In 2001, the Henrico County Board of Supervisors adopted an innovative watershed management approach to improving water quality. The Program was developed to address water quality requirements at the watershed level, while also providing opportunities to improve degraded streams. For more details on program background click here.
Henrico’s stormwater program involves stream restoration, channel protection, buffer establishment, urban stormwater retrofits, regional stormwater controls and education programs on a watershed level. These projects are funded by an environmental fund. These stormwater program alternatives replace the previous requirement of installing smaller, often ineffective, on-site BMPs (Best Management Practices).
This watershed program, however, does not eliminate requirement of all on-site BMP facilities. In situations where large development occurs in watersheds consisting of unimpacted streams, onsite BMP facilities are the appropriate management option and are required.
In order to develop a program that was responsive to the needs of streams and watersheds within the county, 440 miles of streams with 100 acres or more of drainage area were assessed and inventoried. Conditions having a negative impact on streams within the county, including illicit discharges, streambank erosion, dump sites, lack of stream buffers, exposed sanitary lines and stream blockages were recorded.A database was established to organize and evaluate the information collected.
Once the stream assessments were completed and supporting information was gathered, streams were categorized as “good,” “fair,” or “poor.” The county was divided into four watershed management areas: watershed preservation areas; watershed enhancement areas; watershed restoration areas; and urban management areas.
The first three areas listed are based on watershed conditions in the county and last area includes corridors of heavily developed sites where streams need extensive corrective action.
The various components of the County’s stormwater program are authorized by the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and the Virginia Stormwater Management Law.