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WEST JEFFERSON — New River Conservancy has a long, successful history of river and stream restoration through the River Builder Program. River Builder seeks to re-establish and restore stream buffers with native, woody vegetation throughout the New River Watershed.

Stream buffers, or riparian buffers, are vital strips of vegetation along waterways that protect our water quality from adjacent land use. Vegetated stream buffers filter pollutants and sediment from surface runoff, stabilize eroding streambanks, provide habitat and keep the water cool by shading streams and rivers. Since 1998, NRC has planted over 875,000 native trees and shrubs along 105 miles of streambank.

Due to available funding, most restoration has happened throughout the North Carolina headwaters. In 2016, NRC began expanding the River Builder program into Virginia by partnering with Friends of Peak Creek (Pulaski) and Grayson LandCare (Grayson County) to hold volunteer streambank planting events.

Building on these successful events, NRC continued to pursue funding opportunities that would enable more landowners to participate in the River Builder Program.

On May 1, NRC received a three year grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment Community Conservation Program to expand the River Builder program for residents in Giles, Montgomery and Craig Counties.

The VEE Community Conservation Program provides funds for conservation initiatives focusing on water quality protection, restoration, and improvement; land conservation support; and environmental literacy and awareness.

“VEE is pleased to be supporting the New River Conservancy’s River Builder program,” said Joseph H. Maroon, VEE Executive Director. “Riparian buffers, among other benefits, improve local water quality, restore fish habitat, and contribute scenic views. We applaud the NRC in its efforts to increase these important contributions in many communities in Giles, Montgomery and Craig counties.”

New River watershed landowners in Giles, Montgomery and Craig Counties are now eligible for free consultation and, if appropriate, stream buffer restoration through NRC’s River Builder Program.

For more information on what you can do to protect the New River, please visit Those interested can also support efforts by becoming a member of New River Conservancy.

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