Photo by Chuck Epes/CBF Staff
Assembly OKs Priority Funding and Menhaden Measures
The Virginia General Assembly approved significant CBF-priority measures during its 2013 session: $216 million in additional state funding for clean water projects and legislation to better protect Atlantic menhaden.
The new state funding will help Virginia localities upgrade their sewage treatment plants, better manage stormwater runoff, and invest in other sewer and water infrastructure projects. The additional dollars not only will help reduce water pollution, flooding, beach closures, and hikes in local utility rates; cleaner water also will provide a better quality of life for Virginians and greater economic, tourism, and recreational opportunities for everyone.
Especially important is $106 million in grants to help localities install nutrient-reduction technology in wastewater plants. Treated sewage wastewater is among the larger sources of excess nitrogen and phosphorus plaguing the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers. In excess amounts, these nutrients contribute to the Bay's infamous dead zones of oxygen-starved water and to the depletion of vital underwater grasses. Installing the modern technology to reduce those pollutants in wastewater is a major priority for Virginia and the Bay region. The additional state funding helps keep Virginia on course to meet its Bay Clean Water Blueprint goals for the next several years.
Also critical is $35 million in new state funding to help localities better manage urban stormwater runoff, a growing pollution threat to waterways everywhere and another priority of Virginia's Bay Blueprint.
The money represents the biggest investment in clean water by Virginia in several years, and CBF congratulates legislators and the administration of Gov. Bob McDonnell for their good work in support of water quality and the Chesapeake Bay.
Lawmakers also overwhelmingly approved a CBF-backed measure that will better protect the Bay's Atlantic menhaden population. The legislation reduces the menhaden catch in Virginia waters by 20 percent, bringing the Commonwealth into compliance with a coast-wide menhaden conservation plan approved last year. The action protects menhaden and the livelihoods of hundreds of hardworking watermen who depend upon the menhaden fishery in Virginia.
Oyster replenishment and restoration also received a $2 million boost from the legislature. This will help speed the return of native oysters to the Bay and benefit Virginia's seafood economy.
These successes could not have been achieved without the help of dedicated CBF members and friends whose calls, emails, and letters to legislators made the difference. CBF thanks you!