Resources for Environmental Quality

Title Available As Summary Date ID Author
Invasive Plant Species: Ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima)
Ailanthus, also known as tree-of-heaven and paradise- tree, is a major nuisance to foresters, farmers, and homeowners alike. Its prolific seeding and ability to sprout from roots and stumps and grow quite rapidly just about anywhere make it a serious competitor and threat to native species and cultivated crops. On top of that, ailanthus is allelopathic, producing substances that are toxic to and inhibit the growth of neighboring plants.
Jan 8, 2021 420-322 (CNRE-128NP)
Sustaining America's Aquatic Biodiversity - Freshwater Snail Biodiversity and Conservation
Six hundred fifty different species of snails are widely distributed across the streams, rivers, and lakes of North America. There are unique species associated with every type of aquatic habitat from the Canadian Arctic to the Everglades of Florida.
Nov 5, 2019 420-530 (CNRE-76P)
Phosphorus, Agriculture & The Environment Jan 24, 2019 424-029
Urban Water Quality Management–Residential Stormwater: Put It in Its Place. Decreasing Runoff and Increasing Stormwater Infiltration
Humans and plants depend on an adequate supply of clean water for a number of reasons, from producingfood to sustaining life. The average Virginia resident uses 826 gallons of fresh water daily (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality [VADEQ] 2008). In the Commonwealth alone, there are more than one million households that depend on well water, withdrawing more than 50 billion gallons annually (Virginia Department of Health 2008). For groundwater replenishment, we depend largely on recharge (water moving from the surface to groundwater) from infiltration of precipitation through permeable surfaces in the environment — an important part of the natural water cycle (VADEQ 2010).
Jun 2, 2020 426-046(HORT-160P)
Urban Stormwater: Terms and Definitions Jul 14, 2020 426-119 (BSE-268P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 1: Rooftop Disconnection Dec 4, 2019 426-120 (BSE-269P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 2: Sheet Flow to Open Space
Sheet flow to open space (SOS) is a group of best management practices (BMPs) designed to disperse concentrated runoff to sheet flow into filter strips or a riparian buffer. An SOS reduces runoff volume and associated sediment and nutrients that are carried with it (see figure 1). It is used as a stormwater treatment practice in both urban and rural areas. This practice is often used after another treatment practice to disperse or eliminate runoff. In a few cases, an SOS can be used as a pretreatment to remove small amounts of sediment via a vegetated filter strip — prior to a bioretention device, for example.
Dec 4, 2019 426-121 (BSE-270P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 3: Grass Channels Dec 11, 2019 426-122 (BSE-271P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 4: Soil Restoration
Soil restoration (SR) is the technique of enhancing compacted soils to improve their porosity and nutrient retention. It includes biological (worms) and mechanical aeration, mechanical loosening (tilling), planting dense vegetation, and applying soil amendments. Soil amendments involve the spreading and mixing of mature compost into disturbed and compacted urban soils (see Figure 1).
Dec 11, 2019 426-123 (BSE-272P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 5: Vegetated Roofs
A vegetated roof (VR) is a best management practice (BMP) that reduces stormwater runoff and pollution. Vegetation and media create a permeable system on a previously impervious surface. The VR intercepts rainfall and filters runoff while reducing the volume and velocity. Vegetated roofs consist of a waterproofing barrier, drainage system, and engineered growing media. There are two types of VRs: intensive and extensive. Intensive vegetated roofs are deeper and heavier, while extensive vegetated roofs are shallower, lighter, and more common (see Figure 1). The type of VR determines the amount of maintenance necessary to maintain the vegetation.
Dec 11, 2019 426-124 (BSE-273P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 6: Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting (RWH), also known as rainwater harvesting systems or cisterns, are devices that intercept, divert, store, and release collected roof runoff from rainfall for later use as an alternative water supply (see figure 1). RWH can also be designed to provide runoff reduction benefits. Therefore, it is classified as a best management practice (BMP) for treatment of urban stormwater. Because of its dual purpose and benefit, RWH is often classified as a sustainable urban BMP.
