Marshland and egrets at Pleasure House Point. Photo courtesy Jamie Betts/Trust for Public LandThe City of Virginia Beach, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) partnered to preserve Pleasure House Point for conservation and environmental center. Photo courtesy Jamie Betts/Trust for Public Land

5 Critical Actions Virginia's Elected Officials Can Take to Save the Bay

Virginia's elected leaders have a heightened responsibility and an extraordinary opportunity to restore the Chesapeake Bay's ecology and economy. Virginia has made tremendous progress, but more work is needed to ensure success.

Following are five critical actions Virginia must take to reduce pollution, restore fisheries, and educate future leaders.

 Reduce Pollution

1. Boost farm stewardship with expanded conservation practices


  • Reducing Virginia agriculture's share of Bay pollution 35 percent by 2015 and 60 percent by 2017* through fully funded and effectively managed cost-share programs.
  • Initiating and implementing pollution-reduction programs by 2017, such as mandated stream fencing for certain farm operations, if reduction goals are not met in 2015.


2. Support local efforts to reduce pollution through innovation and job creation


  • Establishing a dedicated state matching grant program for localities, which incentivizes installation of cost-effective and innovative conservation practices, promotes jobs, and, where feasible, encourages private financing. The fund must be sufficient to ensure localities achieve five-year mandates to reduce Bay runoff pollution.
 Restore Fisheries

3. Advance oyster restoration for ecological and economic benefits


  • Fully restoring native oyster habitats and populations in three Chesapeake Bay tributaries.
  • Sustainably growing Virginia's harvest of farmed and wild oysters to 500,000 bushels per year using science-based, responsible fisheries management and a robust enforcement program.


4. Achieve a science-based population goal for menhaden


  • Reaching the target population level for menhaden by 2017—as specified by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's coast-wide, science-based menhaden management plan.
 Educate Future Leaders

5. Ensure Virginia students, our next generation of leaders, are environmentally literate


  • Establishing a Governor's Commission on Science, the Environment, and Stewardship to develop an instructional plan and accountability timeline to ensure that all K-12 Virginia students graduate environmentally literate.



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Find out more about these 5 Critical Actions, including background information, justification, and key implementation measures. Download the Technical Background Report

Press Release: Bay Foundation Issues Critical Action Plan for Next Governor to Ensure Success of Chesapeake Bay Restoration

Memo: Poll Shows Strong Support for A Range of Policies to Protect Water Quality in Virginia
Virginia Voter Support for Policies to Protect the Chesapeake Bay (Attachment B)

Press Release:  Huge Majority of Virginians Back Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan

Memo: Poll Shows 9 Out of 10 Voters Support Virginia's Bay Restoration Efforts
Virginia Voter Support for Policies to Protect the Chesapeake Bay (Attachment A)

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