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.

What is the Connection Between My Home and My Drinking Water?

What is the Connection Between My Home and My Drinking Water?

Although your property may not have a stream or pond on it, all land is a part of a watershed and has some effect on the condition of waterways. Land and water are intricately connected …
Riparian Buffers - The Very Best Protection

Riparian Buffers – The Very Best Protection

Riparian buffers are the single most effective means of protecting water resources. Streams guarded by a healthy forested riparian buffer run far cleaner and cooler and are more stable than a stream without any kind …
| | Clean Water
Goose Creek Watershed Study

Goose Creek Watershed Study

In early 2002, the Center for Watershed Protection, Goose Creek Association and the Piedmont Environmental Council embarked on a three-phase project to study the Goose Creek Watershed …
Water Quality and Land Use

Water Quality and Land Use

Streams and rivers are likely to be healthy when at least 91% of the ground in their watershed remains permeable, allowing soil and plants to filter precipitation …
| | Clean Water, Strong Communities
"Poisoned Waters" Documentary on FRONTLINE

“Poisoned Waters” Documentary on FRONTLINE

FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith takes an in-depth look at Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay, and examines the growing number of hazards to human health and our nation’s waterways. Both PEC and partner group, the …
Limestone Geology and Sinkholes

Limestone Geology and Sinkholes

Limestone geology, also known as Karst, is quite prevalent in the eastern United States. Limestone often dissolves in water, creating voids where groundwater flows like an underground river –gnawing away rock over the eons. The …
| | Clean Water, Loudoun County
Protecting the Cedar Run Watershed

Protecting the Cedar Run Watershed

When Mike and Margrete Stevens first came to Fauquier County eighteen years ago, as the new owners of Bonny Brook Farm, near Warrenton, they made friends with their neighbors Julian and Sue Scheer and Hilary …
Image of Steve Hensley.

Building Fences for Cleaner Streams

Farmers are using a unique incentive program coordinated by PEC to substantially expand water quality protections in our region. The program helps cover their costs for fencing livestock out of streams …