Dec 11, 2019 426-125 (BSE-274P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 7: Permeable Pavement
Permeable pavement (PP) is a modified form of asphalt or concrete with a top layer that is pervious to water due to voids intentionally created during mixing. PPs include pervious concrete, porous asphalt, and interlocking concrete pavers. These materials are used as stormwater treatment practices in urban areas. They are used in place of traditionally impervious surfaces to allow infiltration and storage, thus reducing runoff (see figure 1).
Jan 22, 2020 426-126 (BSE-275P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 8: Infiltration Practices
Infiltration practices provide temporary surface and/or subsurface storage, allowing infiltration of runoff into soils. In practice, an excavated trench is usually filled with gravel or stone media, where runoff is stored in pore spaces or voids between the stones (see figure 1). These systems can reduce significant quantities of stormwater by enhancing infiltration, as well as provide filtering and adsorption of pollutants within the stone media and soils. Infiltration practices are part of a group of stormwater treatment practices, also known as best management practices (BMPs)
Dec 4, 2019 426-127 (BSE-276P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 9: Bioretention
A bioretention cell, or rain garden, is a best management practice (BMP) designed to treat stormwater runoff from roofs, driveways, walkways, or lawns. They are a shallow, landscaped depression that receives and treats polluted stormwater with the goal of discharging water of a quality and quantity similar to that of a forested watershed (figure 1).
Jan 27, 2020 426-128 (BSE-277P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 10: Dry Swale
A dry swale (DS) is a shallow, gently sloping channel with broad, vegetated, side slopes. Water flow is slowed by a series of check dams (see figure 1). A DS provides temporary storage, filtration, and infiltration of stormwater runoff. Dry swales function similarly to bioretention, and are comparable to wet swales; however, unlike a wet swale, a DS should remain dry during periods of no rainfall. A DS is an engineered best management practice (BMP) that is designed to reduce pollution through runoff reduction and pollutant removal and is part of a site’s stormwater treatment practice (see figure 2).
Mar 5, 2020 426-129 (BSE-278P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 11: Wet Swale
A wet swale (WS) is an engineered, best management practice (BMP) arranged in a straight line that is designed to reduce stormwater pollution. A WS consists of a shallow, gently sloping channel with broad, vegetated, side slopes and slow flows (see figure 1). Wet swales typically stay wet because the bottom of the swale is below the water table. This is done to encourage the growth of wetland vegetation, providing water quality treatment similar to a natural wetland. This stormwater treatment practice also functions as part of the stormwater conveyance system. Wet swales have a relatively low capital cost; however, maintenance can be is intensive and expensive when compared to other BMPs.
Mar 5, 2020 426-130 (BSE-279P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 12: Filtering Practices
A stormwater filtering practice (FP) treats stormwater runoff by passing it through an engineered filter media consisting of either sand, gravel, organic matter, and/ or a proprietary manufactured product, collecting it in an underdrain, and then discharging the effluent to a stormwater conveyance system. FPs are stormwater treatment practices that are often obtained from the marketplace due to unique proprietary technologies (see figure 1).
Mar 5, 2020 426-131 (BSE-280P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 13: Constructed Wetlands
Constructed wetlands are a series of ponds with varying depths that treat stormwater using wetland processes. In terms of biological activity, wetlands are extremely productive; and thus constructed wetlands can provide significant water quality treatment to urban runoff. This fact sheet describes these benefits, and provides guidance on their design and limitations.
Jan 22, 2020 426-132 (BSE-281P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 14: Wet Ponds
Wet ponds are ponds designed to retain water through storage. They provide treatment through settling and biological uptake. They can also attenuate peak flows and provide flood and streambank protection. This fact sheet describes wet ponds and their benefits and limitations.
