Category Archives: Water Quality and Habitat in Chesapeake Bay Tributaries and Coastal Waters

Items related to aquatic life and conditions in the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s coastal waters, Virginia’s Chesapeake tributaries (James, Potomac, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and York), and Chesapeake Bay waters in other states.

Adapt Virginia Web Portal on Climate Change Adaptation Released in Summer 2017

In Summer 2017, the Adapt Virginia Web portal on climate adaptation was announced by the Virginia Institute or Marine Science’s Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM).  The Web site is http://adaptva.com/.  According to that site, Adapt Virginia (AdaptVA) “is a gateway to information for individuals, local programs, and agencies engaged in climate adaptation.  AdaptVA focuses on the physical and social vulnerabilities by integrating the best available science, legal guidance, and planning strategies.  Visitors will find legal and policy resources, stories that explain adaption through maps and pictures, a searchable web catalogue, and mapping tools that address short and long-term predictions for rising water levels.”  The site’s content currently covers forecasts, adaptations, tools, maps and data, and planning and policy.

Clean Water Rule/Waters of the United States Rule of 2015 – Public Comment Period through Sept. 27, 2017, on Proposed Rescinding

On June 27, 2017, the Trump Administration announced a proposed repeal of the  Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States rule, with a potential revised rule to follow at a future date.  On February 28, the Administration had issued a On February 28, the EPA issued a Notice of Intention to Review and Rescind or Revise the Clean Water Rule,  the Notice is available online at https://www.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule/notice-intention-review-and-rescind-or-revise-clean-water-rule).

The repeal would reinstate the jurisdictional rule in place in 1986 and a guidance issued in 2008, following the Supreme Court’s Rapanos decision in 2006.  Information on the proposed repeal is available online at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203-0001.  Following official posting on July 27, 2017, of the proposal to rescind, the proposal initially had a 30-day public comment period through August 27, but the comment period was extended until September 27.

The rule, regarding what waters fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act, was issued by the Obama administration in May 2015, but in October 2015 the Appeals Court issued a stay on implementation of the rule, pending the outcome of several federal lawsuits challenging the U.S. EPA over the rule.  For more on the latest developments on this rule, see the U.S. EPA Web site, “Clean Water Rule,” online at https://www.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule.

Click here for more detailed News Grouper post on the Clean Water Rule.

U.S. EPA Grants of $6.7 Million for Chesapeake Bay Restoration Projects in Virginia Announced in August 2017

In August 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $6.7 million in grants for projects in Virginia related to restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and to the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution-reduction plan (published by the EPA in 2010).  The grants include the following:
*$3.43 million to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in the Bay and tidal tributaries;
*$2.78 million to the DEQ specifically for reducing non-point source pollution;
*$463,000 to the DEQ for additional monitoring of nutrients and sediments and for water-quality analysis and interpretation; and
*$20,000 to Virginia Tech for technologies to reduce pollutant inputs.

Source:  Bay cleanup gets $6.7M from EPA, [Newport News] Daily Press, 8/29/17.

James River and Chesapeake Bay Issues the Focus of Va. Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Sep. 6, 2017, in Richmond

On September 6, 2017, 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m., the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the James River Association held a Virginia Gubernatorial candidates’ forum on issues impacting the James River and the Chesapeake Bay.  The forum, featuring Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee, and Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee, was at The National, 708 East Broad Street in Richmond (theater Web site is http://www.thenationalva.com/).

Video of the forum is available online at https://www.facebook.com/chesapeakebay/videos/10155514551750943/.  For more information on the forum, visit http://chesapeake.cbf.org/site/Calendar?id=100401&view=Detail; or phone CBF at (888) 728-3229 (SAVEBAY).

Following are links to news accounts following the forum:
At Virginia gubernatorial forum on clean water, not much daylight between candidates, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/6/17.
VA gubernatorial hopefuls vow to stay course on Bay cleanup, Bay Journal, 9/7/17.

Information for this post was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  More information about the VWMC is available online at http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/; or contact Jane Walker at the janewalk@vt.edu or (540) 231-4159.  Please feel free to forward this information; when forwarding, please acknowledge the VWMC.

A Diplomatic Contest Resulting in More Potomac River Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in June 2017

On June 5, 2017, embassy officials from several nations met at the Potomac River in Mason Neck State Park, in Fairfax County, Va., to plant Wild Celery raised from seed in embassy offices from January to June.  China won the friendly competition to see which embassy could raise the best collection of this submerged aquatic plant, one of the community of submerged plants—known as SAVs or bay grasses—upon which the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries depend for water quality and for wildlife food and habitat.

The project was organized by the U.S. State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which for 17 years has run the “Grasses for the Masses” program to educate people about this component of the Bay ecosystem.

More information and a video (1 min./57 sec.) of the June 5 planting event is available from the Voice of America, online at https://www.voanews.com/a/diplomats-plant-seagrass-celbrate-world-environment-day/3888704.html.

More information about the Grasses for the Masses program in a July 2017 article in “Headwaters,” from the Virginia office of CBF, available online (as a PDF) at http://www.cbf.org/document-library/cbf-publications-brochures-articles/headwaters.pdf (as of 8/24/17).

Additional source: “Thanks to diplomats’ efforts, the grass is greener in their backyard estuary,” by Whitney Pipkin, Bay Journal, July-August 2017.

An August 2017 Assessment of Hopewell, Va., 42 Years After the Kepone Disaster in the James River

VA town tries to move on 40 years after Kepone disaster, by Whitney Pipkin, Bay Journal, 8/23/17, examines the Kepone contamination in Hopewell that was revealed in 1975 and that has had long-term impacts on that city and its residents, on the James River, and on environmental and water-resources awareness and efforts in Virginia.  The main Web site for Bay Journal is http://www.bayjournal.com/.

Chesapeake Bay Commission Meeting on September 7-8, 2017, on Solomons Island, Md.

The Chesapeake Bay Commission met September 7-8, 2017, on Solomons Island in Maryland.  The agenda for the meeting is available online (as a PDF) at http://lis.virginia.gov/171/oth/Agenda.CBC.0907-0817.pdf.  The next scheduled Commission meeting is November 9-10, 2017, in Pennsylvania.  Information on Commission meetings (including agendas, presentations, and minutes) is available online at http://www.chesbay.us/meetings.htm.

According to the Commission’s Web site (http://www.chesbay.us/about.htm), the Commission “is a tri-state legislative commission created in 1980 to advise the members of the General Assemblies of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on matters of Bay-wide concern.  The Commission serves as the legislative arm of the multi-jurisdictional Chesapeake Bay Program (http://www.chesapeakebay.net/), and acts in an advisory capacity to [the states’] General Assemblies.”  The Commission has 21 members, including 15 from the legislatures of the three states, the three state natural-resource cabinet secretaries, and three citizen representatives.