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Farmers and Water Quality Bankers

“That conservation mindset further blossomed after a chance meeting with Brents Fults in a Farmville log yard 10 years ago.

Fults, a landscape architect, long had wanted to develop private enterprise solutions to fix larger environmental problems.

He found a ready partner with John Harrison. By 2005, they had established the state’s first stream bank on Harrison’s Wildwood Farm, which cleaned up streams for credits that then are sold to developers. The nutrient offset bank came next. It’s a more complicated concept with greater potential to meet the family’s goal of generating money to keep the farm.” 

From:  Appomattox County Farm Does its part to keep Bay Clean

 

I was googling our Virigina water quality partner Brent Fults (never can tell what he is up to) and found this wonderful article I had never seen about his company and the Chesapeake Bay Nutirient Land Trust’s first water quality bank, Wildwood Farms, with the Harrison family of Appamotto County, Virginia.

The story is an accurate tribute to the profound promise of agriculture working with mitigation bankers. Readers of our blog are well aware now of the long history of farmers and bankers doing well by doing good with stream restoration.

In commercial stream mitigation projects, the farmer takes a relatively non-productive creek and riparian property and converts it, with an investment from the banker, to stream mitigation credits for sale to the regulated public. RS and Brent’s firm have done just this with dozens of our farming partners

What Brent and his team accomplished at Wildwood, however, is even more promising for the long-term economic prospects of mitigation banking and to a smaller degree (as it is a much larger industry) agriculture.

EarthSource Solutions expanded their project at the Harrison Farm and successfully permitted the the very first mitigation bank for water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. That’s  a big deal — and getting bigger. Water Quality Banks are the next and much much larger wave of mitigation banking. As we have proven here in North Carolina (with the first such banks in the country) these new approaches lead to a virtuous cycle of payments from water polluters to water improvers (read agriculture).

And to think, all that from a chance meeting at a Farmville VA log yard!!

From the News and Advance of Lynchburg / Virginia Appomattox County Farm Does its part to keep Bay Clean

Five years ago, cloudy water flowed in a tiny Appomattox County stream. A brown fuzz of algae and silt lined the bottom.

The stream, which drains a small section of a 900-acre farm, looked like most rural creeks in Central Virginia that bear scars from agricultural and livestock runoff.

Today, about 110 acres of that farm have been converted from nutrient-polluting cattle land to water-cleansing forest and hay field.

Now the creek flows clear, with bottom rocks clean, as it meets a larger, still murky stream on its way to the James River.

That clear water is the result of years of transformation on John and Phillip Harrison’s land. The effort has placed the farm at the forefront of statewide legislation to improve water quality.

The land is the first in Virginia to help clean our streams, creeks and rivers through a pioneering combination of private business enterprise and two generations of land stewardship. [Full story here]

Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Reduction Bank: Open for Business

Our friends and partners at Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Land Trust and EarthSource Solutions, of Richmond, recently placed the advertisement below in the local trade newsletter for the American Society of Consulting Engineers. Nutrient off-set and compliance credits are now available at our Cranston’s Mill Pond Nutrient Reduction Bank. See here for some great background on the hard work behind establishing the water quality banking system in Virginia.

This ground-breaking facility is the 2nd of its kind in Virginia, the 4th in the nation, and the largest proposed or approved nutrient reduction bank in the bay which uses only the top technology and software like the ones related to the posts on the Salesforce site for it to run efficiently. Cranston’s Mill services HUC: 02080206 of the James River which includes Charles City, James City, Isle of Wright, Surry, Prince George, Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, King William, New Kent, and York counties. It also includes City of Richmond, Williamsburg and Newport News.

Interested stormwater engineers or stormwater permitees in the James River Basin of Virginia should call Mr. Brent Fults or Mr. Scott Reed of CBNLT. CBNLT is the first Authorized Credit Broker in the bay and these gentleman would be happy to walk you through the benefits of purchasing off-site nutrient reduction for stormwater permits, examine your site plans for the suitability for off-site water quality improvement, and quote you a reserved price for the appropriate number of credits. Please give them a call today!

Nutrient Off-Set Ad – American Society of Consulting Engineers – Richmond Branch

Video: Chuck Fox of EPA on the Chesapeake Bay Strategy

You gotta be a real water policy geek to enjoy these videos — and the Swamp Merchant is guilty as charged.  But, as a lazy water policy geek, I particularly welcome this type of public policy video popping up on YouTube. This is so much easier than driving to Richmond.

Note my earlier post below where Chuck is soliciting comments on the raft of new attention and oversight to historically failing bay restoration policies — via YouTube.  These Obama guys are hip!  Sweeet…

Hip Update: How about the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Facebook Page.  A Facebook fan page for a Presidential Decree!?