Jan 22, 2020 426-133 (BSE-282)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 15: Extended Detention Ponds
Extended detention ponds (EDs) are dry detention ponds that provide 12 to 24 hours of runoff storage during peak runoff events (see figure 1). Releases from the ED ponds are controlled by an outlet structure. During a storm event, as the discharge restriction is reached, water backs up into the ED pond. The pool slows flow velocities and enables particulate pollutants to settle. Peak flows are also reduced. ED ponds have the lowest overall pollutant- removal rate of any stormwater treatment option, so they are often combined with other upstream, lowimpact development (LID) practices to better maximize pollutant-removal rates. Due to their placement at the exit point of the watershed, ED is often the last opportunity to treat stormwater before it is discharged to a stream. Because of its low treatment performance, an ED should be viewed as the treatment option of last resort.
Mar 6, 2020 426-134 (BSE-283P)
Using Compost in Your Landscape Mar 13, 2021 426-704 (SPES-304P)
Nutrient Management for Small Farms Dec 17, 2018 442-305 (BSE-241P)
Selecting a Treatment Technology for Manure Management
Animal manure has been used for centuries as a fertilizer and a soil builder because it contains nutrients and organic matter. However, as animal production shifts toward fewer but larger operations, the number of confined animals has increased in some geographical locations, resulting in more manure produced than can be assimilated by the available farmland where the animals are raised.
Dec 19, 2018 442-306 (BSE-242P)
Selection and Location of Poultry and Livestock Manure Storage Jan 17, 2019 442-307 (BSE-243P)
Poultry and Livestock Manure Storage: Management and Safety Jan 16, 2019 442-308 (BSE-244P)
Manure Management and Environmental Stewardship Jan 16, 2019 442-309 (BSE-245NP)
On-Site Sewage Treatment Alternatives Mar 27, 2018 448-407 (CSES-222P)
Water Reuse: Using Reclaimed Water for Irrigation
Water reuse can be defined as the use of reclaimed water for a direct beneficial purpose.
Aug 29, 2018 452-014 (SPES-1)
Soil Sample Information Sheet for Surface-Mined Areas Aug 12, 2021 452-127 (SPES-347NP)
Compost: What Is It and What's It To You Feb 28, 2018 452-231 (CSES-204P)
Virginia Master Naturalist
The Virginia Master Naturalist program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.
May 1, 2018 465-300 (ANR-307NP)
Options for Clearing Land: Pasture Establishment Mar 2, 2022 465-341 (CNRE-136P)
Effectiveness of Temporary Stream Crossing Closure Techniques Forest Operations Research Highlights
Protection of water quality is a critical component of forest harvesting operations. Virginia’s silvicultural water quality law (§10.1-1181.1 through 10.1-1181.7) prohibits excessive sedimentation of streams as a result of silvicultural operations. Virginia’s logging businesses invest substantial resources implementing BMPs to protect water quality. The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) is responsible for enforcing this law and inspects all logging operations to ensure protection of water quality.
Dec 13, 2019 ANR-110NP
Virginia Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Credit Trading Programs: An Overview Apr 22, 2022 ANR-173P (AAEC-291P)
Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agriculture
In this publication, information is presented on how to increase farm productivity while potentially reducing greenhouse gas* (GHG) contributions from agricultural production. Some of the practices may be familiar to many producers, such as building soil organic matter (SOM) or increasing nitrogen fertilization efficiency, but many producers may not know that these same productivity-boosting activities also help to reduce GHG emissions and their impact on climate change. While informative to the producer, this publication will also inform those with an interest in both agriculture and the environmental impact of GHG emissions on the atmosphere.
Apr 3, 2019 BSE-105 (BSE-251P)
Greywater Reuse
Greywater is any household wastewater other than that used for toilet flushing. This water could be reused around the home (for purposes other than drinking water). An example of greywater use is landscape irrigation. Wastewater that comes in contact with human waste is referred to as blackwater. However, the definition of greywater varies according to state regulations.
