Restoring the James River at The State Farm
Spring 2021 Buffer Planting at the State Farm, Goochland
Summer 2023 update!
There is a lot of activity on the State Farm Department of Corrections Project! The alternative watering system for cattle is being installed in Goochland, and new cattle exclusion fencing is being installed in Powhatan. Conservation work at the property is still going strong, and another round of the CBLP-Buffers Certificate program was held for inmates at State Farm in April 2023.
See photos below.
A comprehensive conservation plan was needed to keep cattle from steams and restore streamside forests and wetlands.
The State Farm Task Force was formed in 2020 to integrate exclusion fencing, forest buffers, training opportunities, and wetland restoration.
Final outcome will result in over 100 acres of riparian forest buffer,19 miles of cattle exclusion fencing, and 20 acres of wetland.
Partners with a plan
State Farm has been in need of a Conservation Plan for years, but due to size and complexity, a strong collaborative approach had been missing. That’s where the Consortium comes in. The State Farm conservation plan was designed by the State Farm Task Force, a team of local, state, and federal agencies and private-nonprofit organizations that bring considerable expertise and financial support to the project. The plan calls for:
- Over 100,000 linear feet (19 miles) of fencing to exclude cattle from streams
- Restoration of over 100 acres of streamside forests and 20 acres of wetlands
- Incorporating conservation training opportunities for offenders and DOC staff following the Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professionals (CBLP) Buffers Certificate developed through the Consortium.
A strong start
The first phase started in Spring 2021 with 5,551 linear feet of exclusion fencing and 12.6 acres of riparian forest buffer installed on the Goochland side of the State Farm. Over two rounds of CBLP-Buffers Certificate training series, 18 individuals attended trainings with 13 receiving their Certificate. Six inmates and four DOC staff participated in a Fixed-Knot Fencing Workshop in fall 2020. The Department of Environmental Quality has started collecting water quality data on unimproved streams on the Powhatan side of the property and plans to continue taking samples before and after installation of exclusion fencing and buffers.
June and July 2023 have seen a lot of activity on the project. The alternative watering system for cattle is currently being installed in Goochland, and new cattle exclusion fencing is being installed in Powhatan. The State Farm Task Force met onsite in late June to celebrate progress.
In addition, conservation work at the State Farm Department of Corrections property is still going strong, and another round of the CBLP-Buffers Certificate program was held for inmates at State Farm in April 2023.
The breaking of ground at the State Farm and the success of strengthening collaboration across agencies and organizations is an inspiration for what we can do together.
State Farm Task Force and guests on site, left to right: Nathan Thomson JRA, Patti Nylander DOF, Kathleen Ogilvy DOF, Daphney VCE Intern, Nicole Shuman VCE, Joey Shelton JRA, Amber Ellis JRA, Keith Burgess SWCD, Colton Sullivan SWCD, Keith Schinabeck DOC, Hunter Morre DOC, photographer Kenny Raiford DOC
September 2021 Consortium Tour at State Farm
Covering approximately 4,000 acres along both sides of the James River in Powhatan and Goochland lies the Virginia Department of Corrections State Farm facility. This working farm includes a 200-head dairy operation, 1100-head beef cattle operation, 1200 acres of grain, and a variety of other cropland and processing plants.
About the Project
Location: Powhatan and Goochland Counties, Virginia
Year Installed: 2021 and ongoing
Acres of Riparian Forest Buffer: Over 100
Improvements: Cattle exclusion fencing, riparian forest buffer restoration through planting and natural regeneration, wetland restoration, and training opportunities.
Key Partners: James River Association, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Corrections, Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Cooperative Extension
Installed by: Buffer installed by Conservation Services, Inc. and Task Force partners