(RICHMOND, VA)—Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal included approximately $10 million in funding for agricultural best management practices, significantly less than last year's appropriation of $61.7 million. The budget proposal did not include a dedicated appropriation in Fiscal Year 2018 for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, which provides matching grants to localities for projects that reduce polluted runoff.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Rebecca LePrell issued the following statement.
"Despite a difficult budget situation it is disappointing to see any budget that rolls back investments in Virginia's farms and localities. Farmers need steady support for these cost-effective practices, which not only reduce agricultural pollution but are also good for a farmer's bottom line. In cities and suburbs, matching state grants are helping local governments improve the health of their streams and rivers by reducing polluted runoff.
"From clear water to rebounding oysters, we're finally starting to see some notable improvements in water quality. Healthy waterways are good for our quality of life and good for Virginia's economy, supporting everything from fisheries to tourism to real estate values.
"We must not lose momentum. Maintaining stable funding is crucial for the successful restoration of Virginia's rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. Despite fiscal challenges, we are optimistic that legislators this session will support continued investment in programs that reduce pollution from farms, suburbs, and cities."