The Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District (TJSWCD) serves the Virginia counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson, as well as the city of Charlottesville. Soil and Water Conservation Districts are self-governed subdivisions of State government. The 47 Districts across Virginia are funded through local government appropriations and State and Federal grants. The Board of Directors of each District is made up of unpaid, locally elected citizens who set priorities and guide the activities and programs of the District.
The TJSWCD works in partnership with various local, state and federal agencies and organizations. These partnerships allow us to provide comprehensive and efficient natural resource assistance. Being locally directed, Districts are in the position to be able to respond to local concerns. Upon request, our programs and activities can vary to meet the needs of the localities.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are governed by a Board of Directors. Two directors are elected from each locality and two directors may be appointed (one at-large and one from the Virginia Cooperative Extension). The Thomas Jefferson SWCD Board of Directors has 12 seats, ten of which are elected positions. SWCD Board of Director elections are held every four years.
The TJSWCD Board of Directors is in an election year for 2015. The election of Soil and Water Conservation District Directors will be held in conjunction with the 2015 General Election on November 3rd. To find out who is on your local ballot, visit the Virginia Election and Registration Information System (VERIS) or contact your local voter registrar's office.
Questions about the SWCD electorial process can be directed to the Virginia Department of Elections.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) were established 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 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. The TJSWCD does that through technical assistance to citizens and local governments, financial assistance to landowners, and educational programs for both youth and adults. Soil and Water Conservation Districts are political subdivisions of the Commonwealth, authorized under the Code of Virginia, 10.1-500 through 10.1-573.
Anne joined the TJSWCD team in January of 2017, assuming the duties and responsibilities of long time former District Manager, Alyson Sappington. Anne is a Virginia native and has over twenty-five years of land use, management, and environmental planning experience on private land, as well as with local, state, and federal agencies. She has spent the last six years as the Executive Director of the Resource Conservation District (RCD) located in Santa Barbara, CA serving over 1.9 million acres. Anne graduated with a BA and Honors from UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) in Geography and is a recent graduate and member of Class 42 from the California Agricultural Leadership Program. Once settled, she will reside in the Piney River area of Nelson County.
Agricultural Programs Manager
Staff since October 2013, Luke holds a BS in Fisheries Science (minor in Watershed Management) from Virginia Tech (2012). A native of Nelson County, Luke came to the District from our neighboring Shenandoah Valley District. His primary responsibilities are administering the District’s Agricultural Cost Share Program and TMDL programs.
Staff since April 2012, Lauriston began getting her feet wet in the Moormans River facilitating a variety of stations the MWEE program at Camp Albemarle has to offer. In addition to coordinating the MWEE program with Albemarle County Schools and Charlottesville City Schools, her position has expanded into rain barrel workshops, community outreach and school programs studying soil and water conservation. She is a Virginia Master Naturalist.
Agricultural Conservation Technician
Mary joined the TJSWCD team in August of 2016. Her passion for discovery and the natural world led her to major in Biology at Christopher Newport University. Following graduation, Mary worked as an independent contractor for several wind energy companies before switching to a more agricultural path. Her experience working on several farms led Mary to work with the Rodale Organic Agricultural Institute in PA leading no-till weed-management studies. She is a self-described Naturalist, working for the last several years as an event designer and coordinator. Mary is excited to be jumping back into the agricultural world and is looking forward to working with area producers. Mary and her husband reside in Nelson County.
Agricultural Administration Assistant
Staff since August 2016, Lisa holds a BA in Sustainable Business from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Lisa moved to Orange County in 2010 from snowy New Hampshire and after working in the professional horse industry for most of her adult life. While at UMass, she became increasingly interested in the vital role that agricultural producers play in communities and how the local food economy impacts rural areas. After graduation she worked for the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello where she became interested in the use of native plants in the landscape. When free time allows, Lisa enjoys tending to her ever expanding vegetable, herb and flower gardens as well as hiking and kayaking with her two rescued dogs from Puerto Rico.
Urban Conservation Specialist
Staff since October 2004, Martin holds an BS in Biology from Bates College and an M.Ed. from UVA. Prior to joining TJSWCD, Martin worked for the Culpeper SWCD as an Information/Education Coordinator. He taught middle school science and math for two years in Liberia, West Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer, and Intercultural Communication for 21 years at a non-profit educational institute in Tokyo, Japan. Martin’s responsibilities with the TJSWCD include inspections and mapping for Charlottesville’s and Albemarle County’s Illicit Discharge programs, inspecting stormwater BMPs, coordinating the Rivanna Regional Stormwater Education Partnership, conducting monitoring for the District’s Easement program, reviewing E&C plans, and supporting education and outreach programs. Martin and his wife, Hiromi, have lived in Albemarle County since 1998.
Mary returned to TJSWCD as staff in September 2015 after previously serving 12 years as a District Director. She retired from her former business in Louisa County that specialized in Site and E&S plan preparation. Mary maintains the financial records, serves as bookkeeper for the TJSWCD and Foundation and assists with grant management and financial reporting.
