The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is working. We are seeing the signs of progress everywhere—from more blue crabs, to clearer waters, to a shrinking dead zone. We are so close to a restored and resilient Chesapeake Bay. The Commonwealth's plan to finish the job and restore the Bay by 2025, Virginia's Clean Water Blueprint, is the most comprehensive and ambitious plan we've ever seen.
In addition to vastly improving the health of Virginia's rivers, streams, and Bay, this ambitious plan is cost-effective, helps improve Virginia's climate resiliency, and provides many health and economic benefits to the Commonwealth.
But this draft plan can still be changed and we expect resistance. Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is receiving public comments and they need to know you support this plan that delivers long-sought-after pollution reductions and healthy Virginia waters for generations to come.
Take action before the June 7 deadline to tell DEQ why clean water matters to you. Urge them to support clean water and reject major changes to Virginia's Clean Water Blueprint.
Subject: I Support a Strong Phase III WIP
I support many of the initiatives outlined in the Phase III watershed implementation plan (also known as Virginia's Clean Water Blueprint). Clean water is critical to me and my community.
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Specifically, there are six key proposals I would like to see in Virginia's final Blueprint:
1) Climate Change: I'm proud that Virginia chose to address the additional pollution that's entering the Bay due to climate change. We should not procrastinate when the problem will be compounded by waiting.
2) Agriculture: I appreciate the tremendous investments Virginia's farmers have made to reduce pollution to the Bay, but we need to accelerate the work to meet the 2025 deadline. I support the need for additional cost share and technical assistance as well as a deadline for fencing livestock from 100 percent of perennial streams. I also support farmers having nutrient management plans implemented on 85 percent of cropland. And finally, I'd like to see additional provisions to address ammonia coming from poultry houses.
3) Tree canopy: I support the plan's call for replacing managed turf with forests. Expanding Virginia's tree canopy will improve air quality and reduce our carbon footprint while improving our quality of life.
4) Sewage Plants: The Bay is already seeing rapid improvements in water quality thanks to upgrades to some sewage treatment plants, but other plants are lagging. I support further reductions from sewage treatment plants to reduce the effluent that goes into our waterways.
5) Development: As we add more roofs, parking lots and driveways to our landscape, we remove habitat and the ability of greenspaces to absorb runoff. I support updating Virginia's rules for controlling construction-related stormwater and the call for increased state support for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund. I also support expanding protections from the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act--which currently protects our tidal waters--to areas west of Interstate 95.
6) Lawn fertilizer: Virginia is calling for more action to reduce pollution from the fertilizer applied to lawns and other turfgrass in urban and suburban areas. There are a million acres of turfgrass in Virginia's Bay watershed. Properly managing lawn fertilizer will make a big difference.