RD400 - FY 2016 Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-up Plan - November 2016

Executive Summary:
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 § 62.1-44.117 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 reports on “Cooperative Nonpoint Source Pollution Programs” required in subsection D of § 10.1-2127 and the “Watershed Planning and Permitting Report” required in subsection B of § 10.1-1193 of the Code of Virginia. The report also encompasses DCR’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. Finally, this consolidated report includes the “Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement Progress Report” called for in § 2.2-220.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Water Quality Improvement Fund and Cooperative Nonpoint Source Pollution Programs

For FY 2016, DCR allocated over $25.2 million in agricultural cost-share and technical assistance funds to Soil and Water Conservation Districts. This included $700,000 in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) cost-share funds to be disbursed by Districts as state match for completed projects. Of the $25.2 million, approximately $8.5 million was distributed to farmers through the Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share Program (VACS) and CREP for implementation of best management practices (BMPs). Districts were encouraged to fund existing 2015 VACS (SL-6 Pending) stream exclusion with grazing land management practice (SL-6) applications to reduce the existing backlog of unfunded applications. Many of these practices are under construction and were carried-forward into FY 2017. The funding for FY 2016 was generated from recordation fees on deeds filed and from state special reserve and general funds deposited to the Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund (VNRCF). Practices installed on farms during FY 2016 will result in estimated edge of field nitrogen reductions of approximately 1.7 million pounds, phosphorus reductions of approximately 389 thousand pounds, and sediment reductions of approximately 326 thousand tons.

Under the Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF) Point Source Program, DEQ currently has 67 signed agreements which obligated $800.3 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. Within this total number of projects receiving cost-share, 60 have been completed and 7 are active in the construction stage. For calendar year 2015, facilities registered under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Nutrient Discharge General Permit reported discharged loads that, in aggregate, were significantly below the total Waste Load Allocations for all Bay tributary basins. Tables of discharged and delivered loads for each individual facility and basin totals are available at this DEQ webpage: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Water/PollutionDischargeElimination/PublishedLoads2014.pdf.

As part of a WQIF Nonpoint Source Program, through a Request for Assistance (RFA) directed at local government applicants (cities, towns, counties, soil and water conservation districts, and planning district commissions) along with state agencies, DEQ is awarding $3,400,000 to implement nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control implementation projects. This grant represents the first nonpoint source WQIF grant initiative in a number of years and there was significant interest. Funding was available statewide for projects that reduce nonpoint source pollution. Applications for 10 projects were received and the cumulative amount requested was $4,144,042.55. Within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, projects that maximize reduction of nitrogen, phosphorous or sediment were a funding priority. In addition, projects with the highest pollution reduction compared to dollars requested were given priority. Eight projects that implement shoreline erosion control, stormwater management, mine land reclamation, or septic system repair or replacement have been selected for funding. These projects will implement pollution control actions that will have a significant and lasting impact on local and state water quality. Anticipated pollution reductions include approximately 2,979 lbs. per year of total nitrogen, approximately 87 lbs. per year of total phosphorus, and approximately 92 tons per year of total suspended solids.

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). This included a review of 2014 progress in implementing the WIP and the inclusion of reductions projected from $120 million of stream exclusion practices statewide that either have been installed as of June 30, 2016 ($44 million, including $25 million in the Bay watershed), or await funding ($61 million, including $27 million in the Bay watershed). The WIP implementation schedule focuses on full implementation by 2025, recognizing that based on 2014 progress and with the exception of sediment, the existing level of effort is currently on track for achieving the Commonwealth’s commitment to reducing agricultural loads. For the fiscal years 2017 – 2022, an estimate of $1.15 billion may be required from state and federal funds as well as farmer financial contributions to meet statewide water quality goals. This estimate was refined in 2016 by incorporating actual FY 2017 appropriations for agricultural BMPs, technical assistance, and operational support to Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Approximately 50% of this total could be needed from state sources, the vast majority of which is direct funding provided through the Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share Program. The Southern Rivers needs projections were based on the funding split prescribed in the Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund.

Actual FY 2017 allocations from state sources for implementation of agricultural best management practices had the following breakdown:

FY 2017 (Program Name – agency subprogram code – amount)

• VACS Cost-Share program funding (50323) - $52.6 million
• District Technical Assistance (50322) - $7.4 million
• District Financial Assistance (50320) - $7.1 million

FY 2017 support figures exclude engineering support via DCR staff, IT support, and training assistance (e.g. Conservation Planning Certification). These have been itemized separately.

Projected funding needs from state sources for implementation of agricultural best management practices through the FY 2017–18 biennium are estimated in the 2016 Ag Needs Assessment Table on page15. With the exception of sediment reductions, current funding levels will likely provide the estimated funding necessary to achieve 60% of the Chesapeake Bay agricultural implementation by 2017 as was indicated in Table 5.4-4 of Virginia’s Phase I WIP. It is anticipated that progress towards the Commonwealth’s 2017 Bay goals will be furthered by over-achievement in other sectors, specifically wastewater treatment plants. 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 further reduce overall costs and enhance progress towards the 2017 goals.

Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-Up Plan Report

During FY 2016, 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 with a continuing focus on livestock exclusion practices, the reissuance of all remaining administratively continued Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits, and implementing revised Stormwater Management Regulations. The implementation of Virginia’s Phase II WIP continues. Virginia agencies successfully completed most of the 2014-2015 WIP milestones, and developed the 2016-2017 milestones.

In FY 2016, DEQ developed 57 new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) equations for small watersheds and completed 6 TMDL implementation plans covering 81 impaired waterbody segments. A total of 41 small TMDL Implementation Watersheds saw BMP activity resulting in a total of 803 BMPs installed using a total of $9,790,177 of Federal and State funds and landowner contributions.