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Chesapeake Bay Tag

Much of Virginia Fighting Not Only Runoff and Erosion, But Also Rising Seas

Shorelines, marshes, and wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay are in jeopardy – not just from erosion and water quality issues – but also from both rising sea levels and sinking lands.  Scientists have projected that "if current trends hold, Virginia’s waters could go up an additional 1.5 feet by about 2050 and 5 feet or more by 2100." Bay marshes and beaches have coped with aerosion and sea-level rise by migrating inland. Faced with a more rapid rate of sea level rise, these marshes and beaches can't keep pace and risk becoming mud flats or open water. “At a foot per century, obviously, they were able to keep up,” said Carl Hershner, a Virginia Institute of Marine Science wetlands expert, “But at 2 feet per century, it’s looking like they are not.” Learn more about the struggle that Dameron Marsh and other coastal areas are fighting to preserve historic shorelines. http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20131227/NEWS/312270032...

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Virginia’s Governor Proposes Funding for Water Quality Improvements

Yesterday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced funding in the upcoming biennial budget to support water quality imrpovement projects including Chesapeake Bay restoration, pollution reduction efforts, stormwater grants and other targeted environmental projects. Speaking about the budget proposals, Governor McDonnell said, "As the Chesapeake Bay restoration program celebrates its 30th anniversary, improving the health of the Bay has been one of our most important environmental priorities. The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and an ecological wonder.  Over the past 30 years, the Chesapeake Bay Partnership has made immense progress in reducing nutrient pollution flows into the Chesapeake Bay.  As Virginians, we are committed to ensuring a clean and vibrant Chesapeake Bay for future generations to cherish." The introduced budget allocates over $31 million from the FY2013 budget surplus, to the Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF.) The budget also authorizes an additional $20.0 million of bonds through the Virginia Public Building Authority in FY...

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USDA – Conservation Measures Have Reduced Runoff to Chesapeake Bay

The agriculture industry's impact to water quality is very significant and the USDA has been doing its part to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay – to the tune of $650 million over the past 5 years.  This investment is paying off.   A recent study shows that there has been a reduction of phosphorous and nitrogen levels in the Bay since 2006.   These signs of improvement are encouraging, but there is still much that will need to be accomplished in order to re-establish the Bay’s ecosystem.   Read more about it from the Hampton Roads Pilot Online here. Additional news coverage of the announcemetn from NewsLeader.com...

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Hopewell Virginia Recommends Investigating Stormwater Utility Fee

It’s the perfect storm impacting localities this year – new MS4 general permit requirements and stricter stormwater management program regulations – leaving administrators and elected officials with a significant financial responsibility and searching for alternate funding sources for stormwater. Many local governments, like the City of Hopewell, are considering a stormwater utility fee to fund the mandates from state and federal regulations. Stormwater utility fees are restricted for use only for stormwater purposes – planning, design, and construction of projects to alleviate flooding and/or improve  water quality. Read more about the City of Hopewell’s proposal here - http://progress-index.com/news/unfunded-stormwater-mandates-to-cost-millions-1.1568316...

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Sampling of the Middle and South River May Be Key to Accurate Nutrient Pollution Data

[caption id="attachment_1140" align="alignleft" width="300"] Middle RIver, Augusta County[/caption] Augusta County is voluntarily considering a sampling program to determine the amount of pollutants that are leaving the county via its two primary waterways – the Middle and South rivers.  Now that the EPA has provided the “green light” of acceptance, it’s back in the county’s court to decide whether to proceed with the sampling. The decision to move forward has been hinging on whether or not grants could be obtained to meet operational costs as well as uncertainty about whether the EPA would accept the data. EPA has now deemed that the proposed monitoring "is consistent with other monitoring being done as part of the Chesapeake Bay River monitoring program." Supervisors will revisit the sampling idea when they meet in late July. For more details, click to read the news article: http://www.dailyprogress.com/newsvirginian/news/epa-says-it-would-accept-data-from-augusta-county-on/article_dbf1f1b0-decc-11e2-b36d-001a4bcf6878.html...

