Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan

Photo of beach jetty

The Virginia General Assembly enacted the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act in 1988 to protect and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay by requiring the implementation of effective land use management practices.

Local governments were required to implement an ordinance to reduce pollution during development and redevelopment. Arlington adopted a Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance in 1992, with updates in 2003, 2011, and in conjunction with adoption of the new Stormwater Management Ordinance in 2014.

The Bay Act also requires localities to maintain a current Chesapeake Bay comprehensive plan element. During a recent audit, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality rated Arlington’s program as strong and comprehensive but asked the County to update its Preservation Plan to reflect current programs and policies.

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update

October 2022 Update: Thanks for your interest in the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan. The Fall 2022 version of the CBPP is now available. Read the latest Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan update.(PDF, 36MB)  

July 2022 Update: View the Summer 2022 draft Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan update and public comment. 

Read the Fall 2022 Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update(PDF, 36MB)


Background on the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update

The Bay Act provides the components and criteria that local governments must adopt and implement in their programs. The CBPP is being updated to reflect current conditions and include up-to-date policies and procedures designed to address the County’s regulatory Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act requirements. The plan update is meant to document that Arlington has the correct programs and processes in place. Required plan components include:  

  • Defining and mapping Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) 
  • Criteria to help prevent pollution during development 
  • Controls for land use, development, and subdivision 
  • Inclusion in comprehensive plan and ordinances.  

Extensive engagement on plan components has already occurred previously and has or will be included in other County plans and documents, including

Date Description Meeting Materials
September 12 & October 19, 2022 Presentations to Natural Resources Joint Advisory Group and Long Range Planning Committee
July 18, 2022 Second Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update Public Meeting
March 16, 2022 First Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update Public Meeting


2001 Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan 

The original Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan was adopted April 2001:

  • Identifies and characterizes the County’s water resources and examines the extent to which they have been affected by urban land activities.
  • Maps actions that we can take to help preserve and restore local streams, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Meets the Comprehensive Plan requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations.
  • Establishes criteria to minimize or reduce pollution during development and redevelopment, in adherence with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance.