By Tiffany Smith
Water Resource Planner
At its February 3, 2011 meeting, the Hampton Roads Watershed Roundtable weighed in on the challenges facing the region in executing the next step in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. With the EPA’s 2011 deadline rapidly approaching, the Roundtable focused on the coordination required to develop Virginia’s Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).
The group agreed on the immediate need for guidance on the State’s planned approach for Phase II WIP development. Participants identified specific data gaps and indicated the desire for planning tools and technical assistance. The concerns expressed at the Roundtable meeting echoed recent discussion by the HRPDC Regional Stormwater Management Committee, which in a February 7, 2011 letter to the Secretary of Natural Resources requested that Virginia develop guidance and expectations for local governments.
Ms. Joan Salvati, Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Division, expressed the agency’s receptiveness to stakeholder input. She indicated that the State is putting considerable effort toward developing a strategy for the local engagement process, anticipated to be finalized within the next month.
EPA expects Virginia to develop the Phase II WIP to provide local area targets for small-scale implementation of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. The Bay TMDL, published on December 29, 2010, establishes water pollution loading caps for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. Virginia’s Phase I WIP was submitted to EPA on November 29, 2010.
The Hampton Roads Watershed Roundtable serves as a forum for capacity building, education, and information exchange to engage the agricultural community, the development community, chambers of commerce, industry and civic organizations, environmental organizations, and state, local, and regional agencies throughout the James, York, Chowan and Southern Rivers and Atlantic Coastal Basins. The program is partly funded through a grant from the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, through Virginia DCR. For more information, contact Benjamin McFarlane, HRPDC.