Monday, April 26, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 14: Week of April 26, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 14) for the week of April 26, 2010. This week's show is hosted by Alan Raflo, research associate at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Our show presents news and notices that relate to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.
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  • In March, Waynesboro Downtown Development presented a plan for a Center for Coldwaters Restoration along the South River. According to the Waynesboro News Virginian, the proposed center would be an advanced hatchery for Brook Trout; could support research and education on the water-resources impacts of climate change, land use, and chemical contamination; and could provide 50 jobs. A Downtown Development committee is seeking $5 million to pay for construction and the first five years of operation; the committee hopes to open the facility by 2012. News source: Summit emphasizes revitalization, Waynesboro News Virginian, 4/14/10.  
  • On April 19, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) reported that so far this spring there have been only a few known cases of diseased or killed fish in the Shenandoah basin or other western Virginia rivers. Since 2005, the DEQ and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries coordinate the Shenandoah River Fish Kill Task Force—consisting of agencies, fishing guides, university and government scientists, and volunteer monitors—to try to determine the cause of spring fish kills in the past several years. Reports from the public have significantly assisted the investigation of the fish kills, so the Task Force is encouraging citizens to report observations of dead or diseased fish. To report observations, phone toll-free from anywhere in Virginia to (800) 592-5482. News source: State investigators prepare for possible fish disease and mortality outbreaks, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release (DEQ), 4/19/10. Observations may also be reported by phone to the DEQ regional office in Harrisonburg at (540) 574-7800 or by e-mail to  
  • On April 13, Gov. Robert McDonnell announced that the EcomNets company—headquartered in Herndon—will invest $1.9 million to move to Danville its “green technology” operations, including a plant to produce energy-efficient computers. The company is expected to generate 160 jobs. News source: Governor McDonnell Announces 160 New Jobs in Danville; EcomNets to invest $1.9 million in green computer manufacturing operation, Virginia Governor’s News Release, 4/13/10.  
  • And in our last news item this week: The 40th anniversary of Earth Day was April 22. During the week around Earth Day, Virginians participated in activities to call attention to environmental issues; raise awareness of natural resources and habitats; and clean up, restore, or protect natural areas. Here are three “snapshots” of Earth Day-related activities around the Commonwealth. First, along with various conventional river cleanups on April 17, commercial divers in Norfolk competed in the Town Point News released the results of its second annual Virginia Environmental Attitudes Survey. In the survey of 719 randomly selected Virginia voters, 39 percent rated the quality of the state’s natural environment as an A or B, 51 percent as a C, and about 9 percent as a D or F. The Chesapeake Bay and its coastal tributaries were rated the most important Virginia natural resource by the highest percentage of respondents (30 percent) with “Historic Rivers” rated the most important by the second highest percentage (19 percent). And about 78 percent of respondents said state government has either “some” or “a great deal” of responsibility to create policies to address climate change and improve the environment. News sources: Ecodivers scour Elizabeth River bottom for trash, Virginian-Pilot, 4/18/10; Groups to mark Earth Day with river cleanup, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 4/20/10; Local documentary on Chesapeake Bay hits PBS tomorrow, Daily Press, 4/21/10; and Virginians say environment's health getting worse, Virginian-Pilot, 4/21/10. More information about the documentary film “The Last Boat Out” is available online at More information about the Virginia Environmental Attitudes Survey is available online at


This week we feature another mystery sound: Upland Chorus Frog

This small frog is found in various wet habitats in all regions of Virginia. The males make this mating call during breeding season from late winter through early spring. Like all amphibians, Chorus Frogs have skin with no fur, scales, or feathers, and this permeable surface helps them breathe. Thanks to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Frog Call Survey staff and to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for permission to use this recording from the 2008 CD, “The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads.”  Information from Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, by B.S. Martof et. al., University of North Carolina Press/Chapel Hill (1980); Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, J.C. Mitchell and K.K. Reay, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (1999); and the Web site of the Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) Web site, (click here to go directly to VHS information about Upland Chorus Frogs).


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings
  • On May 4 the Middle Peninsula State Park Master Plan Advisory Committee meets in Gloucester. For more information, phone Robert Munson at (804) 786-6140.
Two upcoming meetings about Totaaximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • May 4 in Bealton, on the TMDL for Browns Run, Craig Run, and Marsh Run, all in Fauquier County. For more information, phone Bob Slusser at (540) 351-1590.
  • And May 5 in Carson, on the TMDL for Hatcher Run in Dinwiddie County and for an unnamed tributary to Nebletts Mill Run in Sussex County. For more information, phone Margaret Smigo at (804) 527-5124.
Finally, in upcoming educational events:
  • On May 7, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., in Henrico, the Virginia Water Monitoring Council holds its annual conference, titled: What's Coming Down the Pipe--Exploring Emerging Water-quality Issues. For more information, phone Katie Register at (434) 395-2602.
  • On May 6-8, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge near Suffolk is holding a Birding Festival in connection with International Migratory Bird Day. For more information, phone (757) 986-3705. 
  • And on May 8 in Leesburg, the non-profit organization Wisdom Spring is holding its annual Walking for Water, a event to raised funds for water wells, medicine, and education in the African country of Burkina Faso. For more information, phone Susan Hough at (703) 505-5152.
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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at

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

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.

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