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Chesapeake Bay Cleanup to be About Collaboration and Accountability

The cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay is a huge multi-state effort that will span decades, making it perhaps the largest environmental restoration project in US history. Senator Mark Warner and Representative Robert Wittman have introduced the Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2013 (HR 739) to make the process more accountable at the federal level. Some of you may remember similar measures proposed in 2009 and 2011. If passed, this will require the EPA to develop a management plan for the Chesapeake Bay Program and restoration activities related to the bay. EPA would be required to update the management plan every two years. The legislation would require new financial reports on the Chesapeake Bay Program from the Office of Management and Budget and would require EPA to appoint an independent evaluator, who would review and report to the Congress on the plan. Read more about the proposed legislation that hopes...

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Depaving to Mitigate Stormwater Runoff

In the engineering and municipal communities, we spend a lot of effort to treat proposed impervious surfaces, and now with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, we will spend even more effort trying to find ways to treat existing impervious areas. Let’s not lose sight of the easiest way to improve stormwater quality; reduce pavement. In the new projects we design we need to cast a critical eye on pavement to make sure that it is needed and serves a purpose. This applies to road and sidewalk widths, parking stall sizes and circulation, and those small areas that are easier to pave than to do anything else with. We need to get this message out: that every square foot of impervious has an impact that needs to be mitigated. This article from the Christian Science Monitor tells how one non-profit group in Orgeon is making an impact by removing unnecessary pavement from urban...

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Report Details Strategies for Stormwater Improvements in James River Watershed

[caption id="attachment_1086" align="alignleft" width="300"] Stormwater Retrofit ()Henrico County, Virginia)[/caption] Now that the MS4 General Permit has been approved by the Board of Conservation & Recreation, the future is rapidly becoming now. Now is the time to determine compliance costs to budget the necessary funds. The report from the James River Association and the Center for Watershed Protection provides much useful cost information, hopefully the start of a continuing sharing of information. The report ranks treatment methods by cost effectiveness, with urban stream restoration ranked as the most cost effective. Though cost effective, stream restoration projects cannot be small projects. Upstream and downstream conditions affect hydraulically stablity, so it is difficult to restore short stream sections. There should still be room for smaller projects, such as parking lot retrofits. The James River Association has championed such projects through their Extereme Stream Makeover programs. Below is a photograph of one such retrofit in Henrico County, a bioretention area in a parking lot...

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Virginia TMDL Study Looking at Back Bay, Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Virginia Beach is learning firsthand that TMDLs extend beyond the Chesapeake Bay.  Local creeks and rivers like the tributaries flowing into Back Bay and the North Landing River have reaches that are impaired.  The source(s) of the impairment will be determined during the assessment process and TMDLs will be calculated for the pollutants of concern.  Such pollutants could include bacteria, total dissolved solids and sediment.  The TMDLs will identify the amounts of the pollutants that can be discharged to the effected water-bodies while allowing the creeks and rivers to return to unimpacted status. Many other water bodies both within and outside the Chesapeake Bay watershed have had TMDLs assigned.  The Chesapeake Bay TMDL may be the one that is most often heard about and will likely be the most costly to implement, but local governments and industries across the Commonwealth, indeed across the country, are dealing with the effects of TMDLs...

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Creating More Green – Creating Less Stormwater

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320"] The water coming down the restored branch of Donaldson Run on the left is visibly cleaner than the cloudy, silt-filled water flowing down the unrestored branch on the right.[/caption] Arlington County has implemented a number of strategies to capture, slow, treat, or otherwise reduce the stormwater runoff throughout the County. One technique being used by Arlington has been the use of low-impact, “greenscaping” techniques. These projects help Arlington to not only restore clean water to local streams and the Chesapeake Bay, but also reduce flooding, cut treatment costs, and beautify streets and public places. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation features Arlington County in the cover story of the Bay Daily. Read more at http://cbf.typepad.com/bay_daily/2012/10/arlington-more-green-less-stormwater.html...

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