Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 62.1. Waters of the State, Ports and Harbors
Subtitle .
Chapter 3.8. Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Initiatives
3/1/2024

Chapter 3.8. Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Initiatives.

Article 1. Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan.

§ 62.1-44.119. (For contingent effective date, see § 62.1-44.119:1) Target date.

In recognition of the ecological, cultural, economic, historical, and recreational value of the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the Commonwealth's commitment to the Chesapeake Bay Partnership and the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement, the target date to achieve the water quality goals contained in Virginia's final Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan shall be December 31, 2025.

2020, cc. 1185, 1186.

§ 62.1-44.119:1. Effective date.

A. The provisions of this chapter shall not become effective unless, on or after July 1, 2028, the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources jointly determine that the Commonwealth's commitments in the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan have not been satisfied by a combination of (i) agricultural best management conservation practices, including the coverage of a sufficient portion of Chesapeake Bay cropland by nutrient management plans or the installation of a sufficient number of livestock stream exclusion practices, and (ii) other point or nonpoint source pollution reduction commitments.

B. In making the determination required in subsection A, the effective date of the provisions of this chapter shall be extended for a period of one calendar year for each calendar year that the Commonwealth has not fully funded the amount calculated pursuant to § 10.1-2128.1 for effective Soil and Water Conservation District technical assistance and implementation of agricultural best management practices pursuant to § 10.1-546.1 from July 1, 2023, through the end of the biennial period in which the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources have made the joint determination required in subsection A. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit adding funding to the Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund as established in § 10.1-2128.1 in any year from July 1, 2023, to the year the joint determination is made pursuant to subsection A for distribution in another program year in order to achieve full funding.

C. In no case shall the effective date of the provisions of this chapter be extended beyond July 1, 2030, unless sufficient funding for effective Soil and Water Conservation District technical assistance and implementation of agricultural best management practices has not been provided pursuant to § 10.1-2128.1 in any calendar year.

2020, cc. 1185, 1186; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 401; 2023, cc. 735, 736.

§ 62.1-44.119:2. Agricultural commitments; work group.

The Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources and the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry shall convene a stakeholder advisory group, hereinafter referred to as the Group, to review annual progress and make recommendations toward the implementation of the Commonwealth's agricultural commitments in the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan. The Group shall develop (i) a process to assist any operator of 50 or more acres of Chesapeake Bay cropland in developing a nutrient management plan that meets the requirements of the goals to be achieved by the target date and (ii) a plan for the stream exclusion program in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Such plans and progress reports shall include the number of practices completed by river basin in the prior program year and practices needed to complete the agriculture sector nutrient load reductions, including sediment reductions by river basin, identification of priority regions, the number of operators affected within each region, initiatives to enhance progress, an accounting of funding received toward the agricultural commitments, shortfalls remaining, and the consequences of such funding shortfalls. Such progress reports shall also include specific percentages relating to nutrient management plan and stream exclusion adoption compared to the requirements of the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan.

2023, cc. 735, 736.

§ 62.1-44.119:3. Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund reporting requirements.

Each soil and water conservation district shall report to the Department of Conservation and Recreation recommendations for improving the disbursement of funding and for program efficiencies that would expedite disbursal of funds provided through the Virginia Natural Resources Commitment Fund established under § 10.1-2128.1.

2023, cc. 735, 736.

§ 62.1-44.119:4. Regulatory format on agricultural practices before effective date.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, no regulatory action pursuant to §§ 62.1-44.121 and 62.1-44.123 shall be imposed on agricultural practices prior to July 1, 2028, provided that reasonable progress is being achieved and a detailed plan to include full funding, as provided under subsection C of § 10.1-2128.1, for reaching the needed number of voluntary incentivized practices has been developed.

2023, cc. 735, 736.

Article 2. Nutrient Management Plans for Chesapeake Bay Cropland.

§ 62.1-44.120. (For contingent effective date, see § 62.1-44.119:1) Definitions.

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

"Chesapeake Bay cropland" means cropland in the Commonwealth located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed on which fertilizer, manure, sewage sludge, or another compound containing nitrogen or phosphorous is applied. "Chesapeake Bay cropland" does not include lands on which bovines are pastured.

"Department" means the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"Nutrient management plan" means a plan prepared by a certified nutrient management planner pursuant to § 10.1-104.2 and regulations adopted thereunder.

"Operator" means any person who exercises managerial control over Chesapeake Bay cropland.

2020, cc. 1185, 1186.

§ 62.1-44.121. (For contingent effective date, see § 62.1-44.119:1) Chesapeake Bay cropland; nutrient management plans.

A. Any operator of 50 or more acres of Chesapeake Bay cropland shall maintain and implement an approved nutrient management plan.

B. The Department shall review any nutrient management plan submitted pursuant to subsection A within 30 days of submission and shall determine whether such nutrient management plan was prepared by a certified nutrient management planner. If the Department determines that such plan was prepared by a certified nutrient management planner, the Department shall approve such plan. An approved nutrient management plan shall be revised and resubmitted for approval to the Department every five years thereafter. If the Department determines that such nutrient management plan was not prepared by a certified nutrient management planner, the Department shall provide to the person who is required to submit the nutrient management plan a list of items required to be corrected, and such person shall have 30 days to resubmit the plan.

C. Any nutrient management plan required pursuant to subsection A shall be made available to the Department upon request.

D. Any information collected by the Department pursuant to subsection B or C is excluded from the mandatory disclosure provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

2020, cc. 1185, 1186.

Article 3. Chesapeake Bay Watershed Livestock Stream Exclusion.

§ 62.1-44.122. (For contingent effective date, see § 62.1-44.119:1) Definitions.

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

"Department" means the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"Perennial stream" means a body of water depicted as perennial on the most recent U.S. Geological Survey 7-1/2-minute topographic quadrangle map (scale 1:24,000) or identified by a method, established in guidelines approved by the Department, that does not require field verification.

"Stream exclusion practice" means protection of a body of water by fencing, including temporary fencing, or another physical means sufficient to exclude livestock from such body of water. A stream exclusion practice may include designated livestock stream crossings that satisfy criteria established in guidelines adopted by the Department.

2020, cc. 1185, 1186.

§ 62.1-44.123. (For contingent effective date, see § 62.1-44.119:1) Bovine livestock stream exclusion.

Any person who owns property in the Chesapeake Bay watershed on which 20 or more bovines are pastured shall install and maintain stream exclusion practices sufficient to exclude all such bovines from any perennial stream in the watershed.

2020, cc. 1185, 1186.