Semi-permanent Solar-powered Watering Options to
Enhance Grazing Management

mobile solar unit

The Virginia Cooperative Extension, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Virginia Tech have partnered to research possible solutions for landowners who, for various reasons, don’t have access to wells or electricity in a pastures they would like to graze.

Solar-powered pumps can be an option to pump water to livestock where a well and/or electricity are not available (on rented property). Solar panels and pumps are widely available online, and their cost has decreased considerably in recent years. System design options vary based on management goals, site and budget constraints. However, for the systems explored through this demonstration project, plug-and-go pump and panel systems can be purchased for around $3,000, (not including plumbing) with enough capability to pump about 2,500 gallons/day under ideal conditions. Solar-powered watering systems can be installed on a semi-permanent basis where issues of land ownership dictate (e.g., they can be removed, relocated, etc.). However, the above-ground system components used in these demonstration projects are only operational during freeze-free months, and must be prepared for winter storage to prevent damage to equipment.

You can read the full report on this system here.






The Headwaters Soil & Water Conservation District will hold its monthly Board of Directors meetings for 2017 according to the following schedule (3rd Tuesday of each month):

  • January 17
  • February 21
  • *March 21 – The place for this meeting is changed to Hometown Grill, Staunton.
  • April 18
  • *May 16 – The place for this meeting is changed to Hometown Grill, Staunton.
  • *June 20 – The time for this meeting is changed to 9:00 am – 11:00 am with no Executive Committee planned. The meeting will be held in the Smith-West Room of the Augusta County Government Center.
  • July 18
  • August 15 – the time for this meeting is changed to 9:00 AM, with Executive Committee planned for 8:30.
  • September 19
  • October 17
  • November 21
  • December 19

Meetings are held at 9:00 AM at the Augusta County Government Center, Verona, and are open to the public.  For further info call Headwaters SWCD at 248-0148.

The second annual Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week is being held June 3 – 11, 2017. Come celebrate our local stream health and contributions to the Bay efforts.

Local Augusta County farmer, Jimmy Callison, will be hosting the event. Mr. Callison has installed two miles of fencing and three stream crossings to exclude cattle from Middle River, and planted several hundred hardwood trees within that buffer.

Farm Tour begins at 9:30 a.m.
Speakers commence at 10:00 a.m.

CBAW farm tour flyer

Stormwater runoff is rainfall that flows over the ground surface such as: sidewalks, rooftops of homes or businesses, roadways, parking lots, and managed turf. Stormwater runoff is more frequent in urban areas due to the replacement of more natural, once-vegetated landscapes with impermeable surfaces, areas where water no longer has the ability to absorb into the ground. This runoff causes more frequent flooding of streams and roadways, which yields water that carries many substances that pollute and impair the vulnerable streams of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) is an urban cost-share program that provides technical and educational assistance to property owners who wish to voluntarily install eligible stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP’s). The purpose of VCAP is to address natural resource concerns in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and to address meeting Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) goals. “Urban” may describe localities that 1) must meet Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit requirements or 2) have no other cost-share program assistance available. VCAP implementation is available to both homeowners and businesses. Popular eligible VCAP practices include: Conservation Landscaping, Rainwater Harvesting, Rain Gardens, and Green Roofs. To obtain a full list of eligible VCAP practices please visit

If you would like further information or are interested in implementing a VCAP project in Augusta County, City of Staunton, or City of Waynesboro (or would like further information on eligibility requirements and specifications), please contact Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District (HSWCD) by phone (540)-248-0148 or email