Riparian stream buffers are one tool that can be used to help prevent pollution from entering watersheds. They are strips of lands along waterways that are left undisturbed and preferably vegetated in order to reduce the amount of sediment, nutrients and other pollutants that travel downstream. 
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Stream buffer study
In 2012, Albemarle County staff asked the TJPDC to evaluate whether a program to waive property taxes on stream buffers would encourage conservation and increase water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. In 1998, the General Assembly passed enabling legislation allowing localities to do so. The study concluded that a program would benefit landowners with high-value and smaller properties. Large parcels would likely not see a benefit because of the high costs with planting vegetation as well as the fact that many of the parcels are already in land use taxation. 
- Web. The Scientific Justification for Stream Buffers, Paul Mitchell, Land Use Clinic, University of Georgia, School of Law & College of Environment and Design, Athens, Georgia, Spring 2006, retrieved October 17, 2012.
- Web. Fiscal Analysis of Tax Exemptions for Stream Buffers: Albemarle County, TJPDC Staff, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, October 4, 2012, retrieved October 17, 2012.