Pastures to Preserves

A program that has already created 2,000 acres of farmland into wildlife areas in Augusta County will add 400 acres this year.

Under the program, native grasses and trees are planted along waterways, creating a "living filter" to keep runoff from entering the water.

Robert Whitescarver, district conservationist for the United States Department of Agriculture, says scientific research has shown that a 35-foot wide tree buffer will filter 95 percent of the sediment, 92 percent of the nitrogen and 84 percent of the phosphorus in runoff out of the water.

Last week, Whitescarver offered a training session to farmers and landowners.

Whitescarver says they'll receive federal and state cost-share funding to help pay for the native plants and fences to keep cattle out of streams. He says these programs cover between 70 percent and 115 percent of the cost of implementing the practices.


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