Friday, April 6, 2012

VA's Bay Watershed Plan Falls Short

Map from DCR website.
On March 30, the Commonwealth's Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) submitted Phase II of Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, (WIP Phase 2) to the EPA. WIP Phase II is intended to guide Virginia's bay restoration activities for the next 13 years, but it is so lacking in specifics, detailed data, and clear locality strategies for implementation that it is, as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Ann Jennings said, "little more than a statewide wish-list of possibilities that, unless revised, falls far short of providing Virginia citizens with reasonable assurance Virginia can meet its Bay cleanup goals."

Although it runs some 80 pages, WIP Phase 2 (PDF) is filled with vaguely hopeful phrases like "seek opportunities," "promote," and "encourage" and is so lacking in specific implementation actions and targets that it is virtually meaningless. It is kind of like a fellow saying he will graduate from college but not having any specific plans as to how to pay for it, what courses he will take, what major he will pursue, or even what college he will attend. Perhaps this is by design and decree of the McDonnell administration? He and his party have resisted many of the EPA's bay cleanup targets and strategies from the beginning.

The public comment period runs through May 31 - contact DCR and tell them the plan lacks so many specifics it really isn't a plan at all. Tell DCR to describe specific locality-by-locality plans that will make Chesapeake Bay cleanup a reality rather than a pipe dream. You can email comments to or mail them to James Davis-Martin, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 900 East Main St., 8th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219. Be sure to include your name, address, and phone number in all correspondence.

About 60% of Virginia's land area and more than two-thirds of the state population live the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Major river watersheds draining into the Chesapeake include the Potomac (including Shenandoah), Rappahannock, York and James rivers as well as coastal lands on the bay's shoreline.

No comments: