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To promote the stewardship and sustainable use of natural resources and protect lives and property through the operation and maintenance of flood control dams.


To achieve healthy and productive soil and water for the benefit and enjoyment for all people.

The Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was formed under the authority of Title 21, Code of Virginia, passed by the General Assembly in 1938. The district, established in 1975 is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia encompassing all the land within the boundaries of Augusta County, including the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro.

The district is governed by an eight-member board, consisting of two directors from each locality elected in the general election, and two “at-large” directors appointed by Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.  The district also has ten Associate Directors, respected in their fields of natural resources, education or business. All directors serve four-year terms, and their service is voluntary.

All programs and services of the district are offered on a non-discriminatory basis without regard to race, color, natural origin, religion, sex, age, marital status or disability.

Headwaters SWCD maintains, inspects and makes repairs for 11 SWCD flood control dams, and 5 additional dams of partner agencies. Headwaters also holds or co-holds 14 conservation easements.

Headwaters SWCD is in Area 1 of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. There are 47 districts statewide. The district is supported by the Commonwealth of Virginia through administrative and financial resources provided by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Other financial partners include the three local jurisdictions it serves.

Augusta County

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. 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 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 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.