Financial incentives for Environmental Land Management available
Those who live in Jefferson County and/or the Elks Run watershed (any land that eventually drains to Elks Run), have several programs available through the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District (EPCD). These offer financial assistance with a variety of land management practices that may increase the value and beauty of property, in addition to improving local water quality in the streams and rivers where fishing is prominent, as well as recreational water use and even drinking water sources.
Those who live in Jefferson County may be interested in EPCD’s Septic Pumping Reimbursement program, which offers a 50 percent reimbursement for having one’s septic system pumped, up to a maximum of $150. EPCD also has a program for those who raise livestock that cost shares 90 percent up to $10,000 for livestock exclusion from streams, which can include fencing (high tensile wire only), stream crossings, alternative watering systems and planting trees along the stream.
Residents within the Elks Run watershed, which is located in Jefferson County and covers parts of Kearneysville, Bardane, Shenandoah Junction and Duffields, have even more programs available. This is because Elks Run has high levels of bacteria and too much sediment, and these pollutants are impairing the stream. Additional programs have been created through for Elks Run EPA’s Clean Water Act 319 Program in order to improve water quality by reducing the amount of pollutants that reach the stream through rain water runoff.
Residents can get potentially get their septic system repaired with EPCD paying up to $7,000 for the cost of repair, if the system is having problems and introducing harmful bacteria into the environment. There is an initial $500 to be paid by the resident.
Another program offers a 75 percent reimbursement for the installation of special gardens designed to help capture and absorb stormwater called rain gardens. These rain gardens are a landscaping and beautification tool. One can receive up to a maximum of $1,200 back on a rain garden installation! EPCD is accepting applications for rain gardens through July 20, so those interested should seek information immediately.
A rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots and compacted lawn areas, the opportunity to be absorbed. This reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground instead of flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, and flooding. The purpose of a rain garden is to help control stormwater on one’s property which will help improve water quality in nearby bodies of water.
Please note that there are processes that must be followed in order to apply and qualify for each of these programs. Programs are only available as funding lasts, and applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. Application forms can be found at www.elksrunwatershed.org . If you are interested in any of these programs, please call Suzy Lucas, conservation specialist with the WV Conservation Agency at (304) 263-4376 ext. 3 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To determine what watershed exists in a certain area, please visit www.region9wv.com , click on “Chesapeake Bay Updates”, and then scroll down and click on “What’s my watershed?”. From there enter an address and find out exactly the watershed area.