Rivanna River Basin Commission and Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan


January 7, 2004



A significant portion of Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan is dedicated to the discussion of water-related issues – 58 pages in fact.  While each of the goals, objectives, and strategies within this section are relevant to the work of the Rivanna River Basin Commission, the most relevant is the following portion under the heading of “Rivanna River Basin Project”: 


Rivanna River Basin Project


The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) sponsored the Rivanna River Basin Project, including a citizensRivanna Roundtable, basin land cover analysis and citizen monitoring (in conjunction with the Environmental Education Center). The project has culminated in a series of recommendations for the Rivanna River basin, a report that outlines the current state of the basin, and desired future conditions for the basin. The Rivanna River Basin Roundtable final report contains over seventy recommendations. The recommendations are grouped under five major headings:


(1) Develop a Corridor Plan;

(2) Establish a knowledge base;

(3) Establish a resource organization;

(4) Develop community design practices; and

(5) Expand stewardship.


Plans are underway to continue the citizen roundtable in some format and to continue the strong foundation of citizen monitoring that was established during the year-long project (October ’96 through December ‘97).


The Rivanna River is a designated state Scenic River from the Woolen Mills Dam (at the Moore's Creek confluence) to the confluence with the James River in Fluvanna County.


Strategy: Review and implement recommendations of the Rivanna River basin project.


Strategy: Provide assistance to the Thomas Jefferson Planning District

Commission and the Environmental Education Center to continue

citizen monitoring efforts in the Rivanna Basin.


One goal of the proposed legislation to enable a state-chartered Commission is to continue the work started and implement recommendations contained within the Rivanna River Basin Roundtable’s 1998 State of the Basin Report.  The Commission is to be an organization in which localities within the watershed may voluntarily participate in order to cooperatively address, and find feasible, sustainable solutions to the numerous, increasingly critical water related issues facing our region. 


Albemarle County was a well-represented and active participant of the Roundtable, and has already implemented several recommendations found in the Roundtable’s Report, such as supporting volunteer driven water quality monitoring and incorporating watershed planning into local zoning/land use plans.  Legislation enabling the creation of a state-chartered Rivanna River Basin Commission is a vital next step in furthering the important work begun by the Roundtable.


Albemarle County has the largest percentage of the Rivanna River watershed within its jurisdiction (64.3%), and the Rivanna watershed makes up 67.9% of the County’s area.  Given these facts, Albemarle County maintains a unique and leading role in the regional watershed community.  Support for the creation of a Rivanna River Basin will build on Albemarle County’s reputation as a leader in this area. 


It is important to note that such written support of this legislation WILL NOT, in any way indicate Albemarle County’s desire to participate in the Commission, nor will it indicate the commitment of any financial support for such a Commission from Albemarle County.


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