Regional Watershed Roundtables from throughout Virginia's Bay watershed are hosting a series of seven public information meetings so state staff can receive public input on the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan. See the meeting schedule below.
The state is still accepting written comments through May 31. See the submission information below.
Click here for a copy of the show used at the meetings listed above.
On March 30, Virginia submitted its Phase II WIP to EPA, meeting the submission deadline.
While Phase II of the plan was developed with considerable local stakeholder participation, the state is also providing an additional 60-day period for public comment. These comments will be reviewed and considered as Virginia continues to work with EPA on issues of concern with the model before finalizing the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan.
Comments or questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments and inquires should include the name, address and phone number of the person submitting the comments. Comments must be received by 5 p.m., May 31, 2012.
Those with additional questions should contact James Davis-Martin, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 900 East Main St., 8th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219, 804-786-1795, email@example.com or Russ Baxter, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219, 804-698-4382, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Dec. 15, Virginia submitted its draft Phase II WIP to EPA, meeting their submission deadline.
In January, DCR submitted Virginia’s milestones document for 2012-2013. All Chesapeake Bay states agreed to submit milestones as an update to progress in meeting the 2025 reduction goals.
EPA has provided several guidance documents on its expectations for Phase II watershed implementation plans.
Each of Virginia’s 39 segment sheds has been assigned a load allocation for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. An allocation is the reduction the state is required to meet in each segment shed.
Using EPA data, the state originally gave each of 96 localities in Virginia’s bay watershed a reduction goal. The sum of these goals was toequal Virginia’s TMDL allocations. For localities, this was just a goal, not a legally binding assignment.
However, Virginia and other bay states have expressed serious concerns about the reduction goals derived from the model at the local level. The states are working with EPA to see that some of the calculations causing those concerns are reviewed and rectified. (See the Nov. 5 Shawn Garvin letter above.) In the meantime, Virginia is proposing to move efforts forward, not focusing on local reduction goals derived from the model but using more of a level-of-effort approach.
Localities are being asked to look at the level of effort and the number of BMPs suggested by the model, and then develop nutrient reduction scenarios.
To help determine this level of effort, DCR staff worked with PDCs and localities on a process to develop nutrient reduction strategies to meet goals by 2025. In this process, DCR has provided each locality with information on its current nutrient and sediment loads, land use, conservation practices coverage and other data. This data is derived from EPA's Watershed Model. Each locality will able to draw from its particular data to develop local reduction scenarios. The data is based on what is available and includes land use, green infrastructure, water quality, and local agricultural and urban BMP implementation levels.
This approach is intended to allow flexibility for localities and is in response to local governments wanting to use local data and program capacity to develop strategies. This approach is a local option. It is not mandatory.
DCR provided guidance regarding the path forward to local governments, planning district and regional commissions, and soil and water conservation districts. Download the letter sent to those groups.
To develop reduction scenarios, DCR contracted to develop the Virginia Assessment Scenario Tool (VAST). The tool also provided localities with a strategy template to be used to detail those strategies recommended locally to meet the reduction strategies developed using VAST.
The Virginia Assessment and Scenario Tool (VAST) has been developed to help localities, PDCs and others take existing land use and BMP data and develop local nutrient reduction scenarios. These scenarios will help inform Virginia's Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan.
Training on the VAST was held in various locations in October. The training included an explanation of the system's capabilities, detailed demonstrations and individual exercises using the tool.
Click here for a PDF of a PowerPoint show used in previous VAST training.
Direct any questions regarding VAST to V'lent.Lassiter@dcr.virginia.gov.
As mentioned above, each of the 96 localities in the bay watershed have been sent a strategy template. They can use this template to suggest local reduction strategies and list resources necessary to implement the strategies.
Locality-specific information from VAST and the strategy template will not be shared with EPA as part of the Phase II WIP. Rather, the information will be aggregated and provided in that format to show how the strategies relayed in Phase I can be implemented locally.
During March and April 2011, Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources for Chesapeake Bay Restoration Anthony Moore, or his designee, visited each of 16 planning district or regional commissions. He presented a recap of what is in Virginia’s Phase I WIP and introduced the current thinking on the development of the Phase II version. Click here for a copy of his presentation.