New state program will foot the bill if you plant the trees

New state program will foot the bill if you plant the trees
If you own property within the green border on this map, you are eligible!

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Gov. Ralph Northam announced the launch of the James River Buffer Program on Friday.

The James River Buffer Program is a first of its kind program for the James River Association in combination with the Virginia Department of Forestry to help improve the water quality of the James River.

It will establish over 900 acres of “riparian forested buffers” in the Middle James region of the river. A riparian forested buffer means planting native trees along creeks and streams to help filter out pollutants and halt erosion. The more buffers, the cleaner and healthier the James River will be.

There are several existing federal and state programs that help landowners plant native trees along creeks and rivers that run through their property. But this program will reach people who aren’t eligible for or didn’t want to participate with those programs.

If you own property inside the green outline on this map, you are eligible! That’s a LOT of counties.

Amber Ellis with the James River Association says “This is a big deal for us!" She says that not only with 100% of the cost be covered for landowners, if you participate, you’ll get assistance from the JRA and the Virginia Department of Forestry in the critical first three years after planting.

Ms. Ellis says this is a really big thing for landowners.

“There are many program that help with installation of buffers but then the landowner has to take care of it,” said Ellis.

State Forester Rob Farrell says, “One of the great things about this partnership is how it allows us to meet people where they are. We all need clean water and healthy communities to thrive and this project puts our experts on the ground to work one-on-one with landowners and help them create solutions that fit with their unique circumstances.”

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