Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP)

District-wide financial incentives for non-agricultural best management practices: Applications are currently being accepted from property owners in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Fluvanna County, Nelson County, and Louisa County.

If you live in Charlottesville City, please visit our Charlottesville Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP) page! Contact Nicola McGoff at (434) 975-0224, Ext. 103, if you have any questions.

The District, in partnership with four other Districts, is initiating a "Conservation Assistance Program" to assist non-agricultural landowners to reduce their stormwater footprint and improve water quality. Currently four practices have funding available to landowners - conversion of turf grass to native plants, installation of community pet waste stations, installing rain gardens, and rain water harvesting using cisterns 250 gallons and greater. Applications are currently being accepted from property owners in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Fluvanna County, Nelson County, and Louisa County. Click here to download the form. All applications should be accompanied by a preliminary plan of the practice describing the site, objectives of the practice, square footage, and location. Program details are still being formulated but please feel free to contact Nicola or Alyson with any questions regarding your interest in this program.

Click here for the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program Implementation and Design Manual.

Click here to download a copy of PEC's Go Native Go Local guide. For more information on the guide, contact PEC at (540) 347-2334 or gonative@pecva.org.

Turf To Natives

This practice encompasses the conversion of turf grass areas to native planted areas – herbaceous and woody species. Changing landscape practices collectively in a community, can have significant beneficial impacts on local water quality, and that of the Chesapeake Bay.

Native plants are generally best adapted to local soil and climate conditions and therefore require the least amount of nutrient addition or cultivation in order to maintain the amount of ground cover best suited to minimize runoff. In contrast, turf grasses generally require both continual maintenance and periodic fertilization in order to provide the same amount of stormwater runoff protection. Therefore conversion of turf grass to native plants will generally be beneficial to the protection of water quality from nonpoint source runoff pollution.

The nutrient load of a residential lawn (.2 acres) has been estimated at approximately 1.6 lbs./year of nitrogen and 0.23 lbs./yr. of phosphorus (ref. Rappahannock River Friendly Yard Brochure).    

The incentive payment rate for this practice has two levels. For converting turf grass to a meadow like setting, with only grasses and forbs, the rate is $75 per 1000 square feet. For converting turf grass areas to a landscaped bed  setting with trees, shrubs, and ground cover/mulch, the rate is $750 per 1000 square feet.

Some suggested resources:

Pet Waste Stations

Pet waste naturally contains bacteria that can be harmful to human health and is also rich in nutrients. When pet waste is washed off the land surface into our local storm drains and streams it can cause algae blooms and bacterial contamination of the creeks. Installing pet waste stations in your neighborhood can greatly improve the cleanliness of the neighborhood and also the local streams. For information and cost share on homeowner pet waste composters please go to the Rivanna Regional Stormwater Education Partnership (RRSEP) website

This urban practice is for use in common areas of a neighborhood only, not an individual homeowners back yard. Typically pet waste stations consist of a metal pole with a sign post to explain the pet waste station, a waste bag dispenser, and oftentimes a 10 gallon waste receptacle. The cost share payment for this practice is 75% payment of the cost incurred up to $400 per application.

Rain Water Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting rainwater from rooftops and storing it for later use. For more information on rain water harvesting please go to our rain water harvesting webpage. This urban practice is intended for the installation of cisterns 250 gallons and larger. The installation plans will need to be certified by an engineer. The payment details of this program are still tentative, but will likely be $1.50 to $2.00 per gallon of storage volume. Please complete an application form and submit it along with a preliminary plan of the cistern installation. In the preliminary plan please include volume of the cistern, location for installation, and site constraints. More specific detail for operation and maintenance are pending, please check back later for more details.

-TJSWCD Rooftop Runoff Brochure

-Rooftop Runoff Manual

Rain Gardens

This urban practice is intended for the individual homeowner or public spaces, and is for small rain garden installation with a drainage area of 0.5 acres or less. The practice is eligible for 75% cost share up to $1800 per application, and must be maintained for 10 years. Applications are currently being acepted. Please complete an application form and submit it along with a preliminary plan of the rain garden. In the preliminary plan please include square footage of the rain garden, the drainage area, proposed planting plans, overflow drainage, and the site location. More specific detail for operation and maintenance are pending, please check back later for more details.

Heritage Harvest Festival Rain Garden Handout

Rain Gardens Technical Guide is a publication by the Virginia Department of Forestry which goes step-by-step through how to create your own rain garden.

Rain Garden Plant Selection Brochure