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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Extension's Role in Development of Community Watershed Plans

Farm Business Management Update, June 2002

By Todd McNew

The Chesapeake Bay 2000 (C2K) Agreement encourages watershed planning by local governments, community groups, and watershed organizations throughout the signatory states of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. A specific goal is to develop and implement, by the year 2010, locally supported watershed management plans in two-thirds of the Bay watershed covered under the C2K Agreement. These plans will address the conservation and restoration of stream corridors, riparian forest buffers, and wetlands for the purposes of improving habitat and water quality.

To ensure that this goal is achieved, Virginia has established a Chesapeake 2000 Watershed Commitments (CwiC) task force to facilitate the planning process. Five workgroups (survey, tracking, local government marketing, marketing tools, and education/training) have been established with responsibility to develop and implement watershed plans.

The education/training workgroup has established a preliminary timetable for providing localities with the outreach and training necessary to successfully conduct watershed planning. Virginia Cooperative Extension will assume the leadership role for the education and training component of the planning process. Materials for use in the education/training effort, including a Watershed Planning Protocol, a Virginia Watershed Planning Guide, and a Local Government Assessment (toolkit) Handbook will be completed and available by the end of June 2002.

A meeting of selected individuals who would be available to assist localities with watershed planning will be scheduled for late August (perhaps two or more meetings will be necessary due to geographical dispersion). This group will be known as the Tier One group. The following people would be invited to this August meeting:

This Tier One group will assume ultimate responsibility for continuing contacts with elected and appointed officials, watershed groups, landowners, developers, and the general citizenry.

In close cooperation with the Tier One group, the education/training workgroup will form a regional planning group in each DCR region to develop a plan for that region. One objective of developing a plan in each DCR region is to provide a pilot plan to be used in future training and education activities in the region. Dates and places of these activities will be decided at a later time. The nine regional planning groups will be known as the Tier Two group. The following people would be invited to this activity:

Once pilot plans have been developed in each region, a Tier Three group of all other interested parties will be established at the local watershed level. This group will include all interested people in each DCR Region - many of these individuals will be doing the actual work of developing a plan for their own watershed.

For additional information about watershed planning at DCR please contact: Ernie Brown at (757) 925-2468 and Nissa Dean at (804) 371-7486.

Extension contacts are Waldon Kerns at (540) 231-5995 or by e-mail at and Todd McNew at (540) 231-6511 or by e-mail at

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