Improving Water Quality

Rivanna Reservoir. Photo by Patricia Temples

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 PEC’s water conservation goals. Land use practices involving energy, agricultural practices, and urban and industrial development have a major impact on the available water supply.  

  1. Riparian buffers: Have you seen the ribbon of green growing along a stream, edging fields and mountains with vibrant life? What you are looking at is a riparian buffer, an essential part of our ecosystem in Virginia’s Piedmont. Riparian buffers are the vegetated areas along rivers, streams, creeks, and other waterways. These areas are the single most effective means of protecting water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Healthy riparian buffers, we can ensure the water we drink throughout the watershed is clean and can be a sustainable resource for future generations.

Headwater Stream Initiative: An effort to provide FREE technical assistance, project design, materials, and labor for the planting of native trees and shrubs in riparian zones on properties in the headwater counties of the Rappahannock River Watershed. A joint project of The Piedmont Environmental Council & Friends of the Rappahannock. Learn more >>

  1. Agricultural best management practices: Fencing, rotational grazing, warm/cool season grasses, watering systems, etc. Agricultural best management practices (BMP’s) 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 BMP’s such as rotational grazing, fencing, and protection of native grasses increase cattle safety and soil health, benefiting the rural agricultural economy.

Improving PasturesFind out how Mike Sands of Bean Hollow Grassfed used best management practices to revive worn-out pastures and improve farm profitability. Learn more >>

  1. Suburban & urban: PEC’s promotion of smart urban and suburban development and growth ensures sustainable long-term land use and 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 and working with developers towards these goals ensures the continued sense of place for future generations in the Piedmont.

Greening Your HOAThe health of local ecosystems, streams and drinking water sources are all impacted by how the large swaths of land under the control of area HOAs are managed. PEC has been working closely with leaders at Loudoun HOAs to act as agents of change. Learn more >>

Capturing the Rain: Green Infrastructure Options for HOA Common Areas

Capturing the Rain: Green Infrastructure Options for HOA Common Areas

Rain garden planting at Rady Park in Warrenton, VA. Photo by Marco Sanchez. Many residents frequent common areas that are managed by homeowners associations, churches, or local governments. How these entities manage their public landscapes can have a profound effect on the health of our local ecosystems, wildlife, streams and ...
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