In 2003, Virginia was in last place among state spending on the environment. Thus began an effort that by 2006 evolved into the non-profit organization VIRGINIAforever. Our diverse group of environmental advocates and business leaders began in earnest its work to encourage greater spending on the environment by the Virginia General Assembly.

Since our formation, VIRGINIAforever has been influential in expanding land and water conservation programs in addition to sustaining results-driven, state-funded programs to improve the quality of life in Virginia. We do so through our strong advocacy efforts.

How we advocate

VIRGINIAforever meets with agency heads and key government officials, attends committee meetings and hearings, and conducts direct outreach to lawmakers. We help educate decision makers on current land and water concerns, as well as the impact of funding and budget amendments on environmental programs. We closely monitor budget discussions affecting the Water Quality Improvement Fund and the Virginia Land Conservation Fund.

What we advocate for

In 2019, VIRGINIAforever developed a new edition of its Five-Year Funding Plan, The Path Forward. This plan sets forth investments needed to accomplish the Commonwealth’s land conservation and water quality improvement goals from 2021 through 2025. These investments, which are critical to ensure that our natural resources stay protected today, tomorrow and into the future, include the following:

Enabling land conservation and public access in the Commonwealth

  • $20 million per year for land conservation grant programs
  • $70 million bond for conservation agency land acquisition
  • $75 million per year for Land Preservation Tax Credits
  • $115 million in bonds for public access projects

Ensuring water quality in the Bay, its tributaries and other waterways

  • $55 million per year for wastewater treatment plant upgrades
  • $80 million per year for stormwater projects
  • $100 million per year for Agricultural BMP cost share

Supporting resilience programs that benefit Virginia’s land and water

Increasing funding for natural resources-related state agencies to ensure efficient execution of all critical functions

Read our full report here. A sources list can be found here.

How you can help

VIRGINIAforever greatly appreciates support from land and water advocates across the Commonwealth. You can help VIRGINIAforever’s advocacy efforts by contacting your legislator to express your concern about land preservation and water quality issues and request his or her support for increased state funding for natural resource protection. For tips on contacting your legislator, contact us.