Learn about Nonpoint Source Pollution Assessment and Prioritization | 2009 Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Cleanup Plan (and Virginia NPS Pollution Management Plan) | Funding Opportunities | Virginia Nonpoint Source Program 2012 Annual Report (Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Cleanup Plan Report) | TMDL Implementation Supplement to the 2012 Virginia Nonpoint Source Program Annual Report | Other documents
The Clean Water Act of 1987, Section 319, required states to assess their state waters and identify those adversely affected by nonpoint sources of pollution. In addition, state management programs to control nonpoint source pollution were required.
DCR completed Virginia's first nonpoint source pollution (NPS) assessment in 1988, with subsequent updates and refinements in 1993 and 1997. The assessment ranks the state's 494 watersheds, based on land use, livestock population, forest harvesting, disturbed acreage, best management practices (BMPs) implementation and erosion rates, for potential nonpoint source pollution. The rankings are used to help direct implementation of Virginia's nonpoint source pollution control programs, as well as cost-share and Section 319 funding, to watersheds with the greatest pollution potential.
To help develop Virginia's nonpoint source pollution control management program, DCR coordinates the Nonpoint Source Advisory Committee (NPSAC). It comprises representatives from all state and federal agencies having responsibility for NPS pollution control. Working with the committee, DCR developed the first NPS Management Program in 1989. Goals and milestones for controlling various sources of nonpoint source pollution were updated in 1992 and 1994.
As specified in federal guidance issued by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Virginia completed a major update and revision to the Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program in 1999. EPA approved Virginia's updated program in December 1999. Virginia's updated program guides federal, state and local actions, as well as funding and citizen participation. A major program update was necessary to incorporate changes in federal and state regulations and programs and to ensure that Virginia remains eligible for federal program funding under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The program update also provided an opportunity to better coordinate nonpoint source pollution control programs.
The 1999 Plan summarizes the State's effort to prevent and control NPS pollution. The 1999 plan identifies programs and initiatives to achieve long-term statewide NPS goals. The Program utilizes partnerships to advance long and short-term goals for the reduction of nonpoint source pollution; through financial, technical, and outreach assistance, and local capacity building to achieve specific nonpoint source pollution control targets. The original plan was intended to provide five-year achievable goals and activities, updated at five year intervals.
As of 2007 the 1999 NPS Management Plan had not been updated and was very out of date; as a result DCR began to evaluate the need to update the 1999 plan to make it more relevant to current NPS activities and priorities. It was determined that 2006 state legislation (House Bill 1150, "Virginia Waters Cleanup Plan) directing the Commonwealth to develop a plan to address water quality impairments and protect the waters of the commonwealth from further degradation was sufficient in addressing NPS activity in Virginia and could be utilized to fill the need for an updated NPS Pollution Management Plan. In fact, it was decided that the new legislation "Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-up Plan" referenced in the following section should serve as the Commonwealth's NPS plan. During 2008, Virginia officially adopted the "Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-up Plan" as the Commonwealth's NPS Pollution Management Plan update. In 2010 DCR worked with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recognize the Cleanup Plan as the Commonwealth's official NPS Management Plan.
The Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-up and Oversight Act (HB1150) was passed during the 2006 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law on April 3, 2006 (Title 62.1, Chapter 3.7, section 62.1-44.117-62.1-44.118). The Act established the requirement to develop a plan for the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's waters designated as impaired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Subsequently the plan also addresses the protection of water resources not yet impaired by pollution. The resulting "Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-Up Plan" provides clear objectives, well-developed strategies, predictable time frames, realistic funding needs, common-sense mitigation strategies, and straightforward recommendations to the General Assembly for its consideration for stream restoration and protection. The initial plan was presented to the General Assembly in 2007. The plan was last updated in June 2009. A progress report is produced annually as well; the latest status report was developed in December 2012 and presented to the General Assembly by the Secretary of Natural Resources. It should be noted that this plan is very comprehensive in nature and actually addresses both point and nonpoint pollution sources, as well as air pollution. There are, however, very specific elements of the plan related to nonpoint source pollution and as noted the above section on the CWA Section 319 program, the relevant portions of Clean-up plan are now considered Virginia's Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan.
Through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, Virginia is awarded grant funds to implement the nonpoint source programs. DCR administers the money, in coordination with the advisory committee, to fund watershed projects, demonstration and educational programs, nonpoint source pollution control program development, and technical and program staff. DCR reports annually to the EPA on the progress made in nonpoint source pollution prevention and control. DCR also administers EPA grant funds provided through the Chesapeake Bay Program for the implementation of nonpoint source programs within the Chesapeake Bay Drainage Basin. In addition DCR administers state funds for nonpoint activities through both the Water Quality Improvement Fund and the Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund.
As the lead agency in Virginia for nonpoint source pollution control programs, DCR also coordinates other nonpoint source initiatives, such as the Chesapeake Bay Program and the Coastal NPS Pollution Control Program.