What Happens Next for Menhaden?
Fracking's Dramatic Impact May Soon Be Seen in Chesapeake Bay

Stormwater Fee Helps Chesapeake Bay

Rain_garden1An inner city school in Richmond built a rain garden that absorbs pollutants and keeps them out of the Chesapeake Bay.

The project was funded, with state assistance, by the Richmond Stormwater Utility fee, which was created in 2009, according to the Bacon's Rebellion blog.  The fee raises about $9 million a year by taxing property owners based on how much blacktop and roof surface they have on their properties, according to the article. The city charges homeowner from $25 to $75 per year, depending upon the square footage of impervious surface.

"With a dedicated funding source, we can take a more proactive approach" to reducing pollution, said  Michelle Virts, a deputy director of utilities with the city, in the blog article. 

"Of all the sources of pollution plaguing the Bay and its tributaries, the only one that's not improving is stormwater runoff," said Chuck Epes, assistant director of media relations with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. With assistance from the EPA and the state, Virginia cities are upgrading their sewage treatment plants, and farmers are installing runoff pollution control projects, according to the article.

But as Virginia's population swells, houses, driveways, parking lots roads and other impermeable surface continue to replace farms, forest and wetlands, Bacon’s Rebellion wrote.

This "non-point source pollution" is so ubiquitous that it's the hardest to tackle, says Epes. "It's your back yard, my front yard. ... It costs a lot of money to retrofit. ... But if we don't get a handle on stormwater runoff, it will overwhelm the improvements we've made on other fronts."

To learn more, click here.

(Photo from Bacon's Rebellion blog)


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We're in a fight to save some important green space in Reston, VA -- seriously needed to counterbalance the development that will happen around the new metro. This is over 150 acres of green space on a Certified Audubon International Sanctuary Golf Course that if paved over will flow directly into our Reston Lakes & on to the Chesapeake. http://hartkeisonline.com/activism-2/rescue-reston-arouses-grassroots-support-to-save-green-spaces/

Thanks, Constance. What, exactly, is being proposed for this 150 acres, and who is proposing it?

Tom Pelton - just got back to this and see your question.
Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company (NWM), which is the larger shareholder/owner of the golf course, claims that they have the right to develop it as residential property, a claim that is unsupported by the zoning history of the land and is being opposed vigorously by Reston Association (RA) and Rescue Reston. This is the central issue before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). NWM's land use attorneys have twice delayed the BZA hearing. The position of the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, RA and Rescue Reston is that the golf course land is restricted to use as open space, such as a golf course or park.

We have reason to fear that they would look to build thousands of mid-rise apartments (see http://www.reston2020.blogspot.com/2013/02/rumors-of-golf-parks-and-housing.html)

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