Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 62.1. Waters of the State, Ports and Harbors
Chapter 3.8. Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Initiatives
4/17/2024

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.