Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvements

Communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, along with federal and state government, local government, nonprofit organizations, farmers, and private businesses are making significant progress restoring and protecting the health of local waterways and the bay. The Regional Commission is happy to support our local Bay communities of Botetourt, Craig, and Alleghany Counties, the City of Covington, and the town of Clifton Forge, as well as the small non-member towns of Iron Gate, Buchanan, and New Castle.

On December 29th, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), a historic and comprehensive cleanup plan to guide federal, state, and local actions as their communities clean up the Chesapeake Bay and the connected stream, creeks, and rivers.

In Virginia, the TMDL calls for a 20.5% reduction in Nitrogen, 25.2% reduction in Phosphorous and 20.8% reduction in Sediment delivered to the bay. The objective is to have clean up practices, known as best management practices or BMPs, in place by 2025 to reach the goal of a clean Chesapeake Bay and local waterways that meet water quality standards.

In August of 2019, Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality released the Phase III Watershed Improvement Plan. This plan identified goals for implementation of Best Management Practices to help reduce nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment in our local rivers and streams which feed into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In our region, we include these rivers and streams in the Upper James Watershed.

For more information about how to improve water quality in the Upper James Watershed, which includes the James, Jackson, and Cowpasture Rivers, please visit the Upper James website.