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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 18, 2004
State makes $18 million available to reduce runoff pollution
(RICHMOND) - Combining several funding sources, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will make more than $18 million available over two years to reduce pollution running off of agricultural lands, streets, parking lots, construction sites and residential lawns and entering Virginia's waterways. This is also known as nonpoint source pollution. DCR is the state's lead nonpoint source pollution control agency.
More than $10.5 million is available this fiscal year to fight runoff pollution. Most of the monies come from the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund. Monies are also available from Virginia taxpayers' voluntary contributions to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration fund through a tax check-off. During the 2006 fiscal year $7.5 million in state funds will be available.
"Improving Virginia's waters and the Chesapeake Bay will require more attention and assistance be given to reducing the pollution that comes from thousands of land sites," said DCR director Joseph H. Maroon. "The monies provided by Governor Warner and the General Assembly will enable the state to assist farmers, landowners and communities across the Commonwealth."
The monies will be used to fund the installation of agricultural best management practices through the Virginia Agricultural BMP Cost-Share program, establish streamside forest buffers, wetlands and alternative livestock watering systems through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, fund Department of Forestry buffer and organizations with water quality improvement project grants. The cost share and grants programs require the recipient to match a portion of the funds, thus multiplying the money used to improve water quality.
Soil and water conservation districts will administer the agricultural cost-share monies. More than $3.7 million will be available in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and approximately $2.5 million is available in the state's southern and western watersheds. These BMPs are a critical part of Virginia's Chesapeake Bay tributary strategies and many clean-up plans designed for stream segments on the federal impaired waters list.
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program improves Virginia's water quality and wildlife habitat by offering rental payments to farmers who voluntarily restore riparian buffers, filter strips and wetlands through the installation of approved conservation practices.
"The new funds will also allow us to move forward on expanding this program in the southern portions of Virginia, where the program has been very popular," Maroon said. Two new CREP bonus programs have been developed; one for 100-foot-wide buffers, the other for creating wetlands.
"While these funds are a good beginning, they are just that - a beginning," said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources W. Tayloe Murphy. "There is no question that we will need many more dollars to have a real impact on improving water quality." In addition to these funds, $15 million will be used by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to address pollution from municipal wastewater treatment plants.
For more information on Virginia's Agricultural BMP Cost-Share or the CREP programs contact your local soil and water conservation district or call the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation toll-free at 1-877-42WATER.
(EDITORS: A fact sheet with the complete breakdown of the $18 million in nonpoint source pollution funding is available by calling Gary Waugh at (804) 786-5045 or via e-mail at email@example.com.)