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.

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 …
a group walks from a farm house through a grassy field

A Walk Along Cedar Run

Earlier this month, friends new and old joined us for the 20th Annual Bluebell Walk: Benefits of Beavers, Birds & Battling Invasives for Native Biodiversity along the banks of Cedar Run in Catlett, VA …
Volunteer Spotlight: Felix Kontanis and Jennifer Dorrer

Volunteer Spotlight: Felix Kontanis and Jennifer Dorrer

Each spring and fall, PEC welcomes dozens of volunteers who get their hands dirty and their feet muddy helping us plant native trees and shrubs along streams on private properties. We caught up with two …
aerial of wildnerness crossing property with mine icon overlay

March 23: Public Hearing on Wilderness Crossing

It is critically important that County decisionmakers hear from you before they vote on this impactful proposal …
aerial of wildnerness crossing property with mine icon overlay

Planning Commission Public Hearing on Wilderness Crossing Set for March 23

Even after 18 months, it is still unclear what the applicant has planned for the 2,618 acres of land included in the Wilderness Crossing rezoning proposal — still unremediated of toxic hazards from historic gold …
Spring 2023 Tree Planting Opportunities

Spring 2023 Tree Planting Opportunities

We are so excited for our four volunteer tree plantings this spring in Clarke, Culpeper Orange and Rappahannock counties during March and April …
Man paddles a canoe on the Rappahannock River

Video: Expanding Access to the Rappahannock River

PEC has been working with partners to make public access to the Rappahannock a reality for all who want to share in its bounty. In the past two years alone, three new boat launches have …
Volunteers Plant Close to 300 Trees in Berryville

Volunteers Plant Close to 300 Trees in Berryville

On November 12, 2022, 33 volunteers joined PEC staff at Clermont Farm in Berryville, VA, to plant 287 native seeds and shrubs seedlings! …
Hundreds of Trees Planted at Lane Property

Hundreds of Trees Planted at Lane Property

On November 9, 2022, 23 volunteers, including students from Belle Meade Montessori School, joined PEC staff at the Lane Property in Sperryville, VA, for a fall tree planting …