As you know, state staff is working to develop the initial watershed implementation plan as part of the Bay TMDL, or pollution diet, process. DCR staff has been charged with writing the portions that will deal with strategies to "close the gap" or go beyond our current progress to meet the pollution reduction targets in the TMDL. In this initial plan the strategies will be very broad brush looking at Virginia's entire Bay watershed. More locality, "segment-shed" strategies will come later in Phase 2 of the process.
We have posted to the private VABAYTMDL discussion group on Chesapeake Network a document to solicit broad brush strategy ideas for the main nonpoint source sectors -- agriculture, urban/stormwater and onsite/septic. As the document states this is not a formal comment period but an opportunity for you to provide your thoughts to staff who will be drafting those sections of the implementation plan.
There are two options for providing your ideas. You can post on the Chesapeake Network VABAYTMDL discussion area. Your post will be available for all group members, but only group members. We encourage all of you who feel comfortable to use this option to help facilitate some discussion on strategies.
However, if you have ideas or thoughts that you wish to share more privately, respond to this e-mail address and we will share your thoughts with the appropriate state staff only.
If you are receiving this note, but are not a member of the Chesapeake Network TMDL group, sign up for the Chesapeake Network at http://www.chesapeakenetwork.org/welcome.htm Once you have signed up, please e-mail this address to let us know you want to join the private TMDL group and we'll add you. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts, Monday will be the earliest we can add those of you who sign up this week.
We look forward to hearing your thinking. As always if you have questions just hit reply.
We want to thank the 173 people who participated in our online survey concerning TMDL stakeholder engagement in Virginia. We also want to thank all of you who provided comments with your survey. We hope to respond to many of the questions and concerned raised in this and possibly future e-mails.
The primary reason for the survey was to gauge interest in an interactive, online tool. Overwhelmingly respondents seemed interested in giving that a try with 46 percent saying they were "very likely" to use such a tool and 43 percent saying they were "somewhat likely" to use it. We had several comments from people who said they would prefer meetings or other means of interacting. We want to remind everyone that this online tool would not replace the need for meetings, it would complement them; give stakeholders another opportunity to comment and interact.
Seventy-six percent of the respondents said they would be willing to use this tool residing on the Chesapeake Network. Several comments suggested that the state should host the tool rather than an outside organization. The reason we are proposing the Chesapeake Network is because they have been gracious enough to let us set up a site on their network for free. It will be operated and monitored by DCR staff. Its like DCR getting a conference room in a nice hotel gratis; its still a DCR meeting its just being held in a nice location. There are other free sites available, but they all rely on advertising and pop-ups for their revenue. We believe Chesapeake Network will be a much cleaner and efficient set up.
We will also continue to use this e-mail listserv and our website to provide information on the TMDL process. More than 90 percent of you cited e-mail as your primary source of information with the DCR, DEQ and EPA websites also cited. As alluded to earlier, we're also planning what types of meetings would be most beneficial as we move forward.
So when will you see this new interactive tool? We hesitate to give a time frame, we're still working on developing the site and determining what would be the first information on it. But I can assure you that we will follow the advice of one person who wrote "Keep it short. Keep it simple. My boss would not like me to spend a lot of computer time on this. I have my job to perform."
We hear you, we're all busy. We'll try to make this an experience that will allow you to convince your boss it is time well spent.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, don't hesitate to hit reply.
EPA will host a series of webinars covering updates on the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or "pollution diet." The first is scheduled for Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This webinar's agenda includes an EPA update on Bay TMDL developments. There will also be presentation by the Commonwealth of Virginia on the preparation of its pollution reduction plan. Registration information for the webinar is here.
As you may recall, EPA staff will be visiting Virginia in mid-December to discuss the ongoing process to develop the "pollution diet", or TMDL, for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
If you can't make one of the meetings listed below in person, you now have the option of "attending" the Dec. 17 meeting via webinar. By registering at the link below you will be able to see and hear the presentations from your home or work computer. To register go to: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/949488162.
Here is the schedule for the four Virginia meetings:
EPA has released initial working target loads for each of the Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions. They have also divided them among the major basins in each. More information on these loads, an updated schedule for the Bay TMDL and Watershed Implementation Plans development, and EPA's letter on its expectations for implementation plans can be found on DCR's website at: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/stormwater_management/baytmdl.shtml.
Also, a fourth meeting has been added to the previously announced three mid-December EPA meetings to discuss the TMDL and Watershed Implementation Plans.
The most recently scheduled meeting will be held Dec. 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Falls Church High School's Little Theater. The school is located at 7521 Jaguar Trail, Falls Church, Virginia 22042. For more information on all four of the meetings to be held in Virginia Dec. 14-17, go to the DCR Bay TMDL page at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/stormwater_management/baytmdl.shtml.
As always, feel free to respond to this note with comments or questions. Also, please pass it along to others who might be interested.
Earlier this week EPA announced a series of meetings to be held in the Bay watershed states to discuss the "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Thirteen meetings will be held over a seven week period in six states and the District of Columbia. The meetings start Nov. 4 in Martinsburg W.Va. and end Dec. 17 in Fredericksburg Virginia.
As you all know, EPA held an initial TMDL orientation meeting here in Virginia on Oct. 2. As a result, the three meetings held here in mid-December (the exact dates, times and locations are listed below) will be a little different than those in the other Bay states. Since it was covered in the Oct. meeting, the Dec. Virginia meetings will focus less on "what is a TMDL" and "why is one needed" and will focus more on what EPA expects in the implementation plans, a discussion of the draft reduction loads available at that time and a closer look at the process here in Virginia.
