(RICHMOND, VA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has presented Senator John C. Watkins (R-Midlothian) with one of five 2015 Legislator of the Year Awards in appreciation of his long-term support for Virginia programs to restore the Bay and local waterways. Watkins is retiring from the Virginia General Assembly after serving Virginia's 10th Senatorial District since 1998. Prior to that, Watkins served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1982 to 1998.
"The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is grateful to Senator Watkins for his unwavering support for programs that clean up Virginia's waters," said CBF Virginia Executive Director Rebecca LePrell. "His legacy will lead to healthier waters across the Commonwealth, as well as help Virginia meet its commitments under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint."
Over his decades in the legislature, Watkins worked to provide robust state funding for critical water quality efforts such as wastewater treatment plant upgrades and programs to assist farmers in putting effective conservation programs on the ground. He also has been a key leader in some of Commonwealth's most visionary water quality programs, including expanded nutrient trading.
"It is an extraordinary honor to have received the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's career recognition award," Senator Watkins said. "I have sought to achieve sustainable improvements in water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Water is destined to become the most valuable resource on this planet. Virginia is blessed to have the many rivers and the Bay as its waterfront. Our destiny, our quality of life, and our economic well-being are all ultimately dependent upon this resource and our ability to keep it clean and viable for generations to come."
Most recently, Watkins' leadership was key to providing about $27 million in funding for agricultural best management practices. Steps like fencing cattle out of streams, planting streamside trees and grasses, managing manure effectively, and planting cover crops, are among the most cost-effective measures Virginia can take to restore the Chesapeake Bay and local rivers and streams.
CBF's Legislator of the Year Awards are presented to lawmakers who have made outstanding efforts in the General Assembly to improve the health and resources of the Chesapeake Bay. CBF also presented 2015 Legislator of the Year awards to four other legislators. They include Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Mount Solon); Senator Lynwood Lewis (D-Accomac); Delegate Ed Scott (R-Culpeper); and Delegate Mike Webert (R-Culpeper).