In 2006, DEQ renewed a 2002 letter of agreement between Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Division of the Izaak Walton League, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Virginia Save Our Streams. In addition, the Virginia Citizens for Water Quality and Virginia Water Monitoring Council became the two newest members in this partnership agreement. The purpose of this agreement is to continue to promote and enhance citizen monitoring in Virginia.
LETTER OF AGREEMENT
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality,
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay,
Virginia Division Izaak Walton League of America, Virginia Save Our Streams Program,
Virginia Citizens for Water Quality, and the
Virginia Water Monitoring Council
This document continues the collaborative partnership, which began in 1998 and was reaffirmed in the 2002 Letter of Agreement, between the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (the Alliance); Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR); and the Virginia Division, Izaak Walton League of America, Save Our Streams Program (VA SOS) for the purpose of supporting and implementing the Virginia Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program.
While many government agencies and other organizations participate in and support this cooperative effort, this Agreement defines the roles of the above agencies and organizations, as well as the Virginia Citizens for Water Quality (VCWQ) and the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC), in the implementation of the Virginia Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program.
We recognize that cooperative efforts strengthen citizens’ commitment to water quality and therefore enhance Virginia’s ability to protect and restore the Commonwealth’s water quality.
Therefore, we resolve to support the Virginia Citizens Water Quality Monitoring Program and work together towards the following goals:
- To have a comprehensive understanding of all water quality monitoring efforts in the Commonwealth, including types, location, and results.
- To ensure that citizen water monitoring data can be used to supplement agency monitoring efforts in Virginia’s 305(d)/303(b) Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report and help to evaluate the effectiveness of nonpoint source pollution prevention measures including Tributary Strategies and TMDL implementation and to document the listing and de-listing of impaired waters.
- To encourage citizen monitoring efforts by providing resources, when available and practicable, including training, supplies and equipment, funding and technical assistance and to ensure that delivery of the resources by the partners is coordinated whenever possible.
- To support citizen water quality monitoring activities by supporting the many uses of data including for the following: education and outreach; baseline data to establish background conditions and prioritize monitoring needs; information to help with local land use decisions; alerting unusual conditions resulting from land use or resource management; and documenting water quality improvement projects.
- To promote coordination and collaboration among organizations involved in citizen water quality monitoring activities so that efforts complement each other.
- To provide user-friendly access to and effectively disseminate water quality information and data between the partners and the public.
- To encourage volunteer citizen monitors to obtain the highest quality-controlled and quality-assured data that are appropriate for its intended uses.
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
The Alliance provides assistance to watershed groups, citizens, and citizen organizations by providing training and organizational development in order to build restoration capacity at the local watershed level. The Alliance provides training in water quality monitoring methods; provides quality assurance oversight of data and methods for citizens and watershed groups participating in the Alliance’s quality assurance program; and identifies new opportunities for citizen monitoring and assessment activities. While the mission of the Alliance is to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Alliance is committed to supporting all citizen water quality monitors in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Alliance maintains a public, web-based database of citizen monitoring activities, from which quality assured data are input annually to DEQ for use in assessment reports.
Virginia Citizens for Water Quality
The mission of VCWQ is to coordinate citizen water quality monitoring efforts and methodologies; to provide a funding mechanism for citizen water quality monitoring; and to promote watershed, water quality, and stream health issues. Through the VCWQ emailing list-server, VCWQ will provide a central place for agencies and other interested parties to distribute water quality-related information. VCWQ will maintain a comprehensive list of citizen water quality monitoring activities in Virginia on the VCWQ website. VCWQ will also host meetings twice a year to facilitate training opportunities and information sharing. VCWQ will utilize the annual summit to identify watershed priorities and needs as identified by the citizen water quality monitors. In addition, VCWQ will provide leadership in the effort to continue and expand funding sources for citizen water quality monitoring.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
As part of the Department’s statewide responsibilities, DCR will continue to provide technical expertise and general information on matters concerning nonpoint source pollution. Specifically, DCR will lead the development and implementation of Tributary Strategies and Chesapeake 2000 commitments and, in cooperation with DEQ, will provide technical expertise and general information on Total Maximum Daily Load development and implementation. DCR will promote the use of citizen data to meet the Commonwealth’s water quality data needs and will assist in identifying appropriate uses for citizen-generated data. DCR will promote the delivery of citizen stewardship activities on a watershed basis and will work to identify new opportunities for citizen stewardship efforts. DCR will work to engage citizens and citizen organizations in water quality monitoring and related stewardship activities. DCR will continue to provide technical expertise and general information on grant writing, sources of funding, public outreach techniques, organization development, and marketing.
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
As part of the Department’s statewide responsibilities, DEQ will provide technical expertise and general information on matters concerning point source pollution and water quality. In cooperation with Department of Mined Land Reclamation and DCR, DEQ will provide technical expertise and general information on Total Maximum Daily Load development and implementation. DEQ will continue to provide technical expertise and general information about monitoring water quality, including monitoring protocols, planning water quality monitoring programs, existing agency monitoring locations, site selection, data management, and quality assurance and quality control measures and procedures. DEQ will maintain the Virginia Citizens Monitoring Methods Manual
and may provide citizen water quality monitoring grants to support citizen efforts. In addition, DEQ will develop and maintain an online database where citizen groups, and other monitoring organizations, can store and retrieve water quality data. DEQ will promote the use of citizen data to meet the Commonwealth’s water quality data needs and will assist in identifying appropriate uses for citizen-generated data. DEQ will continue to assist in identifying new opportunities for citizen stewardship efforts.
Virginia Save Our Streams
VA SOS will continue to provide training to citizen monitors in water quality monitoring methods, provide quality assurance oversight for participating citizens, and assist in identifying new opportunities for citizen stewardship activities. VA SOS will continue to promote citizen stewardship efforts and will assist in locating citizens and citizen organizations desiring to participate in citizen water quality monitoring and related activities. VA SOS will assist organizations in identifying sources of funding and organization development.
Virginia Water Monitoring Council
The VWMC will continue to promote water quality monitoring efforts in Virginia by acting as a forum for citizen monitoring organizations; local and state government agencies; private businesses; and academic institutions to meet and work together. The VWMC will continue to provide information on upcoming water quality meetings and water quality monitoring activities in Virginia. The VWMC will also continue developing and maintaining the VWMC online inventory database of water monitoring programs and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping application.
We recognize that each partner has a unique and specific organizational mission, responsibility, and need for water quality monitoring data. To ensure success of this partnership agreement, we agree to meet at least twice a year to coordinate efforts; outline tasks to meet shared goals; and evaluate progress towards those goals.
This Agreement reflects the partners’ plan for cooperation and is not to be construed as a binding contract. Any party may leave this cooperative program at any time and for any reason and may enter into similar agreements with other organizations. This agreement will continue for a period of four years, at which time it will be updated and renewed upon mutual agreement of the partners.
Nothing in this agreement prohibits the partners from implementing other programs for which they are responsible. Additional parties may be added to this agreement upon the mutual consent of the partners.
We hereby agree to work together to promote and sustain citizen water quality monitoring in the Commonwealth of Virginia as described by this 2006 Letter of Agreement:
The Honorable L. Preston Bryant, Jr.
Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources
David B. Bancroft
President, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc.
Coordinator, Virginia Save Our Streams, Izaak Walton League of America
President, Virginia Division Izaak Walton League of America
Joseph H. Maroon
Director, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Chairman, Virginia Citizens for Water Quality
Charles A. Frederickson
Chairman, Virginia Water Monitoring Council