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Nutrients and water quality

Excess nutrients in runoff are a chief threat to water quality. When it rains, the rain can cause erosion, pick up nutrients and chemicals, and run off the land into our waterways. These hitchhikers help us grow crops and have a nice lawn, but they're less useful in our streams, rivers, lakes and bays. Nutrients can lead to harmful algal blooms that kill underwater plants and destroy habitat that aquatic life needs to survive. They can also lead to water with little or no dissolved oxygen, again to the detriment of aquatic life that happen to be a food source for people.

Nutrient management and soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) play a pivotal role in preventing such runoff. In fact, SWCDs have been in the business of fighting erosion and preventing pollution since the mid-1930s. And Virginia's 47 districts still wage the good fight, focusing mainly on on-the-ground work. DCR works closely with districts and farmers, urban and suburban landowners, and other land managers to cut this harmful runoff, but controlling runoff pollution is everyone's business. Each of us causes runoff pollution, and each of us must act to reduce its effects.


DCR water quality programs and issues

Introduction, overview of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution
Adopt-A-Stream - You can help!
Agricultural Best Management Practices
Agricultural BMP Cost-Share training for SWCDs
Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund - a.k.a., bay license plate
Clean Water Farm Awards
Conservation Marketing Warehouse (for SWCDs wanting to improve their identity)
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (Virginia's)
CREP incentive table
Farm animal data overview
Glossary of soil and water conservation terms
Golf course nutrient management plan development and grant opportunities
Grant Project Management Manual

Guidance on requesting match from the Virginia Natural Resources Conservation Fund issued on Aug. 12, 2013.
Healthy Waters Initiative
How to request VNRCF fund match
Hydrologic Unit Geography
NPS Pollution Assessment and Prioritization
NPS Pollution Best Management Practices
Nutrient Management
Nutrient Management Training Opportunities
Plant More Plants to keep Virginia's waterways clean
Poultry Litter Transport Incentive Program
Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs)
SWCD Dam Ownership Reference and Training Resources
SWCDs listed by locality
Soil and Water Conservation Board
Soil Surveys

SWCD Directory

The Directory of Virginia SWCDs is on the Virginia Association of SWCDs website.