Bay Foundation, Onancock Begin Work on Runoff Project

Parking Lot Project Will Use Permeable Pavers, Trees to Catch Runoff

(ONANCOCK, VA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Town of Onancock have begun construction on a project designed to collect and treat runoff water flowing off the town hall parking lot.

"We are excited to be working with the Town of Onancock on a project that will help reduce urban runoff from one of the town's larger paved areas," said CBF Virginia Executive Director Ann Jennings. "Once completed, the project will help protect water quality in nearby Onancock Creek and the Chesapeake Bay." 

The parking lot project at the corner of Parker and King streets will include replacing pavement in the center of the lot with permeable pavers that allow runoff water to soak into the ground and toward a vegetated area planted with native trees and grasses. The project, believed to be the first on the Eastern Shore to use permeable pavers, is designed to catch, absorb and treat runoff before it can enter Onancock Creek, parts of which are impaired (polluted), according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Runoff washing off buildings, streets, parking lots, and lawns is among the few sources of Chesapeake Bay pollution that are still increasing. Runoff carries chemicals, fertilizer, bacteria, and other noxious pollutants into waterways, fouling water quality and threatening fish, crabs, oysters, and other marine life. Replacing paved areas to allow rainwater to soak into the earth and be filtered naturally can reduce runoff, ease flooding, and improve the health of local waterways. Reducing runoff is a key goal of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the federal-state plan to restore streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.

The $50,000 project is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Other partners include the Center for Watershed Protection, the Onancock Tree Board, and Eastern Shore Landscape Management.

The project is expected to be completed in several weeks.

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