(RICHMOND, VA)—Today Virginia's General Assembly approved modifications to the state's budget for this fiscal year and the next, including several funding changes for key programs that restore Virginia's waterways. That includes:
- The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund would receive $10 million in new investment for fiscal year 2020. By contrast, the existing budget provides no new funds for this program in 2020.
- Virginia's agricultural cost-share program, including technical and related services, would receive an unprecedentedly high level of investment—an additional $5.9 million for this fiscal year and $83.8 million in fiscal year 2020.
- State oyster restoration and replenishment efforts would receive $4 million in fiscal year 2020, a $1 million increase from current levels.
These new funding levels now move forward for the governor's consideration. Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Virginia Executive Director Rebecca Tomazin released the following statement.
"We thank the General Assembly and the budget conferees for their diligent work on the state budget. It is clear that clean water is something we can all agree on. It's terrific news that our legislators have approved strong investment in programs that reduce polluted runoff and clean up our rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.
"There is an unprecedent level of investment in Virginia's agricultural cost-share program, which helps farmers install conservation practices that benefit the economy and local waterways.
"In the approved budget, the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund will continue supporting counties and cities that put in projects that tackle the most difficult challenge to restoring waterways—reducing polluted runoff from developed areas.
"Additional investment in oyster restoration replenishment will increase oyster populations and harvests as the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance works towards adding 10 billion new oysters to the Bay."