RD19 - FY 2013 Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-Up Plan
This report was developed to comply with consolidated water quality reporting requirements set forth in § 62.1-44.118 of the Code of Virginia. This section requires the Secretary of Natural Resources to submit a progress report on implementing the impaired waters clean-up plan as described in § 62.144.117 of the Code of Virginia. This consolidated report also includes the “Annual Report on the Water Quality Improvement Fund” by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) pursuant to § 10.1-2134 of the Code of Virginia and incorporates the “Cooperative Nonpoint Source Pollution Programs” in subsection D of § 10.1-2127 of the Code of Virginia. The report also encompasses the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s report of “Annual Funding Needs for Effective Implementation of Agricultural Best Management Practices” pursuant to subsection C of § 10.1-2128.1 of the Code of Virginia. Collectively, this report also satisfies reporting requirements in § 2.2-220.1 of the Code of Virginia regarding the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement.
Water Quality Improvement Fund and Cooperative Nonpoint Source Pollution Programs
During FY 2013, DCR allocated over $25.2 million in cost-share funds to Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Additionally almost $400,000 in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) cost-share funds were disbursed to Districts. Of this amount, approximately $17.8 million was distributed to farmers as cost-share for implementation of best management practices (BMPs). The funding for FY13 was generated from recordation fees on land transfers and balances in the Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund (VNRCF). Practices installed on farms during FY13 will result in estimated edge of field nitrogen reductions of approximately 6.4 million pounds, phosphorus reductions of approximately 1,576,339 pounds and sediment reductions of approximately 1,191,295 tons. In addition during FY13 DCR allocated, awarded or solicited proposals for $2.2 million in grants related to Strategic Water Quality Initiatives and Cooperative Nonpoint Source Agreements with Local Governments. DEQ currently has 57 signed Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF) agreements which obligated $647 million in state grants ranging from 35% to 90% cost-share, for design and installation of nutrient reduction technology at Bay watershed point source discharges.
Funding Needs for Effective Implementation of Agricultural Best Management Practices
Funding projections for the Chesapeake Bay were developed in coordination with stakeholders based on a detailed analysis of practices in the Chesapeake Bay Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). The Southern Rivers needs projections were based on the funding split prescribed in the VNRCF. The implementation schedule focuses on full implementation by 2025, recognizing the need to significantly expand program capacity by 2017 to demonstrate the Commonwealth’s commitment to reducing agricultural loads. For the fiscal years 2015 – 2020, an estimate of $1.316 billion may be required from state and federal funds as well as farmer financial contributions to meet statewide water quality goals by 2025. Approximately 50 percent of this total could be needed from State sources, the vast majority of which is direct funding of the Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share Program.
Projected funding needs from state sources for implementation of agricultural best management practices (BMPs) for the FY15-FY16 biennium are estimated to be $125.1 million with the following breakdown:
• Cost-Share program funding (50323) - $30.1 million
• District Technical Assistance (50322) - $10.4 million
• District Financial Assistance (50320) - $9.6 million
• Program Support (50301) – $2.1 million
• Cost-Share program funding (50323) - $50.7 million
• District Technical Assistance (50322) - $10.8 million
• District Financial Assistance (50320) - $9.5 million
• Program Support (50301) - $2.1 million
This funding schedule will not achieve 60% of the Chesapeake Bay agricultural implementation by 2017 as was indicated in Table 5.4-4 of Virginia’s Phase I WIP. However, it is anticipated that the Commonwealth’s 2017 Bay goal would still be met by over-achievement in other sectors, specifically wastewater treatment plants, and adaptive management. Improved tracking of voluntarily installed practices, technological improvements in practices, program efficiency, other cost reduction strategies and changes to improve the Bay Model are difficult to quantify, but all are expected to reduce overall costs and close this 2017 gap. Further, it seems unlikely that the federal funding needed to support a broad expansion of implementation effort will be available in the near term.
Based on these factors and the fiscal realities of the Commonwealth, DCR recommends District funding levels for 2015 of $41.0 million. This funding includes surplus funds and recordation fees deposited in the VNRCF and general funds. The recommended funding breakdown includes:
• Cost-Share program funding (50323) - $29.7 million
• District Technical Assistance (50322) - $3.0 million
• District Financial Assistance (50320) - $8.3 million
Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-Up Plan Report
During FY13, many strategies were implemented to reduce pollutants entering the Chesapeake Bay tributaries and Southern Rivers basins. Significant progress was made in reducing point source discharges from sewage treatment plants, installing agricultural best management practices, reducing the phosphorus content of poultry litter through effective dietary management of poultry, enhanced compliance with state erosion and sediment control regulations, and the adoption of revised Stormwater Management Regulations. The implementation of Virginia’s Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan continues as well as the specific actions proposed in the 2012-2013 implementation “milestones.”