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December 27, 2018

Soil and water conservation efforts for 2018 honored

Contributed Photo
John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District 2018 award winners: James Spencer of Husson Lewis Enterprises LLC, Dr. Bridgett McIntosh of the MARE Center, Del. Michael Webert of the JMSWCD board, Leslie Grayson and Mike Barreda of Blue Ridge Farm and Marsha Woolman of the Goose Creek Association.
From press release

Two farms, a veterinarian, a fencing contractor and an environmental group have received awards for their contributions to soil and water conservation this year in Fauquier County.

The John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District recognized the recipients at its annual awards luncheon Wednesday, Dec. 19, at Stoneridge Events Center in Warrenton.

Founded in 1966, the conservation district staff consults with landowners and administers cost-share reimbursement programs for projects that protect natural resources. It also has well-established educational program that involves students throughout Fauquier.

The 2019 JMSWCD honorees:

Edwin Gulick Conservation Educator Award
Dr. Bridgett McIntosh

Since joining the Virginia Cooperative Extension as an equine specialist in 2014, Dr. McIntosh has championed research, outreach and education in support of the conservation of soil and water resources on horse farms. Graduate students under her mentorship initiated research on the integrated use of warm season grasses, select forage species ability to withstand soil erosion and compaction, horse paddock management and other topics relevant to the needs of Fauquier and surrounding counties.

Since 2015, Dr. McIntosh has served as a resource and presenter at several well attended horse pasture management seminars sponsored by VCE, JMSWCD, Piedmont Environmental Council and Goose Creek Association, as well as a variety of equine organizations. For the past two years, she has worked with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and other groups to present the Healthy Land Healthy Horse short course, which has expanded from its roots at the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension 
Center to locations statewide.

As a result of Dr. McIntosh’s efforts, nearly 6,000 direct contacts have been made through MARE Center tours, seminars, short courses and presentations to local, regional, and national equine organizations.

Conservation Partner Award
Goose Creek Association

The Goose Creek Association formed in 1970 to protect and preserve the environment and quality of life in the Goose Creek Watershed. Its has been working for clean water since then. The association has implemented a long-term water quality monitoring program with 21 sites throughout the watershed.

In 2012, it initiated the Goose Creek Challenge to help meet the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement by planting trees and shrubs along streams within the watershed. That challenge has led to more than 7,000 trees and shrubs being planted on local farms in Fauquier County, resulting in the reestablishment of almost 16 acres of riparian buffer.

More than 240 volunteers have planted these trees and learned about macroinvertebrates, stream health, wetlands, soils, and the benefits of riparian buffers.

Conservation Contractor Award
A&J Fencing

A&J Fencing has worked with local farmers for several years to assist them in implementing Best Management Practices to help improve water quality.

Since 2012, Alvin and Amos Lantz and their crew have demonstrated exceptional work in installing more than 69,000 feet (13 miles) of fencing on nine farms in Fauquier County, as part of the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share program.

Their fence installations are of superior quality, and local landowners have expressed appreciation for A&J’s professionalism, quality of installations and strong work ethic.

“A&J Fencing treats you like family,” one landowner said. “They are conscientious and helped with questions about the turns, gate locations and crossings.”

Conservation Farm Award
Husson Lewis Enterprises LLC

Husson Lewis Enterprises owns and operates a 120-acre farm that includes a significant segment of Buck Run, a major tributary of the upper Rappahannock River. The property supports a grazing herd of 40 beef cattle and houses Spencer Sport Horse, a boarding, lesson and training facility.

From 2014 to 2016, the owners installed two livestock exclusion projects that protected 11,800 feet of stream bank and created more 20 acres of riparian buffer. A third and final stream exclusion project under construction will protect a series of hillside springs and pond outlet, adding 820 feet of stream bank protection to the farm total.

Tree planting projects took place in December 2017 and April 2018, in cooperation with JMSWCD, PEC, Friends of the Rappahannock, Trout Unlimited, Highland School and Greystone.

Clean Water Farm Award
Blue Ridge Farm

For more than 20 years, Blue Ridge Farm near Upperville has implemented conservation practices. Its first BMP (best management practices) project on record with the district was completed in 1995, excluding cattle from one of the streams on the property.

Since then, Blue Ridge has completed 11 conservation practices with the JMSWCD and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, protecting 32,250 feet (six miles) of stream bank. More than 200 acres of the farm has been dedicated specifically to conservation through exclusion fencing and native plant restoration.

For many years they hosted groups as part of JMSWCD’s 3rd Grade Farm Field Days as well as Fauquier County Farm Tours. Blue Ridge Farm became one of the first in Fauquier to implement the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which incentivized planting native trees along streams.

For the past two years, the farm hosted the district and partners, including the Goose Creek Association and local schools, to plant native trees and shrubs in recently protected stream corridors. Farm owners Leslie Grayson and Mike Barreda previously received JMSWCD’s 2003 Conservation Farmer Award.
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