Every year, through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) distributes millions of dollars to organizations throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This is a highly competitive and popular program, providing funding for technical services, implementation, and restoration to reduce pollutants and improve water quality. In 2020, just over $18 million dollars were awarded to 56 restoration projects. Grant opportunities range from small watershed technical assistance or implementation (up to $50,000 and $500,000, respectively), to large-scale regional innovative nutrient and sediment reduction projects (up to $1 million each).
HRPDC’s Water Resources Department was successful in securing $50,000 in technical assistance for a Small Watershed Grant, which was the maximum amount for this smaller type of grant. The project, entitled “Retrofitting businesses and industrial properties to improve water quality and provide flood protection” will identify business or industrial partners willing to implement best management practices (BMPs) and report them for credit towards Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) compliance. We will coordinate with a NFWF Technical Service Provider to identify 10-12 businesses or industries in the region that are willing to reduce impervious pavement on-site, implement green infrastructure, store and treat stormwater, or control for flood protection. While much of Virginia’s plan for reducing nutrients for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL focuses on addressing water quality in unregulated developed lands, emphasis was also placed on addressing sea level rise, flooding, and resiliency.
Implementing and protecting BMPs like vegetated buffers and living shorelines can improve and expand coastal resilience and pollution reduction. Many programs exist to help small private property owners in the region to improve water quality at a small-scale. We would like to amplify and increase the scale of this effort by identifying projects that can be achieved on larger parcels. Businesses and industries in the region already show their commitment to the environment by participating in programs like the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP), askHRGreen’s Bay Star Businesses, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Businesses for the Bay, and the Elizabeth River Project’s River Star Businesses. However, few businesses conduct large-scale implementation projects to reduce nutrients from their properties or consider how BMP retrofits could help with flooding concerns on and around their properties. If such practices take place, they are rarely reported for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. This work would seek to improve and encourage BMP reporting in the private sector. Hampton Roads localities regularly work together to address issues of water quality impairments and resilience. Increasingly, these efforts are intersecting as project development must address multiple concerns and as competition for funding is high, agencies are seeking to address co-benefits. The private sector in Hampton Roads could become a model for BMP implementation that directly benefits their industry as well as local and Chesapeake Bay water quality. It is the hope that this funding will lead to future funding opportunities for implementation.
The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and its funding sources. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government, or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation or its funding sources.
This material is based on work supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Assistance Agreement No. CB96358101) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, which promotes community-based efforts to develop conservation strategies to protect and restore the diverse natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay.