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Posted In: Environment

James River Priorities in Upcoming General Assembly Session

Andy Thompson

January 3, 2018 2:18pm

With the General Assembly session starting in a week, I thought it would be good to share the James River Association’s list of priorities for the James in the GA. Click here to read more from the JRA and what they expect from this legislative session.

Back in December, JRA Government Affairs and Policy Manager Adrienne Kotula writes, outgoing governor Terry McAuliffe released his proposed budget in front of the General Assembly money committees:

We are grateful to Governor McAuliffe for his dedication to the Water Quality Improvement Fund as well as the Virginia Land Conservation Fund during his tenure as Governor. As we move towards the 2018 General Assembly session and Governor Northam takes office, we must remember that funding for water quality and land conservation are a paramount concern.

Agricultural Best Management Practices
Virginia’s successful Soil and Water Conservation Districts help farmers get important practices on the ground, like streamside buffers and cover crops, but adequate and steady funding is needed to continue these efforts. The Governor’s budget included $22 million towards this effort, but more is needed.

The James River near Buchanan. Credit: JRA

• Support steady funding of $62 million per for agricultural best management practices

Stormwater Local Assistance Fund
Stormwater pollution is a serious issue that communities across Virginia are required to address. Runoff from impervious surfaces in urban areas is the only growing pollution source to the James. The Governor’s budget included zero funding for stormwater and we cannot let this growing pollution source go uncontrolled.

• Support $50 million per year for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund

Land Conservation Grant Programs
Land conservation is a Virginia tradition. Continuing that tradition of providing for protected land that nourishes us is vital. The Governor’s budget included $5.75 million per year for this program. We need an increase in the budget to meet our goals.

• Support $20 million per year for land conservation grant programs

If you’d like to stay up-to-date on our advocacy efforts, make sure to join our Action Network. You can also join us on January 10th for an Advocacy Lunch and Learn to hear the latest on the opening day of the 2018 General Assembly Session.

For more information or questions contact: Adrienne Kotula at (804) 938-7266 or akotula@jrava.org

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?