Urban/Agricultural Conservation Technician
Alexis "Lexi" joined the District in July 2017 as an Urban/Agricultural Conservation Technician. Lexi relocated from West Virginia where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Protection, (with a minor in Environmental Microbiology, Sustainable Design) followed by a Master of Science in Agronomy from West Virginia University.
Agricultural Conservation Technician
Tim was raised on his grandfather’s farm in Spotsylvania County. Following his graduation from Spotsylvania High School, Tim earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Virginia Tech, majoring in in Crop and Soil Environmental Science. Prior to joining the District staff in June of 2016, Tim worked at Dominion Power as an electrician. He resides with his wife in Louisa County.
Staff since May 2012, Brian began as an intern drafting Dam Inundation Emergency Action Plans for Louisa County. Brian holds a BS in Geography from Radford University. Now working as a Conservation Specialist, his responsibilities include working with agricultural programs primarily in Fluvanna and helping staff with various projects district-wide.
Chairman, Fluvanna County
(Director since 2012) – Mr. Pratley and his wife, Phyllis Montellese, reside on a small farm in Palmyra. Mr. Pratley has an Associate’s degree in Civil Engineering Technology and worked as a survey crew chief for a Pittsburgh engineering firm. He also served on the board of a small Pittsburgh-area land trust. In 2008, he and his wife moved to Fluvanna County, where they are vendors at the Fluvanna Farmer’s Market. He served on the Fluvanna County Rural Zoning Task Force in 2010. Mr. Pratley is also active with the James River Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society as Habitat Chair.
Vice-Chairman, Louisa County
(Director since January 2012) – Mr. Wagner is co-founder and serves as the principal biologist of Ecosystem Services, LLC, a private ecological restoration and environmental consulting company based in Louisa, Virginia. Mr. Wagner has 25 years of progressive experience in the environmental restoration and environmental consulting industry. His area of experience includes environmental assessment, environmental permitting, regulatory negotiation and environmental restoration. His experience has included employment with local and state government agencies as well as private consulting and environmental restoration companies. He has served/serves on a number of boards and scientific advisory panels including the board of the Historic Green Springs, Inc., the board of the Thomas Jefferson Water Resources Protection Foundation, South River Science Team, Virginia Wilderness Committee Scientific Advisory Panel, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Regulatory Advisory Panel revising Virginia’s stormwater regulations and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Nutrient Trading Certification Regulatory Advisory Panel. Brian lives on a 40-acre farm with his wife and two children in western Louisa County.
Secretary, Albemarle County
(Director since January 1991) – Mr. Meeks was born and raised in Albemarle County and Charlottesville. For most of his adult life, he has either worked or volunteered as a public servant, striving always to make his community a better place to live and work. He has written extensively about local history and has given a series of history lectures for many years to include OLLI. Most recently he has demonstrated his interest, competence, and knowledge of historic preservation through the work he has done and continues to do on historic buildings in the Scottsville Historic District. His current affiliations include being President of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, a member of the Albemarle County Historic Preservation Committee, and oversees the operation of the Hatton Ferry, the nation’s last hand-poled river ferry. He has also served on the boards of the Albemarle County Fair, the Virginia Association of Fairs, the Scottsville Museum, Albemarle County’s Road Naming Committee, the Scottsville Planning Commission, the Scottsville Architectural Review Board, the Biscuit Run State Park Advisory Committee, Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee, and Co-Chaired Charlottesville’s Celebrate 250th Committee. Mr. Meeks is the current President of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts as well as the Virginia Alternate Delegate to the National Association of Conservation Districts.
Treasurer, Fluvanna County
(At-Large Appointment since Jan 2010; Previously: Director, Jan 2004 – Dec 2007; Associate Director, Jan 2002 – Dec 2003 and Jan 2008 – Dec 2010) – Mr. Easter lives in Fluvanna County with his wife and twin sons. He was born in Richmond, Virginia and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from UVA and a Master of Science Degree in Aeronautical Science. He runs an expanding beef cattle farm, and has served as the TJSWCD representative to the Rivanna River Basin Commission. He is on the Board of Directors of the Heritage Trail Foundation, and has been active in both the Rivanna Conservation Society and the Fluvanna County Historical Society. Mr. Easter is retired from the U.S. military (Air Force and Army) and continues to fly.
(Director since June 2016) – Mr. Campbell is a 1993 graduate of Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. He is a Sr. District Field Services Director in central Virginia for Virginia Farm Bureau. In this role, Mr. Campbell serves as a liaison between Virginia Farm Bureau and ten county Farm Bureaus, working with volunteer leaders and staff. In addition, Mr. Campbell works on his family farm in his free time. Deer Creek Farm is a registered Simmental and SimAngus farm, acting as a seedstock producer by selling bulls and replacement heifers to other cattlemen. Agriculture best management practices have been utilized on the farm for many years, and stream exclusion fencing and water troughs have been installed throughout the farm. Managed intensive grazing is a key management practice in the operation. He is a member of the American Simmental Association, Virginia Simmental Association as a director, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Virginia Cattlemen's Association, Nelson County Farm Bureau, and Rose Union Baptist Church, and lives in the community of Lowesville in Nelson County with his wife and two sons.
