Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Chapter 6. Flood Protection and Dam Safety

Article 5. Stream Restoration Assistance Program.

§ 10.1-650. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning:

"Continual accelerated erosion" means a rapid increase in the erosion rate of stream banks caused by loss of vegetation, diversion of water by constrictions, undermining, and other resultant effects of severe floods.

"Natural streams" means nontidal waterways which are part of the natural topography. They usually maintain a continuous or seasonal flow during the year and are characterized as being irregular in cross-section with a meandering course. Constructed channels such as drainage ditches or swales shall not be considered natural streams.

"Program" means the Stream Restoration Assistance Program.

"Stream restoration" means any combination of structural and vegetative measures which may be taken to restore, stabilize, and protect a natural stream which has been damaged by severe flooding and is consequently subject to continual accelerated erosion or other detrimental effects. The term shall also include measures to return stream flow to its original channel in cases where the stream course has been changed as a result of flooding.

1981, c. 450, § 21-11.23; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-651. Establishment and administration of Program.

The Stream Restoration Assistance Program is continued to protect the natural streams of the Commonwealth. The Program shall aid in the stabilization and protection of natural streams which have been severely damaged by naturally occurring flooding events. The Program shall be administered by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board in cooperation with soil and water conservation districts and local governments throughout the Commonwealth. To assist in the development of the Program, the Board shall seek the advisory opinion of the State Water Control Board and the Department of Wildlife Resources.

1981, c. 450, § 21-11.22; 1988, c. 891; 2020, c. 958.

§ 10.1-652. Program applicability.

The Stream Restoration Assistance Program shall apply only to natural nontidal streams which have been damaged as a result of naturally occurring flooding events. Streams which have been damaged by land-disturbing activities, vehicular traffic, or other human causes shall not be eligible for assistance under the Program.

1981, c. 450, § 21-11.24; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-653. Application for assistance.

Landowners who wish to receive assistance under the Program shall apply to the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board. The Board shall provide copies of the applications to the chairmen of the soil and water districts, where applicable, and the local governing bodies having jurisdiction in the area where the damage has occurred.

1981, c. 450, § 21-11.25; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-654. Damage inspections and reports.

A. Upon receipt of an application for assistance, the Board shall schedule a field inspection of the affected stream segment to determine the extent of damages. Such field inspections should be scheduled and coordinated so that affected landowners and appropriate conservation districts and local government officials can participate.

B. Following the field inspection, the Board shall prepare an inspection report which includes a recommendation concerning the extent to which the Commonwealth should assist the applicant in restoring the stream.

C. Draft copies of the inspection report shall be submitted to the applicant, persons who attended the field inspection, and chairmen of conservation districts and local governing bodies having jurisdiction in the area where the damage has occurred. These persons shall be given forty-five days to submit written comments and recommendations concerning the report. The final report shall contain copies of all written comments and recommendations received.

1981, c. 450, § 21-11.26; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-655. Types of assistance.

Upon approval of an application for assistance, the Board may provide technical and financial assistance to the applicant according to the following guidelines:

1. The Board shall maintain a technical staff to recommend stream restoration measures, to estimate costs, and to prepare engineering plans and specifications which may be used to implement such measures. The actual preparation of plans and specifications shall not be undertaken until the applicant certifies that adequate funding is available, and that the plans will be implemented within one year after all necessary permits are obtained.

2. Financial assistance may be provided to applicants to the extent that funds for that purpose are available to the Board. In no case shall such assistance exceed fifty percent of the total cost of construction. Funds shall not be disbursed until the Board has made a final inspection and has determined that all work is adequately completed in accordance with the plans and specifications.

3. To receive financial assistance, applicants must certify that they have explored and exhausted all other possible funding sources. In cases where a national disaster area has been declared, no funding shall be provided under the Program until it is determined to what extent the federal government will participate in stream restoration along the segments under consideration.

When requests for financial assistance exceed available resources, the Board shall set priorities and allocate funds as it deems appropriate to accomplish the maximum benefit.

1981, c. 450, § 21-11.28; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-656. Board action on assistance requests.

The Board shall consider requests for technical and financial assistance from landowners whose property borders on or contains natural streams which have been damaged by flooding. Upon consideration of the application, inspection report, and any other relevant information, the Board shall determine whether or not assistance shall be provided, and the type and extent of assistance to be provided. In making such determinations, the Board shall consider the potential for continual accelerated erosion of the stream banks in the future and other possible detrimental effects to the stream which may result if no corrective measures are undertaken. In cases where it is determined that there is not likely to be accelerated stream bank erosion or other significant detrimental effects in the future, the assistance request shall not be approved.

1981, c. 450, § 21-11.27; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-657. Account established.

An account designated as the Stream Restoration Account shall be established to provide grants to landowners who make requests under the Stream Restoration Assistance Programs. The Board may seek money from federal and private sources to establish and maintain the Stream Restoration Fund.

1981, c. 450, § 21-11.29; 1988, c. 891.