Water in the 2014 Virginia General Assembly: Governor’s Water-quality Budget Items Announced Dec. 12, 2013

On December 12, 2013, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell announced water-quality-related items that he will include in the biennial budget that he will propose to the Virginia General Assembly session that starts January 8, 2014.  Following is an excerpt from the governor’s office’s news release on the water-quality budget items.  Source: Governor McDonnell Announces Clean Water Budget Investments, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 12/12/13

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The introduced budget allocates over $31 million from the FY2013 budget surplus, generated by sound fiscal management and savings by state agencies and employees, to the Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF) to continue these essential programs:

  • $19.78 million will be used to continue pollution reductions activities in agricultural programs through the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR);
  • $800,000 will be used to support the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program;
  • $250,000 will be slated for implementation of forestry best management practices;
  • $100,000 will be used to implement best management practices on golf courses;
  • $6.59 million will be used to support nonpoint activities in the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), including stormwater projects, such as municipal separate stormwater sewer systems (MS4) and grants to local governments; and
  • $3.95 million will be deposited within the WQIF reserve fund.

In addition, the budget provides funds to the Department of Conservation and Recreation to support the development of Agricultural Resource Management Plans and to provide engineering support to Soil and Water Conservation Districts, as well as continuing $6.9 million annually to the districts for operational support funding.

The budget also authorizes an additional $20.0 million of bonds through the Virginia Public Building Authority in FY 2016 to support the Local Stormwater Assistance Program created by the Administration last year. These funds are intended to supplement the $35.0 million of bond funding authorized for the program by the 2013 General Assembly.

Additionally, the budget:

  • Continues $2.0 million of general fund support for oyster replenishment in both FY 2015 and FY 2016,
  • Provides funding for the Commonwealth’s estimated share of the Tangier Seawall project’s costs based on the most recent estimates provided by the Army Corp of Engineers. The proposed budget provides $23,000 in FY 2015 and $6,000 in FY 2016.
  • Authorizes $1.0 million of bonds through the Virginia Public Building Authority in FY 2014 to assist the City of Alexandria with improvements to its Combined Sewer Overflow system.

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