Community Assistance for Water Quality Protection

As development increases, so does the presence of impervious or water-resistant surfaces. Stormwater runoff is a factor that many cities and towns face. Trees help to offset this runoff by absorbing, redirecting, and slowing down water in our urban areas. Removal of streamside vegetation for changing land uses and infrastructure development has reduced the natural filtration of streams and other bodies of water. Communities and local governments are faced with the challenge of planning development with residential, commercial, and industrial sites for economic growth, while also creating better river function for flood control and water supply. Research has shown that adding trees is an inexpensive way to combat these issues.

Virginia Department of Forestry can assist communities and local governments with water quality protection.

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Get help with planting riparian forest buffers and water quality protection.

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A variety of financial assistance programs are available through VDOF and partner agencies for forest management activities to help protect water quality.

Explore All Financial Assistance Programs


Additional Resources

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Forests and Water - Get the Most Out of Your Land
Forests and Water – Get the Most Out of Your LandP00211

Publication is directed to landowners to educate about forest buffers, stream water quality, watersheds, riparian buffer tax credit program and other programs that can assist. Printed copies available.

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Riparian Buffer Implementation Plan 2006-2010
Riparian Buffer Implementation Plan 2006-2010

Report provides details of the implementation plan to support the Virginia Riparian Buffer Initiative.

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Riparian Buffers Tax Credit
Riparian Buffers Tax CreditP00123

Brochure described the Riparian Buffers Tax Credit program, including who is eligible, how to sign up, application requirements, application approval, Buffer specifications, noncompliance, and inspections. Printed copies available.

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Riparian Forest Buffers - Forests on the Water's Edge
Riparian Forest Buffers – Forests on the Water’s EdgeP00140

Publication is the effort of the Chesapeake Bay Program, including multiple states within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, to educate the community leaders and the public about the benefits of riparian forest Buffers, their importance to watersheds for air quality, water quality and fish and wildlife habitat, forest Buffer losses and how we manage growth in riparian zones, how to maintain quality riparian forest Buffers, efforts in riparian forest restoration, and what you can do for forest Buffers. Printed copies available.

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Riparian Forest Handbook 1 - Appreciating and Evaluating Stream Side Forests
Riparian Forest Handbook 1 – Appreciating and Evaluating Stream Side ForestsNo #

Handbook is a valuable resource describing why riparian forests are important, evaluating the health of your riparian buffer, and determining how to restore your riparian forests.

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Virginia's Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality - Field Guide
Virginia’s Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality – Field GuideP00134

Technical field guide provides a convenient pocket instruction guide for timber harvesters to protect water quality when harvesting timber and comply with applicable laws. Printed copies available.

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Virginia's Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality - Technical Guide - Fifth Edition
Virginia’s Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality – Technical Guide – Fifth EditionP00104

Technical guide provides detailed instruction for timber harvesters to protect water quality when harvesting timber and comply with applicable laws. Printed copies available.

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Why Plant Forest Buffer? - Planting Riparian Forest Buffer is Real Forestry
Why Plant Forest Buffer? – Planting Riparian Forest Buffer is Real ForestryFT0013

Forestry topic information sheet emphasizes the importance of riparian Buffers to protect waterways, including what are riparian Buffers, riparian Buffer implementation, and cost-share programs available, such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

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Contact Us

Your local VDOF forester can provide guidance with planting riparian forest buffers and water quality protection. Contact your local VDOF forester.

For more information or questions, e-mail us or use our contact form.