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Grassed Waterway and Filter Strip (GWFS) Program

The Grassed Waterway and Filter Strip (GWFS) Program can provide technical and financial assistance to Vermont farmers for in-field agronomic best practices to address critical source areas, erosion, and surface runoff. The Program’s goal is to reduce soil erosion and improve soil and water quality on cropland that contributes a disproportionately high level of nutrients in runoff. Such areas of cropland are considered “Critical Source Areas” (CSAs), representing a small proportion of the landscape yet a high proportion of nonpoint source pollution loads.


  • annual cropping history within 5 years
  • adjacent to surface waters and/or ditches
  • operator must have ownership or land control for the term of the agreement (10 years)

Eligible Practices:

  • grassed waterway
  • filter strip
  • critical source field area 

Program Details:

This program can provide compensation to farmers via incentive payments for implementation ($500/acre) and cost-share to cover 90% of the installation costs for establishing perennially vegetated grassed waterways, filter strips, critical source area seeding, and associated infrastructure (e.g. erosion or grade control structures) if necessary, on agricultural cropland adjacent to surface waters and ditches (6 V.S.A. § 4900). Contrary to similar existing financial assistance programs, the benefit of this program is that all of the practices implemented under GWFS can be harvested.


Ellen Friedrich / 802-261-5629 /

Nina Gage / 802-622-4098 /

Ben Gabos / 802-461-3814 /