The Secretary of Natural Resources recently issued Virginia’s draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) setting forth the State’s plans for the final implementation phase of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to reduce nutrients and sediment in the Bay. The draft WIP includes several changes over previous phases, including a few proposed strategies that may affect VAA members.
The draft WIP lays out overall goals as well as strategies targeting specific sectors (agricultural, municipal, etc.). While there are not strategies specifically targeting the paving industry, there are several items that could impact VAA members. For example, Virginia is proposing to extend the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act West of I-95. This may impact projects for VAA members that have not previously been subject to the requirements. Additionally, Virginia is proposing to add nutrient management provisions to its erosion and sediment control regulations for land-disturbing activities equal to or greater than one acre. Finally, while there are no specific strategies targeting VDOT, the draft WIP also seeks increased coordination and collaboration between State agencies. VDOT has been a participant in the development of the draft WIP, and there could be strategies that result from this goal that impact VDOT projects.
The proposed WIP also incorporates additional nutrient reductions to account for climate change, accounts for additional growth in the Commonwealth through the 2025, and includes a focus on maximizing co-benefits of strategies, such as restoration and conservation of vital habitats, improving public access and awareness, increasing climate resilience, and improving the water quality of local streams.
Members who wish to review the proposed WIP and comment can access it and the public comment instructions here: https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/ChesapeakeBay/ChesapeakeBayTMDL/PhaseIIIWatershedImplementationPlanning.aspx.
The public comment period will run through June 7. The Secretary plans to finalize the WIP no later than August 9.