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February 8, 2024

A new effort undertaken by two Soil and Water Conservation Districts can provide financial support to landowners dealing with stormwater issues such as erosion, soil loss, and poor drainage. Understanding these issues and why they’re occurring, and then developing a solution, can be challenging.

Recognizing these challenges, the Three Rivers Soil and Water Conservation District and the Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District have partnered to provide guidance and financial assistance to landowners experiencing stormwater issues. This support is provided through the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program, or VCAP.

VCAP is a cost-share program that provides financial incentives and technical assistance to landowners who install eligible Best Management Practices (BMPs). Eligible practices include rain gardens, native plant habitats, dry wells, green roofs, permeable pavement, constructed wetlands, living shorelines, and more. Many of these practices capture stormwater runoff where it begins and allow it to soak into the ground below, which helps to prevent erosion and flooding. Practices that include native plants also provide valuable habitat for pollinator species.

VCAP utilizes state funding to provide cost-share payments for eligible costs associated with BMP installation. Payment rates for approved BMPs vary from up to $7,000 for rain gardens, native habitats, and dry wells, to up to $20,000 for permeable pavement and up to $30,000 for living shorelines.

With increasing costs for these types of projects, these payments can significantly reduce the financial barriers encountered when dealing with stormwater management. Eligible landowners include private residences, schools, places of worship, businesses, and public lands. State and federally owned lands are not eligible.

Landowners who are experiencing stormwater issues in Essex, King William, and King and Queen counties and would like to learn more about the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program can contact the Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District at 757-778-1216 or visit the Three Rivers Soil and Water Conservation District website at for an application and further program details.

Article appeared in The Rappahannock Times on January 31, 2024

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