Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (Bay Act) was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 as a critical element of Virginia's nonpoint pollution source management program. The purpose of the Bay Act program is to protect and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay by requiring the implementation of effective land use management practices. The Bay Act requires and authorizes Chesterfield County to establish Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) and Resource Management Areas (RMAs) through its zoning and subdivision ordinances. Chesterfield's comprehensive plan addresses environmental stewardship in Chapter 9: Environmental (PDF).

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance Amendments

On Nov. 23, 2004, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, available in Chapter 19, Section 19.1-520 of the county code (page 422) (PDF). These amendments were developed to comply with changes to the State Chesapeake Bay Preservation Designation and Management Regulations that were adopted in 2001.

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas

Areas of the county that are designated as Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas (CBPAs) are categorized as either resource protection areas (RPAs) or resource management areas (RMAs). RPAs are protected from most development because, left intact, they function to improve and protect water quality. View plat and plan requirements for RPAs in the county code in Chapter 17, Section 17-56 (page 26) (PDF). RMAs are regulated to protect RPAs and water resources from degradation resulting from development and land disturbing activity. 

RPAs are 100-foot natural corridors of environmentally-sensitive lands that lie alongside the banks and shorelines of streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. RPAs stretch from tidal shores to perennial streams and waterbodies to non-tidal adjacent wetlands. Full of vegetation, the buffers typically include a dense canopy, an understory of trees and a ground cover of shrubs and leaf litter. In Chesterfield, RPAs are located adjacent to the James and Appomattox rivers; to the Falling Creek, Swift Creek and Lake Chesdin reservoirs; and, to over 850 miles of perennial streams throughout the county. Visit the hydrography map to view the RPAs layer for more information about RPAs in Chesterfield.