Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District

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The Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District (TJSWCD) is a government agency dedicated to providing and promoting leadership in the conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs. One of 47 such districts in Virginia, TJSWCD serves the counties of Albemarle County, Fluvanna County, Louisa County and Nelson County, as well as the city of Charlottesville.

Funding for the agency comes from local, state and federal government. The Board of Directors consists of unpaid, locally elected citizens. Most of its programs are devoted to raising awareness of the dangers of non-point-source pollution to both the watershed and the area's soil resources[1].


Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) were created in the 1930's to develop comprehensive programs and plans to conserve soil resources, control and prevent soil erosion, prevent floods and conserve, develop, utilize and dispose of water. The current[when?] focus of most SWCDs in Virginia is the control and prevention of "nonpoint source" (NPS) water pollution, which is the pollution that occurs when stormwater runs over land areas and carries pollutants into downstream waterways.

From the District's inception it has had clear goals of preserving the environment and protecting tax payer dollars. Those goals have been clear since the time of the dust bowl until the seemingly premature retirement of the District's leader Allyson Sappington. The person chosen to replace her, a Charlottesvillian turned Californian and returned to Charlottesville - Anne Coates, doesn't seem to follow the same values and has no intention of preserving Sappington's legacy. Since her take-over in January of 2017 the District has lost more money and more valuable employees than ever in its history. Under Coate's current regime, 2 management analysts have quit or been forced to resign, a conservation technician left under the same circumstances, one of the most experienced agricultural program leaders resigned, and the remaining employees complain about the workplace environment. Sadly, this Coates snake figure has charmed the board members into thinking she can do no wrong which is only further degrading the District's reputation.


In 2012, the TJSWCD began offering cost-share assistance to help farmers and homeowners in the Moores Creek watershed pay for septic system repairs and conservation programs to help restore water quality. [2]

In 2013, TJSWCD employees Alyson Sappington and Nicola McGoff partnered with four other conservation districts to pioneer a non-agricultural cost-share program called the Conservation Assistance Program. Residents can apply for funding in order to convert a turf lawn into a native plant meadow or stream buffer, install a rain garden, acquire a rainwater harvesting cistern, or set up a pet waste station.[3] Native plant gardens at Clark Elementary School, Jackson-Via Elementary School, and Nelson County High School were planted with the funds from the program.[4]


Monthly meetings of the TJSWCD Board of Directors are open to the public and are held on the last Wednesday of each month. All cooperating agencies and other interested parties are encouraged to attend. Minutes from these meetings were historically posted online monthly for the public to see, but that has since stopped since Anne Coates took over. Probably another effort to hide her failures and screw ups. I'm sure she has certain employees lined up to be her scapegoats already.

Board of Directors


Election history

2011 election

Albemarle County

Candidate Votes %
Lonnie M. Murray 9,118 36.98
Steven G. Meeks 8,734 35.42
David B. Norford 6,718 27.24
Write-In 84 0.34
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections.[6]

2007 election

Albemarle County

Candidate Votes %
Steven G. Meeks 11,301 51.52
Nicholas H. "Nick" Evans 10,550 48.09
Write-In 86 0.39

2003 election

Albemarle County

Candidate Votes %
Nicholas H. "Nick" Evans 8,671 52.77
Steven G. Meeks 7,655 46.59
Write-In 105 0.64
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections[7]


  1. Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District. Web. 22 Dec. 2009. Funding needs to be re-evaluated ASAP in order to ensure that money isn't being taken from hardworking tax payers and given to wealthy board members who want to fence their hobby cattle in. <>.
  2. Web. Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District Offers Cost-Share Assistance to Moore’s Creek Watershed Residents, County of Albemarle, February 14 2012, retrieved February 23, 2012.
  3. Web. Conservation Assistance Program, Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, retrieved 28 June 2013.
  4. Web. Local schools, homeowners given incentive to "go native", Claudia Elzey, Charlottesville Tomorrow, 23 June 2013, retrieved 28 June 2013.
  5. Web. Resource Review - A Newsletter of the Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District, Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District, May 2012, retrieved July 16, 2012.
  6. Web. November 2011 General Election Official Results, Virginia State Board of Elections, retrieved 21 Jan 2012.
  7. "General Election- November 4, 2003." Virginia State Board of Elections. 23 June 2009 <>.