“Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home”

Water is a natural resource that we all need every day.  Less than 1% of the water on Earth is fresh useable water for our daily needs. So, it is important that each of us does our part to keep it clean. Join members of your community when there is a roadside, stream or river clean- up day. Each citizen can take responsibility for keeping our water bodies and our roadways clean.  We would have zero litter if people would take the extra step of disposing of trash properly. Take a look at a parking lot in your community; do you see oil and litter? Where do you think it will go when it rains?  It could be a nearby river or stream. Help educate your community to stop littering and to properly maintain their automobiles. This is just one of the many easy steps you can take to protect the James, Roanoke, Blackwater, Pigg River and Smith River watersheds in Roanoke, Franklin and Henry counties and City of Roanoke. For more tips, visit Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation at:  www.dcr.virginia.gov.

America’s network of 3,000 conservation districts across the country are working on the ground every day with local farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect our water, soil and air for future generations. Conservation districts have been involved in delivering locally-driven conservation across America for more than 70 years.

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District has worked on several local projects such as conservation planning for the installation of Grazing Land Management Systems, Long term Vegetative Cover on Cropland, Extension of CREP Watering Systems, Permanent Vegetative Cover on Critical Areas, Continuous High Residue No-Till, Sediment Retention, Havestable and Non-harvestable Cover Crops, Winter Feeding Facilities, Erosion or Water Control Structures, Sod Waterways, Animal Waste Control Facility, Dairy Loafing Lot Management System, Grass Filter Strips, Residential Septic Repair and Replacements for Smith River and Blackberry Creek watersheds, Rain Water Harvesting and Tumbler-Style Compost Workshops, Environmental Education Outreach, Meaningful Watershed Environmental Education, etc.  The Department of Conservation & Recreation and the Virginia Soil & Water Board were responsible for providing funding for the Blue Ridge SWCD to implement these best management practices.

2018 marks the 63rd year of the National Association of Conservation Districts Stewardship Week. Help us celebrate National Soil and Water Stewardship Week— Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home — April 29 through May 6.

Contact Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District or visit www.nacdnet.org for more information. Brought to you by Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District 1297 State Street Rocky Mount, VA  24151 – (540) 483-5341 ext. 117.

For more information about this year’s Stewardship Week theme – Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home – go to NACD’s website: http://www.nacdnet.org/general-resources/stewardship-and-education-materials/2018-watersheds-water-home/.

Click on the links to access NACD 2018 “Watersheds:  Our Water, Our Home” resources:  2018 watershed_poster_2018 2018 Watershed_poster_30x24_HR (2) 2018 Watershed_placemat_13x9_dft1_lr (2) 2018 Watershed Bookmark-NACD 2018_Educators_Guide (2) 2018 Watershed_K-1Booklet_pgs_dft4_lr (2)

Personnel & Budget/Finance Committee Meetings Slated for June

May 24, 2018

 

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District has scheduled a Personnel Committee Meeting and a Budget/Finance Committee Meeting which are open to the public:

 

The Personnel Committee meeting is scheduled to be held in the Conference Room of the Rocky Mount Service Center at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA  24151.

June 8, 2018 (Friday):  Personnel Committee beginning at 10:00 a.m.

 

The Budget/Finance Committee meeting is scheduled to be held in the Conference Room of the Rocky Mount Service Center at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA  24151.

June 11, 2018 (Monday):  Budget/Finance Committee beginning at 10:00 a.m.

 

Story Creek Farm Receives Clean Water Farm Award

Pictured left to right: Henry Jamison, Clinton Jamison, and Michael Tabor (Conservation Technician for Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District)

In 1981 Henry Jamison purchased a dairy farm in western Franklin County. Over the next 33 years he would work to improve the farm, adopting techniques that would allow him to grow the business while being a responsible landowner, protecting the environment, and following a basic principal passed down through the generations of his family, that if one was going to do something, be it farming, or anything else it should be done correctly without having to rely on the help or assistance of others. In short, if you weren’t able to do it right, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

By the 1990’s Henry had removed the old Bank Barn and replaced it with a free stall barn and integrated flush system for a more thorough cleaning of the barn more effectively dealing with the waste and providing a cleaner environment for the cattle. Two pits would be set up to receive all waste and with one being higher than the other, act as a solids separator again to better treat the manure. Throughout this time the herd was being increased from about 40 when the farm was purchased in 1981 to around 60. As additional barns were constructed, gutters and downspouts would be installed to collect the roof runoff and collect it in the pit as well to further reduce erosion and any waste runoff.

