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NEPA, CWA, THE FARM BILL, THE BAY ACT, ESC, ASA, WQIA Understanding Laws that Shape Virginia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts

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Presentation on theme: "NEPA, CWA, THE FARM BILL, THE BAY ACT, ESC, ASA, WQIA Understanding Laws that Shape Virginia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts"— Presentation transcript:

1 NEPA, CWA, THE FARM BILL, THE BAY ACT, ESC, ASA, WQIA Understanding Laws that Shape Virginia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts

2 National Environmental Policy Act NEPA requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions to meet NEPA requirements federal agencies prepare a detailed statement known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

3 EPA reviews and comments on EISs prepared by other federal agencies, maintains a national filing system for all EISs, and assures that its own actions comply with NEPA the public has an important role in the NEPA process in providing input on what issues should be addressed in an EIS and in commenting on the findings in an agency's NEPA documents

4 The public can participate in the NEPA process by attending NEPA-related hearings or public meetings and by submitting comments directly to the lead agency The lead agency must take into consideration all comments received from the public and other parties on NEPA documents during the comment period Conservation Districts can provide information to the public on local NEPA-related hearings or public meetings- particularly those involved directly with conservation issues!

5 Clean Water Act CWA establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters Under the CWA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented pollution control programs along with setting water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters

6 The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained Conservation Districts help implement programs that reduce water pollution, especially through BMPs

7 Food Security Act or “Farm Bill” The Farm Bill establishes a comprehensive framework within which the Secretary of Agriculture will administer agriculture and food programs includes several provisions that contribute to the protection of wetlands  promote the conservation of wetlands on agricultural lands contains provisions that promote the protection of wildlife habitat and water quality

8 links conservation to USDA program benefits Many districts of VA include farmland, which are subject to the Farm Bill

9 Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act The Bay Act The official copy of the Bay Act can be found on the Code of VA website Code of VA Approval: 1988 VA General Assembly Objectives:  Tidewater Localities must adopt local ordinances in accordance w/ the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations.  Tidewater Localities must identify, designate, and map Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas.

10 Effects Tidewater counties & cities

11 Agricultural Criteria:  Land upon which agricultural activities are being conducted shall:  Establish/Maintain a Vegetated Buffer Area between the locally designated water resource and the farming activity.  Have a Soil & Water Quality Conservation Assessment conducted and/or a Soil & Water Quality Conservation Plan.  Submit all applicable assessments and plans to the local SWCD Board for review and approval.

12 Soil & Water Quality Conservation Assessment  Evaluates the effectiveness of existing BMPs to protect water quality.  Assessment Areas include:  Nutrient Management  Erosion Control  Pesticide Management Soil & Water Quality Conservation Plan  Outlines the installation/implementation of additional BMPs, necessary to protect water quality.  BMPs outlined in the Bay Plan need only address those conservation issues applicable to the tract or field. For additional information, visit and VA’s DCR site www.cblad.virginia.govDCR

13 Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Division Division within VA DCR Motto: “Partnering with local governments to protect the Chesapeake Bay and other state waters through sound land use management.”

14 Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law ESC Approved in 1973. Title 10 of the Code of Virginia.  “Each District in the Commonwealth shall adopt and administer an erosion and sediment control program for any area within the District for which a county, city, or town does not have an approved Erosion and Sediment Control program.” Code of Virginia Title 10.1, Chapter 5 (Section 10.1-562). State Program administered by VA DCR. Localities required to develop ESC Ordinance.

15 District MAY be asked to perform the following ESC duties:  Provide plan review services & Board designated as Plan Review Authority.  Provide on-site inspection services.  Enforce compliance.  Administer the entire program.

16 Program Goal = Control erosion, sedimentation, and non-ag. runoff from land-disturbing activities. What is an ESC Plan?  Consists of Narrative & Illustrative Maps  Include Criteria, Techniques, & Policies that must be followed to prevent erosion and sedimentation from construction sites.  State Law: > 10,000 sq. ft, but some localities stricter.  Exemptions

17 Virginia Soil Conservation District Law This is a very important piece of legislation for directors and staff  It grants directors the authority to act on behalf of the SWCD they represent This law is the most closely relating legislation for Conservation Districts It outlines all required responsibilities and procedures of those involved with a district A complete copy of the law is included in the packet

18 Agricultural Stewardship Act ASA State Law - 1996 Administered by VDACS Objective: Work with Farmers and local SWCDs to resolve, in a timely and commonsense manner, water quality problems reported to VDACS concerning nutrients, sediments, and toxins from agricultural activities.

19 Examples Of Water Quality Problems  Nutrients from manure in feed lot runoff.  Sediment from erosion on crop fields.  Toxins from herbicide/pesticide runoff.  Toxins from dead animal carcasses.

20 Complaints filed w/ VDACS Ag. Stewardship Division Founded Complaint  Voluntary Compliance to correct water quality problem encouraged.  ASA allows for legal action to be taken to accomplish corrective action.  Producer is required to develop a plan to correct.  Implement plan within a specified time period, not to exceed 18 mos.  District Planning and Technical Assistance

21 Activities NOT covered by ASA  VA DEQ Permitted Activities  Forestry Activities  Air Pollution  Odor Concerns  Landfills  Waste problems that do not involve agricultural products and that have no clear water quality impact

22 Districts MAY  Assist with the investigation.  Provide technical assistance on correction of the problem(s).  Develop the plan. Districts are REQUIRED to  Review the plan. For more information visit: A copy of ASA guidelines is included in the packet

23 Water Quality Improvement Act WQIA Purpose: to restore and improve the quality of state waters and to protect them from impairment and destruction for the benefit of current and future citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia  Section 10.1-2118 of the Code of Virginia Section 10.1-2118 of the Code of Virginia implemented to provide funding to address point and non-point source pollution within the Commonwealth District’s receive cost-share money as a result of this Act

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