In West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA), and West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) have partnered together on the Chesapeake Bay Program Water Quality Initiative.
Since joining the initiative in 2002 as a headwater state, WVDA’s Environmental Programs staff has spent a considerable amount of time in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. WVDA has developed and implemented a tributary strategy with nutrient and sediment reduction goals that will meet the cap load allocations set forth by the Chesapeake Bay Program. WVDA has been reaching Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) goals through various Best Management Practices (BMPs) that, once put in place, will meet the cap load allocations for the state.
The process to reach this point has taken immense amount of time and effort by multiple agencies and stakeholders. Collectively they are now involved in aggressive implementation procedures to meet the goals set forth in the WIP. Part of this effort includes an aggressive outreach campaign to encourage participation in cost share programs and BMPs that directly and indirectly affects both West Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay.
WVDA staff participates as a voting member Chesapeake Bay Agriculture Workgroup, ensuring that West Virginia’s concerns are valued. This workgroup advises EPA on agriculture policy, directing new BMPs and providing feedback. WVDA is also involved in other Bay groups such as the Principals’ Staff Committee, Water Quality Goal Implementation Team, Verification Committee and West Virginia’s Tributary Team. As of 2014 the EPA acknowledged West Virginia is on track to meet Phosphorus and Nitrogen goals, with further emphasis on sediment reductions, outreach goals, and verification of BMPs.