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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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Virginia Stormwater Programs Now Under VDEQ

This week (effective July 1, 2013) The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) became the lead agency for developing and implementing statewide nonpoint source pollution control programs consolidating these programs with otherenvironmental and water programs that ahave been managed by VDEQ. The Virginia Stormwater Management Program had been managed by the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR.) How do youy think that the new operational and organizational structure will benefit stormwater and environmental programs and policy? Visit the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Stormwater Management web site at: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx...

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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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James City County Developers to See New Fees in 2014

The EPA is mandating stricter stormwater management regulations in Virginia, particularly in response to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL – and word about the upcoming changes to the Virginia Stormwater Management Program permit requirements and increased fees are starting to trickle out. The jury is still out on how much the regulations and its fees will deter development after implementation in July 2014, but localities, like James City County, are starting the process to educate elected officials and the public now to minimize surprises in the future. Read more about James City County’s efforts here: http://wydaily.com/2013/03/03/jcc-developers-to-face-new-stormwater-fees-regulations/...

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Local Stormwater Management Programs: Message to Local Governments from DCR, “START NOW”

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is conducting a series of outreach sessions across the Commonwealth to facilitate rollout of the new stormwater regulations and to provide additional information and guidance on development of Local Stormwater Management Programs now required under the current law and regulation. While much has been accomplished and DCR’s tools and guidance are evolving and becoming more readily available, there is still much to be undertaken by many localities to implement the new stormwater regulations. One thing remains clear: The clock is ticking and the message from DCR is - “Start Now!!" One important clarification from these sessions … July 1, 2014 has been widely publicized as the implementation date for Local Government Stormwater management programs. This date however assumes a 12 month extension from the original deadline of June 2013 as allowed under the regulations. Several administrative steps must be followed in order for localities to be granted...

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Arlington County – A Roadmap Towards Stormwater Compliance in Virginia?

Arlington County has submitted a proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation which could be used as a template by other municipalities throughout Virginia. Arlington’s plan to meet the requirements for reducing nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay offers a variety of options to improve current discharge levels. Other municipalities (as well as developers) should give strong consideration to how they develop and maintain their systems as well as future developments which may provide opportunities for additional improvements. The flexibility of the Arlington plan may assist other municipalities to move forward towards submitting their own permit and to achieve their Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements - not only the near future but also the ultimate deadlines in 2025. Read more about Arlington County's plan in this Washington Post story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-state-of-nova/post/arlington-county-taking-lead-in-curbing-runoff-to-potomac-river-and-chesapeake-bay/2012/08/13/cc8615ce-e564-11e1-936a-b801f1abab19_blog.html...

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Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase II WIP Update

Public informatonal meetngs concerning Phase II of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementaton Plan will be  conducted throughout May across Virginia. Held by the Department of Conservation and Recreaton (DCR), the sessions will  provide updates on the status of the Phase II WIP, the next steps in the planning process and give stakeholders a chance to  comment before the plan is acted upon by the EPA. There will be 7 meetings conducted by DCR during the month of May. For detailed information including dates, times and locations, follow this link....

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Environment Virginia and DCR’s Stormwater Regulations

Last week at the Environment Virginia conference in Lexington, several presentations by DCR staff and representatives detailed some of the stormwater regulation program changes including details regarding the Grandfather clause, implementation schedule, and permitting tools under development by DCR. There was a significant amount of information shared with attendees, and more than can be adequately addressed in a single post to this blog. Much of this information has been eagerly awaited, and it is going to be extremely important to understand how this new information can provide direction. It will be very helpful so that localities and private land owners can chart their path forward to compliance. Please email me if you're interested to know more about the specific information shared and how you can actively plan for and manage your stormwater program....

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EPA to Virginia – “Refine Your Detailed Bay TMDL Plan…Or Else”

[caption id="attachment_696" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Shores of the James River"][/caption] It looks like the EPA will not be relinquishing their oversight of Virginia’s management of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL anytime soon. As noted in this Newsleader.com (Staunton, Virginia) article, the EPA returned Virginia’s plan for the clean-up of the Bay with harsh criticism, a deadline of March 30th for resubmittal, and threats of federal action if  "EPA requests are ignored or deadlines missed." We’ll keep you posted on how the Commonwealth is dealing with the latest requirements of the EPA. Are we on the right path to success? http://www.newsleader.com/article/20120224/NEWS01/202240311...

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Chesapeake Bay Cleanup, EPA and Virginia Localities – Still Many Challenges

Virginia’s local governments, through the Planning District Commissions (PDCs), are in the process of providing information to DCR for the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL by the February 1, 2012 deadline.  The information includes a review of the modeling data used to evaluate cleanup of the Bay, an inventory of BMPs currently in place, and additional BMPs, strategies and resources needed to meet the 2025 level of implementation (60% reductions) required by the TMDL. The following article outlines the concerns facing Gloucester County as well as many other local governments including potential increased federal regulation if cleanup progress is not sufficient, reliance on the modeling results to make that determination, and the impact of wildlife on potential progress.  Given the continued struggling economy, local governments will likely have difficulty finding the resources, both monetary and personnel, to meet the required reductions. http://www.dailypress.com/news/gloucester-county/dp-tsq-mid-gloucester-tmdls-0126-20120126,0,3520340.story...

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