2023 Session

Budget Amendments - SB800 (Member Request)

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Chief Patron: Hanger
Co-Patron(s): Surovell
Statewide Study of Forests and Tree Canopy Relative to Chesapeake Bay Commitments

Item 108 #2s

Item 108 #2s

First Year - FY2023 Second Year - FY2024
Agriculture and Forestry
Department of Forestry FY2023 $0 FY2024 $500,000 GF

Page 96, line 14, strike "$39,041,707" and insert "$39,541,707".

Page 97, following line 43, insert:

"O. Out of this appropriation, $500,000 in the second year from the general fund is provided to the department to conduct a statewide, locality-by-locality, technical study of changes and trends in forests and tree canopy outside of forests for the purposes of (1) enhancing localities' land use planning and ability to compete for grants supporting resilient working forests and urban tree canopy through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (136 Stat. 1818) and other federal grant programs; and (2) to accelerate achievement of Virginia's commitments under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement to expand urban tree canopy acres and riparian forest buffers.  The technical study shall include: (1) a statewide, locality-by-locality mapping of existing forest cover and tree canopy as well as of potential locations for afforestation and reforestation locations;  (2) a locality-by locality analysis of the health of forest lands and urban tree canopies; (3) a locality-by-locality analysis of observed changes and trends in the amount of forest cover and urban tree canopy due to development, disease, invasive species and other causes that uses the Chesapeake Bay Program Office 1M land use and land cover dataset, the USDA Forest Service Inventory and Analysis (FIA), the National Land Cover Dataset, and the Chesapeake Assessment Scenario Tool, and that takes into account state and local programs involving tree planting, reforestation, and afforestation, and the amount of forest preserved, and expected to be preserved, through federal, state, and local land conservation programs;  (4) an analysis of the potential economic, water quality, habitat and other benefits of developing a program of forest mitigation banks; and (5) specific programmatic recommendations for accelerating progress in expanding healthy forest cover, urban tree canopy, and mitigation measures to maintain a diversity of native tree species. In designing and conducting the technical study, the department shall consult technical experts from Virginia's institutions of higher education, representatives from the state and local government, and other public or private sector technical experts.  The department shall provide a report of its findings and recommendations to the Chairs of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources no later than December 1, 2024."


(This amendment directs the Department of Forestry to conduct a technical study of changes and trends in forests and the tree canopy statewide to assist localities' planning and to accelerate achievement of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay commitments.)