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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Blue Ridge PRISM is pleased to participate in
the largest invasive species awareness effort in North America. We aim to
focus our outreach encouraging you to choose plants
native to Virginia, and not invasive plants for your
landscaping this spring.
There are also a number of webinars hosted by NISAW which are free and open to
The VASWCD is committed to conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs and we want to see it through your eyes. the theme this year is “Conservation through the local lens”. Capture those vibrant moments and express what conservation looks like through your lens! The contest is open from February 1 – July 30, 2021. To learn more about the contest please click here Rules & Judging. You can submit up to 10 photos and to do so you click on the submit your photos button below. All photographs must be taken within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Photographs taken outside the state of Virginia will be disqualified.
2020 VASWCD Photo Contest Winners
Congratulations to Bob Diller for his 2020 photo named “Behold!” taken in the Tidewater Shore Soil & Water Conservation District that was chosen as overall winner for the 2020 Photo Contest.
The Virginia Association of Soil
& Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) Photo Contest is open only to legal
residents of the United States. Panel Judges (of the VASWCD Photo Contest), as
well as immediate family (spouse partners, siblings, and children) and
household members of those judges, are not eligible to enter.
The VASWCD Photo Contest begins
February 1, 2021 and ends on July 30, 2021. Entries submitted before or after
the entry period will not be eligible. Winners will be announced September 2021.
What to Enter
The VASWCD is committed to
conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs
and we want to see it through your eyes. For our 2021 Photo Contest, we’d like
you to take photos that showcase” Conservation Through the Local Lens”.
Capture those vibrant moments and express what conservation looks like to you!
All photographs must be taken
within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Photographs taken outside the state of
Virginia will be disqualified.
Entries should include the
Age (as of July 30, 2021)
City or County where photo was taken
Caption that describes photo and answers “Conservation Through the
Local Lens” (Limit to one paragraph)
By submitting your entry, you
(parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence)
agree that the photograph(s) conforms to the guidelines and content restrictions.
By entering, entrants
(parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence)
represent and warrant that the photograph(s) that they submit: are their own
original creations; do not infringe any other person’s or entity’s rights;
including trespassing on private land.
Entries must be submitted by the
original creator. Photograph(s) created by someone other than you but submitted
by you will be disqualified. You must be the sole owner of the copyright of any
photograph(s) submitted. Incomplete entries will not be accepted and will be
To ensure eligibility for the
contest, please submit files at least 3 MB at the time of entry. Higher
resolution files of at least 300 dpi/ppi will be requested should an entry be
preselected to be awarded a prize or an honorable mention. All photographs
should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.
Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (red eye
removal, removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color
and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified, which is left to the Panel’s
Entries may originate in any
format — including, but not limited to digital files, digital prints, color
transparencies, color prints, or black and white prints — so long as they are
submitted electronically in a .JPEG .jpg, or.png form. Multiple exposures that
have been combined to produce a single “High Dynamic Range” image are
Previously published material for
which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you still
maintain the right to grant us a license (see “Your Rights” below).
You must be able to disclose when and where the photo appeared previously to
VASWCD upon request.
If you choose to include people in your submission, you are responsible
for obtaining the necessary releases from the individuals depicted, and must be
able to provide copies of those releases to VASWCD upon request.
The following submissions are
Images of captive animals photographed in zoos and commercial game farms.
Photos that violate or infringe upon another person’s rights, including
but not limited to copyright.
Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent, or other
objectionable or inappropriate content.
Images that involve the willful harassment of wildlife, or damage to the environment by the photographer or
Images that involve putting any individual or animal in danger.
Images taken more than three years prior to the beginning date of the Contest (February 1, 2021).
The VASWCD shall determine entry
eligibility in its sole and absolute discretion.
How to Enter
You may enter up to ten (10)
images during the entry period, however only one winning photo per person. The
VASWCD reserves the right to reject any additional entries or entries that do
not comply with these Official Rules. By entering, you indicate your
unconditional agreement to, and acceptance of, these Official Rules and
VASWCD’s decisions, which are final and binding. You cannot win a prize unless
you comply with all requirements in these Official Rules.
Entrants may be asked to
supplement their submission (such as with a paragraph about their photo or the
highest resolution version of their photo).
Photos will be judged on
originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, artistic merit
and subject matter relevance to conservation, except that the People’s Choice
award will be determined based on which of the honorable mentions receives the
most votes. Judging will be conducted by a panel of VASWCD and or SWCD
employees/officials (the “Panel”). The Panel will evaluate all valid entries
and pick winners in the following categories:
Overall Winner (1 winner): Illustrates how people interact
with their environment and care for the natural
resources around them.
People’s Choice (1 winner): Overall winner selected from among the 10 honorable mentions based on the highest
number of votes received during public voting to be held on the VASWCD Facebook
page in August 2020.
