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Watershed surveys and planning

In order to implement watershed projects in Virginia, our technical assistance professionals must work with our local sponsors to identify and evaluate all relevant issues within the context of federal, state and local legislation and policy that guide the water resource planning process.  The overall process of planning and providing technical and financial assistance is guided by Congressional mandates intended to assure that such assistance is provided only: 

  • Where there is local leadership and decision making, typically led by a local watershed steering committee with local government sponsorship and with full public participation by all affected individuals and parties; and
  • Within guidance provided through the National Watershed Manual (NWSM), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines (P&G).

NEPA requires that environmental considerations be central to any federal investment that alters the landscape and our natural resources.  NHPA requires that historic preservation (cultural and historic resources) be considered, and appropriately dealt with, whenever federal funds result in physical changes on the landscape.  P&G, like NEPA, addresses environmental evaluation procedures and also requires that the economic and social costs and benefits of any federal action be duly identified, accounted for, and used to contribute to the public investment decision making process. 

Therefore, watershed planning, including dam rehabilitation, supported by the NRCS requires all parties involved to conduct planning and evaluation in view of identified social, economic, historic and environmental considerations.  The end objective of this process is to only provide federal funds to projects that are technically and environmentally sound, socially acceptable, economically justified, and supported by grass-roots democratic processes.  Congress deemed these considerations necessary precisely because we know that projects such as dams serve to provide many valued benefits, but they can also have negative effects on the environment.  Learn more about watershed planning (a hyper link).

Watershed Planning Products

The following document requires Acrobat Reader. If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Ron Wood at (804) 287-1660.

Maps in PDF format

        - Floodplain Management Studies Map (pdf, 580kb)
        - River Basin Map (pdf, 1mb)
        - Watershed Project Status Map (pdf, 812kb)
        - Watershed Protection Projects Map (pdf, 478kb)

Project Fact Sheets

- Buena Vista Watershed Project (pdf, 102KB)
- North Fork of the Powell River Watershed Assessment Project, Lee County, Virginia (pdf, 231KB)


- Final Plan & Environmental Assessment: North Fork Powell River Watershed – (pdf, 5MB)

Contact: Wade Biddix
               PH: (804) 287- 1675 or email
               1606 Santa Rosa Road, Richmond VA 23229