Conservation Assistance Program for Homeowners


Project Funding Now Available to Homeowners!

Through the statewide Virginia Conservation Assistance Program, the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District provides financial incentives to Fairfax County homeowners to create more watershed-friendly landscapes.

2016 Virginia Conservation Assistance Program

Please note that the project types and reimbursement amounts are different from the HOA/Place of Worship program.

Conservation Landscaping. Incorporate native trees and shrubs, meadow or wetland plants into your landscape. Costs vary widely based on plant source. Use of tree seedlings is encouraged. Minimum size: 100 square feet. Match: $250 per 1000 square feet or $9 per tree up to $3,500.

Rain Gardens. Bowl-shaped garden area that collects and absorbs runoff. Typical cost: $10-25 per square foot. Minimum size: 100 square feet. 75% match up to $2000.

Dry Well. A gravel-filled area that collects and absorbs runoff. Typical cost: $5-15 per square foot. Minimum size: 100 square feet surface area or 300 cubic feet volume. 75% match up to $2000.

Vegetated Swales. A wide, shallow ditch with amended soil and dense vegetation or grass designed to slow and absorb rainwater runoff and/or filter pollutants. Typical cost: $5-25 per square foot. Minimum size: 150 square feet. 75% match up to $5000 or $3000, depending on type.

Bioretention. Larger version of a rain garden, requires engineered design. Bowl-shaped garden area that collects and absorbs runoff. Typical cost: $10-25 per square foot. Minimum size: 100 square feet. 75% match up to $10,000.

Infiltration Trench. Larger version of a dry well, requires engineered design. A gravel-filled area that collects and absorbs runoff. Typical cost: $5-15 per square foot. Minimum size: 100 square feet surface area or 300 cubic feet volume. 75% match up to $10,000.

Impervious Surface Removal. Remove impervious hard surface area to allow water to pass through and absorb into the ground below. Match $2.50 per square foot up to $10,000.

Porous Pavement/Pavers. Install porous pavers that allow water to pass through and absorb into the ground below. Must be installed by certified professional. Typical cost: $10-35 per square foot. Minimum size: 300 square feet. Match $3.00 per square foot up to $10,000.

For a full list of project options, please see: Virginia Conservation Assistance Program


There is a two step application process. Step One: The homeowner will submit a site visit request. NVSWCD staff will visit your property and provide recommendations. Step Two: Based on the site visit recommendations, the homeowner will submit a final application with a budget and contractor bid or pricing schedule. If selected, the homeowner will sign a participant agreement, move forward with project installation, and submit a reimbursement request upon project completion.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Homeowner property is located in Fairfax County, VA, including Vienna, Herndon and Reston.
  • Property owner is willing to keep and maintain practices for 10 years after installation. NVSWCD will verify ongoing maintenance and provide technical assistance, though not funding.
  • Native species will be used for all plantings. For possibilities, see: Plant NoVA Natives and Plant List for Bioretention Facilities
  • Project must provide a water quality benefit.

How to Request a Site Visit

For more information or to request a site visit, contact the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at conservationdistrict@fairfaxcounty.gov. Please include the following information:

  • The site address
  • Which project types you are most interested in
  • A basic description of any drainage and erosion issues on your property
  • Names and contact information (email preferred) for all property owners/decision makers

Please also look up and provide the following information to the best of your ability:

  • Supervisor District (Dranesville, Hunter Mill, Sully, Mount Vernon, Braddock, Mason, Lee, Providence, Springfield)
  • Watershed information: Watershed Name, Resource Protection Area on site (Y/N)? (Go to Fairfax County Watersheds)
  • Is the property adjacent to parkland (Y/N)?
  • Soils information (Go to Fairfax County Soils Information for maps and guide pp. 9-11. On the soil map, you are looking for the number in RED. You do NOT want the number in black with the circle around it.)
  • Dominant soil type?
  • Soil drainage (good, fair, marginal, poor)?
  • Suitability for infiltration trenches (good, fair, marginal, poor)?

About the Conservation Assistance Program

Maintenance and inspection requirements: Annual maintenance will be required of the installed runoff practices. Periodic verification/inspections will ensure they were installed properly and are maintained to ensure proper functioning.

Multiple practices: You can apply for more than one project type in a single application or in subsequent rounds.

Volunteer Match Time: As a homeowner, you may want to do some of the work yourself, as possible, to help reduce expenses. Planting, mulching, and coordinating pickup or dropoff of materials yourself can save the homeowner hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Volunteer time can be used as match in the Conservation Assistance Program.

For more information, please see: Virginia Conservation Assistance Program

For other questions, please contact the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.

More Ways to Go Green!

There are several other programs that help Fairfax County residents conserve energy and water resources at home. Here are just a few:

Rain Barrel Workshops. Rain barrels can be placed under the downspout to collect water for reuse. They can be acquired through the Rain Barrel Workshops and Sales sponsored by the Conservation District and other regional partners.

Home Turf - A Virginia Healthy Lawns Program. This Virginia Cooperative Extension program provides homeowners and community associations with a personalized nutrient management plan and recommendations for a healthy lawn. Learn more about the Home Turf program.

Energy Action Fairfax - Energy Efficiency Presentation for Your Community or Neighbor-to-Neighbor Energy Audit. Free, no application required. Learn More


Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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