Virginia's Path to Clean Water

Richmond State House_iStock_695x352

The Virginia State Capitol Building.

Photo Credit: iStock

Clean water policies for restored waterways

Prioritizing the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams is supported by 97 percent of Virginians, according to a 2017 poll*. This is a guide for public officials and residents to keeping Virginia on course to fully restoring its waterways.

During Virginia's annual legislative session, the Commonwealth's General Assembly considers critical investments in programs that reduce polluted runoff and lead to cleaner waterways, as well as significant policy proposals that affect our waters.

CBF's latest State of the Bay Report shows the Bay's recovery is fragile, but restoration efforts are working. Virginia is on track to achieve its 2025 Blueprint goals, provided it accelerates efforts to reduce pollution from agricultural sources and growing urban and suburban areas, while continuing progress in the wastewater sector. The Commonwealth has a strong roadmap for success; the key is implementation. We are grateful that Virginia legislators recommitted themselves to programs that will restore the Bay by 2025. As the saying goes, "actions speak louder than words." Follow our current Legislative Session page to see what actions are taking place.

Virginia's path to clean water requires progress in three key areas: reducing pollution, restoring our iconic fisheries, and strengthening local communities.

Reducing Pollution

Close-up of man standing in front of farm equipment.

Scott Buchanan used state cost-share funding to install livestock exclusion fencing and alternative watering sources on his farm in the Shenandoah Valley.

Bobby Whitescarver

Fortunately, Virginia is largely on track to achieve its Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint goals for reducing pollution. Moving forward, the Commonwealth needs to continue investing in programs that reduce runoff from agriculture and developed communities.
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Restoring Oysters and Iconic Fisheries

Man in waders kneeling next to oyster cages.

Chris Ludford, owner of Ludford Brothers Oyster Company, a Lynnhaven River oyster farm. His oysters are on the menu at seven top restaurants in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

Chesapeake Bay Program

The recovery of oysters, crabs, and other Bay fisheries will support Virginia's once-legendary seafood industry and the thousands of jobs that rely on it. To flourish, these fisheries need clean water, healthy habitat, and sound, science-based management.
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Strengthening Local Communities

Four people prepare new plots for planting trees in an open lot.

Second Baptist Church of South Richmond installed a bioretention system, water cistern, and community garden on their property to filter polluted runoff, prevent flooding, reduce monthly stormwater bills, and provide healthy fruits and vegetables to this under-served community.

CBF Staff

Virginia's rivers and the Bay are economic assets supplying jobs in tourism, seafood, and outdoor recreation industries. Fully implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint would increase the value of Virginia's natural benefits by $8.3 billion annually.
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* Poll conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy and the Virginia Environmental Endowment. The poll focused on environmental attitudes, concerns, and policy preferences. It is based upon interviews of 826 registered Virginia voters conducted between January 29 and February 12, 2017, including 382 landline interviews and 443 cell phone interviews. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.7% at the 95% level of confidence.

Photo credits (from top): Bobby Whitescarver, Chesapeake Bay Program, CBF Staff

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What does the Bay, its rivers and streams mean to you? What impact have the Bay and its local waters had on your life? We'd like to know.

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