The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) is a cost-share program that provides financial incentives and technical and educational assistance to home and property owners installing eligible Best Management Practices in Virginia’s participating Soil and Water Conservation Districts. These practices can be installed in areas of your yard or property where problems like erosion, poor drainage, or poor vegetation occur. Qualified sites may be used for residential, commercial, or recreational purposes. Best management practices include things such as living shorelines, conservation landscaping, rain gardens, impervious surface removal, constructed wetlands, rainwater harvesting, and more.
Why do Virginia’s waters need improving? Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water quality problems. Rainfall or snowmelt from suburban lawns, golf courses, and paved surfaces picks up and carries away natural and humanmade pollutants depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.
Roads, parking lots, sidewalks, homes, and offices replace natural landscapes. Rainfall that once soaked into vegetated ground now becomes stormwater runoff, which flows directly into local waterways. As more natural landscapes are converted to impermeable surfaces or managed turf, stormwater moves across them, carrying pollutants such as sediment and nutrients to vulnerable streams and rivers. Storm drains you see on the street do not provide any sort of water filtration.
Virginia’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) for the Chesapeake Bay identifies that urban/suburban runoff is contributing to impairment and efforts to retroactively address stormwater runoff from existing impervious surfaces is a priority. VCAP is an opportunity to help you do your part to improve water quality.
In FY 2022, the District oversaw the implementation of one VCAP project. This living shoreline project stabilized 132 linear feet along Occohannock Creek .
FY 2023 sign-ups for VCAP are ongoing. Call Bill Savage at 757-302-4437 to make an appointment. Additional information can be also be found by following the links on their website (esswcd.org).