Blue Ridge SWCD Offers Financial Assistance for Septic Repairs

Have you thought about your septic system lately? For most people septic systems are “out of sight and out of mind.” They may go years without worrying about the system until there is a problem. Although septic systems can be easy to overlook, maintaining it is an important part of being a homeowner. Routine maintenance can prevent problems before they occur, avoiding future repairs or system replacements that can be very costly. However, no septic system is designed to last forever and signs of a failing septic system can include sewage backups into a home, and lush green vegetation over areas of the drain field or other buried system components that may have a bad smell and be mushy.  In Henry County there are many older homes not connected to a public sewer that may be in need of septic repair or complete replacement.

Funding is available through the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District to reimburse homeowners for 50% of the costs of septic system pump-outs, public sewer hook-ups (where available), repairs, and replacements. In addition, the program also educates residents about proper septic system care and about the environmental and health impacts of failing septic systems. Applicants must live in the portion of the Smith River watershed northwest of Martinsville and the Blackberry Creek watershed in Henry County to be eligible. Funding rates may also be eligible to be increased in lower income situations.

To learn more about our septic program, determine if you live in an eligible watershed, or request an application, please contact Michael Tabor at (276) 632-3164 ext. 122 or Allen Jackson at ext.118. Inquiries can also be submitted via email at mtabor@brswcd.org or djackson@brswcd.org and also during regular office hours (8-4:30 p.m M-F) at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA 24151.

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.

2018 Blue Ridge SWCD College Scholarship Opportunity- Apply Now!

The Blue Ridge SWCD is offering high school seniors and college freshmen (residing in Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke) who are planning a career in natural resource conservation or a related field the opportunity to apply for the Leo Painter College Scholarship up to $1,000.00.

The award winning application of this local scholarship (Leo Painter Scholarship) will be submitted to the 2018 VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc. Scholarship Awards Program for an opportunity to be awarded an additional $1,000 scholarship out of the a total of four $1,000 scholarships available state wide (through the VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc.).

To apply for this college scholarship opportunity, promoting the education of Virginia citizens in technical fields with natural resource conservation and environmental protection, contact Kathy B. Smith (Program Manager/Education Coordinator) at (540) 483-5341 ext. 117 or at KSmith@brswcd.org for a copy of the 2018 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application form or click on this linik to access the 2018 Scholarship Guidelines and application 2018 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application-2018. Each qualified student is asked to complete 2018 Scholarship application and submit it to the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA  24151 no later than Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at the close of business.

2018 Prospective scholarship candidates – Individual applicants must be full-time college freshmen or students  who have applied to a college freshman level curriculum. Applicants shall document a class ranking in the top 20% of his or her graduating class or a 3.0 or greater Grade Point Average or appropriate equivalent of individual scholastic achievement.  The applicant’s most recent official high school transcript must accompany the application. A copy of a school transcript will not be accepted.  Applicants shall demonstrate active interest in conservation.

Applicants who were high school seniors in 2017 to apply again in 2018 as scholarship guidelines allow those “enrolled in a freshman college curriculum or applying to a college freshmen level curriculum” to be considered.

 Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee.  All applications and information contained therein shall remain confidential. 

All programs and services of the Blue Ridge SWCD and the Virginia Association of Soil & Water conservation District’s Educational Foundation, Inc. are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, or disability.  All submitted paperwork is confidential and becomes the property of the VASWCDEF Inc.

 

 

2018 Youth Conservation Camp Applications Available – Apply Now!

The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District is offering scholarship(s) to a limited number of qualified applicant(s) within Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke to attend an expense paid, week-long conservation camp at Virginia Tech.  Camp dates are Sunday, July 8 through Saturday, July 14, 2018.  Soil and Water Conservation officials from the local, state and federal levels and Virginia Tech faculty members work together to conduct the camp.

Applicants must be in grades 9 through 12 of the 2017-2018 academic school year.  Twelfth graders who graduate from high school in May, June, July or August 2018 are eligible to attend.  Previous youth conservation campers cannot attend.  Please contact Kathy Smith, Program Manager/Education Coordinator at Ksmith@brswcd.org or (540) 483-5341 ext. 117.

Click on these two links to view this year’s camp highlights and 2018 YCC application: 2018 Camper Application_VASWCD 2018 YCC-Camp-HighlightsYCC Group Picture

The 2018 Youth Conservation Camp applications are to be received by the Blue Ridge District office no later than by the close of business on Friday, April 6, 2018.

