Virginia Update


Teenagers plant a tree at Purpose Park in Norfolk with Teens with a Purpose and CBF.

Christy Everett/CBF Staff

From the Desk of Peggy Sanner

Winter 2022

Teens Create Green Space

Teenagers in Norfolk this year designed and planted a rain garden with CBF, creating a garden that will be beautiful throughout the year while reducing polluted runoff and flooding.

Teens With a Purpose is a youth empowerment organization that created Purpose Park in Norfolk as a safe space to learn, create, and grow. CBF and the City of Norfolk worked with the teenagers to plant trees in the park and create a rain garden that will absorb and filter roughly 33,000 gallons of polluted runoff per month, helping Norfolk meet stormwater reduction goals.

“What was once a barren gravel lot has become an oasis constructed largely by young creative hands, with hearts full of hope and excitement,” said Deirdre Love, Teens With a Purpose Executive Director. “The fruit trees and vegetables produced here feed families in the surrounding community, and the new rain garden will feed our souls with beauty, healing, and health for every living thing.”

Cleanup Plan is Needed at a Toxic Site in Portsmouth

CBF is working with the community in Portsmouth, Virginia, to ensure the contaminated Peck Iron and Metal site is subject to a strong cleanup plan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

From 1945 until 1999, the facility recycled scrap metal from the military and businesses, including electrical transformers, batteries, tanks, planes, and weapons. The process left behind toxic contaminants, such as lead, arsenic, and PCBs, as well as radioactive metals. These have been found in fish, groundwater, wetlands, and soils in the area, threatening the environment and human health. In 2009, the federal government declared Peck Iron a Superfund site, requiring an EPA cleanup plan. In 2022, the EPA moved toward completion of its plan for the site.

Many residents in the nearby Cradock neighborhood remain concerned for their health. This fall, CBF worked with community members to submit comments to the EPA calling for a strong cleanup plan for the Peck site that prioritizes the community’s health, as well as public outreach to ensures residents are involved in the process.

CBF Advocates for Clean-Water Investments this Legislative Session

With the 2025 target to meet pollution reduction commitments approaching, Virginia’s next legislative session starts on January 11.

During the 2022 session, Virginia’s leaders made historic investments in its agricultural cost share program. But many years of underfunding have left Virginia significantly behind in reducing pollution from agriculture and stormwater. Inflation is also increasing anticipated costs. For the 2023 legislative session, CBF is urging Virginia’s leaders to continue and accelerate investments in programs that reduce pollution from agriculture, stormwater, and wastewater treatment plants. Allocation of these funds should prioritize long term, cost effective practices, such as fencing livestock from streams and planting forested buffers. Funding for resilience measures that rely on nature based solutions is also an important step, as these projects address the effects of climate change while advancing Bay restoration.

—Peggy Sanner
Virginia Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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