Jul 23, 2019 BSE-114NP (BSE-267NP)
Using Reclaimed Water
Reclaimed water, sometimes referred to as “water reuse” or “recycled water,” is water recovered from domestic, municipal, or industrial wastewater treatment plants that has been treated to standards that allow it to be safely used for designated purposes. Reclaimed water should not be confused with “wastewater,” untreated liquid industrial waste or domestic sewage. However, “gray water,” untreated water from bathing or washing, is considered one form of wastewater (Water Reuse, VCE Publication 452-014). The level of treatment and disinfection reclaimed water receives is dictated by its intended (and permitted) use. Many states encourage and promote the use of reclaimed water to conserve freshwater supplies and preserve rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers.
Jul 23, 2019 BSE-115NP (BSE-266NP)
Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting, storing, and later reusing rainwater from surfaces such as roofs. Rainwater harvesting has long been used for agricultural irrigation and as a source of drinking water, and allowed ancient civilizations to flourish in semi-arid and arid regions. Rainwater harvesting systems are in use today in many water-limited locations, especially in several western US regions. As population growth increases pressure on water resources in the more humid eastern US, rainwater harvesting is being considered to reduce the demand for potable water.
Jul 23, 2019 BSE-116NP (BSE-265NP)
Communicating Climate Change to Agricultural Audiences
The objectives of this publication are (1) to outline some climate-related challenges facing agriculture, (2) to address challenges in communicating climate change issues, and (3) to propose best practices when attempting to communicate climate change issues to agricultural stakeholders. Extension educators and agricultural service providers can use the information presented here to develop outreach and educational programs focused on the impacts of climate change, the effects of climate change on agricultural production, and the best ways to motivate behavior change.
Mar 3, 2022 BSE-203P (BSE-344NP)
Managing Drainage From Agricultural Lands with Denitrifying Bioreactors in the Mid-Atlantic Nov 5, 2018 BSE-234P
Soil Moisture Sensors for Agricultural Irrigation: An Overview on Sensor Types Jul 21, 2021 BSE-338P
Scheduling Agricultural Irrigation Based on Soil Moisture Content: Interpreting and Using Sensor Data Aug 10, 2021 BSE-339P
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 16: Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance Sep 3, 2021 BSE-341P
How Do Stream Buffers Reduce the Offsite Impact of Pollution? Nov 3, 2017 BSE-38NP (BSE-216NP)
Denitrification Management Mar 27, 2018 BSE-54P (BSE-223P)
Denitrifying Bioreaders: An Emerging Best Management Practice to Improve Water Quality Apr 25, 2018 BSE-55P (BSE-227P)
Backyard Composting Feb 27, 2013 HORT-49P
Stormwater Management for Homeowners Fact Sheet 2: Rain Barrels Jun 25, 2018 SPES-10P
Stormwater Management for Homeowners Fact Sheet 3: Permeable Pavement Jun 25, 2018 SPES-11P
Stormwater Management for Homeowners Fact Sheet 4: Grass Swales Jun 25, 2018 SPES-12P
Stormwater Management for Homeowners Fact Sheet 5: Rain Gardens Jun 26, 2018 SPES-13P
Stormwater Management for Homeowners Fact Sheet 6: Buffers Jun 26, 2018 SPES-14P
Motivations of Farming: A Soil, Conservation and Place supplement video Aug 12, 2020 SPES-184NP
Basic Principles of Watershed Restoration and Stormwater Management in the Chesapeake Bay Region Dec 8, 2020 SPES-195NP
Nurturing Community, Soil Health, and Restorative Justice Jan 14, 2021 SPES-285NP
Taking Care of the Soil Jan 14, 2021 SPES-286NP
Keeping the Spark Alive: Soil, Service, and Berries Jan 14, 2021 SPES-287NP
It All Starts with Your Soil …And Volunteers! Jan 14, 2021 SPES-288NP
2021 Virtual Eastern Shore Agricultural Conference and Trade Show Mar 12, 2021 SPES-312NP
Stormwater Management for Homeowners Fact Sheet 1: Rooftop Redirection (Disconnection) Jun 25, 2018 SPES-9P
Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs May 11, 2009 vtpp-1