Henrico County Changes RPA Guidance Effective July 1

Update, July 8, 2020: Henrico County issued this Frequently Asked Questions document for public use.

On June 29, 2020, Henrico County’s Engineering & Environmental Services Division announced in an online meeting with the development community that effective July 1, 2020, Henrico County staff will begin following the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board’s 2007 approved guidance to restate and clarify how to determine which nontidal wetlands and waterbodies are required to be part of the Resource Protection Area (RPA).  Projects which have been submitted to the County but did not receive formal written comments before July 1 must comply with the revised guidance.  While we anticipate that significant changes in RPA extents may occur, County staff will be working with developers on a site-by-site basis to honor any previously agreed upon RPA boundary.  Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. (WSSI) can help you evaluate how this change impacts your land development plans for existing and future projects.

How will this affect you?

Starting July 1, 2020 when wetlands are contiguous with and connected by surface flow to perennial streams or other RPA components, those wetlands are included in the RPA.  In the past, Henrico ended the RPA boundary 100 feet from the end of the perennial stream channel or tidal wetlands, regardless of the connection of wetlands via surface flow. County staff sent this letter to the development community describing the changes.

The key difference is illustrated in slides the County shared in the June 29 meeting:

Henrico County RPA guidance before July 1, 2020 (as depicted in June 29 slide)

Henrico County RPA guidance as of July 1, 2020 (as depicted in June 29 slide)

Why did Henrico’s RPA guidance change?

Historically, Henrico County’s RPAs were delineated based on the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board’s 1991 Information Bulletin #6; the first illustration above comes from that guidance, which is available here.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which now facilitates local implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, determined that Henrico County needed to incorporate the 2007 guidance, the source of the second slide’s illustrations.  This change brings Henrico County’s policy in line with other local governments subject to the Bay Act.

What can I do?

If you have questions about how this change will impact your current and future projects, please contact Rebecca Napier or Michael Elander in our Richmond office.  Henrico County staff plan to work with developers on a site-by-site basis to honor any previously agreed upon RPA boundaries.


  • Rebecca Napier

    Richmond, VA

  • Michael Elander

    Richmond, VA