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.
Photo by Chuck Epes/CBF Staff
2016 Virginia General Assembly Wrap-Up
Virginia's 2016 General Assembly came through with vital support for programs that help restore the Commonwealth's rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks to the leadership of Virginia's legislators and Governor Terry McAuliffe, the session that ended in mid-March provided extremely strong funding for clean water.
CBF stayed involved throughout this year's General Assembly. Our Virginia lobby team worked closely with legislators and stakeholders. CBF volunteers discussed the issues with their representatives at our annual lobby day in Richmond. And hundreds of our members sent e-mails and letters to Virginia delegates and senators about key funding and policy decisions. All of these efforts helped make a difference during a great General Assembly session. Through the actions outlined below, Virginia is now one step closer to meeting its Clean Water Blueprint goals.
Curbing Urban and Suburban Runoff
Addressing pollution in urban and suburban areas poses a big challenge as rainfall runs off streets, homes, and parking lots, washing contaminants into waterways. This year, legislators provided $20 million for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, which gives matching grants to localities for projects that reduce polluted runoff.
Find out more about the importance of curbing urban and suburban runoff.
Farm conservation practices like fencing cattle out of streams and planting riparian buffers are the most cost-efficient actions to restore the Bay and local streams. This year legislators, agreeing with the Governor's proposed budget, provided $61.7 million for agricultural best management practices in fiscal year 2017, the highest funding level for one year ever provided in Virginia for the program.
Find out more about effective farm conservation practices and agriculture's connection to the Bay and local streams.
Sewage Plant Upgrades
Wastewater treatment plant upgrades are a Virginia success story. Advanced nutrient removal technology in many plants is already reducing the flow of pollution to rivers and the Bay, but the modernization process is not yet complete. Virginia's legislators provided $59 million for the next round of plant upgrades, matching Governor McAuliffe's proposed budget.
Oyster Restoration and Replenishment
Oysters continue to make a remarkable comeback in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. This iconic shellfish filters water and provides vital habitat for other Bay species. This year the General Assembly provided $4 million for oyster replenishment, which boosts the oyster harvest for Virginia watermen.
Learn more about the state of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.
Other Clean Water Wins
CBF also applauds Virginia's legislators for several policy actions that are a real win for clean water. That includes streamlining Virginia's stormwater and erosion control rules to better protect streams and other waterways. The General Assembly also expanded nutrient trading opportunities to assist localities, farmers, and others in meeting the goals of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
Menhaden, often called "the most important fish in the sea" are both filter feeders and a primary food source for striped bass, bluefish, sharks, ospreys, brown pelicans, and dolphin. The menhaden fishery is also very important economically to the Commonwealth, supporting hundreds of jobs.
This legislative session, our lawmakers wisely repealed a sunset provision that would have ended the Chesapeake Bay harvest cap on menhaden, an indispensable step. However, we are disappointed that legislators rejected legislation that would have transferred menhaden fishery management from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the agency that manages all of the other fisheries in the Commonwealth.
Find out more about the importance of menhaden to the life of the Chesapeake.
We thank the General Assembly for its constructive work this legislative session and are hopeful for Governor McAuliffe's quick approval of this legislation. It's clear that Virginia's leaders recognize the value of clean and healthy waterways in our communities.
This is a screen capture of the Brock Center's new Living Building Challenge Dashboard.
CBF Starts Clock to Meet Living Building Challenge
The Brock Environmental Center's Living Building Challenge Dashboard is a real-time, online gauge of the building's energy and water use and energy generation. The dashboard will monitor the Center for a full year. The aim is to achieve Living Building Challenge certification, a rare, demanding designation of environmental sustainability achieved by only a handful of buildings around the world. To achieve the rating from the International Living Future Institute, the center must operate a full year using net zero energy and net zero water.
Read the press release | Check out the dashboard
Report Identifies Natural Benefits of Restored Bay
A first-ever peer-reviewed analysis released by CBF finds that the economic benefits provided by nature in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will total $130 billion annually when the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the regional plan to restore the Bay, is fully implemented.
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 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.
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.