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Rappahannock Watershed Business Council Moves Forward

Last week, another step toward creation of a bioregional economy based on Rappahannock River restoration, moved forward. As proposed by staff with Conserv (Rappahannock Business Council Kickoff Presentation), working with the Rappahannock River Basin Commission, the proposed Economic Development Initiative would contain two programs; a Marketplace or Exchange 2.0, facilitating and tracking the sale of River/Bay-Friendly products and services, and a Cooperative/Utility buying “high efficiency” restoration projects throughout the basin.

Approximately 40 participants from the for-profit and not for-profit private sectors, such as Tru-Green, Southern States, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Northern Neck Building Supply, Center for Innovative Technology, Virginia Paint Center, Goodwill, and many others, met at the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg for more than 3 hours to discuss issues related to the proposal to link watershed commerce with ecosystem health. The new “Advisory Council” agreed to create three program groups:

  • Restoration Cooperative/Utility
  • Restoration Economic Development Payments and Investments
  • Marketplace

Each of the three program groups will begin meeting in mid-summer to draft a design and testing plan for implementation beginning this fall. It is possible that Marketplace implementation will move ahead of the other initiative components. Meetings with Virginia agency secretaries and their staff for mid-summer are also now being scheduled.

Upon completion of work plans later this summer, social venture funding, primarily from private sources, will be sought.

Thanks to Kathy Harrigan for masterful facilitation assistance, Dr. Kurt Stephenson at Virginia Tech for his lunchtime commentary on markets, to Aurelia Scharnhorst with L.D. Amory Seafood for her presentation on Bay-friendly food and especially to Joe Greizka for his opening and closing thoughts and observations.

Also, earlier this week, the Rappahannock River Basin Commission convened at the beautiful Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster to discuss a number of items related to River/Bay Water Quality, including the TMDL program (TMDL Presentation) and the Rappahannock Initiative.


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