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Gov. Northam released Virginia's final Chesapeake Bay restoration plan

The plan is designed to meet the Commonwealth’s commitments to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution and restore the health of the Bay and its tributaries.

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam on Friday released the final restoration plan for Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers.

The plan, the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), will focus local, state, and federal actions through 2025. It's designed to meet the Commonwealth’s commitments to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution and restore the health of the Bay and its tributaries.

The plan lays out over 50 initiatives for the Commonwealth to support to be able to reach its restoration goal by 2025. It places a strong emphasis on sustained funding and increased technical capacity across all sectors. This strategy is intended to systematically close the outstanding gaps during the final phase of restoration and enable the Commonwealth to reach its pollution reduction targets.

“As we approach the final stage of a 15-year effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, this bold, comprehensive plan will ensure that we finish the job by 2025,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia’s targeted, science-based approach is a reflection of our commitment to making the necessary investments and working with our watershed partners to achieve our shared goals of a fully restored Bay. As our current progress has shown, cleaner waters are good for our economy and our quality of life, and these actions will help ensure that future generations can continue to benefit from our vast waterways.”

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Since the first phase of the plan, Virginia has made measurable progress in reducing pollution. It has turned into a healthier bay with cleaner waters, more fish and oysters, and underwater grasses that are rebounding.

Northam said continuing that progress necessitates accelerated and more deliberate action by government, wastewater utilities, the agriculture industry, landowners and homeowners, lawn care companies, the general public, and many more. The Phase III WIP serves as the blueprint to achieve Virginia’s restoration commitments by 2025.

View the full 223-page Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan below:

If you cannot see the full plan above, click here.

RELATED: Chesapeake Bay Program: Bay's health is improving

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Assistant Director Peggy Sanner issued the following statement:

“Virginia has developed a strong plan for achieving its longstanding goal of restoring local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay. We applaud the Northam Administration for its hard work and commitment. Putting that plan into action will require renewed dedication from localities, farmers, developers, and citizens across the watershed.

 We now look to our state legislators for necessary legislation and for adequate, reliable funding of the key programs that reduce pollution from wastewater, stormwater, and agriculture. The 2020 General Assembly session is our best chance to ensure the investments and programs are in place to achieve these goals by 2025.” 

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