Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) Updated:07/2016

The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) is a new program that provides financial reimbursement to property owners installing specific conservation practices. A plan is first proposed to the District, after which a site visit verifies the projects eligibility, and installation can begin. These practices can be installed in small acreage settings, at the source of stormwater discharges. All non-agricultural property owners in the identified districts are eligible to apply – residential, business, public, and private. 

VCAP Background:

Staff from several SWCDs had discussed the need to engage residential property owners in conservation efforts, since their actions are not regulated, nor do they receive incentives to implement conservation practices. It was noted that the lack of conservation measures on urban and residential property was identified as a gap in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Phase I. Additionally, Virginia’s Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan recognizes urban/residential BMPs in its “Local Implementation Strategies for Urban/Suburban Source Sector” (Appendix C) with the following strategies:

  • Implement bioretention/rain gardens and demonstrate effectiveness to the public
  • Consider implementing a rain garden, cistern installation and/or downspout disconnection program for homeowner properties
  • Partner with SWCDs and DCR to reduce residential fertilizer use through public awareness campaign
  • Implement urban forest buffers in accordance with funding availability and demonstrate effectiveness to the public
  • Consider developing a cost-share program to encourage private properties to plant trees to convert land into forests or to provide streamside riparian buffers. 

These SWCD staff members approached the Urban Committee of the VASWCD to begin an effort to develop support for, and ultimate adoption of, an urban/residential BMP cost share program in Virginia. The approach has been to garner funding to complete the following:

  1. Develop a programmatic template suitable for Virginia, using components of Virginia’s Agricultural BMP Program and components of North Carolina’s Community Conservation Assistance Program (NCCCAP). This goal has been completed with revisions on-going based on #2 below.
  2. Implement a pilot “community-residential BMP cost share program” (now called “VCAP”) across the four soil and water conservation districts that initiated the effort. These Districts (comprising a total of 15 localities) are the Thomas Jefferson, Culpeper, Piedmont, and Hanover-Caroline Soil and Water Conservation Districts. This goal is complete but more funding for BMP installations has allowed this phase to continue for the near term.
  3. Establish support (financial and legislative) for a statewide (or Chesapeake Bay wide) program based on lessons learned from the Pilot Project. This remains a current focus of the committee.

Beginning in December 2015, the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts received a grant in partnership with the VCAP Steering Committee to expand the VCAP program. All 30 Chesapeake Bay Soil & Water Conservation Districts are eligible for practice funding and technical assistance through the program.  

Contact Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP)


Contact Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP)

Kevin McLean
VCAP Coordinator
7308 Hanover Green Drive
Suite 100
Mechanicsville, VA  23111
Phone: (804) 559-0324

Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Virginia