Making Its Vision a Reality

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

Nov. 19, 2004


Making Its Vision a Reality
Board Moves Forward on Environmental Vision Plan

More than 3,600 plants, fish and shellfish in the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s most biologically diverse estuary, got a helping hand from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Monday. The body approved new land use policies that support regional efforts to protect the bay, and presented two environmental awards.

The Board’s actions pushed forward its 20-year environmental vision plan, which was adopted June 21, 2004. Taking a page from this blueprint for environmental protections, the Board made gains on improving water quality, clean air and solid waste disposal at its meeting this week.

“We have made great strides with environmental stewardship over recent years, but we can and must do more,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, who has vigorously championed environmental protection during his tenure. “As Ulysses S. Grant said in 1864, ‘We must attack on all fronts simultaneously.’ Environmental concerns should not be trade-offs or compromises; rather they should be one of the essential decision-making criteria.”

Changes to the county’s Comprehensive Plan were unanimously adopted by the Board, supporting regional efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Revisions to these land-use guidelines ranged from identifying water pollution sources to charting erosion conditions along the county’s tidal shoreline. New policies were incorporated into the plan to strengthen water quality guidelines, including the new “Chesapeake Bay Supplement.”

This is the first time a supplement has been added to the Comprehensive Plan. The plan’s new policies and the menu of 42 specific recommendations within the supplement aim to reduce water quality degradation and to support water quality improvement in the county’s waters, and ultimately the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, relating to pollutant runoff, infill development, redevelopment, shoreline erosion and shoreline access. The Board intends to review the details for implementing these proposals.

Earlier this year, the county was recertified as a Gold Chesapeake Bay Partner Community for meeting preservation and restoration guidelines established by the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Individual county agencies also have been lauded for their efforts to protect the bay. The county’s Department of Vehicle Services received a Businesses for the Bay membership from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality for its proactive environmental initiatives. Vehicle Services and the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services also have been recertified in the state’s environmental excellence program.

Regionally, the bay’s restoration is being spearheaded by a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Maryland, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and participating citizen advisory groups.

Moving forward on its 20-year vision plan, the Board accepted an annual report from the Environmental Quality Advisory Council at yesterday’s meeting. The report details the county’s progress on achieving its environmental goals, such as clean air, while recommending future funding and actions. In September, the Board carried over $2 million from its fiscal year 2004 budget in order to fund projects in their environmental agenda.

“If there would be one message to summarize EQAC’s 2004 Annual Report, it would be to stay the course,” said Stella Koch, who chairs the citizen advisory group. She encouraged the officials to continue their support and funding for its environmental efforts.

Specifically, EQAC commended the Board for moving forward with a comprehensive agenda for clean air and for its continued support of teleworking and proposed clean air legislation in the General Assembly. The staff in the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services was also commended for its work involving watershed protection and restoration.

Also on Monday, the Board presented its annual Fairfax County Environmental Excellence Awards. Ned Foster of Clifton won the County Resident Award and the Reston Association garnered the Organization Award. Winners are chosen by EQAC, and the awards laud residents, organizations, businesses and county employees who support countywide environmental goals and initiatives.

Ned Foster was recognized for his extraordinary leadership of stewardship efforts in the Little Rocky Run Watershed, including the establishment and leadership of the Friends of Little Rocky Run. The Reston Association was recognized for its progressive and comprehensive watershed planning, protection, and restoration efforts and associated efforts to educate and involve the community.

In another benchmark of environmental success, the Board designated Nov. 15 as America Recycles Day in the county. Because recycling is an essential component of its long-range solid-waste management plan, the county surpasses the state’s requirement to recycle 25 percent of all trash generated. In 2003, the county won the national grand prize for the best America Recycles Day event, given by America Recycles Inc.

For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Plan Amendment, the Environmental Quality Advisory Council, or the Environmental Excellence Awards, call Noel Kaplan, Department of Planning and Zoning, at 703-324-1210, TTY 711. Please contact the county’s Environmental Coordinator Kambiz Agazi at 703-324-1788, TTY 711, for questions about the 20-year environmental vision plan or general inquiries about the county’s environmental policies.



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