Around 2007 the farm would move away from conventional tillage to No-Till and adopt the use of cover crops that continue today. In addition travel lanes would be installed allowing for the more efficient movement of cattle between pastures as they were divided for rotational grazing and reducing erosion. Efforts were made that very steep land would be primarily for grass, terraces installed to slow or divert any overland water flow and grass waterways installed and maintained in any crop field where there were noted concentrated flows.

In 2014 the farm would pass from Henry to his nephew Clinton who operates it today with a milk line that varies between the upper 80’s to mid-90’s, over double of the original milk line in 1981. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication that both Henry and Clinton have put into this operation. Today Clinton carries on the family tradition of doing things the right way because that is simply how that are supposed to be done.

Many of the practices started by Henry have been continued or expanded upon by Clinton. This includes excluding the livestock from all surface water, having both grass and wooded riparian buffers, utilizing soil test and plant sampling for more effective nutrient management and seeking out ways to expand the farm, hoping to one day have all the heifers over one year completely on pasture.

All of these conservation practices have been implemented not as a result of mandate but as a true voluntary effort on the part of Henry and Clinton because it was just the right thing to do. It wasn’t because they would receive cost share or a helping hand, but because they believed as a farmer they were beholden to the land and to their community. For them taking care of the environment and being an active participant in conservation is as much a part of farming as is feeding cattle, mowing hay, and planting crops.

 

 

Residential Septic Grant Funding Available for Upper Smith River & Blackberry Creek Watersheds in Henry County

 

We’ll pay 50% of your septic repair bill!

Pump outs, repairs, replacements

**Grant funding available for residents of the Upper Smith River and Blackberry Creek Watersheds in Henry County. **

Financial assistance available to all income levels.

How the program works:

  • Contact us for an application and to determine if you qualify
  • Wait to perform any work on your system until your application has been approved

Funding available until June 30, 2019

Contact Michael Tabor:

(276) 632-3164 ext. 122

mtabor@brswcd.org

Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District

1297 State St, Rocky Mount, VA 24151

Located in the USDA Service Center beside the Comfort Inn.

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. EPA and the VA Dept. of Environmental Quality under a Section 319 grant agreement 16545 to Blue Ridge SWCD. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA or DEQ, nor does the EPA or DEQ endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.

Franklin County High School’s Envirothon Team Advances to State Competition

Pictured left to right: Madison Burnette, Autumn Young, Jason Tyree, Tyler Jordan and Hunter Brown

Three Area V Dominion Envirothon (natural resources competition) teams will advance to the state competition May 20-21 at Ferrum College. The Area V Dominion Envirothon competition was held on April 24, 2018 at Waid Recreation Area & Sports Complex in Rocky Mount and hosted by Blue Ride and Patrick Soil & Water Conservation Districts.

Overall first place at the Area V Envirothon competition went to Fuqua School (sponsored by Piedmont SWCD), placing second overall was Franklin County High School (sponsored by Blue Ridge SWCD) and overall third place went to Buckingham County High School (sponsored by Peter Francisco SWCD). Cumberland County High School also participating in the Area V Envirothon (sponsored by Peter Francisco SWCD).

Envirothon features five “in-the-field” test stations – soils, wildlife, aquatics, forestry and a current environmental issue – where teams answer questions in both written and hands-on formats. During an oral presentation each team proposes a management solution related to the current environmental issue to a panel of

Judges consisting of industry and natural resource professionals. This year’s issue is “Pastureland Management”. Franklin County High School and Fuqua School’s Dominion Envirothon Teams tied for 1st place overall in Soils.  Franklin County High School placed 2nd in Oral Presentation and placed 2nd Overall in the top three teams to advance to Virginia’s Dominion Envirothon State Competition at Ferrum College. Fuqua School placed 1st overall to advance to the state competition.

 

“The intense study required for this contest helps prepare students for college entrance exams, as well as possible careers in field associated with natural resources,” said Steven Meeks, President of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Fueled by Dominion Energy’s generous sponsorship, the Envirothon program will undoubtedly continue to grow. Cindy Balderson, Philanthropy Manager for Dominion Energy and The Dominion Foundation shared the excitement of the new partnership stating,   “We believe the students’ participation in Envirothon activities will prepare them for college and beyond, as they study environmental issues and become advocates and stewards of our natural resources.

The team that earns 1st place at the state level competition will travel to Pocatello, Idaho to battle it out at the North American competition (July 22-July 26, 2018).

Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District (serving Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke) needs help sponsoring students for next year’s Envirothon. If you can help, or would like to know more about starting an Envirothon team at your high school through 4-H, FFA, Ecology Club or home school group, contact Kathy Smith at (540) 483-5341 ext. 117 or (276) 632-3164 ext. 117 or contact the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts at (800) 727-6354.