Young Photographer (1 winner): Best vibrant moment of conservation, taken by a photographer under 18 years of age.
The honorable mentions will be
notified and will appear on the VASWCD website. At that time, the public can
vote for one People’s Choice winner from the honorable mentions. All potential
winners will be revealed online by September 30, 2021.
All judging decisions are final.
Please do not contact us about the status of entries or judging. The VASWCD
will notify the winner via the contact information provided at the time of
No alteration or manipulation of
photographs is permitted except for standard optimization (red eye removal,
removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and
contrast, etc.). However, photographic techniques such as HDR, light-painting
and long exposures are allowed. Photographs with watermarks, writing or symbols
of any kind will be rejected.
Photograph(s) depicting anything
that does not adhere to the rules of the VASWCD Photo Contest, contain unsafe
acts, present resource or public use management concerns or photographs that
are inappropriate, indecent or obscene, as determined by VASWCD in their sole
discretion, shall be disqualified.
Potential Winner Requirements
Except where prohibited, a
potential winner may be required to complete and return an affidavit of
eligibility, including proof of age, and liability/publicity release within 14
days. If a potential winner is a minor, his/her parent or legal guardian will
be required to sign the documents on his/her behalf. If a potential winner
fails to return these documents on time, an alternate potential winner may be
selected in his/her place.
Prizes will be determined by the
VASWCD. A prize may not be transferred and must be accepted as awarded. A winner
may not request cash or a substitute prize.
You will retain all rights to any photograph you submit — including joint
ownership with the VASWCD and participating districts.
If you submit a photograph to
enter the Photo Contest, you grant the VASWCD a royalty-free, nonexclusive
right during the Photo Contest and in perpetuity to:
Display the photograph on the Photo Contest submission website
Allow third-parties to share the photograph on the following social
media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and district websites.
Use the photograph on the Internet and in Social Media in support of
Use the photograph in the VASWCD’s internal and external communications
materials including but not limited
to web sites and web publications, fact sheets,
fund raising publications, advertising, multimedia, presentation, annual report
and VASWCD District Directory.
Provide your photograph to other individuals and organizations for
VASWCD- related use in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows,
displays, web pages, videos, and the like.
Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city, and state
of residence in promotions and
a digital copy of your photograph that will be archived in the VASWCD photo
library and accessible to VASWCD & SWCD staff. The VASWCD will endeavor to credit all photographs with the
caption “Person’s Name” when the full name is available.
By entering, entrants
(parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence)
grant a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license to the VASWCD
to edit, adapt, make derivative works from, broadcast, publish and otherwise
use any or all of the descriptions and/or photograph(s) submitted, and may use them for advertising, promotional and/or any
other purpose in any and all media now or hereafter devised worldwide in
perpetuity without additional compensation, notification or permission, unless
prohibited by law. By entering this Contest, entrants (parent/legal guardian if
entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence) agree to have their submitted
photograph(s) used and displayed, either singularly or in combination with
others and in any size, on the official VASWCD website and social media
platforms and on the websites, social media, and print materials of the VASWCD
as well as their SWCDs without any fee or other form of compensation due at any
time for so long as desired by the VASWCD. Credits, descriptions or titles, if
any, used with the photograph(s) are in the VASWCD’s sole discretion. In the
event that ownership of any photograph(s) submitted is challenged in any manner
by any person, the VASWCD may disqualify that photograph(s) and will
discontinue use of the photograph(s).
In the event that the operation,
security, or administration of the Photo Contest is impaired in any way, VASWCD
may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Photo Contest to address
the impairment and then resume the Photo Contest; or (b) award the prize(s)
from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment.
VASWCD reserves the right, in its
sole discretion, to disqualify and seek damages from any individual who tampers
with the operation of the Photo Contest, violates these Official Rules, or acts
in a disruptive or unsportsmanlike manner. VASWCD’s failure to enforce any term
of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Proof
of sending any communication to VASWCD by mail shall not be deemed proof of
receipt of that communication by VASWCD. In the event of a dispute as to the
owner of an online entry, the authorized account holder of the e-mail address
used to enter will be deemed to be
the owner. The Photo Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and
regulations and is void where prohibited.
Release and Limitations of Liability
By entering, you (parent/legal
guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence) agree to release
and hold harmless VASWCD, Facebook, their respective parent, subsidiaries,
affiliates, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, and
SWCD agents (the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of
action arising out of participation in the Photo Contest or receipt or use of
any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention
in the Photo Contest; (b) technical errors; (c) printing errors; (d) late or
undelivered mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Photo Contest; or (f)
injury or damage to persons or property. You waive the right to claim any
attorney’s fees and any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to,
punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.
