The Work of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

From NVSWCD Strategic Plan: July 2016 – June 2020

Our Vision

Our vision is engaged communities working together to protect and restore natural resources. Our mission is to promote sustainable urban and suburban activities and stewardship to conserve our soil, water, air, plants, and animal resources in Fairfax County - vital components of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. We achieve this through effective leadership, technical assistance and outreach programs in partnership with government, industry, non-profit organizations, and the public. 

History and Scope

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) were established in the 1930s to develop comprehensive programs and plans to conserve soil resources, control and prevent soil erosion, prevent floods and conserve, utilize and dispose of water. 

Founded in 1945 by citizens concerned about conserving natural resources, the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is now one of 47 conservation districts in Virginia and approximately 3,000 nationwide. NVSWCD is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, governed by a five-member Board of Directors. Its boundaries are the same as those of Fairfax County, home to over 1.1 million people. 

NVSWCD is a locally-led conservation agency with a long history of responding to Fairfax County’s changing rural to urban landscape, transitioning programs based on identified needs. NVSWCD is valued for its leadership in using new and emerging techniques to address both traditional issues and current challenges. 

NVSWCD is not a regulatory agency. Instead, it serves the residents of Fairfax County directly and through partners to provide conservation information, technical services, educational programs and volunteer opportunities to residents on many aspects of water quality, nonpoint source pollution and ecological health and connects residents with environmental initiatives and opportunities. 


The District’s goals are to:

• Provide Leadership in Natural Resource Conservation 

• Provide High Quality Technical Assistance 

• Increase Natural Resource Stewardship through Outreach and Education 

• Develop, Facilitate and Strengthen Partnerships 

• Ensure a Strong Organization to Meet Responsibilities and Achieve Goals