The Headwaters District is one of 47 Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Formed in 1975, the District is a part of the state government which provides citizens the structure and the capability to solve conservation problems at a local grassroots level.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts administer Virginia’s Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program, with technical assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Cooperation between agencies and sharing technical expertise enables the Headwaters District to assist the community in protecting its natural resources.
Headwaters District covers over 1,000 square miles of the Shenandoah Valley (approximately 621,893 acres), including Augusta County and the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro.
The District is flanked by the Allegheny Mountains on the west, and the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east. Soils derived from sandstone and shales extend along the mountains and foothills, while soils of limestone origin are in the rolling valleys between the mountains.
Headwaters is aptly named, as two river systems, which both empty into the Chesapeake Bay, originate here. The northern two-thirds of Augusta County drain to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, and the streams in the southern third of the District flow into the James.
Augusta County has the second largest income from farming production and poultry production in Virginia, and is in the top five counties for dairy, beef, alfalfa hay and hardwood production. The growing population of the District causes increasing pressure for development on prime farmland.
- Augusta County ranks second in Virginia for total value of agricultural products sold.
- It is also ranked second in the state for poultry and egg production as well as sales from cattle and calves.
- Augusta County ranks third in milk sales, and first in sales of sheep and wool.
- It also leads the state in acreage of land used for pasture and hay.