Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Environmental Quality
 
Board
State Water Control Board
 
chapter
Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations (formerly 4VAC50-90) [9 VAC 25 ‑ 830]
Action Amendment to incorporate coastal resilience and adaptation to sea-level rise and climate change into existing criteria.
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 5/3/2021
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5/3/21  9:42 pm
Commenter: Virginia League of Conservation Voters

Virginia League of Conservation Voters Comments
 

To Whom It May Concern:

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters (VaLCV) would like to submit the following comments for consideration regarding the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act draft regulations.

It is essential that these CBPA regulations work in congruence with the proposed Tidal Wetlands Act guidelines, released by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) on March 1st, 2021. Although the proposed regulations were tasked with including various climate change impacts, they only consider sea level rise. The finalized CBPA regulations will need to address all climate change impacts to potential projects.

The CBPA regulations should require localities to only permit those adaptation measures or activities that will survive under specific sea level rise or climate change scenarios. Specifically, the draft regulations should require locality staff to only approve activities in the Resource Protection Area (RPA) that are designed to adapt to a specific level of sea level rise/climate change for the minimum 30-year time period.

We note that the 30-year timeframe for future conditions in the draft regulations does not match the anticipated 15-year effective life of most nature-based water quality best management practices.

The newly proposed regulatory language to address coastal resilience and adaptation to sea level rise should be incorporated in existing regulatory sections, instead of included in the draft regulation’s newly created section.

We also support several additional amendments including changes that direct regulations to be prescriptive and not to rely on future guidance to direct localities, the definition of key concepts and terms to increase clarity and increase support for local government staff who risk being put on the “front lines” of climate change adaptation without sufficient resources.

We encourage the closure of loopholes in the enforcement and effectiveness of the CPBA, and the address of concerns that the loophole created by the draft regulations and the loose prohibition of fill could jeopardize the scores of Virginia localities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS) and concur with Wetlands watch that the regulations should more clearly detail how and what is regulated outside the RPA. Living shoreline project details will also need further clarification in the finalized regulations.

The regulations must clearly outline which adaptation and resilience measures are approvable, providing examples where applicable. Water Quality Impact Assessments (WQIA) or a similar assessment created by DEQ should be required for all adaptation measures and/or activities in the RPA.

Finally, we believe that additional stakeholder engagement, specifically the creation of a technical advisory committee composed of relevant experts assembled at least one year before the draft regulations were completed would have assisted in the significant undertaking of including a dynamic condition (climate change) on a static regulation (CPBA).

Additional clarification on these points can be found by consulting comments submitted by Wetlands Watch, the Southern Environmental Law Center, or the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and any questions regarding these comments may be directed to Chris Leyen, Senior Policy Manager, at cleyen@valcv.org.

Sincerely,

 

Michael Town
Executive Director, Virginia League of Conservation Voters

CommentID: 97850