Rappahannock River Basin Comprehensive Restoration Program
June, 2013 Update -
Yesterday, the Rappahannock River Basin Commission voted to continue the Feasibility Phase of the Comprehensive Restoration Program with the U.S. Corps of Engineers (Norfolk District). RRBC Staff will begin working with Corps staff and other Technical Committee members, including the Center, on development of a proposal to use General Investigation (GI) Funds.
March, 2012 Update -
Progress, though slow, is still progress. While Virginia may still may not at this moment have a state budget, sources indicate that this matter will be resolved in relatively short order. And at this moment, House Item 360 #4H has an appropriation of $15,000 for the Rappahannock River Basin Commission to develop a Comprehensive River Basin Restoration Programmatic Document. The Senate has Items 360 #4s and #5s with $22,500 and $15,000 respectively. These funds would leverage U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funds “to outline a programmatic process and strategy for water resources support to include development of long-term funding sources designed to implement comprehensive solutions to address Chesapeake Bay TMDL comliance integrated across environmental, flood risk management, navigation, and water supply activities.”
The big idea here is that this Phase I project would set the basic architecture for an optimization approach to restoration – including use of market-based mechanisms, which of course could include nutrient trading. The proposed Trust – a watershed-based entity to dynamically manage pollution reduction – could be a part of this optimization architecture. Assuming one of the versions of these three amendments survives – the RRBC Technical Committee would begin work later this year on this project.
Kudos to the Corps of Engineers and Mark Mansfield. Also congratulations to RRBC staff Eldon James and Chair Emmett Hanger and Vice-Chair Joe Gzeika.
March, 2011 Update -
Conserv, working with the Rappahannock River Basin Commission, and the Virginia Department of Forestry, together presented a plan to the Virginia State Water Commission to simulate alternative architectural platforms of the sub-watershed based ecosystem services management entity Trust for a Clean Water Economy – Rappahannock Watershed.
The Trust is a private, generic, watershed-based pollution reduction management platform that features the use of a banking fund to facilitate cost discovery and transaction efficiency for ecosystem services buyers and sellers.
The Trust initiative represents a local, grassroots approach to create financial demand for Chesapeake Bay – related ecosystem services restoration that will “move the dial” from a “philanthropic-based” to “entrepreneur-based” restoration model – providing new revenue streams for watershed-based economic development. To date, the effort has been funded by The Rappahannock River Basin Commission and by Conserv. Demonstration projects are now underway at locations within the Rappahannock River Basin – with a particular focus on the City of Fredericksburg and surrounding counties. These projects are focused on testing two critical dimensions of the Trust – Revenue (Voluntary and Regulatory-based) and Organizational Architecture.