Here is the schedule for the three Virginia meetings:
It has been two weeks since EPA officials briefed Virginia stakeholders on the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process. This orientation gave some very basic information on how the "pollution diet" for the Bay and its tributaries will be handled. The presenters, Rich Batuik and Bob Koroncai have both been long involved with the Bay and are both knowledgeable about the Bay's problems and about TMDL development. Just a reminder that the PowerPoint from that presentation is posted here.
One of the things they pointed out was that, taken as a whole, the Bay TMDL is the largest and most complex pollution diet ever attempted. And as Virginia Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources Jeff Corbin pointed out in his presentation, we have a tight time frame within which to develop the initial plans.
In Virginia, TMDL reports and implementation plans will actually be developed for 35 river basin segments in the state. While state staff will take the lead in developing these, there will be significant stakeholder involvement. As Corbin also pointed out, stakeholder involvement will be key. DCR staff are currently developing plans on how to best engage all nonpoint source stakeholders in the process. Staff will work with experts to help develop initial drafts of implementation levels and strategies. These drafts will then be thoroughly vetted with and modified by local and regional stakeholders.
Batuik and Koroncai mentioned that Virginia and the other jurisdictions will receive load reductions by major basins later in October. Also, basins such as the James and York will address additional local water quality concerns.
There are several areas that make this process different from previous tributary strategies. One of these is the consequence of not meeting these TMDLs. EPA reported that a letter outlining these consequences is forthcoming. Another is the development of milestones. In Virginia we are looking to use these two-year milestones not just as reporting deadlines, but also as touchstones for an adaptive management process. In addition to reporting progress, the milestones will be used to evaluate new programs and technologies, compare practices, evaluate, and as needed, redevelop strategies.
In coming notes we will start to answer some of the questions we have received concerning the TMDL and implementation plan development process. We will also look at existing nonpoint source programs or topics that may have an impact, or be impacted by, the Bay TMDL. In the meantime, feel free to reply to this note with comments or questions. And as always, please pass this along to others who might be interested and encourage them to subscribe.
We hope you were one of the more than 400 people who participated in last Friday's public presentations on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, or mandatory pollution diet, in Virginia. Approximately 200 people attended the meetings in the five DEQ offices and another 250 or so were registered for the webinar. Assuming not all of those registrants were watching alone, the number of participants may have exceeded 500.
For those who missed the meeting or would like to review the presentation, we have posted the PowerPoint presentation here.
In future notes we will give a synopsis of the presentation and then begin to provide more information on the TMDL and implementation plan development process and discuss other nonpoint source programs and issues related to the cleanup plan. If there are specific topics you would like us to address, please reply to this note to let us know.
Virginia Chesapeake Bay TMDL Orientation
October 2, 2009
You are invited to join Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant, Jr., October 2 at 1 p.m. to hear from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about a major Chesapeake Bay and Virginia local waters pollution clean-up effort. Virginia is one of the Chesapeake Bay states embarking on a process to develop a "pollution diet" or "pollution budget" for all of its waters that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
Known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report, efforts to develop this diet or budget will be coordinated in Virginia by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in conjunction with EPA. The Bay and its tributaries are on the federal "dirty" waters list for excessive nutrients and sediment.
After an introduction from Secretary Bryant, representatives from EPA and the multi-state Chesapeake Bay Program will discuss the elements that make up a TMDL, outlining the requirements in developing a prescribed "diet" and a strategic implementation plan for bringing the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries into compliance with water quality standards. State staff will briefly outline what the process will look like in Virginia.
The meeting will be held in Richmond and video broadcast to five DEQ offices throughout the watershed. It is also available on your home or work computer as a webinar. Those attending the video meetings can ask questions during a Q&A period. Those on the webinar will be able to hear remarks and questions and see all materials presented. Advance registration is required for the webinar only.
Locations for the video meeting are the following DEQ offices:
Richmond, Central Office, 629 E. Main St., 23219 [live meeting site];
Lynchburg, Blue Ridge Regional Office, 7705 Timberlake Road, 24502;
Woodbridge, Northern Regional Office, 13901 Crown Court, 22193:
Glen Allen , Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road, 23060;
Virginia Beach, Tidewater Regional Office, 5636 Southern Boulevard, 23462: (757) 518-2000
Harrisonburg, Valley Regional Office, 4411 Early Road, 22801;
For more information and to register for the webinar go to DEQ's website. For more information on the Bay TMDL, including fact sheets, frequently asked questions and video clips of previous presentations go to the EPA Bay TMDL website.
Dear Virginia Chesapeake Bay Watershed stakeholder,
As a resident of the part of the state that drains to the Chesapeake Bay, you may already know Virginia is one of several Chesapeake Bay states now gearing up to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in developing a Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report and implementation plan. EPA likens a TMDL to putting the Bay on a "pollution diet." In the commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will be coordinating with EPA on these diet plans.
While hundreds of TMDLs have been developed throughout the United States, this will be the largest and surely one of the most complicated. In Virginia alone it will cover more than half the state's land mass and hundreds of creeks, streams and rivers that flow to the Bay.
As the state's lead nonpoint source pollution agency, DCR is working to keep those stakeholders involved in nonpoint source pollution activities informed about the TMDL, and engaged in its development. A first step is sending periodic e-mail updates on the process. You will receive the first of these later this week from firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope these e-mails will be topical, informative and useful in your organization's operations. We promise to keep them short and to the point. With a variety of nonpoint sources, issues and stakeholders, not every e-mail will pertain to you. But we will strive to provide information that is relevant for all stakeholders on a variety of topics.
We ask that you share these e-mails with others who would have an interest in this process. If you do not wish to receive these notes, please let us know. We would hope you wait until you receive a few before making a decision.
Our first note will highlight an EPA led meeting to be held Oct. 2 to help kickoff the TMDL process here in Virginia. In the meantime, we recommend you visit the EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL website.
Gary Waugh, Public Relations Manager, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation