Hampton Roads, Virginia
CBF's lively on-the-water interactive education programs impact thousands of students and teachers each year. Photo by CBF Staff
About CBF's Hampton Roads Office
You don't have to travel far in Hampton Roads before you see water. The region is home to several rivers and numerous creeks which have shaped one of the largest natural harbors in the world. CBF has been active in this region since launching an education program in 1983. CBF's first Hampton Roads office opened in 1985 and environmental restoration and protection efforts began in 1990.
Working with other environmental organizations, federal grants, state and municipal partners plus hundreds of dedicated volunteers, CBF's Hampton Roads staff works diligently to improve the health of numerous waterways from the Middle Peninsula to Virginia Beach including: the York, Piankatank, James, Lafayette, Nansemond and Lynnhaven rivers. Currently we also have a specific focus on Norfolk's Lafayette River, in partnership with the Elizabeth River Project, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and many other community partners.
Although the annual Clean the Bay Day litter removal event is one of the most well-known project, office and field staff are also busy year 'round with oyster restoration, education programs, volunteer training, pollution prevention, underwater grasses, fisheries advocacy, communications and organizational support. Like CBF's other offices, our work is centered around ensuring that Virginia meets its pollution reduction goals by 2025, through the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. Stormwater runoff presents the biggest challenge to that effort in this highly developed urban/suburban region.
Bay Restoration: From Creeks to the Courtroom
Eloquently and forcefully defending Virginia's right to partner with other states and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring told a Blue Planet Forum crowd of 200 people on August 29, 2014 that a restored Bay is in the Commonwealth's best environmental, cultural, and economic interests.
Blue crabs photo by Kristi Carroll/CBF Staff
Milestone Analysis: Pollution Reduced, Agriculture and Urban Runoff Reductions Falling Short
Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) Milestones, two-year commitments made by the Bay states and District of Columbia to reduce pollution, are a key part of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. An analysis of the 2012-2013 Milestones showed that Virginia met its overall pollution reduction goals for 2013, however, efforts need to accelerate in order to meet 2017 goals. Find Out More Read the press release
Photo by Chuck Epes/CBF Staff
2014 Virginia General Assembly Summary
The year started off rather ominously as rumors circulated around the Virginia Capitol that there’d be a record number of bills introduced to derail some aspect of Virginia’s stormwater runoff management program. Fortunately, the final count was 16 bills which fell into three categories—those seeking a delay for localities having to implement their own runoff management program, those asking to exempt certain localities, and those that would weaken the state’s runoff management program. The bills gave rise to the “No Delay, No Dilution, No Exemption” tagline that CBF and many of our Virginia conservation partners used to educate legislators about the importance of protecting local waters from polluted runoff.
CBF and its conservation partners worked closely with legislators and multiple stakeholders to ensure that the runoff bills provide critical protections for clean water while meeting the needs of local governments. House Bill 1173 and Senate Bill 423, thoughtfully patroned by Delegate Hodges and Senator Hanger, respectively, meet those criteria and were approved in the General Assembly by wide margins. We are optimistic that they will be signed into law by Governor McAuliffe, allowing Virginia’s updated polluted runoff management program to go into effect on schedule July 1, 2014, with no delay, no dilution, and no exemptions.
CBF also worked with Senator Stuart to ensure Virginia continues to responsibly manage Atlantic menhaden with passage of a bill extend the state’s current management plan to July 1, 2016. In the interim, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will complete another stock assessment of the menhaden population and update the the coastwide fishery plan as needed. The legislative extension will allow Virginia’s existing management plan to continue in effect until the 2016 General Assembly can consider and adopt any necessary management changes.
On the budget front, CBF is grateful that both the House and Senate budget proposals include funding for agricultural technical assistance and conservation cost-share practices such as fencing livestock out of waterways and planting streamside trees to keep nutrients and sediment from reaching local streams.
CBF continues to work with legislators to ensure adequate funding is available in the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, which provides matching grants to localities to make runoff infrastructure improvements. The Senate budget provides an additional $20 million for the Fund in fiscal year 2015, while the House approved an additional $38 million. CBF will ask the budget conferees to adopt the House proposal to support the efforts of local jurisdictions to reduce polluted runoff. In addition to CBF, the Virginia Association of Municipal Stormwater Agencies, James River Association, Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate, Homebuilders Association of Virginia, VirginiaForever, Virginia Municipal League, Virginia Association of Counties, and Virginia First Cities are also lobbying for this funding.
We are so grateful for our advocates and our partners who share their voices and their expertise with our legislators. Thank you from all of us in the Virginia office for helping us continue our work to save the Bay for future generations.
Photo by Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor
Huge Majority of Virginians Back Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan
More than 90 percent of Virginia voters support the Commonwealth's plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay and want the next governor to move forward on implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the federal-state plan to restore the Bay, according to new bipartisan polling.
The Brock Environmental Center:
Building Green for Cleaner Waters
A conceptual rendering of CBF's new environmental education and community center at Pleasure House Point. SmithGroupJJR
CBF's Brock Environmental Center to Complete Construction This Fall
The Brock Environmental Center is an international model for sustainable building and will serve as the regional headquarters for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its award-winning environmental education programs. When completed, it will be the most sustainable building in Virginia, one which raises the bar for green building construction nationwide. The Center is named in honor of Joan and Macon Brock of Virginia Beach, who generously provided a $3.5 million leadership gift toward the $20 million comprehensive project.
The Center is being designed to meet the Living Building Challenge™, a rare designation that requires that the building be so in tune with the environment that it has "net zero" impact on the surrounding land, air, and water. The Center will strive to meet a set of strict environmental standards established by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). As such, Brock Environmental Center would be the first of its kind in Virginia and among only 18 prospective Living Buildings on the East Coast. (Learn more about ILFI's Living Building Challenge.)
The Center will house offices for CBF and local conservation partner Lynnhaven River NOW, include space for community meetings, and serve as home base for CBF's award-winning environmental education programs in Hampton Roads, which provide outdoor watershed experiences for 2,500 students and teachers across Hampton Roads each year.
The Brock Environmental Center is being built by Hourigan Construction of Virginia Beach on a small section of the 10-acre parcel that CBF purchased from the Trust for Public Land.
The parcel is adjacent to a 108-acre-tract of dunes, marsh, and trees acquired in July 2012 by the City of Virginia Beach for a natural area, which will allow for conservation, recreation, and education on site. The City of Virginia Beach Pleasure House Point Natural Area will remain open to the public during construction. Perimeter safety fencing around the Brock Environmental Center construction zone will be removed once the facility is complete in mid-2014.
CBF hopes the new environmental education and community center will engage, inform, and inspire the Hampton Roads community to solve the Bay's challenges in innovative, sustainable, and collaborative ways.
Find out more about our vision for Pleasure House Point.
Green building is nothing new to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Twelve years ago, the organization led by example, building the first LEED Platinum certified building in the world—the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, CBF's headquarters in Annapolis, Md. CBF looks forward to again setting new standards with this world-class green facility in Hampton Roads.
To get the latest news about the Brock Environmental Center, check out What's New.
For more information about Pleasure House Point contact CBF's Hampton Roads office at 757-622-1964 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teachers sift through underwater grasses on a recent professional development trip. Photo by CBF Staff
Virginia Beach, CBF Partner for Environmental Literacy
Through a unique public/private partnership, the Virginia Beach City Public Schools system has a new systemic environmental literacy program with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) that could be a model for school systems across the Bay region and the country. The program includes public, private, and non-profit partners. It provides hands-on Chesapeake Bay field experiences and classroom activities for all 11,500 sixth-grade students, as well as professional development for more than 50 middle and high school biology and oceanography teachers.
During the 2012 summer season, CBF worked with three different groups of teachers and administrators from Virginia Beach Public Schools to get them outside, experiencing the environment so they feel comfortable using it as their classroom. The Lynnhaven River is the backyard for many Virginia Beach residents, yet many don't know the major issues surrounding its poor water quality. These professional development courses not only introduce basic environmental concepts but also show teachers how the material naturally pairs with the Virginia Standards of Learning…and can be fun!
Any class is encouraged to join CBF on the water for field experiences with their students. The systemic environmental literacy program is designed to integrate environmental concepts with a multi-disciplinary approach so that all students find out more about taking action to save the Bay.
The partnership is funded by a $120,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Chesapeake Bay Office, a $55,000 commitment from CSX Transportation, and a $12,700 grant from the Junior Virginia Beach Garden Club. Other partners are the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Lynnhaven River NOW, First Landing State Park, the Elizabeth River Project, and Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia.