Letter of Agreement

In 2015, DEQ renewed a 2007 letter of agreement between the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Citizens for Water Quality, Virginia Water Monitoring Council and the Izaak Walton League of America, Save Our Streams Program. The purpose of this agreement is to continue to promote and enhance citizen monitoring in Virginia.

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LETTER OF AGREEMENT

Between

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality,

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation,

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay,

Izaak Walton League of America, Virginia Save Our Streams Program,

Virginia Citizens for Water Quality, and the

Virginia Water Monitoring Council

Purpose

This document continues the collaborative partnership, which began in 1998 and 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 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 and 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.

Shared Goals

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 resources.

Therefore, we resolve to support the Virginia Citizens Water Quality Monitoring Program and work together towards the following goals:

  1. To have a comprehensive understanding of all water quality monitoring efforts in the Commonwealth, including types, location, and results.
  2. To ensure citizen water monitoring data can supplement DEQ monitoring efforts in the biennial production of Virginia’s 305(d)/303(b) Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report and help to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation and restoration efforts - including nonpoint source pollution prevention measures and TMDL implementation - and to document the listing and de-listing of impaired waters.
  3. To encourage citizen monitoring efforts by providing resources, when available, including training, supplies and equipment, funding and technical assistance.
  4. To foster citizen water quality monitoring activities by highlighting the many uses of data including the following: education and outreach; baseline data to establish background conditions and prioritize monitoring needs; contribute to local land use decisions; alerting unusual conditions resulting from land use or resource management; and documenting water quality improvement projects.
  5. To promote coordination and collaboration among organizations involved in citizen water quality monitoring activities so that efforts complement each other.
  6. To provide user-friendly access and to effectively disseminate water quality information and data between the partners and the public.
  7. To promote the highest quality controlled and quality assured data appropriate for the intended use of the data obtained by citizen monitors.

Partner Responsibilities

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.

Virginia Citizens for Water Quality

The mission of VCWQ is to coordinate citizen water quality monitoring efforts and monitoring methodologies and promote watershed water quality and stream health needs and issues. Through their online outlets VCWQ will provide a central place for agencies and other interested parties to distribute water quality information. VCWQ holds annual summits that provide an opportunity for information sharing among citizens and water quality data users. In addition, VCWQ will provide leadership to continue and expand funding opportunities 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 primarily on matters concerning agricultural nonpoint source pollution. Specifically, DCR will assist in the development and implementation of the Chesapeake Bay 2014 Agreement 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, environmental education, organizational development, strategic planning 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 regulated sources of nonpoint source pollution (e.g., urban stormwater, confined animal feeding operations, erosion and sediment control). In cooperation with the 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. DEQ will maintain the Virginia Citizens Monitoring Methods Manual and may provide citizen water quality monitoring grants to support citizen efforts, subject to the availability of funds. In addition, DEQ will offer guidance so citizen groups and other organizations can upload, store, and retrieve water quality data from an online database. 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 such as maintaining an online map showing locations of volunteer monitoring groups.

Virginia Save Our Streams

VA SOS engages citizens in biological monitoring of streams and stewardship activities to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. VA SOS recruits volunteers to monitor water quality, trains citizen monitors in water quality monitoring methods, coordinates a network of regional trainers, provides quality assurance oversight for participating citizens, and assists in identifying new opportunities for volunteer stewardship activities. VA SOS will continue to promote citizen stewardship efforts, recruit and train citizens and organizations desiring to participate in volunteer water quality monitoring and related activities. VA SOS also will assist organizations in identifying sources of funding and organizational 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.

Implementation

To ensure success in achieving these common goals, we agree to meet at least once a year to coordinate efforts; outline tasks to meet shared goals; and evaluate progress towards achieving shared goals. We understand that each partner has a unique and specific organizational mission and responsibility with respect to water quality monitoring and how citizen water quality monitoring can best interface with each partner's’ mission as described above.

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 2015 Letter of Agreement:

Al Todd
Executive Director, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc.

Leah Miller
Coordinator, Virginia Save Our Streams, Izaak Walton League of America

Wayne Kirkpatrick
Chairman, Virginia Citizens for Water Quality

Clyde Cristman
Director, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

David Paylor
Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Chris French
Co-Chair, Virginia Water Monitoring Council

Weedon Cloe
Co-Chair, Virginia Water Monitoring Council

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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