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Soil and Water Conservation Director Virginia Dare District Chesapeake {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Virginia established Soil and Water Conservation districts to carry out flood prevention and water conservation measures for agricultural and non-agricultural developments, and to develop and implement programs to control and prevent soil erosion. Each city within a Soil and Water Conservation District elects two members to represent their city or country on the Board. The Board then appoints an additional two members.More information about the powers and duties of Soil and Water Conservation Boards in Virginia can be found at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title10.1/chapter5/

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  • Vickie J. Greene

  • John H. Pierce

Biographical Information

What is the most pressing issue facing your district and how will you address it? (1000 character limit)

How should Hampton Roads address saltwater intrusion? (1000 character limit)

How do you balance the right of property owners to use their property as they see fit with the right of the surrounding community to a safe, healthy environment? (1000 character limit)

What invasive species should Virginians be most concerned about and what should we be doing? (1000 character limit)

How would you enhance awareness of the activities and value of the Soil and Water Conservation Boards? (1000 character limit)

Campaign Phone (757) 547-1971
Biography I grew up in rural NC on a small farm. I have lived in Chesapeake with my husband and 3 children for 38 years. My education includes: BS in Psychology, Guilford College; MPA from Ohio State; and MA in Horticulture from Virginia Tech. I worked as Social Worker for 10 years. After grad school I worked as Internal and External Consultant for 20 years. I have volunteered as a Chesapeake Master Gardener for 20 years. I have been a member of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act Board several terms.
Soil and Water Districts were created in the 1930's to support agricultural practices to prevent erosion effects of the dust bowl. Our mission continues, to support practices which improve soil health and improve water quality. Recently implemented programs have expanded to urban areas. Technicians work with individual farmers and landowners to implement conservation practices every season. This work is critical to the region to respond to the challenges of rising sea levels and climate change.
Support community educational efforts regarding soil health and water quality to minimize non point source pollution. Vigilant enforcement of tree ordinances and development standards to allow wetlands to work to filter water. Explore technical solutions through city government cooperative efforts.
My house is located next to a creek which feeds into the Inland Waterway, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. My wetlands back yard is subject to tidal flooding. When the owner of a 7-acre forested track of land adjacent to our neighborhood cut down all of those trees, my yard flooded twice as often, and significantly deeper. In this sensitive tidal ecosystem, the activities of any property owner affects all of us. In my work with the CBPA board, the most frequent explanation for a violation is that the landowner didn't know there are ordinances which applied to his waterfront property. Climate change challenges amplifies the need for education, and enforcement of regulations to maintain the quality of life for all of us.
My first reaction for Tidewater is Phragmites (Phragmites australis), a giant reed which replaces our native grasses, and degrades shorelines and water quality. It spreads rapidly, and is very difficult to manage, requiring herbicides and controlled burns over several years. We should support research by weed scientists at Virginia Tech and others research institutions as other giant reed problems have been addressed with controlled release of insects. Other invasive problems are the result of landscaping with Bradford pear trees, Elaeagnus species, and ligustrum which escape from cultivation and displace natives in forested area. We can look to the very successful efforts of the Elizabeth River Project who have used a combination of public awareness, public recognition of private and public efforts, and community organization and partnerships to show meaningful results.
The Virginia Dare Soil and Water Conservation Board is very visible in some parts of the community, e.g. to the agricultural community who benefit from the cost-share grants for conservation practices. Also, approximately 2000 Chesapeake and Virginia Beach school children who participate in Farm Days, and programs in classrooms. With only two employees major public awareness efforts are beyond our resources. However, I think that many of our community are not aware of how our food is produced, and how healthy soil and clean water and the complex natural systems they involve may determine our future. Perhaps the Soil and Water Board can leverage their efforts through their collaboration with other agencies, e.g. Virginia Tech Extension, USDA, Farm Bureau, to bring more awareness to our joint efforts.
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