Rivanna has received some exciting news. We’ll be planting a conservation garden in our parking lot – and receiving funding in return!
When I began working at Rivanna over a year ago, I began researching grants and incentive programs offered to small businesses to help us grow our business and save money. Since we’re located in our county’s enterprise zone we have some great incentives at our fingertips. We’ve already received a signage grant and a free architectural consultation. I wanted to see what else we could do to beautify our space.
I stumbled upon a newly-developed program called the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP), a program within the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts. VCAP “is an urban cost-share program that provides financial incentives and technical and educational assistance to property owners installing eligible Best Management Practices (BMP’s) in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed.”
In other words, VCAP helps you control erosion, conserve water, reduce stormwater runoff, and improve your local environment thoughtfully. Some BMP’s include conservation landscaping, rain garden installation, and rainwater harvesting. While I was aware of some BMP’s after interning at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, VCAP helped our team figure out how to implement them.
Initially, we applied for a rain garden installation reimbursement through VCAP, planning to remove some parking lot impervious pavement (in unused spaces), to plant a rain garden and capture runoff.
After initial inspection, it became clear a proper rain garden would need more space than we had available. So, we went back to the drawing board. We instead chose conservation landscaping, including mulch beds and native plants. We’d still be removing impervious pavement, while enhancing our outdoor environment for ourselves and local birds.
Having just received the go-ahead through VCAP, we can’t wait to get started. Not only will we be beautifying our space and helping the environment, but we’ll receive a reimbursement to do it! Talk about a win-win.
Even if you don’t live in Virginia, you may find similar programs in your area. Either way, planting native plants, limiting impervious pavement, harvesting rainwater, and reducing stormwater runoff are all great practices to help reduce your impact. Plus, your business outdoor space will look amazing and enhance your community. What’s not to love?