The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is offering financial assistance to property owners living in the Yellow Breeches/ Conodoguinet Creek watersheds in Pennsylvania and the Middle James River watershed in Virginia to install Conservation Landscapes and Rain Gardens. Landowners can apply online now for funding to install their projects in Spring 2017. The Alliance is offering this assistance as part of its “Reduce Your Stormwater” program, which is generously funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Eligible areas within PA include all of Cumberland County, as well as certain municipalities in Adams County, Franklin County, and York County. Eligible areas within VA include the following counties/cities: Amherst, Appomatox, Prince Edward, Nottoway, Amelia, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Richmond, Charles City, New Kent, Henrico, Goochland, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Albermarle, Charlottesville, Nelson, Bedford and Greene.

One of the 5 templates to choose from in the Yard Design Tool.

One of 5 templates to choose from in the Yard Design Tool.

Property owners can apply by visiting the online “Yard Design Tool” to create a personalized Conservation Landscape or Rain Garden plan. To apply, answer a questionnaire about your property and choose one of five garden templates, such as a native meadow or a butterfly garden. The tool then provides a list of materials, suggested plants, and DIY instructions specific to your property.

Check out the tool and apply at

After submitting an application, you will be contacted by an Alliance representative with next steps. Once your application is approved, you will visit a partnering nursery to pick up the plants and materials outlined in your personalized plan, with a maximum discount of 80%. You can also apply for cost-share towards professional Rain Garden installation.

A Conservation Landscape planted through the program in 2016.

A Conservation Landscape planted through the program in 2016.

Stormwater runoff is created when rain falls on roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops and other paved surfaces that don’t allow water to soak into the ground. Slowing runoff reduces sediment, chemicals, animal waste and more from making its way to our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Both Conservation Landscapes and Rain Gardens help control stormwater runoff.

Conservation Landscapes are landscaped areas that use native plants adapted to the region. These plants attract wildlife and typically require less watering, pesticides, and fertilizer than non-native species, which helps protect our air and water supplies. Rain Gardens also use native plants, but require more excavation to focus on capturing rainwater and helping it absorb slowly into the ground.