President Joe Biden has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will likely change the landscape for the way all kinds of projects in Virginia and the Charlottesville area are funded.
“This law makes the most significant investment in roads and bridges in the past 70 years,” Biden said. “It makes the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years. And in public transit ever.”
The bill provides direct funding to specific areas across the entire country. (details from the White House)
Before the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, it would be commonplace for factories to discharge pollutants into rivers and streams without any consideration of the effect of the natural world.
Nearly fifty years later, there is a system of permits and regulations in place to improve water quality. The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is working with certain industries in the community to pre-treat industrial waste before effluent is released into the ecosystem.
Earlier this year, Virginia joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state program that places caps on the amount of carbon emissions for many industries. If companies exceed their limits, they have to purchase credits. Revenues go to state governments for programs such as the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, which is to receive 45 percent of the RGGI funds. So far, Virginia has received $142 million over three auctions.
Charlottesville will receive $153,500 from the fund to pay for a plan to prepare the Moores Creek Watershed for the floodings. That’s part of $7.8 million in grants announced yesterday by Governor Ralph Northam. The funds are distributed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, an agency that is also working on a master plan for coastal resilience in Virginia.
If our collective efforts to guard the health of the Rivanna River were graded, we’re doing about average. The Rivanna Conservation Alliance has presented their first Rivanna River Report Card by sifting through five years of data from the 50 monitoring sites they have throughout the watershed to look for the presence of E. coli bacteria.
“A stream’s biological health is measured by catching, identifying, and counting the different small organisms that live in it,” reads the report card.
The RCA has been monitoring water quality since 2003 when part of it was known as StreamWatch. Monitoring sites closer to developed areas tend to register as poor or fair.
(This article originally appeared in the August 17, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement)
The Rivanna River serves as the boundary between eastern Charlottesville and the Pantops area of Albemarle County. To the north is the Pen Park within Charlottesville, and the river meanders south to the Sentara Martha Jefferson complex. What steps can be taken to connect the waterway to the built environment?
The area has been studied for many years, and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission has been working on a study intended to unify future planning and implementation efforts. Nick Morrison is a planner with the TJPDC who updated the Charlottesville Planning Commission at their meeting on August 10. (TJPDC page on the plan)
“The goal of this phase of this planning project was to develop a vision and an action plan for that urban section of the corridor,” Morrison said.