April 18th, 2006 05:32 EST
Virginia Organizations Recognized for Bay Protection Efforts
LEXINGTON, Va. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation today recognized five Virginia organizations for their innovative storm water management practices throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
“The initiatives taken by these groups to control storm water runoff are paying big dividends in helping to improve water quality and wildlife habitats in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.
The groups recognized during the 17th annual Virginia Environment Symposium included:
• University of Virginia - Charlottesville
• Friends of the Rappahannock - Fredericksburg
• Williamsburg Environmental Group - Williamsburg
• Northern Virginia Regional Commission- Fairfax
• Town of Warsaw - Warsaw, Richmond County
These groups participated in the first year of a Low Impact Development Program initiated by EPA and Virginia to encourage municipalities and organizations to use innovative techniques to control storm water runoff.
In the past, jurisdictions relied primarily on conventional engineered techniques, such as detention basins and wet ponds, to collect storm water. More recently, government agencies, developers and consultants, watershed and neighborhood groups have aggressively adopted low impact development techniques that rely more heavily upon the filtering capacity of the natural landscape.
Some of the storm water management techniques implemented by these organizations include rain gardens, roof gardens, impervious cover reduction, permeable pavers, rain barrels, and channeling rain water to lawns and gardens to keep them green. For more information on low impact development, visit .
The Chesapeake Bay watershed continues to experience growth and development, which often converts forest and natural areas into paved areas to accommodate homes, stores, and roads. These paved areas and structures, known as impervious areas, take away the watershed's ability to filter pollutants that result from human activity and also increase the rate at which rain run-off reaches our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.