August 20, 2013
Bay Foundation Issues Critical Action Plan for Next Governor to Ensure Success of Chesapeake Bay Restoration
(RICHMOND, VA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today issued a five-point action plan outlining critical steps Virginia's next governor and other elected leaders can take to ensure the success of Chesapeake Bay restoration.
"Virginia's new elected leaders have a heightened responsibility and an extraordinary opportunity over the next four years to restore the Chesapeake Bay's ecology and economy," said CBF Virginia Executive Director Ann F. Jennings. "By taking these five critical actions, Virginia's statewide and locally elected officials can ensure the state achieves its clean water goals so important to Virginia's environment, economy, and quality of life."
The five critical actions focus on reducing pollution, restoring fisheries, and educating future leaders. They are:
- Reduce farm runoff pollution 35 percent by 2015 and 60 percent by 2017
- How? By fully funding and effectively managing farm conservation cost-share programs; if 2015 goals are not met, requiring by 2017 key farm best management practices, such as fencing to exclude livestock from streams.
- Help localities reduce urban runoff pollution
- How? By establishing a dedicated state matching grant program that incentivizes innovative, cost-effective, job-creating conservation practices and that ensures localities meet five-year permit mandates for reducing runoff pollution.
- Boost oysters and the oyster fishery
- How? By fully restoring oyster habitats and populations in three Bay tributaries and sustainably growing the state's oyster harvest of wild and farmed oysters to 500,000 bushels a year using responsible, science-based management and robust enforcement.
- Restore Atlantic menhaden
- How? By achieving in four years the population target currently established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's science-based, coast-wide menhaden management plan.
- Ensure Virginia students, our next generation of leaders, are environmentally literate
- How? By establishing a commission charged with ensuring that all Virginia students graduate environmentally literate and prepared to address the complex environmental challenges of the future.
Recent statewide bipartisan polling showed that more than 90 percent of Virginia voters support the Commonwealth's plan to restore the Bay and want the next governor to move forward implementing it. Voters also believe Bay restoration efforts will have significant economic benefits for the state. Nearly half say they think the state's Bay cleanup plan will create jobs, or more than three times as many who say it will cost jobs.
The polling also found that a 57-percent majority of Virginians would support a homeowner's fee of up to $1 a week to provide steady funding for reducing runoff pollution from homes, businesses, and streets. Two-thirds of Virginia voters said they would support requiring farmers to fence cattle out of streams to prevent animal waste from polluting water. And 68 percent said they would back requirements in Virginia schools to ensure students have a basic level of education about the environment and issues that affect land, water, and wildlife.
"If Virginia takes the steps necessary to reduce pollution and improve water quality as called for by the state's Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, opportunities will abound to rebuild the Bay's oysters, menhaden, and other living resources," Jennings said. "And to sustain progress, Virginia also must ensure that the next generation of leaders is environmentally literate and ready to steward the Commonwealth's precious natural resources in the years to come. We encourage voters in Virginia to determine where candidates for public office stand on these important action issues."
To learn more about CBF's critical action plan and statewide polling results, go to cbf.org/va4thebay.