Conservation in the spotlight

The Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council will join fellow RC&D Councils throughout the United States to commemorate RC&D Week, which runs from Sept. 19-25, 2010. RC&D Week is held annually to celebrate the success of the RC&D Program nationwide.

During RC&D week, the Shenandoah RC&D Council will be presented with the Southeastern Association’s “Outstanding Performance by an RC&D Council” Award at the regional awards banquet held this year in Biloxi, MS. This regional award, which includes 90 RC&D Areas in 13 states, will be forwarded for competition at the national level.

Council chairman, John Eckman, says the Shenandoah group is proud to be recognized by their peers. “They are awarding us because the communities we serve here in the Valley have seen the direct results of our many efforts to advance farming, build new businesses, increase access to healthy local food, and improve our streams and rivers.”

In July, the Shenandoah RC&D Council was awarded a $2.2 million partnership agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help farmers put more voluntary conservation practices on land in the Shenandoah Valley. In August, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded the Council $700,000 to connect local food production with water quality and work to elevate the profile of Valley farmers who are improving water quality. In its past fiscal year, the Shenandoah RC&D Council completed 11 projects, started 17 projects, and has 27 ongoing projects the total value of which is $1,251,447. Some of these projects include the Pilot Livestock Exclusion Project, which helps keep livestock out of the Valley’s streams with flexible exclusion widths, promoting good herd health and cleaner water; the Muddy Bike Project, which gives the homeless and transitional populations the chance to grow and consume fresh produce and sell it at local venues; and the Waynesboro Farmers Market, which helps sustain local agriculture in the Waynesboro area.

The Shenandoah RC&D’s mission is to sponsor and promote projects and programs that improve the quality of life and sustainable use of natural resources, primarily in the Shenandoah River Watershed, by providing volunteer leadership, technical resources, and financial assistance. It serves seven counties including Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren, and their independent cities.

The Shenandoah RC&D Council is a non-profit, locally-directed program that promotes economic growth and environmental quality. It sets area goals and objectives, and brings together partners, technical assistance and financial resources to complete projects to meet its goals and objectives.

RC&D Week commemorates the 46th anniversary of the RC&D Program and recognizes local RC&D Councils and their many partners and projects. To date, 375 RC&D Councils have been established in all 50 states, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands region, covering 85 percent of United States counties and serving over 77 percent of the population.

The Shenandoah RC&D web address is:

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

augusta free press news