Q3 2018 Newsletter

Q3 2018 Newsletter

Former VIRGINIAforever Chairman Bob Dunn Receives Prestigious Gerald McCarthy Award

VF-q3-photoIn June, the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia announced that Bob Dunn, immediate past chairman of VIRGINIAforever, was selected to receive the 2018 Gerald P. McCarthy Award for Leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution. The McCarthy Award is presented annually to an individual who demonstrates leadership in preserving and protecting the Commonwealth’s environment through collaboration.

In September, the award’s namesake Jerry McCarthy made a special presentation at the VIRGINIAforever executive board meeting, where Bob accepted the award.  In his remarks, Jerry noted that Bob is a dedicated, passionate proponent for natural resources protection and environmental stewardship. Throughout his career and his retirement, he established himself as a steadfast leader in consensus-driven decision making.

Notably, Bob served as Environmental Affairs and Community Relations Manager for DuPont for 39 years, where he was the company’s primary liaison to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. During a time when the world’s largest chemical corporations were struggling with environmental compliance, Bob was instrumental in the conception and implementation of sustainability plans for the benefit of the communities where their plants operate, as well as the interests of customers, employees and shareholders.

Congratulations to Bob and a special thank you to Jerry for the personal presentation.


Government Affairs Update: VIRGINIAforever Preparing for 2019 General Assembly

The 2019 General Assembly session is quickly approaching. Legislators have wasted no time gearing up for it – they began introducing bills and resolutions in July 2018. In years past, House of Delegates and Senate member have introduced approximately 3,000 pieces of legislation, and the upcoming session will likely be no different.

VIRGINIAforever monitors legislation that may impact how state funds are appropriated and spent on natural resources, especially on water quality and land conservation – and we pay especially close attention to the Governor’s and General Assembly’s proposed budget actions.

The coming fiscal year is shaping up to be one where state funds are more plentiful than in years past. The Commonwealth finished FY2018 with a $550 million surplus. That’s good. It also means that if the Governor and General Assembly remain faithful to past practices, approximately $55 million (10% of the surplus) should be deposited into the Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF), which is used to invest in improvements in locally-owned wastewater treatment plants and/or best management practices to reduce agricultural and stormwater runoff. VIRGINIAforever will, of course, advocate that the Governor and legislature make this WQIF deposit.

In the months ahead, VIRGINIAforever also will monitor Virginia’s natural resources agencies’ needs for additional staffing to administer and enforce environmental programs. Such agencies as the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Department of Forestry have had staffing levels significantly reduced over the past decade. Additionally, the Virginia Outdoors Foundations, a quasi-state agency that’s responsible for the vast majority of the state’s conservation easements, has seen a sizeable reduction in state appropriations for its operations. VIRGINIAforever is considering developing a policy position to more actively support an adequate level of funding for agency staffing so that their missions can be met and our natural resources promoted and protected.

Last, VIRGINIAforever heartily applauded Governor Ralph Northam’s commitment in April 2018 to increasing – actually, tripling – the amount of General Fund revenues dedicated to natural resources. Currently, approximately 0.6% (roughly $300 million) of state tax dollars go to natural resources; the Governor wants to boost that to 2.0% (nearly $1 billion). Getting to the “2% goal” has long been discussed – but Governor Northam is the first governor to state it as a major priority. VIRGINIAforever looks forward to working with the Northam administration on this unprecedented initiative.


Mark Your Calendar: 2018 Bridge Builder Celebration to Recognize the Honorable Tayloe Murphy, Feature Keynote Remarks from the Honorable Kirk Cox

Each year, VIRGINIAforever holds its Bridge Builder Celebration in Richmond to recognize outstanding stewards of Virginia’s natural resources.  The Bridge Builder Award will be presented to the Honorable Tayloe Murphy, former Secretary of Natural Resources and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, for his leadership in the protection of natural resources.

The event is Tuesday, October 23 at WestRock.  The reception begins at 6 pm, followed by remarks, dinner and an awards presentation.  See details here {link to digital version of invite here}.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. If you’re interested in sponsoring or attending, please contact Ginny Boland (gboland@mwcllc.com or 804-775-1907) for ticket information.  We hope to see you there!


VIRGINIAforever Welcomes New Members

In the third quarter of 2018, VIRGINIAforever welcomed the following:

  • Stewart Leeth is representing Smithfield Foods on the executive board;
  • The Garden Club of Virginia is now a member of the general board, represented by Carrie Dorsey; and
  • The Virginia Poultry Federation is now a member of the general board, represented by Hobey Bauhan.


Reminder: “Like” VIRGINIAforever on Facebook!

VIRGINIAforever is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ourlandourwater.   “Like” our page to stay in touch about VIRGINIAforever announcements as well as natural resources funding news from across the Commonwealth.  You are encouraged to “share” and “comment” on our content.

Natural Resources News and Announcements from the Administration

  • Governor Northam to Celebrate Public Lands Week. Governor Ralph Northam and members of his administration celebrated Public Lands Week, which began with National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 22. Established in 1993 as a day of volunteer service to help restore the country’s public lands, this year marks the 25th Anniversary of National Public Lands Day. The celebration will conclude on Sunday, September 29 with the 2nd annual Virginia Public Lands Day, showcasing the public lands of Virginia and honoring the Commonwealth’s natural heritage. Learn more here.
  • Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler Convenes Work Group to Promote Sustainable Growth of Virginia’s Clam and Oyster Economy. On August 16, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler convened the Aquaculture Work Group to develop consensus-based recommendations to promote the sustainable growth of Virginia’s clam and oyster aquaculture industries. The work group is comprised of leaders from the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, as well as diverse representatives from the shellfish industry, local governments, waterfront property owners, and the conservation community. Read more here.
  • EPA Assessment of Virginia’s Efforts on Chesapeake Bay Restoration Shows Progress. This summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the 2018 evaluation of ongoing efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay. The report showed that Virginia achieved its mid-point goals for reducing both nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, with additional effort identified for the sediment pollution goals. Governor Northam stated: “A ‘Green Light’ designation from the Environmental Protection Agency signals that Virginia’s programs for reducing nutrient inputs to the Chesapeake Bay from farmland, municipalities and developed lands, and waste treatment plants are working effectively.” Read the Governor’s full statement here.
  • Governor Northam Secures Long-Term Partnership for Protection of Virginia’s Coastal Resources. Earlier this month, Governor Northam announced the Commonwealth of Virginia sought and received authorization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue the Commonwealth’s partnership with the agency through the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program in perpetuity. Through a “transmittal letter,” Governor Northam replaces the need for Executive Orders that each new governor would have to sign to continue this federal-state partnership. Read more here.