The scholarship winner(s) will be notified by the district as soon as possible.

Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee. Upon notification, the winner(s) will be required to send $75.00 to the Blue Ridge SWCD.  This $75 will be fully refunded upon completion of the camp and a brief report to the directors about their camp adventures.  Travel to and from the camp is the responsibility of the student.

Keith Receives 2018 Forest Stewardship Field Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooperative Forestry Director Steve Koehn, left, with 2018 Forest Stewardship Field Forester Kevin Keith. Photo by Andrew Owen, Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. Forest Service photo.

The Forest Service’s Forest Stewardship Program partners with state forestry agencies to assist private landowners in actively managing their forests. Every two years the Forest Stewardship Program recognizes a state forestry agency field forester who has made a significant contribution to the Forest Service mission of sustaining the nation’s forests and grasslands.

Kevin Keith has been recognized as the 2018 Forest Stewardship Field Forester. As a senior area forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry, he manages a multi-county work area and supervises four employees. As a field forester, he provides exceptional service to private forest landowners. His 2016 accomplishments highlight his passion for sustaining healthy private forests: he wrote 24 forest stewardship management plans to help private landowners better manage 9,048 acres of forestland. He also wrote 92 other management plans covering 2,752 acres, implemented 725 forest restoration activities on 21,686 acres and planted 8,552 trees on 236 sites. Keith annually uses more than $100,000 in federal and state cost-share funds to promote healthier forests, including increased pre-commercial pine thinning and site preparation prior to planting.

Actively managed private forests provide local jobs, timber revenue, wildlife habitat, watershed protection, recreation opportunities and many other public benefits. Keith’s assistance to private forest landowners is invaluable to the public good.

 

 

 

 

2017-2018 Kevin Keithrecognized as 2018 Forest Stewardship Field Forester

Become a Project Learning Tree Certified Educator

Be engaged in a hands-on workshop for both formal and non-formal educators

 Investigate environmental topics with indoor and outdoor activities

 Receive PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide, correlated to national and state   academic standards . Click here to find out more: VMNH workshop flyer 11-3-2017 (003)

“The most amazing and helpful book in the universe! The students love the activities. It helps make learning more engaging for students, and in turn less stressful for me.”

– Rachel Hill, 7th Grade Science Teacher, Salem Church Middle School, Richmond, Virginia

Best Management Practice Applications Now Being Accepted for 2017-2018

             The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District located at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA is currently accepting applications for assistance with installation of agricultural best management practices that are designed to conserve soil and protect water quality.

July 1, 2017 began our new fiscal year and agriculture producers who are considering signing up for assistance this year are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.  Since funding is limited, all practices must be signed-up prior to implementation and are subject to prioritized ranking for approval. 2017-2018 Cost-Share applications will be accepted July 17, 2017 through close of business on Friday, August 4, 2017.  If cost-share is still available after this first sign-up round, a second sign-up round of cost-share may be offered at a later date.  The following is a list of some of the practices available for cost share, however, it is not an exhaustive list.

  • Reforestation of Erodible Crop Land & Pasture Land
  • Grazing Land Protection (stream exclusion, water fountains, well, pipeline and fencing)
  • Harvestable Cover Crop
  • Non-Harvestable Cover Crop
  • Continuous No-Till
  • Animal Waste Control Facility
  • Nutrient management Plan Writing
  • Split Application of Nitrogen on Corn using Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Test
  • Late Winter Split Application of Nitrogen on Small Grains
  • Riparian Vegetative or Forested Buffers

 

For more information regarding water quality and erosion control best management practices, please contact Michael Tabor (Conservation Technician) at (540) 483-5341 ext. 122.

Nonpoint Source Success Story: Blackwater River

blackwater-riverAgricultural Best management Practices Improve Aquatic Life in the Blackwater River

 

High sediment loadings led to violations of the general standard for aquatic life use in Franklin County’s Blackwater River.  As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added two segments of the Lower Blackwater River to the 2008 Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters. Landowners installed agricultural best management practices (BMPs); these decreased edge-of-field sediment loading and helped improve water quality.  Because of this improvement, DEQ removed two segments of the Blackwater River from Virginia’s 2014 list of impaired waters for biological impairment.  To read more click on this link 2014-delisted-blackwater