Virginia Land Conservation and Greenways conference in Harrisonburg, Senator Hanger proudly announced the permanent protection of over 1 million acres of land as a direct result of the LPTC …