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.


Administration of this Program, as well as technical assistance, has been contracted to the following organizations:

Vermont Association of Conservation Districts

Franklin and Grand Isle Farmers Watershed Alliance

You can also complete an inquiry  form below to be referred directly to the most appropriate field staff for this program. 


Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901


Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.5050
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory                                  802.585.6073
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                           802.828.2433
  • Produce Program                  802.522.7811
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Grants                                  802.622.4098
    • Enforcement                                802.828.2431
    • Reports                                      802.272.0323
    • BMP's                                      802.828.3474
  • Act 250                          802.828.2431 
  • Pesticide                        802.828.2431