James Pinsky: It takes green to make green

James Pinsky

Hugging a tree might be free, but saving them isn’t.

Conservation, especially sustainable conservation, takes quite a bit of funding.

The good news is there are a variety of grants, donors and organizations that have, provide and educate people about conservation funding sources.

We happen to be one of them.

No, really!

Just ask the Town of Woodstock, which received $50,000 in grant funding through one of our programs, the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program. The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program is an urban cost share program of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The program provides financial reimbursement to property owners installing specific urban conservation practices that treat stormwater at its source and mitigate the negative impacts of stormwater runoff. Anyone on non-agricultural land (residential, commercial, public and private) is eligible to apply.

Alison Sloop, a conservation apecialist with the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, collaborated with Lemuel Hancock, Woodstock’s urban designer and neighborhood planner, and Angela Clem, Woodstock town manager, to develop three project plans and successfully complete the grant application. Woodstock will now install a 2,922-square-foot commercial rain garden, and facilitate the removal and replacement of 5,080 square feet of impervious surface with permeable paving in town thanks to the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program.

“It’s amazing how the Town of Woodstock has made it a priority to implement green infrastructure in town improvement projects,” said Sloop. “The town is open to new ideas and can see the long term benefits of using green infrastructure to manage stormwater. They are an example of how much impact a small town can have on water quality and urban conservation here in the valley and all the way out at the bay.”

If you or someone you know has some urban conservation ideas that you think might work, contact us. We can, hopefully, help turn your idea into a grant-funded project with The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program.

Most practices are eligible for 75 percent cost share and some practices provide a flat incentive payment up to the installation cost. A number of practices are eligible for cost share funding including:

• Conservation landscaping: Includes meadows, mulch beds and tree plantings. Can be used as filter strips or riparian buffers.
• Impervious surface removal
• Rain garden
• Dry well
• Rainwater harvesting
• Vegetated conveyance system: Includes grass channels, dry swales, wet swales, and step pool conveyance.
• Constructed wetlands
• Bioretention
• Infiltration
• Permeable pavement
• Green roof

For more information about the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program or other opportunities residents within the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District region, contact our office at 540-465-2424 ext. 5 or visit us at www.lfswcd.org.

*** A friendly reminder that we have three public meetings left as part of our four-year strategic planning review. We encourage everyone to participate. A schedule of the public meetings with the location, date and time is available on our website along with a link to this survey: www.lfswcd.org.

7 p.m. Tuesday: Frederick County/City of Winchester, Frederick County Board of Supervisors, 107 N. Kent St., Winchester.

7 p.m. March 7 Wrap-Up Session: Strasburg Community Center, 726 E. Queen St., Strasburg.

James Pinsky is the Education and Information Coordinator for the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District. Contact him at 540.465.2424, ext. 104, or james.pinsky@lfswcd.org.