The Office of the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, through the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), announces the release of Virginia’s Draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan for meeting the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (the Draft Phase III WIP) for public review and comment.
The comment period is now open and will end June 7, 2019. The draft can be found on DEQ's Phase III WIP website.
We invite review and recommendations during the comment period by all stakeholders and the general public. Through your collective input, we anticipate building an even stronger, final Phase III WIP. All comments received on or before June 7, 2019, will be considered. A comment-response document summarizing all comments and responses will be compiled by DEQ, on behalf of the Office of the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, and will be available on DEQ’s Phase III WIP website.
Development of Virginia’s Draft Phase III WIP has been guided by Governor Northam’s goals for his Administration:
- To achieve the state basin planning targets while accounting for future growth and the impacts of climate change and to do so no later than December 31, 2025;
- To engage and seek guidance from partners, including local governments, planning district or regional commissions (PDCs), and soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) through a local area planning effort;
- To develop a plan that is resilient, practical, cost-effective, and provides for multiple benefits; and
- To adhere to expectations established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and our Chesapeake Bay Program Partners, particularly those regarding reasonable assurance.
Achieving Virginia’s 2017 reduction targets for nitrogen and phosphorus through successful implementation of the Phase I and Phase II WIPs demonstrates clearly that the goal of fully achieving Virginia’s state basin planning targets is within our reach. Yet, restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries will require significant action by federal, state and local governments, wastewater utilities, farmers and the agriculture and forestry industries, landowners and homeowners, lawn care companies, the general public and many more.
The building blocks of our Draft Phase III WIP include new state initiatives as well as existing federal, state and local programs, and detailed local area plans provided by our planning district commissions and soil and water conservation districts.
A webinar will be held on May 13, 2019, at 9 a.m., and repeated at 6 p.m., to share information about the Draft Phase III WIP. The webinar will provide an overview of the plan and provide information about the comment submittal process. During the webinar, the public is invited to ask questions, which will be answered in the order they are received as time allows. All questions will be compiled and addressed in a Frequently Asked Questions document that will be available with the final WIP. The webinar will be recorded and available for future viewing on DEQ’s Phase III WIP website.
To register for the 9 a.m. webinar on May 13, visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1461104016153487873 (if the link does not open, please copy and paste the link into your browser).
To register for the 6 p.m. webinar on May 13, visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1788373652161109249 (if the link does not open, please copy and paste the link into your browser).
Written comments on the Draft Phase III WIP can be submitted by any of the three methods listed below. Please include the name and mailing address (or e-mail address) of the commenter.
- E-mail: chesbayplan@DEQ.Virginia.gov
- Postal mail: DEQ, ATTN: Chesbayplan, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218
- Hand-delivery: DEQ, ATTN: Chesbayplan, 1111 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except on state holidays and any other days on which state offices in the Richmond area are closed)
CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
James Davis-Martin, (804) 698-4298, James.Davis-Martin@DEQ.Virginia.gov
Megan Sommers Bascone, (804) 698-4435, Megan.Bascone@DEQ.Virginia.gov
John Kennedy, (804) 698-4312, John.Kennedy@DEQ.Virginia.gov