(Director since January 2004) – Mr. Collins resides in Nelson County with his wife and daughter. Originally from South Carolina, he has been in Virginia for about 40 years, attended Virginia Commonwealth University and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. He is licensed as a Land Surveyor and Professional Engineer, and has worked in the area and lived along the Rockfish River for over 25 years. Mr. Collins is a member of the Virginia Association of Land Surveyors and the American Society of Civil Engineers
(Director since January 2016) “My name is Mistie Goodman, and I am a lifelong resident of the Bumpass area in Louisa County. I am married, and my husband and I own a 400 acre beef cattle and hay farm. I grew up on this same farm, and am the 5th generation in my family to farm it. We also own an excavation business which my husband operates. I currently serve as a board member for the Louisa County Farm Service Agency, and in the past have been on the Board for the Louisa County Agricultural Fair.” -
(Director since January 2016) Angus Murdock lives in Fluvanna County near Kents Store with his wife, Kristen Parker, and their two young children. They farm part time, raising beef cattle, sheep, dairy goats, and forest products on family land and neighboring properties, where Angus has gained experience with the installation, maintenance, and use of many of the stream protection and water supply improvement techniques supported by TJSWCD and others (while also marveling at the speed and efficiency of natural forest regeneration where stream buffers are simply allowed to grow back on their own). Since 1993, Angus has served on the board of directors of the Rivanna Conservation Society (RCS), and he remains active in the Rivanna Conservation Alliance, which recently merged RCS with the StreamWatch local volunteer-driven surface water monitoring program which combined and greatly enhanced the monitoring efforts of several public and private groups in the Rivanna basin beginning in 2002. Prior to returning to Virginia, Angus worked as a volunteer with environmental restoration and community development NGO's (non-governmental organization) in Southern Africa and Central America and stream restoration and urban forestry projects in the US Pacific Northwest and western Canada. Angus holds a 1992 bachelors degree from the School for International Training, where he majored in environmental studies. Since 1999, Angus has owned and operated Byrd Creek Building and Landscape, LLC, specializing in historic restoration and energy efficient design-build services for new and existing structures.-
(Director since January 2012) – Mr. Murray has been involved for many years in local environmental and community planning initiatives, including the Charlottesville Citizens Committee on Environmental Sustainability, Albemarle County Natural Heritage Committee, Biscuit Run State Park Master Plan Advisory Committee, and was one of the founders of Charlottesville Earth Week. He presently represents the TJSWCD on the Rivanna River Basin Commission. He lives in Batesville with his wife and two daughters.
Extension Agent Appointment
(Director since April 2007) – Ms. Swanson is an Extension Agent with the Albemarle County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension, specializing in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Animal Science. Prior to her current position, Ms. Swanson was an Equine/Livestock Extension Agent with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Ithaca, NY. She has also been an Adjunct Professor at Lord Fairfax Community College and a Nursing Technician at Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg VA. Ms. Swanson has an MS degree in Animal Science – Equine Nutrition, and a BS in Animal Science, from Virginia Tech.
City of Charlottesville
(Director since June 2016; Previous Associate Director October 2015 - June 2016) – After serving as an Associate Director for the TJSWCD, Mr. Thompson was appointed as a full Board memember in June 2016. He brings 35 years of experience in the planning and implementation of conservation and environmental restoration programs, including; working currently as the Landowner Advisor for the Potomac Conservancy, worked as the Conservation Easement Specialist for the Northern Neck Land Conservancy and a had 30 year career with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) working in Oregon, California and Nevada and Virginia. Currently, he is the sole proprietor of Smarts Creek Enterprises LLC, providing consultation services for analysis, design and implementation of natural resource conservation projects, organic agricultural production, and conservation easements. Joe is also the field manager for a 120 acre grain farm producing both organic and conventional wheat and soybeans.
City of Charlottesville
This Position is Currently Vacant
Associate Director, City of Charlottesville
(Associate Director since August 2016, Director from January 2016 t5o August 2016) – “I have a deep interest in the environment. I was a founding director of the Capitol Region Land Conservancy in Richmond. A founding director of Virginia Forever, the only statewide organization that advocates for increased government funding for water quality improvements and land conservation across the Commonwealth. Additionally, I worked with worked with Karen Firehock at the Green Infrastructure Center to initiate Green Infrastructure planning in parts of Virginia. One of my projects demonstrates how green planning can be a win-win for both the developer and the community. I have a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration from William and Mary. I am a registered professional engineer in Virginia. I also worked in local government for fifteen years.”
Associate Director, Albemarle County
(Director Since August 2016) – Nicola is the owner and primary project manager for Wild Ginger Field Services, a small environmental consulting company. Prior to starting Wild Ginger Field Services she worked with the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund at The Nature Conservancy to restore streams and wetlands throughout Virginia. Nicola has a diverse background in wetland and riparian science. She is a certified urban nutrient management planner, licensed pesticide applicator, and a professional wetland scientist. She received a MSC from the University of Virginia Department of Environmental Sciences for her work investigating the role of herbivory and nutrient dynamics in salt marsh ecosystems on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. .