Privacy and Publicity
Any information you submit as part
The information you provide when you enter is provided to the VASWCD. Except
where prohibited, you consent to VASWCD’s use of your name in any list of
winners (if applicable) and for promotional purposes in any media without
further payment or consideration.
You agree that any and all
disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the
Photo Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without
resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court
located in Virginia. All issues and questions concerning the construction,
validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, your
rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the VASWCD
in connection with the Photo
Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in
accordance with, the laws of Virginia, without giving effect to any choice of
law or conflict of law rules (whether of Virginia or any other jurisdiction),
which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than Virginia.
The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District Board will meet on Monday, January 25, 2021 virtually on Zoom at 5:00 p.m. For connecting information electronically contact the Blue Ridge SWCD office.
The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District has cost share available to install Agricultural and Forestry best management practices and is prioritizing lands impacted by the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). these may include grazing management, tree plantings, agricultural waste management and more. If interested, please contact the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District at (540) 352-3312 to find out more and determine eligibility.
the Virginia Department of Forestry chose to recognize Mr. Roger Hatcher for
the 2020 BMP Forestry Award. The property that Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher own has
been in his family since 1949. The Hatcher family farmed this property for many
years before making the deciding to transition from farming to forest
management. The property is mainly used for hunting and growing pine &
hardwood timber. This property is a
Certified Stewardship property.
recorded timber harvest on this property took place from 1998 to 1999. A
42-acres area of mature Virginia Pine was clear-cut and then reforested with
Loblolly pine. These planted Loblolly pines were commercially thinned for the
first time in 2019. The overall goal for this area is to eventually have it clearcut
and reforested once again, but only after the newly harvested and reforested
areas have become well established.
another 13 acre area of mature Virginia Pine was clearcut and reforested with
Loblolly pine. This area was not commercially thinned during the most recent
harvest because the timber still needs more time to grow. In the future when
the 42 acres parcel is clearcut this parcel will likely be commercially
thinned. Giving the residual trees more room to grow.
course of the last 2 years the Hatcher’s have had approximately 22 additional
acres clearcut directly beside their home place. This area has since been
reforested and release sprayed to reduce natural hardwood regeneration
competition. By harvesting this area last, they have insured that, in the
future, they will not have a view of the large clearcut area that will be a
result of the final harvest of the pines that were planted in the late 90s.
family has invested many years of blood, sweat, and tears into this beautiful
Henry County property with the goal of having something to leave to their
children. The children and grandchildren have and will continue to reap the
benefits of the hard work that Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher have put into their land during
the last 20 years and for many years to follow.
The Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association (VLWA) has been awarding Leo Bourassa scholarships since 2001 to deserving college students to help fulfill our mission. The scholarship program is named after Leo Bourassa who was the founding father of VLWA. The goal of the scholarships is to support students in their education in the field of water resources to help promote good lake and watershed management within the Commonwealth of Virginia. VLWA has awarded seventy-eight student scholarships to-date for a total amount of $153,300 and the scholarship awards have ranged in value from $3,000 to $500 each. The scholarship recipients are selected based on academic performance, contribution to the field of water resources, and related extracurricular activities. The applicant must be a Virginia resident attending an accredited Virginia college or university and applications are due by April 1, 2021. More information about the VLWA Leo Bourassa Scholarship Program can be found HERE. Please see the website for details on applicant eligibility and application submittal requirements. The application form can be submitted electronically via the website. Two reference letters for each applicant will need to be mailed to the VLWA scholarship committee chair at the address listed on the website. APPLY NOW!
VCAP offers a wide variety of practices that can help individual homeowners and other groups control stormwater, improve water quality, and beautify their property, all the while reducing the amount of sediment and nutrients that make it into Virginia’s waterways. There is a wealth of information available at http://vaswcd.org/vcap, including overviews of each practice, project photos, and more technical information.
The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District,
located at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA, 24151, is now accepting application
for the Program Year 2021 Virginia Agricultural Cost Share (VACS) program. This program offers conservation practices to
farmers that include planting winter cover crops on cropland, ways to manage
and store animal waste, plans for use of nutrients, exclusion of livestock from
streams, install watering systems and rotational grazing, plant trees to
convert crop and pastureland to forest, plus several other practices. These practices are incentivized and can pay
up to 100% paid by a reimbursement. To
qualify, land must be currently in agricultural production with a water quality
concern present. For more information,
please call the Blue Ridge SWCD at 540-352-3312 and ask for Michael Tabor or
Allen Jackson. Our early sign-up deadline is September 4, 2020 and new
practices will be ranked and approved no earlier than the September 28th
Blue Ridge SWCD Board Meeting. Programs
offered through Blue Ridge SWCD are available to all people regardless of race,
color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or political affiliation.