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Virginia Wetland

Virginia Land Use and Protection

Virginia’s major non-urban land uses include forestry, crop production and pastures. Most Virginia wetlands are open or forested and only seasonally saturated.

Land Treatments

Virginia NRCS targets conservation treatments to protect soil, water, air, plant and animal resources tied to land uses. Major natural resource concerns include:

  • erosion by wind and water
  • maintaining and enhancing soil health
  • water quality and quantity
  • plant condition and health
  • wildlife habitat.

Virginia NRCS offers assistance for:

  • animal waste storage and handling facilities for livestock operations (including dairy, swine, and poultry) and efficient application of organic nutrients
  • planning and implementing rotational grazing systems, excluding live-stock from streams, establishing riparian buffers and applying nutrients more efficiently
  • crop rotations, cover crops, high-residue crop production and no-till with erosion control practices to help protect surface and groundwater quality and improve soil health.

Conservation Compliance

Wetland Conservation (WC) and Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) aren’t just good for the environment. They’re good for business, too. These provisions introduced in the 1985 Farm Bill can help protect landowner eligibility for USDA Farm Bill benefits to include loans, conservation programs and crop insurance.

Participating producers agree that they will not:

  • Produce an agricultural commodity on highly erodible land without an adequate conservation system;
  • Plant an agricultural commodity on a converted wetland;
  • Convert a wetland to make possible the production of an agricultural commodity.

Growers self-certify compliance by filing form AD-1026 when enrolling in USDA programs. The AD-1026 filing may prompt the NRCS to initiate
a determination to ensure the producer receives proper notification about whether the identified field contains wetlands or highly erodible lands.

Our conservationists use software, geospatial data and some in-field measurements to calculate HEL. They then work with growers to develop conservation plans or systems to substantially reduce soil loss on lands identified as highly erodible.

Soil scientists have been trained to identify, delineate and certify wetlands. These certified determinations stay in effect as long as the land
is used for agricultural purposes.

HELC/WC Technical Resources

Wetlands, soils, and climate vary widely based on the geography of each State. Information and technical resources specific to Virginia implementation of the HELC/WC provisions are provided below:

Field Office Technical Guide VA - FOTG Section 3 - Legislated Programs, Job Approval Authority


Chad Wentz

State Resource Conservationist

Greg Hammer

State Compliance Specialist