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.

PEC Senior Conservation Fellow Kat Imhoff, Albemarle Supervisors Ann Mallek and Liz Palmer, and PEC board member John Birdsall stand beneath the new Moormans Scenic River sign.

Signs of a Scenic River

In western Albemarle County, the cold, pristine waters of the Moormans River spill over a towering Sugar Hollow Dam and wind eastward for 14.3 miles. Flowing gently at first through historic Sugar Hollow and White …
Bolton Branch project image

Trout Stream Restoration Gifts Doubled Through May 31

Through May, we’ve teamed up with Orvis to raise money to restore two miles of brook trout stream habitat on Bolton Branch in Rappahannock County. Receive a $10 store coupon when you donate $10 or …
Brook Trout: Gems of the Piedmont Webinar + Resources

Brook Trout: Gems of the Piedmont Webinar + Resources

On April 29, 2021, the National Sporting Library & Museum held a public webinar with staff from PEC about the the work being done to restore habitat for the brook trout. Check out the recording …
Brook Trout in hand

Video: Free Flow

A must-watch!! We’re so excited to bring you this video about our largest trout stream restoration project to date, on Bolton Branch in Rappahannock County on the border of Shenandoah National Park …
Drone image of the Rivanna River

Video: Restoring Access to the Rivanna River

To help the public safely access the Rivanna River, PEC teamed up with the City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation, Rivanna Conservation Alliance, and Rivanna River Co, to update the boat landing at Riverview Park! …
PEC Senior Conservation Fellow Kat Imhoff, Albemarle Supervisors Ann Mallek and Liz Palmer, and PEC board member John Birdsall stand beneath the new Moormans Scenic River sign.

New Virginia Scenic River Signs Unveiled along Moormans River

On Monday, April 5, community members joined with Piedmont Environmental Council staff members under clear blue skies and warm sunshine to unveil new Virginia State Scenic River signs along the Moormans River in Albemarle County …
aerial of proposed goose creek overlook rezoning

A Win for Goose Creek

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors voted to reject an intensive development proposal along Goose Creek, reversing a decision from earlier in the month. It’s a win for the public, the creek and drinking water protection! …
tree planting photo

Pen Druid Tree Planting

Part of a collective effort to get native trees and shrubs planted in riparian zones in headwater counties of the Rappahannock River Watershed …
Carl Siebentritt looks out at pond

A Final Wish Granted

Carl and Elise Siebentritt’s 29-acre “mountain oasis,” two miles west of Lucketts along the Catoctin ridge and 3.5 miles northeast of Waterford in Loudoun County, was the hub and the heart of their large family …