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.

Bonny Brook Tree Planting

Bonny Brook Tree Planting

On October 13, 2022, four volunteers joined PEC staff at Bonny Brook Farm in Fauquier County to plant 55 native trees and shrubs along a riparian stream as part of PEC’s Potomac Planting Program …
a woman plants a tree

Volunteers needed to help plant native trees in Sperryville for a cleaner Rappahannock River watershed

PEC is seeking about 30 community volunteers to help plant 330 native trees and shrubs along Kilbys Creek in Sperryville on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and from 1:30 – 4 …
a woman plants a tree

Calling Volunteers: White Post, Berryville tree plantings help make water cleaner in the Potomac watershed

PEC is seeking about 60 community volunteers from Clarke County and surrounding areas to help plant 570 native trees and shrubs at two family-friendly events in October and November …
a field with rows of cover crop between squash plants

Soil is Alive: How to Keep it Healthy

Healthy soil can make as big a difference for home gardeners as it can for large-scale farmers. We sat down with Melissa Allen, District Manager at the John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District to …
multiple volunteers in a grassy field planting tree saplings

Fall tree plantings + Orvis Giveback days

As PEC’s Tree Planting and Stewardship Coordinator, I’d like to invite you to join our conservation team this fall to plant native trees and shrubs along waterways in the Virginia Piedmont. We’re looking for volunteers …
Video: Cover Crops with John Marshall Soil and Water

Video: Cover Crops with John Marshall Soil and Water

We partnered with John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District to produce this video about their cover crop cost-share program …
aerial photo of orange county where wilderness crossing is proposed

Wilderness Crossing is Back

I’ve been monitoring the project for several months, as it has slowly made its way through the county application process. Now, the developer is finally holding a community briefing, and I want to make sure …
Albemarle Climate StoryMap screenshot

What’s at Risk from Climate Change Locally – An Albemarle StoryMap

We are already feeling the effects of climate change in Albemarle County and the local impacts are expected to intensify in the coming years. View this online StoryMap to take a closer look at the …
"PW Digital Gateway" Public Hearing on Sept. 14

“PW Digital Gateway” Public Hearing on Sept. 14

The countdown toward one of the most important decisions for the future of Prince William County, and the region as a whole, has begun. The Prince William County Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing …