USDA Rocky Mount Service Center *1297 State Street* Rocky Mount* VA 24151 or call at (540) 352-3312 and visit us at www.brswcd.org Please direct your FOIA request for public records and who will oversee the public body's compliance with the provisions of section 2.2-3704.2.C to Kathy B. Smith, Program Manager/Education Coordinator at email@example.com The District Board meets on the fourth Monday of each month in Rocky Mount, Virginia at 5:00 p.m. Meetings are open to the public. However, due to COVID-19 it is not possible to accommodate the general public and maintain social distancing. Contact the District Office to find out the location of the next meeting. We appreciate your patience during this pandemic. Contact the District Office to find out the location of the next meeting.
THE BLUE RIDGE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
WHO WE ARE:
• A political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia (formed under the authority of Title 21, Code of Virginia, passed by the General Assembly in 1938).
• The Blue Ridge District is comprised of and serves Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke including all their incorporated towns. Cities of Salem and Martinsville are not included at this time.
• Governed by a ten member Board of Directors.
- Two are elected from each entity
- Two are appointed by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board
- Directors serve without pay
• Share an office with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151 – Telephone (540) 483-5341 ext. 3
• Elected Directors unless otherwise noted (through 2016):
Daphne W. Jamison – Franklin County
Michael A. Loveman – Roanoke City
Darryl Holland – Henry County
Andrew Barker – Henry County
Nicholas H. Beasley – Roanoke County
Joel Hubert Bowman – Franklin County
Sarah Baumgardner – Roanoke City
Roger B. Holnback – Roanoke County
G. Dan Pace – Henry County-appointed by VASWCB
Cynthia Martel – VA Cooperative Extension-appointed by VASWCB
• Associate Director(s)
Donald Brooks – Franklin County
Bryon Brooks – Franklin County
Patricia R. Hodges – Administrative Secretary/Treasurer
P.W. Morgan – Senior Conservation Specialist
Kathy B. Smith – Program Manager/Education Coordinator
Michael Tabor – Pigg River TMDL Conservation Technician
Delbert Allen Jackson – Temporary Conservation Technical Assistant
The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District was organized under authority of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District Law (Senate Bill No. 38 passed by the 1938 session of the General Assembly) and was formed on September 28, 1939 encompassing Bedford, Franklin and Henry Counties. Pittsylvania was added to the District on August 7, 1941 and Roanoke County was added on December 30, 1943. Pittsylvania County withdrew from the District on August 15, 1961 to form the Pittsylvania Soil and Water Conservation District. Bedford County withdrew from the District on September 24, 1968 to form the Peaks of Otter Soil and Water Conservation District. The City of Roanoke was added to the District in January 2005.
Total land area within the District is 895,400 acres excluding water impoundments over 40 acres in size. Private, state, and federal acreages are as follows:
County Area Acre Private State Federal
Franklin 458,240 450,217 1,819 6,204
Henry 252,160 249,793 867 1,500
Roanoke 157,543 143,801 8,358 5,384
City of Roanoke 27,451 27,251 40 160
Natural resources include extensive acres of forest and agricultural lands, the waters that originate on and flow through them, minerals, and abundant fish and wildlife species. Of major interest to district programs is water quality. Many of the soils are highly erodible (HEL) and require intensive conservation practices to improve water quality and prevent any excessive soil loss.
The District lies primarily within the Roanoke River Basin and is well supplied with surface water through the principal rivers and creeks. The drainage pattern is dominated to the north by the Roanoke River as it flows into Smith Mountain Lake and to the south by the Smith River, a tributary of the Dan River. The major resulting tributary rivers in the district are the Blackwater, Pigg and Mayo Rivers. A wide distribution of streams and creeks dissect the district providing valuable supplies of generally soft water. The most important of these are Catawba Creek (in the Roanoke Valley, flows into the James River), Tinker Creek, Masons Creek, Back Creek, Maggodee Creek, Gills Creek, Chestnut Creek, Snow Creek, Leatherwood Creek, marrowbone Creek and Horsepasture Creek. Although in fairly good supply, the water of the Roanoke River is relatively hard because the headwaters flow through a limestone formation. Refer to map on page 5.
The District is divided into 30 hydrologic units which are prioritized for conservation efforts to enhance water quality.
Much of the agricultural economy of the Blue Ridge District is centered on enterprises such as dairy, beef, locavore (community supported agriculture) and forest products. Industries include lumber, variety of manufacturing industries, recreation, tourism, dining, and service facilities such as banking and health care facilities.
It is important to note these are natural resources-based and resource-dependent industries. General supporting business enterprises add much to the income of the District residents. Those people who work in the cities of Roanoke, Salem, and Martinsville, but who live in Roanoke, Henry, and Franklin Counties or City of Roanoke have an impact on the economy of the District residents. Adequacy of income, housing, nutrition, and education is directly dependent upon the development and proper use of the soil, water and other related resources.
Development along Smith Mountain Lake and urbanization of the whole District is flourishing. Permanent residential, summer vacation homes or second homes are being established. Subdivisions within easy commuting distance to Roanoke, Lynchburg, Danville and Martinsville are being developed. Existing industries and businesses are expanding, and new industries are continually moving into the area. These two factors place pressure on the use of existing agricultural land. Agriculture acreage and the number of people employed in agriculture will continue to decrease. However, intensive use of agricultural lands remaining will require greater conservation efforts to safeguard this natural resource and other conservation efforts will be required for newly urbanized land.
The District incurs certain expenses in promoting soil and water conservation. Funds are received from each entity in the District. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Division of Stormwater Management also furnishes funds to the District. Other state and federal funds are used for water quality projects on a watershed basis for cost-share, and the administrative assistance needed to implement the cost-share grants. State funds are also allocated to the district for repairs and maintenance to small watershed dams that are sponsored by the District under Public Law 566.
The District cooperates with the following agencies and organizations:
• USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service * Smith Mountain Lake Association
• USDA – Farm Services Agency * School Boards
• USDA – Rural Development * Western Virginia Land Trust
• U.S. Forest Service * Western Virginia Water Authority
• Virginia Cooperative Extension * Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality
• Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board * Smith Mountain Lake Policy Advisory Board
• Virginia Department of Forestry * Blue Ridge Land Conservancy
• Department of Conservation & Recreation * Ferrum College
• Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
• Virginia Department of Transportation
• Roanoke Valley – Alleghany Regional Commission
• Tri-County Lake Commission
• West Piedmont Planning District
• U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
• Local Governing Boards (Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties & City of Roanoke)
• Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service
• W.E. Skelton4-H Educational Conference Center
• Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
• Virginia Department of Health
• Franklin County Master Gardeners
• Henry County Master Gardeners
The Conservation Poster Contest is open to kindergarten through twelfth grade students and entered into one of the grade divisions (K-1; 2-3; 4-6; 7-9; 10-12).
Poster size must be within 8.5”x11” (letter-size) to 22”x28” (full-size poster board)
Posters must be hand-drawn. Any media may be used to create a flat poster including: paint, crayon, colored pencil, charcoal, stickers, paper, and/or other materials.
All posters must be created by an individual student, rather than a team of students. Entries must be a contestant’s original creation and may not be traced from photographs or other artist’s published works.
The 2022 Stewardship theme “Healthy Soil Healthy Life” must be included on the front side of each poster submission to be eligible for the national poster contest.
Each entry must be submitted with a completed entry form attached to the back of the poster. This entry form must be signed by a parent or guardian to be eligible for the contest.
Posters are due to the Blue Ridge SWCD office by Friday, September 16, 2022 by the close of business. Posters may be mailed or dropped off at the district office.
Although younger students will most likely receive help in planning from parents and/or teachers, Blue Ridge SWCD encourages each student to do their own work. Note: Entries with student handwriting and coloring will score higher than those designed, drawn and colored by adult assistance.
Posters entered into the national competition must have been judged by the Blue Ridge SWCD sponsored poster contest and the VASWCD sponsored poster contest.
The 1st place poster in each category will be submitted to the VASWCD. The winners of the state contest will receive a prize and move on to the NACD Poster Contest. The top three posters (in each category) of the national contest will receive monetary prizes. First place winners will receive $200, second place winners will receive $150 and 3rd place winners will receive $100. Monetary prizes at the national level are sponsored by the NACD Auxiliary from their quilt project and the Albert I Pierce Foundation.
Any Scout who creates a poster and submits to Blue Ridge SWCD to earn the VASWCD Poster Contest Patch must request a patch on the completed entry form submitted with his or her poster.
All posters will be returned to participants after the contest(s) are completed.
Poster Contest Entries are reviewed by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship/Youth Committee based on the following criteria:
The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District Board is scheduled to meet briefly on Monday, August 22, 2022 at 12:45 p.m. at the Horse Pasture Volunteer Fire Department, 18287 A. L. Philpott Hwy, Ridgeway, VA. Social distancing is recommended.
Do you need help planning your classroom activities? Check out the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District’s SOL Based Environmental Education flyer by cutting and pasting the following link: https://brswcd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/EE-Activity-Flyer-Spring-2022-3-2.pdf
What is Youth Conservation Leadership Institute and how does it work?
Youth Conservation Leadership Institute (YCLI) is a recognition program for students in 9th- 12th grade that focuses on volunteer service and environmental stewardship. YCLI began as an expansion of Youth Conservation Camp in an effort to keep students engaged in the environmental topics introduced at camp. YCLI offers high school students interested in environmental conservation and stewardship an opportunity to build leadership skills and connect with local mentors involved with environmental issues.
Students in 9th-12th grade may apply. Program participants are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service with a conservation focus. The hours may be done as part of a single project or a series of projects but all projects must be approved by the YCLI Program Coordinator. YCLI participants work with the YCLI Program Coordinator to come up with a project that the YCLI Participant wants to focus on. The YCLI Participants are paired with a mentor to help them with their project. Mentors can be Soil & Water Conservation Staff, Natural Resource Professional, 4-H Agent, etc.
There will be a zoom meeting at the beginning of the program to allow all participants a chance to meet and brainstorm for their projects.
The program will conclude with an awards and recognition ceremony to be held in Spring of 2022. The recognition program agenda will include time for participants to speak about their work and hear from key speakers in the conservation field.
YCLI is a unique opportunity for 9th-12th graders to receive experience and engage in networking opportunities to prepare them for future education and career paths.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Students in 9th-12th grade with a strong interest in natural resources conservation and related fields are encouraged to apply. YCLI is open to homeschool, private and public school students. Click here for the the 2021-2022 YCLI application. Deadline to apply is Friday Oct. 1st, 2021. Please contact Bonnie.firstname.lastname@example.org if you or your student has interest and would like to discuss.
Past YCLI Projects Include:
Building birdhouses for Warblers
Teaching elementary students about watersheds
Developing and Installing Trail Signage
Litter Clean Ups
Education Outreach about being an Intern with the Elizabeth River Project
Conservation Education Outreach to Elementary Students
Stormwater Education Outreach
Soil Compaction Education & Outreach to Homeowners
What past participants have said about YCLI:
“My favorite part was teaching others and sharing my message.”- 2019-2020 YCLI Participant
“Being able to help my community while having support.”-2019-2020 YCLI Participant
“My favorite part was feeling like I was helping my community.”- 2019-2020 YCLI Participant
“Being able to present about my project to my peers from across the state and compare similarities and differences.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
“I liked being able to come up with my own project about something that was important to me, as well as the sense of accomplishment at the end.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
“My favorite part of the program was implementing the project I helped plan and organize. I loved being able to see my ideas become a reality and I loved seeing how my project beneficially impacted students and adults in my community.”- 2016-2017 YCLI Participant
“Getting to make a change in the community for the better.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
“This is one of the only programs in our area that allows students a one-on-one experience with people working in conservation.”- 2016-2017 YCLI Participant
“My favorite part of the program was meeting a mentor from the SWCD. This gave me insight into the filed of conservation and a way to stay involved. ” – 2016-2017 YCLI Participant
How does your garden grow? Learn how to develop compost that can be used as a soil amendment or as an amendment to grow plants by constructing your own tumbler-style composter. Please bring your own power drill, drill bits (1/4″, 1/2″ and a small drill bit to pre-drill holes for the wood screws) and a Phillips head drill bit for wood screws. Please have the proper transportation to take your completed composter(s) home as one measures 3.5′ deep x 31″ wide x 4.6′ high. It is recommended to bring a friend to assist you with your construction.
The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District will be conducting Tumbler-style Compost Workshop on the following dates at the Essig Center on Technology Drive, Rocky Mount, VA from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm:
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Thursday, August 18, 2022
For additional information, register on line (one week prior to the scheduled class) at https://www.playfranklincounty.com
When: Thursday, July 1 – Friday, September 3, 2021
APPOINTMENT ONLYto schedule an appointment contact:
Michael Tabor, Sr. Conservation Specialist, (540) 352-3323 or
Allen Jackson, Conservation Technician, (540) 352-3329
NEW Planting Dates: Cover Crop planting dates extended by two weeks – Details provided during signup appointment.
NEW Participant Cap: Raised to $150,000 per participant for FY22.
SIGN-UP PERIOD: Sign-up for BMP Cost Share or VA Tax Credits
SIGN-UP PERIOD: Sign-up for BMP Cost Share or VA Tax Credits prior to September 3rd for the first round of ranking. Many programs offered.
REMINDER: Current Nutrient Management Plan is required for all cover crop participants in the VACS (Virginia Cost Share) programs or to receive specified VA State Tax Credits. Sign-up for cost share by September 3rd.
VA State Tax Credits: VA State Tax Credits available. Details provided
during signup appointment. Increased credits for FY22.
The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District sets priorities and objectives that are defined in a strategic plan. An annual plan of work is completed by forming committees such as Budget, Soil Stewardship, Youth, Annual Report, Conservation Awards, Annual Tour, Newsletter, Scholarship, Personnel, and other committees as needed. The Board of Directors encourages land users to adopt Best Management Practices such as conservation tillage in their farm plans. This District works from a budget to effectively manage funds, facilities and equipment. The Blue Ridge SWCD supports the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, and the National Association of Conservation Districts. The directors attend area, state, and national meetings. The Commonwealth of Virginia supports the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District through financial and administrative assistance provided by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Funding for the programs outlined in this report comes from a variety of sources, namely: DCR, local county governments, corporate sponsorship and donations. Other funding comes from a variety of sources, mainly federal and state grants. All programs and services of the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or handicap.
If you would like to harvest rain water for your garden and landscaping needs then this is an opportunity for you to construct our very own rain barrel. This old idea is making a big splash! Please have the proper transportation to take the barrel(s) home as they are approximately 53 gallons measuring 42″ in height and 24″ in diameter.
The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District will be conducting Rain Barrel Workshops on the following dates at the Essig Center on Technology Drive Rocky Mount, VA from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm:
Thursday, July 7, 2022
Thursday, August 4, 2022
For additional information, register on line (one week prior to the scheduled class) at https://www.playfranklincounty.com
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection . First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. Here are a list of resources you can visit to give you some ideas to share and celebrate Earth Day:
The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District Board will meet on Monday, April 25, 2022 at 5 p.m. at Ippy’s Restaurant, (next to the Rocky Mount Service Center) North Main Street, Rocky Mount, Va.
VDOF & VCE MAKE LAND LEGACY PLANNING MORE ACCESSIBLE
The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) encourage landowners to make plans for passing on their land to the next generation – right now. The Generation NEXT program is a collaboration between VDOF and VCE that helps Virginia landowners keep forests intact, in forest, and in family.
Generation NEXT is hosting two low-cost virtual legacy planning series this year – in April and September – to help landowners take the first steps and clarify some of the misconceptions about the legacy planning process that might prevent people from getting started. Many landowners are overwhelmed by the legacy planning process and assume that it primarily involves complicated work with attorneys and accountants. This assumption might cause landowners to delay thinking about what they want to happen to their land when they’re no longer around to manage it. The Generation NEXT program demonstrates how estate planning (working with lawyers and accountants) is just one part of the legacy planning process.
“One of the most important steps in
legacy planning includes conversations between you and the people who will
steward your land after you’re gone. Do they understand your stewardship goals
for the property? Do they feel a connection to the land? Are there key pieces
of information you need to share about the property? Having these conversations
is critical,” says Adam Downing, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent.
If a landowner passes away without
clearly established plans for their estate (including their land), things can
quickly become complicated for the surviving family members. The Generation
NEXT program provides families with resources and tools that make the process
more manageable and accessible.
With the Generation NEXT workshops, families pay a single fee to participate, even if they are geographically separated. The workshops serve as designated opportunities for family members to ask difficult questions, receive useful information, and get on the same page about plans for the future. Typically, these sessions are in-person, so dispersed families are taking advantage of the virtual offerings.
As a companion to the workshop series, the Generation NEXT team created a publication, Legacy Planning: A Guide for Virginia Landowners that provides an overview of the nine major steps involved in developing a robust land legacy plan. It includes case studies from landowners throughout Virginia and guides landowners to tools and resources. The free publication is available online or in-print (by request). https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/CNRE/cnre-121/CNRE-121.pdf
Landowners should approach legacy planning as an on-going process. “Much like a forest changes over time, your legacy plans will evolve. As priorities change or family dynamics shift, so should plans for your land,” says Andrew Fotinos, Conservation Specialist with VDOF. “Having the Legacy Planning publication on-hand will help landowners as they periodically revisit the nine steps over time.” With spring and summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to engage with Step Eight: “Provide opportunities for your family to learn about and enjoy your woodlands.” Explore your property with future generations to instill in them the importance of good land stewardship.
Spring dates for the Generation NEXT workshops are April 7, 8, 14 & 15. Those interested in attending the spring workshop should register by March 31 to guarantee their spot and receive a print copy of the Legacy Planning publication before courses begin. Fall workshops will take place on September 8, 9, 15 & 16. Families or individuals can register for either the spring or fall dates, or they may elect to attend both series for a comprehensive experience. Content may overlap in the two series, but they are not identical.
The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 108,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $21 Billion annually.
Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth, which it’s been doing now for more than 100 years. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.
About the Virginia
Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the
resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia
State University, to the people of the commonwealth. We are a dynamic organization that stimulates positive
personal and societal change, leading to more productive lives, families,
farms, and forests as well as a better environment.
Understanding that knowledge is power, we
place that power in the hands of Virginians and help them learn how to use it
to improve the quality of their lives. Our Extension agents and specialists
form a network of educators whose classrooms are the communities, homes, and
businesses of Virginia, where they bring research-based solutions to the
problems facing Virginians today. Extension
programs are delivered through a network of faculty at two universities, 108
county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and
six 4-H educational centers.
VCE and VDOF programs and employment are open
to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender
expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual
orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected
by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance
of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia
Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia
State University, Petersburg.