The Peter Francisco Soil and Water Conservation District (Peter Francisco SWCD) is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is responsible under State Law for soil and water conservation work within the boundaries of Buckingham and Cumberland Counties.   The District’s purpose is to encourage and initiate land use practices that help improve water quality and reduce soil erosion as well as educating the community in protecting our natural resources.


Soil and Water Conservation Districts were created during the Dust Bowl of the 1930's to solve soil and water conservation needs.

Peter Francisco SWCD was originally organized in July 24, 1940 as Robert E. Lee SWCD and was made up of the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Campbell, Buckingham and Cumberland.  During a time of reorganization, Buckingham and Cumberland Counties separated to form the Peter Francisco SWCD in December 1972 and became active on January 1, 1973.  


The District covers an area of 873 square miles and is located in the Southern Piedmont Region of Virginia.  It is bounded on the North by the James River and bounded on the South by the Appomattox River. Within the District, there are over 17 watershed dams that were built for flood control that affect the Slate and Willis Rivers and are a part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.   The District is a rural, agricultural district with the majority of the area in woodland and small farms.  The main industries are timber, cattle and poultry.


The Commonwealth of Virginia supports the District through financial and administrative assistance provided by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) as well as the District utilizing local and some federal funds.   The Board of Directors is the governing body of the District, consisting of six members:  Four Directors, two from each county, elected every four years in the general election; one is appointed by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Board and one is appointed as a representative of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service within the District.      


Soil and Water Conservation Districts focus on many issues and programs including:


  • Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP) Cost-Share Assistance Program

  • Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Cost-share Programs through the 319 Environmental Protection Act (EPA) Grant

  • Erosion & Sediment (E&S) Control Program

  • USDA Farm Bill

  • Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act

  • Virginia’s Agricultural Stewardship Act

  • Environmental & Agriculture Education (Youth & Adult)

  • Agriculture Rental Equipment Program

  • Maintenance and Inspection of 17 Watershed Dams

  • Issues focused on:

    • Water quality

    • Soil erosion, run off

    • Prevention of flood water and sediment damage

    • Preservation of wildlife

With decades of experience assisting farmers with the implementation of conservation practices, PFSWCD is primed to carry out the state's Agricultural Best Management Cost Share Program, maintain 17 watershed dams, assist Buckingham and Cumberland Counties carry out Erosion and Sediment Programs on construction sites, and provide youth and adult education and outreach opportunities.


Mission and Vision

We are here to promote the stewardship and conservation of natural resources by providing technical expertise and educational programs. We want to ensure the citizens of the District become educated stewards by committing to conservation practices with their limited natural resources now and for future generations.

Committed to conservation practices

Promote Stewardship and conservation

Provide educational programs