Crucial Legislative Session
When state legislators meet this winter, their decisions will determine whether Virginia can reach its clean-water blueprint goals by the 2025 deadline. The 2022 General Assembly session, which starts January 12, will consider the biennial budget proposed by outgoing Governor Ralph Northam. This comes at a crucial time. Virginia must significantly accelerate investment in clean water programs now to meet its pollution-reduction goals.
In particular, projects focused on agriculture and stormwater need more support. For example, Virginia’s agricultural cost-share program and related technical assistance helps farmers install conservation practices that lead to more productive farms and cleaner water in local rivers and streams. In developed areas, Virginia’s Stormwater Local Assistance Fund helps localities implement projects that reduce polluted runoff to waterways.
Significant progress has been achieved through both of these long-running programs, but the demand from farms, cities, and suburbs for support to reduce pollution to our waterways continues to rise.
Oysters Protect Shorelines
In Suffolk’s Nansemond River, CBF and the Nansemond Preservation Alliance are piloting innovative projects that use oyster reefs to protect eroding shorelines. In the spring of 2021, we placed five different oyster reef substrates along 250 feet of shoreline to offer side-by-side comparisons of their ability to accrue oysters, trap sediment, and retain structural integrity.
Research on using oysters in living shorelines is just getting started, and these pilot projects are essential learning tools. In October, CBF and NRPA visited one of the sites with living shorelines professionals and hosted a tabling event. Just six months after installation, oysters are attaching themselves to the structures and new sediment is naturally rebuilding the shoreline.
These projects were funded through a grant from the Suffolk-based Bleakhorn Foundation.
Trees Green Southside Richmond
Across Southside Richmond this fall, CBF, partners, and local residents planted hundreds of native trees at community centers. People living in the area also picked up free trees to plant at home thanks to partner Southside ReLeaf. New trees were planted at Richmond’s Hickory Hill Community Center, T.B. Smith Community Center, and Bellemeade Community Center. The trees will create shade and green space while reducing polluted runoff.
This fall’s work is another step in the Greening Southside initiative, a major effort to plant trees where they are most needed to mitigate the lack of 0shade and extreme summertime heat in neighborhoods that experienced racially motivated housing discrimination in the past. CBF’s partners in the plantings include the City of Richmond, Southside ReLeaf, Groundworks RVA, and The Martin Agency. Greening Southside is funded by a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant.
Virginia Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation