Monday, December 20, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 47: Week of Dec. 20, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 47), for the week of December 20, 2010.

Sound file archived 10/17/2011.  For a copy, please contact Virginia Water Radio.



NEWS
  • On December 2, the U.S. EPA announced a proposed settlement with Beazer Homes USA, Inc., a national residential homebuilder headquartered in Delaware, of alleged Clean Water Act violations from stormwater runoff at construction sites in 21 states. The areas include 8 sites in Virginia. The Virginia sites involved are Brambelton, Lansdowne, and Village Green in Loudoun County; Market Center and New Bristow in Prince William County; Fawn Lake and Somerset Farms in Spotsylvania County; and Austins Landing in Stafford County. The proposed settlement—which is subject to a 30-day public-comment period and U.S. District Court review—includes a $925,000 civil penalty and implementation of a company-wide stormwater program to improve compliance. The United States would receive about $731,000 of the civil penalty, with the remainder going to seven states, including Virginia, which would receive $10,193. The EPA estimates that the settlement would result in a nationwide reduction of over 304 million pounds of sediment in stormwater. “Beazer Homes USA, Inc., Settlement,” U.S. EPA, http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/beazer.html, 12/2/10; and EPA Fines Major Home Building Firm $925,000 For Storm Water Violations, Bay Daily, 12/2/10.
  • Public meetings were held December 13 to 15 in Danville by the National Academy of Sciences committee conducting a one-year study to assess the environmental, health, and safety consequences of a proposal to lift Virginia’s ban on uranium mining. The study by the National Academy’s Board on Earth Sciences and Resources is one of several being done in response to the proposal by Virginia Uranium, Inc., to mine a 3000-acre area in Pittsylvania County, about 25 miles north of Danville. The Pittsylvania County deposit is reported to be the largest uranium deposit in the United States. Following completion of the study by the National Academy and other organizations, the Virginia General Assembly is expected to decide whether or not to remove the Commonwealths’ moratorium on uranium mining. News source: Meetings begin on proposed Va. uranium mining, Associated Press, as published in Staunton News-Leader, 12/14/10.
  • January 2011, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission will decide whether to open about 1000 acres of state-owned water bottom for 15 oyster-aquaculture zones. The areas would be around Tangier Island, in Mobjack Bay, and in the lower Rappahannock River. In these areas, five-acre sections would be available first come-first served for a $100 application fee, with waiving of annual rent and normal surveying and title fees, which can collectively be up to $1000. Each acre is expected to accommodate 250 oyster cages in which baby oysters are placed for a 2-3 year growth period. The Commission, which is creating the zones following legislation in the 2010 Virginia General Assembly, intends for the zones to provide economic opportunities for commercial watermen and also attract individuals interested in a smaller-scale economic return or in supporting oysters’ water-filtering and other ecological functions. The Commission will hold a public hearing and a vote on the plan at its January 25th meeting in Newport News. News source: Will oyster-growing zones aid watermen?, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 12/9/10.

  • And in our last news item looks ahead to some tall, historic ships coming to Hampton Roads. The year 2012 marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812, the conflict between the young United States and Great Britain over freedom of the seas and maritime trade. One battle of the war was the 1814 British bombardment of Fort McHenry near Baltimore, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that eventually became the “Star-Spangled Banner.” In June and July 2012, Operation Sail, or OpSail, will commemorate the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner with visits by tall ships and naval vessels from around the world to seven U.S. port cities, including Hampton Roads from June 7-12. OpSail, a non-profit organization created by Congress in 1961, has held similar observances of historical events in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, and 2000. Participation in OpSail is expected to generate significant tourism and economic activity for the stopover ports; the 2000 event, for example, generated about $58 million for the Hampton Roads area.  $1 Million Amendment to Back OpSail 2012 Will Leverage Estimated $80 Million Support from Private, Foundation, and Other Public Sector Entities, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 12/8/10. Information about the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner was taken from the National Park Service’s Web site for Fort McHenry, at http://www.nps.gov/fomc/index.htm. More information about OpSail is available at its Web site, http://www.opsail.org/ or by phone to (202) 638-1121. 
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature an instrumental tune in honor of a native trout stream in western Virginia: “Sugartree Branch” performed by Timothy Seaman on his 2002 CD, “Sycamore Rapids,” from Pine Wind Music. Sugartree Branch is an approximately two-mile long stream on the Blue Ridge in the St. Mary’s River Wilderness area of Augusta County. Sugartree Branch is one of several high-elevation, coldwater streams in Virginia that have received liming treatments in an attempt to counteract the impacts of acid precipitation on trout and other aquatic life. Information about Sugartree Branch was taken from The U.S. Forest Service brochure on the St. Mary’s Wilderness. Scientific information about Sugartree Branch and other trout streams in the St. Mary’s River watershed is available in the U.S. Forest Service’s 2002 report, Condition of Fish Populations and Habitat in the St. Mary’s River and Selected Tributaries Before and After Limestone Sand Treatment, available online at http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/catt/pdf/va/2003_va_catt_report_2.pdf.  

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between Dec. 23 and January 12.

  • On January 4, the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Advisory Panel meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. The Stormwater Management Regulations Advisory Panel is advising the Soil and Water Conservation Board in considering amendments to Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations (4 VAC 50-60 in the Virginia Administrative Code.) More information and relevant documents about the proposed stormwater changes are available online at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1145

  • On January 5, the Recycling Markets Development Council meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone Steve Coe at (804) 698-4029.

  • Also on January 5, the Virginia Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee meets in Danville. For more information, phone Tammy Stephenson at (540) 562-6828.

  • Again on January 5, the Board for Geology meets in Richmond. For more information, phone (804) 367-8595.

  • On January 10, the Education, Outreach, and Planning Committee of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Beth Drewery at (804) 367-9149.

  • On January 12, the Department of Health’s Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Donna Tiller at (804) 864-7470.
Now, here are two meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • January 6, in Charlottesville, on the TMDL study for aquatic-life impairments Schenk’s Branch, Meadow Creek, and Moore’s Creek, all in Charlottesville and in Albemarle County. For more information, phone Tara (TARE-a) Sieber at (540) 574-7870.

  • January 11, in Richmond, on the TMDL study for polychlorinated biphenyl- (or PCB-) impaired sections of the James River and several tributaries located from the Fall Line to Charles City County and Surry County. For more information, phone Margaret Smigo at (804) 527-5124.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 46: Week of Dec. 13, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 46), for the week of December 13, 2010.

This episode's audio (about 8 minutes) has been taken offline.  To request access to the audio, please contact Virginia Water Radio at araflo@vt.edu.


NEWS
  • Throughout December, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, located in Rockville, Maryland, is asking for basin watershed groups to provide information for a Potomac River Basin Watershed Group Directory. The directory will allow groups to share funding information and lessons from project successes and failures, and it will also include an online map to allow people to find their local watershed group. The Commission hopes to receive information from each Potomac watershed group by the end of December and to develop the map by February 2011. To participate, phone the Commission at (301) 984-1908 or visit potomacriver.orgNews source: Interstate Commission on Potomac River Basin, www.potomacriver.org, 12/1/10.
  • On December 1, Governor McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring submitted 133 recommendations for reducing state government costs, increasing efficiency, privatizing some functions, and reviewing state mandates on localities. The Commission also made 79 additional recommendations regarding the state’s energy use, waste management, and water use by state agencies and at state-owned or leased facilities. The water recommendations include the following: increased auditing of water use and expenses; employee training for water-use awareness; increased water-efficiency standards for new state buildings; using various practices to reduce building and landscape water use; investigating opportunities for wastewater reuse; and a statewide study of potential cost savings from consolidating, and possibly privatizing, water and wastewater facilities operated by state agencies. News source: Governor McDonnell Receives Full Report from Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 12/1/10. The full report and other information about the Commission are available online at http://www.reform.virginia.gov/.
  • The Bay Coast Railroad Barge will resume service in mid-December, after suspending service in 2009 to correct structural safety problems. The barge provides a connection over 26 miles of Chesapeake Bay water between rail lines on the Eastern Shore and in Hampton Roads. While the barge was being repaired, freight it normally carries was hauled by trucks through the Bay Bridge-Tunnel or by the Norfolk Southern rail line through Maryland and then back to Hampton Roads. The $1 million worth of barge repairs were paid for by $700,000 from the Commonwealth and $300,000 from Accomack County, Northampton County, and Bay Coast Railroad. News source: Governor McDonnell Announce Rail-Barge Service from Eastern Shore to Resume, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 12/7/10.
  • On December 4, 11 Waynesboro business leaders agreed to serve on a board to help create the Center for Coldwaters Restoration along the South River. The idea for the Center is to develop an advanced hatchery for Brook Trout. The hatchery would support research and education on the water-resources and fisheries impacts of chemical contamination, land use and development, and climate change. The project is estimated to cost $5 million for construction and for the first five years of operation. News sources: Waynesboro hatchery leaders step up, Waynesboro News Virginian, 12/5/10; and “Summit emphasizes revitalization,” Waynesboro News Virginian, 4/14/10.
  • And our last news item this week starts with a little quiz. True or false: trash thrown onto a street is often carried by stormwater into local waterways and eventually into larger rivers? That’s quite ture. But in a survey of 1000 adults done in the Potomac River watershed in 2008 by the Trash Free Potomac River Watershed Initiative, 77 percent of respondents incorrectly believed tha So far, Arlington and Fairfax counties, Prince Georges County in Maryland, and the District of Columbia have agreed to implement the public-education campaign. The campaign is one of several projects being done by the Initiative towards a goal of cleaning all trash from Potomac basin waterways by 2013.  News source: Potomac Basin Reporter, Sept./Oct. 2010. More information about the Initiative’s Regional Anti-Litter Campaign, including access to the 2008 survey results, is available online at http://www.fergusonfoundation.org/trash_initiative/antilitter.shtml.

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature another mystery sound: The Great Blue Heron

A large, mostly gray bird found year-round in Virginia and much of the United States, Great Blue Herons are a familiar sight in all kinds of water bodies, standing very still as they hunt for fish and other aquatic animals. They will also, however, venture into upland fields in search of rodents. Great Blues usually nest in colonies with other herons and related species, typically building a nest of sticks and other materials high up in trees or in other places out of reach of predators. Thanks to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for providing th is recording. Information on Great Blue Herons was taken from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001); Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rd Edition, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s “Bird Guide” Web site at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search; and “Birds of North America Online” at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between Dec. 16 and December 22.
  • On December 21, the Marine Resources Commission meets in Newport News. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215.
Next, here are two meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • December 16, in Cedar Bluff, on the TMDL study for bacterial impairments in Coal Creek, Middle Creek, Plum Creek, and the Clinch River, all in Tazewell County. Coal Creek also has an aquatic-life impairment. For more information, phone Allen Newman at (276) 676-4804.
     
  • And also on December 16, in Madison, on the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in Little Dark Run and the Robinson River, both in Madison County. For more information, phone Bob Slusser (Sluss-er) at (540) 351-1590.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 45: Week of Dec. 6, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 45), for the week of December 6, 2010.
Click to Listen to Episode (Length: 00:08:28)

NEWS

  • On December 1, U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar announced a revised plan for leasing oil and gas exploration and development areas in the Outer Continental Shelf of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and waters around Alaska. The new plan prevents until at least 2017 leasing of the Mid- and South Atlantic planning areas, including an area off of Virginia’s coast that—prior to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill—had been a priority area for exploration by 2011 or 2012. In response to the announcement, Gov. Robert McDonnell called the decision “irresponsible and short-sighted” and said that he’ll urge Virginia’s Congressional delegation to sponsor legislation counteracting the policy. Virginia’s U.S. senators Mark Warner and James Webb also criticized the decision. News reports on the new plan carried statements of opposition from oil industry groups, such as the American Petroleum Institute, and statements of support from environmental groups, such as the Southern Environmental Law Center, headquartered in Charlottesville. News sources: Salazar Announces Revised OCS Leasing Program – U.S. Interior Department News Release, 12/1/10; Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Obama Administration Decision to Block Offshore Energy Development Efforts in Virginia, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 12/1/10; Sen. Warner Disappointed in Coastal Drilling Decision, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner News Release, 12/1/10; Senator Webb: Don’t Shut Down Offshore Exploration, U.S. Sen. James Webb News Release, 12/2/10: Offshore-Drilling Decision Makes Waves, The Atlantic, 12/1/10; and Offshore Drilling Curbed Again, Wall Street Journal, 12/2/10.

  • According to the Eastern Shore News, in mid-November NASA announced that it will halt for one year soil and groundwater clean-up operations at an old aviation fuel-tank farm at its Wallops Flight Facility in Accomack County. During the year, the agency will continue to monitor groundwater conditions, as natural processes continue to break down remaining contaminants. The tank farm operated from 1943 until 1959, during which time petroleum products contaminated soil and groundwater. NASA began groundwater and soil clean-up in 1997, and the agency reports that most of the groundwater within the site is now within drinking-water standards. During the operations, NASA has monitored drinking-water wells in the nearby Town of Chincoteague, and the agency will continue to do so until all groundwater on the Wallop’s site is within drinking-water standards. News source: Wallops fuel tank farm cleanup nears completion, Eastern Shore News, 11/13/10.  

  • In a recent study, North Carolina and Virginia researchers documented a case of ball valves in new plumbing leaching enough lead to raise lead levels in water from drinking fountains well above federal standards. The valves were rated as having less than the 8-percent average lead level allowed by federal law in new plumbing fixtures. But researchers Carol Elfland of the University of North Carolina, and Marc Edwards and Paolo Scardina of Virginia Tech, found that the valves had as much as 18 percent lead on surfaces actually in contact with water. The research paper, titled “Lead-contaminated water from brass plumbing devices in new buildings,” is in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Water Works Association. News source: Study shows brass devices in plumbing systems can create serious lead-in-water problems, Virginia Tech News, 11/17/10.
And the last news item this week is our monthly water status report.
  • First, in precipitation. Here are National Weather Service preliminary rainfall totals for November at several Virginia locations: Bristol, 4.8 inches, which is 1.7 inches above normal; Roanoke, 3.5 inches, or 0.3 inches above normal; Danville, 1.5 inches, or 1.6 inches below normal; Richmond, 1.3 inches, or 1.8 inches below normal; Dulles Airport, 2.5 inches, or 0.8 inches below normal; and Norfolk, 0.4 inches, or 2.6 inches below normal.

  • Second, in stream flow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch, streamflows averaged over the month of November were in the normal range at about 78 percent of stream gages in Virginia or just beyond the state border. Flows were below normal at about 19 percent of gages, and much below normal at about 3 percent of gages.

  • And third, our drought watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor on November 30 showed abnormally dry conditions in 46 percent of Virginia. Moderate drought conditions covered about 3 percent of the state, including all of Frederick County and parts of six other western counties.
    News sources: Precipitation: Climate pages of the following National Weather Service offices: Blacksburg; Morristown, Tenn. (covers far southwestern Virginia); Washington-Dulles; and Wakefield. Streamflow: U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=pa28d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap. Drought: The National Drought Monitor map is at http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature a traditional English tune performed to honor a great Virginia water tradition: bass-fishing: “Bass Fisherman’s Reel,” performed by Timothy Seaman on his 2004 CD, “Virginia Wildlife.” Mr. Seaman did the CD in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to celebrate Virginia’s natural resources and support non-game wildlife programs. “Bass Fisherman’s Reel” was done particularly to recognize Briery Creek Wildlife Management Area in Prince Edward County, home of Briery Creek Lake, which the department calls Virginia’s “premier trophy Largemouth Bass lake” and one of the most popular fishing spots in Virginia. For more information about the “Virginia Wildlife” CD, visit https://www3.dgif.virginia.gov/estore/proddetail.asp?prod=VW219. For information about Briery Creek or other Virginia wildlife management areas, visit http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wmas/ or phone your local Game and Inland Fisheries Department office. 
 

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS 

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between Dec. 9 and December 15.
  • On December 9, the Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dick at (804) 367-8595.

  • Also on December 9, the State Water Control Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Cindy Berndt at (804) 698-4378.

  • On December 13, the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291.
Next, here is one meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • December 9 in Lynchburg, on two TMDL studies for bacteria-impaired segments of the James River and seven tributaries in Amherst, Bedford, and Campbell counties and in the city of Lynchburg. For more information, phone Paula Nash at (434) 582-5120.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 44: Week of Nov. 29, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 44), for the week of November 29, 2010.
Click to Listen to Episode (Length: 00:08:07)

NEWS
  • On November 29, Virginia submitted its revised Watershed Implementation Plan to meet the latest deadline in the U.S. EPA’s development of a Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL. Along with the five other Bay states and the District of Columbia, Virginia submitted a draft plan in early September, and a public comment period on these plans was held from September 24 to November 8. Virginia’s plan identifies strategies and actions to reduce the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reaching the Bay from 39 Virginia waterway segments, out of a total of 92 segments in the whole Bay watershed. The 133-page plan includes actions for four sectors that affect water quality: wastewater treatment plants, agriculture, urban stormwater, and septic systems. The EPA intends to publish a final Bay TMDL by December 31. News source: Commonwealth of Virginia Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan, November 29, 2010, accessed online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/tmdl/chesapeakebay.html, 11/30/10. More information: U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL Web site: http://www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl/; Virginia Water Central Grouper’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL site, for a compilation of other Bay TMDL references and recent news articles: www.delicious.com/araflo/ChesBayTMDL.
  • On November 23, U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar unveiled an initiative intended to reduce the time needed for developing offshore wind-energy projects. According to an Interior Department news release, the so-called “Smart from the Start” initiative for Atlantic wind development includes identification within 60 days of priority wind-energy areas off the coasts of Virginia and several other Atlantic states. It also includes better coordination with state and local partners; and regulatory changes that are expected to save six to 12 months in the federal leasing process. The Interior Department said that the initiative is similar to one being used to facilitate solar-energy projects on public lands in the western United States. News sources: Feds plan to quicken wind power reviews, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 11/24/10; and Salazar Launches ‘Smart from the Start’ Initiative to Speed Offshore Wind Energy Development off the Atlantic Coast, U.S. Interior Department News Release, 11/23/10.
  • The Interior Department’s action on wind-energy permitting came one day after the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) published the Commonwealth’s final “permit by rule” for small wind-energy projects, that is, those not exceeding 100 megawatts of capacity, both on land and off-shore. According to the governor’s news release on the regulation, the new permit-by-rule, which becomes effective December 22, “establishes requirements for potential environmental impact analysis, mitigation plans, facility site planning, public participation, permit fees, inter-agency consultations, compliance and enforcement.” The new regulation was mandated by General Assembly legislation in 2009 that transferred authority to permit the construction and operation of small renewable energy projects from the State Corporation Commission to the DEQ. News source: Virginia Fast Tracks Wind Energy Project Approval Process–Department of Environmental Quality Approves Uniform Permit Regulation for Projects, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 11/16/10. More information: The DEQ Web site on wind energy is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/renewable_energy/wind.html. Virginia Regulatory Town Hall information on the regulation is online at http://www.townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewAction.cfm?actionid=3089. For the pertinent General Assembly legislation: HB 2175/SB 1347.
  • And in our last news item this week: Since 1997, the Richmond Ballet’s “Minds in Motion” program has worked with fourth-grade students to help students develop focus, discipline, and self-awareness, while enhancing basic learning skills. This school year, the Chesapeake Bay is the theme for Minds in Motion programs in 16 schools in Charlottesville, Martinsville, and Roanoke. Students learn about plants and animals in the Bay and then develop dance performances that include movements based on Bay creatures. As the Ballet’s Web site description of the Charlottesville program says, “With over 3,600 species of plants and animals to dance about, [the students will] mix it up estuary style with salt and fresh water dancers!” The Spring 2011 Minds in Motion performances are March 17 and 18 in Roanoke, March 30 and 31 in Charlottesville, and April 14 and 15 in Martinsville. News sources: Kids Dance and Learn about the Chesapeake Bay, WVIR (Va.) Television, 11/12/10, and Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion Web site, http://www.richmondballet.com/danceeducation/mindsinmotion.aspx
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature another mystery sound: The Northern Puffer

A small fish ranging from Newfoundland to Florida, Northern Puffers are found along the bottom of shallow Chesapeake Bay waters from spring to fall and in deep ocean waters during the winter. Also referred to as “swellfish” or “blowfish,” the fish gets its names from its self-defense mechanism of inflating its body by taking water or air into a special pouch. The enlarged appearance can help to scare away predators. Thanks to Rodney Rountree of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for permission to use this recording from his “Fish and Other Underwater Sounds” Web site. Information on the Northern Puffer (Sphoeroides maculatus) was taken from the FishBase.org Web site, specifically at http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?ID=1181&AT=Northern+Puffer; from the Chesapeake Bay Program’s online “Bay Field Guide” at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/bfg_northern_puffer.aspx?menuitem=14403; and from Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rd Edition, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), p.273.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between Dec. 2 and December 8.
  • On December 3, the Waste Management Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Debra Miller at (804) 698-4206.

  • On December 6, the Wildlife and Boat Committee of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Beth Drewery at (804) 367-9149.

  • On December 7, the State Water Control Board holds a public hearing in Roanoke on a proposed general permit for discharges resulting from the application of pesticides to surface waters. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022. The proposed action establishes a general permit for discharges from the following pesticide applications for control of mosquitoes and other flying insect pests, aquatic weeds and algae, aquatic animal pests, and forest canopy pests. The public comment period ends on December 27, 2010. More information and relevant documents are at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3261&display=stages.
Now, here is one meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • December 2, in Rockbridge Baths, on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria-impaired sections of Hays Creek, Moffats Creek, Otts Creek, and Walker Creek in Augusta and Rockbridge counties. For more information, phone Nesha McRae at (540) 332-9238.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 43: Week of Nov. 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 43), for the week of November 22, 2010.

Audio archived 9/19/11.
For access to the audio, please contact Virginia Water Radio.

NEWS
  • Since July 2010, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, and a technical advisory committee have been developing—for consideration by the State Water Control Board—a General Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for pesticide discharges. According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall Web page on the proposed regulations, the goal of the regulation is to establish consistent requirements for permitting discharges from pesticide applications directly to surface waters or onto pests that are present in or near surface waters, in order to achieve “proper and comprehensive protection of state waters.” The permit would apply to pesticide applications for mosquitoes and other flying insect pests, aquatic weed and algae control, aquatic animal pest control, and forest canopy pest control. The proposed regulation appeared in the October 25th Virginia Register of Regulations, with a public comment period until December 27. A public hearing on the proposed regulation was held in Virginia Beach on November 16, and another is scheduled for December 7 in Glen Allen. More information on the proposal is available from the DEQ’s William Norris, at (804) 698-4022. News source: Virginia Regulatory Town Hall documents for the regulatory process, available online at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2418.
  • Our next item is about one of the consequences of this summer’s drought. On November 10, Gov. Robert McDonnell’s office announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had designated 59 Virginia counties and Suffolk City as primary disaster areas due to crop losses caused by drought and excessive heat in summer 2010. The agency also approved “contiguous disaster area” designations for another 24 counties and 19 independent cities adjacent to the localities designated as primary areas. Both the primary and contiguous designations make farmers in the localities eligible to apply for federal, low-interest, emergency loans. News source: Governor McDonnell Announces Federal Disaster Designations for 60 Localities, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 11/10/10.
  • In another disaster-declaration item: In late October, Gov. McDonnell requested that the U.S. Commerce Department declare a federal fishery disaster for Virginia’s oyster industry, as a result of economic losses to Virginia oyster processors whose Gulf of Mexico supply was interrupted by the BP Gulf oil spill. Gulf oysters make up as much as 85 percent of the supply for some Virginia processors. A July report by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science estimated that the Gulf spill lead to losses of $30.1 million and 352 full-time and part-time jobs by activities directly or indirectly related to Virginia’s oyster-processing industry. Similar requests have been approved for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, but not yet for any non-Gulf states. The Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service will review Virginia’s request. News source: Aid for Va.'s oyster industry?, (Newport News) Daily Press, 10/25/10. The VIMS report, “Estimated Economic Impact of Gulf Oil Spill on Virginia’s Oyster Industry” (July 2010), is available online at http://www.vims.edu/newsandevents/_docs/oyster_econ_gulfspill.pdf.
  • And in our last news item this week: On November 1, the U.S. Navy announced that it had completed 27 years and $100 million-worth of construction activities that are the most significant step in cleaning up federal Superfund-listed contamination sites at the Norfolk Naval Station. Parts of the base were placed on the Superfund list in 1996, but the Navy has been working on the clean up since at least 1983. Most of the problems involved sites used for dumping various chemicals—such as pesticides, paints, solvents, and heavy metals—prior to enactment of federal laws regulating disposal of such materials. News source: Navy reaches Superfund milestone at Norfolk base, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 11/1/10. More information about the Superfund program is available online at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature a tune about a ship being recreated as a history-teaching vessel: “The Luna,” performed by TJ Savage and Mike Steen, with lyrics by Cindy Warner. The tune is from the 2009 CD “Loaded to the Gunwales,” a sea-faring compilation produced to benefit the Colonial Seaport Foundation, located in Hampton, Virginia. The Foundation seeks to preserve—and teach about—America’s colonial maritime history. The actual Luna is a modern yacht being restored and converted to a replica of an 18th-Century sloop for eventual use in the Foundation’s educational programsInformation about The Luna and the other activities of the Colonial Seaport Foundation is available online at http://www.colonialseaport.org, or contact the Foundation at (757) 303-8529. An April 5, 2009, Newport News Daily Press article about The Luna project is available at the Foundation site at http://www.colonialseaport.org/news4.5.09.html.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between November 25 and December 1.
  • On November 29, the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Advisory Panel meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804)786-2291. The Stormwater Management Regulations Advisory Panel is advising the Soil and Water Conservation Board in considering amendments to Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations (4 VAC 50-60 in the Virginia Administrative Code.) More information and relevant documents about the proposed stormwater changes are available online at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1145.

  • On November 30, the Pesticide Control Board meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone Liza Fleeson at (804) 371-6559.

  • On December 1 in Richmond, the Department of Environmental Quality holds a public hearing on a proposed general permit for energy producing facilities of five megawatt capacity or less using various kinds of biomass, such as forest products, agricultural products, animal waste, landfill gas, or solid waste. For more information, phone Mary E. Major at (804) 698-4423. Background documents and information on regulatory stages for the proposed biomass-energy general permit are available at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewstage.cfm?stageid=5679&display=documents. The proposed regulation was published in the October 25, 2010, Virginia Register of Regulations. The public comment period ends 1/5/11.
Now, here is one meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • December 1, in Virginia Beach, on the TMDL study of PCB-impaired sections of the Elizabeth River, lower James River, and several major tributaries of both rivers. For more information, phone Jennifer Howell at (757) 518-2111.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
  • On December 2, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is presenting its Blue Planet Forum, featuring a presentation by the commander of the U.S. Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change, to be followed by a panel discussion. For more information, phone the Bay Foundation’s Virginia state office at (804) 780-1392.

  • And On December 8, at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, the Virginia Water Monitoring Council is holding Enhance Your MS4 Program--Outreach and Monitoring Strategies for Local Governments. The workshop deals with municipal stormwater systems, known as MS4s. Registration closes December 2. For more information, phone Jane Walker at (540) 231-4159.

    For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, where these meetings are listed by date. E-mail addresses for contact people are available there. For TMDL meetings, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site. Please note that TMDL meetings are also listed at the Town Hall site, but are included among all other meetings. Organizations, events, or both are hyperlinked whenever possible. Click on those links for more information.
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 42: Week of Nov. 15, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 42), for the week of November 15, 2010.

Audio archived 6-24-13; please contact Virginia Water Radio to request access to the audio file. (10 minutes/11 sec.)


NEWS

November 8 was the deadline for public comments on the U.S. EPA’s September 24 draft Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, including draft Watershed Implementation Plans from Virginia, the five other Bay states, and the District of Columbia. The next key deadlines are November 29 for states to submit revised Watershed Implementation Plans and December 31 for EPA to publish the final TMDL. This week we devote the news segment to some snapshots of the Bay TMDL process.

  • In an October 28 briefing to the State Water Commission, Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources Anthony Moore stated that state officials plan to strengthen Virginia’s Watershed Implementation Plan for the final version due on November 29. Mr. Moore said that Virginia is working with the EPA to agree upon revisions that would preclude the federal agency from triggering “backstop” consequences if Virginia’s plan is considered inadequate. Mr. Moore’s comments were in response to concerns that disagreement between the Commonwealth and the EPA could lead to the so-called “backstop measures” by EPA, which would be additional requirements on entities for which discharge permits are required: local stormwater systems, wastewater treatment plants, and large confined animal feeding operations. News sources: McDonnell administration vows to beef up Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/29/10; and Bay cleanup plan questioned, Daily Press, 10/28/10.
  • The potential costs of EPA “backstop” actions were the focus of concern in several Virginia localities as the November 8 deadline approached. Various areas received so-called “worst-case scenario” estimates of costs they might face if Virginia and the EPA cannot agree on Virginia’s watershed implementation plan and the federal agency imposes significant backstop consequences. The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, for example, released reports projecting increased costs of $693 million for increased nitrogen removal at wastewater-treatment plants in the region and $679 million per year for 15 years to reduce stormwater pollution. News sources: “Bay report causes an uproar in Hampton Roads,” Daily Press, 10/30/10; Report: Sewer users could pay $693 million for bay cleanup, Daily Press, 11/6/10; Localities concerned about cost of implementing Bay plan, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 11/9/10.
  • Many farm groups are concerned about potential impacts on the Bay TMDL. For example, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association made the following assertions in its comments to the EPA on the draft TMDL: 1) that the pollutant allocations in the draft are “based on flawed data”; 2) that the 45-day public comment period did not allow adequate time; 3) that the EPA is exceeding its authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA), because the agency “has not gone through the formal process set forth in the CWA of disapproving a state TMDL”; and 4) that the TMDL would impose upon agricultural producers “additional burdensome and possibly unattainable water quality standards.” Farmers and farm groups have also asserted that the draft TMDL fails to acknowledge the success of conservation practices already implemented by landowners, and some are concerned that the Bay TMDL could be a model for how the federal government might address pollution in other large watersheds in the country. News sources: NCBA Raises Concern With EPA’s Draft TMDL, CattleNetwork.com, 11/9/10; EPA Moves in Chesapeake Bay Questioned, Farm Futures, 11/10/10; Chesapeake Bay cleanup a threat to U.S. farming, Southeast Farm Press, 11/1/10.
  • On the other side of the agricultural question, here are two glimpses of concerns raised about farming in the Bay. First, in an October 19 briefing in Augusta County for farmers, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality staffer Gary Flory said that EPA representatives who visited several Virginia livestock operations in April 2010 identified the following areas of concern: uncovered cattle manure piles; bare soil in cattle loafing lots; cattle in streams; leaching from silage; poultry manure outside of containment buildings; improper handling of dead poultry; and poultry-house exhaust fans blowing particles and feathers onto fields. Second, in October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a draft report titled, “Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region.” Two key findings from the draft report are that, while use of soil erosion-control practices is widespread, about 26 percent of cultivated cropland has “excessive sediment loss” from fields; and that about 81 percent of cultivated cropland acres require “additional nutrient management to reduce the loss of nitrogen or phosphorus from fields.” News sources: Department of Environmental Quality relays EPA concerns, Staunton News Leader, 10/21/10; and Federal report faults farmers' Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort, Baltimore Sun, 10/26/10. More information: An online copy of the 161-page draft USDA report is available at ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/NHQ/nri/ceap/ceap_chesapeake_bay_report.pdf.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation sought to respond to concerns about the potential costs of practices anticipated in the Bay TMDL by publicizing the following estimates of the economic benefits of the Chesapeake Bay-related industries: 1) a $1-trillion value for the Bay as a whole, based on fishing, tourism, property values and shipping activities; and 2) about $2 billion annually in sales, $1 billion annually in income, and 41,000 jobs from the commercial seafood industry in Virginia and Maryland. The Bay Foundation also published in late October the results of a telephone survey of 500 Virginia voters on their opinions about cleaning up the Bay. According to Foundation’s news release on the survey, 80 percent of those surveyed “believe that Virginia can protect water quality and have a strong economy with good jobs for Virginians.” The poll’s margin of sampling error was +/-4.38 percent. News sources: Blog: Dollars and Sense About the Chesapeake Bay, Bay Daily, 10/28/10; and POLL: Solid Majority of Virginians Want Strong Bay Cleanup Plan, Chesapeake Bay Foundation News Release, 10/28/10. More information: The Bay Foundation’s economic-value estimates came from the following sources: 1) $1 trillion value: 1989 study by Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development and the 2004 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Blue Ribbon Economic Panel Report, “Saving a National Treasure: Financing the Cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay”; and 2) Seafood industry value: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 2008 report, “Fisheries Economics of the U.S.” The telephone survey of 500 registered voters in Virginia was conducted October 20-21 by the national polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, which was hired by CBF to do the survey.
  • Finally, on November 9, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell’s spokesperson Stacey Johnson issued the following statement regarding public comments on the draft Chesapeake Bay TMDL: “The Commonwealth is working with stakeholders and the EPA to develop a Watershed Implementation Plan that provides effective methods of restoring the Bay without stifling growth and economic development. Many of the comments we received during the public comment period will be addressed in our revised plan. Our goal is to submit a final plan that meets Virginia's goals to improve water quality on the Bay, is acceptable by the EPA, and does not impede job creation in the Commonwealth.” News source: Environmental groups lobby McDonnell on Chesapeake Bay cleanup, Washington Post, 11/9/10.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature another mystery sound: The American Alligator

The American Alligator is found in all kinds of fresh water habitats in the Atlantic and Gulf coast states from the Carolinas to Texas, as well as in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Occasional sightings or captures occur in Virginia. Some people believe wild alligators may reach Virginia from North Carolina, but most Virginia occurrences are presumed to result from accidental or intentional release of animals kept as pets. Both possession and release of alligators are illegal in Virginia. Information on alligators was taken from the University of Florida Cooperative Extension, “Living with Alligators: A Florida Reality,” at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw230, and the U.S. Geological Survey Web site at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=221. For examples of alligator captures in Virginia: “Reston Woman Wrangles an Errant Alligator into Captivity,” Washington Post, 6/29/07; and “Alligator Captured in Virginia Beach Pond,” Virginian-Pilot, 9/10/07.  


UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between November 18 and 24.
  • On November 18, the Soil and Water Conservation Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291.

  • Also on November 18, the Marine Resources Commission holds an informal townhall-style meeting on Tangier Island. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215.

  • Again on November 18, the State Water Control Board holds a public hearing in Roanoke on a proposed general permit for discharges resulting from the application of pesticides to surface waters. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022. The proposed action establishes a general permit for discharges from the following pesticide applications for control of mosquitoes and other flying insect pests, aquatic weeds and algae, aquatic animal pests, and forest canopy pests. The public comment period ends on December 27, 2010. More information and relevant documents are at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3261&display=stages.
  • On November 20, the Cave Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291.
  • On November 23, the Marine Resources Commission holds its regular monthly meeting in Newport News. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
  • On November 27 at Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Bedford County, the Flotilla for Toys will feature grandly decorated boats on the water, a holiday crafts table on land, and the opportunity to donate toys for local children in need. For more information, phone (540) 297-6066.

    For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, where these meetings are listed by date. E-mail addresses for contact people are available there. For TMDL meetings, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site. Please note that TMDL meetings are also listed at the Town Hall site, but are included among all other meetings. Organizations, events, or both are hyperlinked whenever possible. Click on those links for more information.

Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 41: Week of Nov. 8, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 41), for the week of November 8, 2010.
Click to Listen to Episode (Length: 00:08:13) 

NEWS

We begin with our monthly water status report:
Moving on to other items:
  • According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, in mid-November officials from Lynchburg will meet with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) to discuss a September 24 overflow of about 270,000 gallons of sewage into the James River. Decomposition of the sewage, combined with low flows in the James at the time, resulted in depleted oxygen that killed an estimated 1,000 fish, and possibly many more, according to the DEQ. The overflow resulted from a clogged pump intake at one of the work sites for the multi-year and multi-million-dollar project to replace the City’s combined sewer system, where the storm sewer system is connected to the sanitary sewer system; that combined system results in frequent overflows. Corrective actions taken since the September 24 incident include installation of larger pumps, more frequent maintenance, and better pump-flow alarm systems. The City or the construction contractor may still face a state fine, however, depending on the DEQ’s investigation of the incident. News sources: City correcting issues that led to sewage spill in river , Lynchburg News & Advance, 11/3/10; and City sewer overflow blamed for James River fish kill, Lynchburg News & Advance, 9/28/10.

  • In the next item: In the November 2 election, 64 percent of voters in James City County turned down a bond referendum that would have permitted the county to borrow $30 million to build stormwater system infrastructure and to restore streams. According to the Daily Press, the county has 64 priority stormwater projects on a list developed by local officials and citizens. In 2008, the county eliminated a stormwater utility fee that raised over $2 million annually. News sources: James City County residents vote down stormwater bond, Daily Press, 11/2/10; and Supervisors at odds over stormwater bond vote, Daily Press, 11/3/10.
  • And in our last news item this week: According to the Virginian-Pilot, one year after work started to remove creosote-contaminated sediments from the Elizabeth River near Money Point in Chesapeake, scientists have found at least 17 fish species living in areas where previously fish numbers were low and fish-cancer rates were high. For many years, that part of the river was polluted by materials from wood-treatment operations. Work began in June 2009 to remove the contaminated sediments and plant wetland plants along the shore. Research is continuing to determine if fish-cancer rates are decreasing, and if Elizabeth River fish have developed a genetic response—seen in fish in a restored area in Washington State—to tolerate chemical contamination. News source: Once-toxic stretch of Elizabeth River teeming again, Virginian-Pilot, 10/12/10; and Virginian-Pilot, 7/2/09. 
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC


This week we feature an instrumental tune about one of Virginia’s most well-known waterfalls: “Crabtree Falls,” by Timothy Seaman, on the 2002 CD “Sycamore Rapids,” from Pine Wind Music. Crabtree Falls, in Nelson County, is a series of large and small cascades over which water falls about 1200 feet on its way to the South Fork Tye River. This is reported to be the longest drop of any waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Fans of the 1970s television show “The Waltons”—created by Nelson County native Earl Hamner— may remember hearing that fictional family talk of Sunday outings to the popular and remarkable Crabtree Falls.  Information on Crabtree Falls was taken from the “Visit Nelson County” Web site at http://nelsoncounty.com/visit/crabtreefalls/. Information on Earl Hamner and “The Waltons” was taken from http://www.earlhamner.com/


UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS 

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between November 11-November 17.

  • On November 16, the Virginia Gas and Oil Board meets in Lebanon. For more information, phone David Asbury at (276)415-9700. 

  • Also on November 16, the State Water Control Board holds a public hearing in Richmond on a proposed general permit for discharges resulting from the application of pesticides to surface waters. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022. The proposed action establishes a general permit for discharges from the following pesticide applications for control of mosquitoes and other flying inesct pests, aquatic weeds and algae, aquatic animal pests, and forest canopy pests. The public comment period ends on December 27, 2010. More information and relevant documents are at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3261&display=stages.
Now, here are two meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • November 16, in Glen Allen, on the TMDL implementation plan for the James River and several tributaries in Chesterfield, Henrico, and Powhatan counties and the City of Richmond. For more information, phone Margaret Smigo at (804) 527-5124.
  • Also on November 16, in Bealton, on the TMDL implementation plan for Browns Run, Craig Run, and Marsh Run, all in Fauquier County. For more information, phone Bob Slusser at (540) 351-1590.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
  • Throughout November on weekends, Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County repeats three hiking and bird-watching programs: Bird Watching 101, Birding by the Bay, and Majestic Eagles. Each program is an hour-long walk to view the various birds found at this peninsula-based park, located between Pohick Bay, Belmont Bay, and the Potomac River. For more information, phone (703) 339-2384. 

    For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, where these meetings are listed by date. E-mail addresses for contact people are available there. For TMDL meetings, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site. Please note that TMDL meetings are also listed at the Town Hall site, but are included among all other meetings. Organizations, events, or both are hyperlinked whenever possible. Click on those links for more information.
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 40: Week of Nov. 1, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 40), for the week of November 1, 2010.
Click to Listen to Episode (Length: 00:14:45)

NEWS

Our news section this week is extended by several minutes to focus on stormwater, currently one of the biggest news-making water issues. After a brief introduction to stormwater, sound clips from talks at the Water Center’s October 21st symposium on stormwater technology, policy, and regulatory developments have been provided.

Stormwater is rainfall or snowmelt that doesn’t seep into the ground and therefore flows over land into natural surface waters or into storm sewer systems that eventually lead to natural waters. In developed areas, buildings, roads, and parking lots increase the area of impervious surface—that is, surface into which water can’t infiltrate—and this leads to increased stormwater runoff. High and rapid stormwater flows can erode natural stream channels and cause downstream flooding, and stormwater can carry oils, pet wastes, excess fertilizers, and other polluting substances into waterways.
  • The first sound clip from the Water Center symposium is from Jennifer Molloy, the stormwater coordinator for the U.S. EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office, who discussed stormwater management trends, policies, and priorities. In the following excerpt, she describes one of the key findings of a 2008 National Research Council study on stormwater. Download Presentation (PDF)

  • The next comment is from Lee Hill, the assistant division director for stormwater management programs at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, who summarized work to revise Virginia’s stormwater regulations. In this excerpt, he emphasizes that stormwater management is a statewide responsibility. Download Presentation (PDF)

  • The symposium’s third speaker was Lisa Ochsenhirt, an attorney with AquaLaw in Richmond, who discussed local government perspectives on stormwater management. She emphasized that local water management will be affected significantly by two major federal initiatives: first, a new national stormwater regulation, which is currently being developed by the U.S. EPA and is proposed to include a special Chesapeake Bay section; and second, the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, also being developed by the EPA and the Bay states. Download Presentation (PDF)

  • The next sound clip comes from Kurt Stephenson, a professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, who discussed the benefits, costs, and uncertainties of stormwater economics in urban settings. In this excerpt, Dr. Stephenson suggests a way of thinking about how society chooses where and how much to invest in stormwater management. Download Presentation (PDF)

  • The symposium’s next speaker was Thomas Schueler, coordinator of the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, who discussed stormwater nutrient accounting and economics in the Bay watershed. In this excerpt from his conclusion, Dr. Schueler summarizes what he sees as the difficult but solvable challenges of Bay-area stormwater issues. Download Presentation (PDF)

  • The next comment comes from Robert Roseen, director of the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, who discussed the possible economic benefits of low impact development, or LID. In this excerpt, Dr. Roseen discusses how using porous-paving materials helped lead to overall cost savings on a residential project in New Hampshire by serving both transportation and stormwater functions. Download Presentation (PDF)
     
  • Our last sound clip is from Glenn Moglen, a professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who discussed a stormwater- mapping tool and the difficulties of measuring the percentage of impervious surface in a watershed. In this excerpt from his summary, Dr. Moglen cautions about over-reliance on policies based on a specific threshold percentage of impervious surface. In the excerpt, the abbreviation NLCD refers to the National Land Cover Database, a nationwide inventory based on aerial and satellite images. Download Presentation (PDF)
About 200 people attended the Water Center’s stormwater symposium, a clear sign of the high level of interest and concern about what happens to the water when it rains.  Learn more about the 2010 Virginia Stormwater Symposium at the event's website. Read more about stormwater in Virginia in the August 2010 issue (#54) of Virginia Water Central Newsletter.


WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature another mystery sound: The Wood Duck

In this week's recording, the two loud calls were female courtship sounds, the whistling in the background was a male, and the softer sound at the end was a female searching for a nest site. The Wood Duck is a common inhabitant of forested streams, lakes, and wetlands in Virginia and much of North America, nesting in tree cavities or in boxes placed to enhance habitat. Thanks to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for providing this recording. Information on Wood Ducks was taken from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001); Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs-Eastern Edition, by Lang Elliott with Donald and Lillian Stokes (New York: Time-Warner Audio Books, 1997); and Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rd Edition, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between November 4 and November 10.
  • On November 9, the Virginia Scenic River Advisory Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Lynn Crump at (804) 786-5054. The Scenic Rivers Program is administered by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information, see the program Web site at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/srmain.shtml#srbd.

  • And also on November 9 in Richmond, the U.S. EPA is holding a listening session and an environmental-justice discussion on the Chesapeake Bay aspects of its proposed new national stormwater regulation. For more information, phone Rachel Herbert at (202) 564–2649. EPA began the process for a new national stormwater regulation in December 2009. The listening session on November 9 in Richmond takes place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; the environmental-justice discussion takes place from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Other listening sessions on the Chesapeake Bay aspect take place in Washington D.C. on Nov. 4 and Harrisburg, Penn., on Nov. 17, and an online session takes place Nov. 16, 12 noon to 3 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/rulemaking.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org