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VA Grand Basin Awards 


From the pool of Virginia Clean Water Farm Award recipients, up to ten (10) grand winners representing Virginia's major river basins are selected each year. Nominees are submitted by local SWCDs. Grand Basin Award winners must meet criteria of the Clean Water Farm Award and demonstrate exceptional conservation on the land and in managing operations. These award winners receive additional acknowledgement at a special recognition ceremony. In addition to the standard sign and certificate, these awards are presented for the following river basins: Big Sandy-Tennessee Rivers, Chowan River, Coastal, James River, New-Yadkin Rivers, Potomac River, Rappahannock River, Roanoke River, Shenandoah River and the York River.

2023 Grand Coastal Basin Award:

The 2023 Clean Water Farm Awardee, Shelton Alley, was nominated by Eastern Shore SWCD for the 2023 VA Grand Coastal Basin Award.  Mr. Alley won and ESSWCD Chair, Nick Thomas, accepted the award on Mr. Alley's behalf at the VASWCD Annual Meeting on December 4, 2023 in Norfolk, VA.  Virginia's Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry, Travis Voyles presented the award. 
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Shelton Alley’s background in construction and current role as soil and wildlife conservationist play a vital part in his farming journey. His home on the Eastern Shore is surrounded by approximately 100 acres of farmland, 100 acres of marshland and 100 acres of woodlands. His first undertaking was controlling the invasive phragmites on his marshland that prevented the diamondback terrapins from returning after laying eggs on the mainland. Then, Mr. Alley’s efforts focused on implementing strategies to improve the main irrigation pond’s habitat for eels, quail and other avian species. His no-till equipment reduces soil erosion and nutrients in the sea and freshwater waterways, and his implemented crop rotation of corn, soybean, wheat, and cover crop, is working to deplete the excessive weed seed bank. His lightweight precision sprayer limits soil compaction and disturbance, and his recent project of a handmade roller-crimper will increase the soil’s available nitrogen and decrease the use of chemicals. Mr. Alley’s dedication to the environment is evident in his innovative farming and conservation practices.
VA Department of Conservation & Recreation
Press Release: 12/05/2023

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