General Assembly

This is shaping up to be an exciting session, full of opportunity for forward progress on conservation. The Governor’s proposed budget, which will go before both the House and Senate, includes additional funding for several conservation initiatives.

Funding for Land Conservation Grant Programs

SUPPORT

Drafted with the assistance of PEC and introduced by Lee Ware ( R), HB 1398 was passed during the 2013 GA session, providing a mechanism that for the first time supplied a meaningful and consistent source of grant funding for localities, state agencies, and/or non-profit organizations to acquire land or easements for conservation. The funding was to be distributed through three existing programs, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF), the Office of Farmland Preservation, and the Civil War Sites Preservation Fund.

The Governor’s Budget would fully fund these critical programs for the first time, representing roughly $20 million per year- $16M for the the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF), $2M for the Office of Farmland Preservation, $2M for the Civil War Sites Preservation Fund.

Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Agriculture and Stormwater Management

SUPPORT

Virginia has committed to meet our obligations for reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay primarily through voluntary measures. We consider BMPs one of the most important measures the Commonwealth can take towards improving local water quality and meeting its obligations for the Chesapeake Bay. As well, these measures stimulate the economy with the investment in our farms and municipalities, providing much-needed employment. Requests from landowners for Agricultural BMPs are roughly $82 million - The budget includes roughly $61 million. As well, much needed funding has been included for Stormwater improvements for local governments. These improvements will not be achievable without high levels of state funding. 

Funding for Virginia Outdoors Foundation

SUPPORT

VOF is facing staffing shortages as the demands grow for the stewardship of their 761,624 acres of easements. PEC is likely to be left relying upon one VOF staff person for our 9-county region. This raises the concern that some desiring an easement on their land will be turned down due to staffing shortfalls in the agency as funding in the budget has remained stagnant.

 

Please contact your legislator and alert them of your support all of these measures in the budget. It is important that they hear from you, especially if they serve on House Appropriations or Senate Finance.

 
 
 

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