Monday, July 12, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 24: Week of July 12, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 24) for the week of July 12, 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.

Sound file archived 11/21/11.  For a copy, please contact Virginia Water Radio.


  • Through the Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) is offering grants of up to $5,000 for groups and individuals to monitor the quality of Virginia’s waters from January 1 to December 31, 2011. According to the program’s Web site, the grants can be used for purchasing monitoring equipment, training volunteers, analyzing samples, and promoting stream-monitoring efforts in locations where the DEQ is not currently collecting water quality samples. Applications are due by September 1, 2010. More information and the grant application are available online at, or phone Stuart Torbeck at (804) 698-4461.  News source: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality/Citizen Monitoring Web page,, 7/7/10.
  • July 1, 2010, was the take-effect date for a 2008 Virginia General Assembly bill requiring that household dishwashing detergent in Virginia have no more than 0.5 percent phosphorus by weight. Phosphorus above this level was already banned by Virginia law in laundry detergents, dishwashing compounds, household cleaners, metal cleaners, and industrial cleaners. The 2008 legislation gave manufacturers two years to develop low-phosphorus alternatives, which are now widely available. Similar laws in Maryland and Pennsylvania also took effect on July 1. Excessive phosphorus in waterways—along with excessive nitrogen—leads to overpopulation of algae. Too much algae, in turn, can block sunlight to desirable aquatic plants and can lead to low oxygen in the water during nighttime and when dead algae are decomposed by bacteria.  News source: Banning phosphates, Virginia goes green, still gets clean, Virginian-Pilot, 7/1/10. For information on the 2008 bill, HB 233, see the Virginia Legislative Information System Web site, at
  • The Reedy Creek Coalition and the Virginia office of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay are collaborating on a project to help homeowners and businesses in Richmond adopt landscaping practices that will reduce residential stormwater runoff and the sediment and other pollutants that such runoff delivers to Reedy Creek, a James River tributary. The three-year project involves volunteers doing assessments of residences to identify options to decrease stormwater runoff. The project is funded by a $390,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and by local matches, including $120,000 from Phillip Morris parent company Altria.  News source: Chesapeake Bay effort targets polluted runoff in Richmond , Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/6/10
  • In our last news item this week: Dry and hot conditions in June and early July led Governor McDonnell and the Virginia Department of Forestry to warn of increased wildfire potential. The July 6 National Drought Monitor rated 86 percent of Virginia as at least “abnormally dry,” and as of July 7, Virginia rated above 500 on a ground-moisture index that ranges from 0 to 800, with 0 representing saturated conditions and 800 representing extremely dry conditions. In a governor’s news release on July 7, State Forester Carl Garrison said, “While the drought index scale has not yet risen to the level at which the Virginia Department of Forestry will officially enact a burn ban, conditions are extremely dry and cities and counties across the Commonwealth are advised to closely watch local conditions and take any proactive measures they deem necessary.” The Forestry Department notes that burning trash or debris is the leading cause of wildfires, but wildfires can be sparked by other activities, as well—such as campfires, vehicle towing, and parking on grass. So keep water or a fire extinguisher handy during such activities. And let’s hope the rainfall that reached Virginia on July 12 is widespread and soaking.  News source: The U.S. Drought Monitor Web site is Governor McDonnell Warns Virginians of Increased Fire Danger; Extreme Temperatures, Lack of Rain Concern Virginia Forestry Officials, Virginia Governor’s News Release, 7/7/10. More information about wildfire and Virginia forests is available at the Department of Forestry Web site,
This week we feature a delightful banjo tune inspired by one of Virginia’s major rivers: “Rappahannock Rapids,” written by Morey A. Stanton. After visiting Rappahannock River Campground in Richardsville (in Culpeper County) for many years, Mr. Stanton wrote the tune for the staff at the campground, who now feature it on their Web site. The headwaters of the Rappahannock River, and of its major tributaries the Hazel and Rapidan rivers, begin at the Blue Ridge in Fauquier, Rappahannock, Madison, and Greene counties. The Rappahannock ends at its confluence with the Chesapeake Bay, where the river separates Lancaster County on the Northern Neck from Middlesex County on the Middle Peninsula. The river’s approximately 184-mile length is rich with natural beauty and aquatic habitats, local and national history, and of course, rapids! Thanks to Rappahannock River Campground for permission to use this recording. “Rappahanock Rapids” is posted at the Web site of Rappahannock River Campground, This episode’s information on the Rappahannock River was taken from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Web site at, 7/7/10.


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between July 14-20.
  • On July 14, the technical advisory committee for development of a general permit for pesticide discharges meets in Richmond. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022.  The committee is assisting the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing a permit under the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES). The relevant Virginia regulation is 9 VAC 25-800. More information and relevant documents are at
  • Also on July 14, the Goose Creek Scenic River Advisory Board meets in Leesburg. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. 
  • On July 15, the Soil and Water Conservation Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. 
  • On July 20, the regulatory advisory panel for development of a permit for small renewable solar energy projects meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone Carol Wampler at (804) 698-4579.  This advisory panel is helping the DEQ in development of a permit by rule for small renewable solar energy projects, a regulatory action that the 2009 General Assembly (HB 2175/SB 1347) required for small renewable energy projects from various sources.
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • On July 14, 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., at Longwood University in Farmville, Clean Virginia Waterways is conducting a Rain Barrel and Water Conservation Train-the-Trainer Workshop, for employees of non-profit organizations, churches, schools, soil/water conservation districts, and other environmental-educational groups. For more information, phone Sandy Miller (434) 395-2602.
  • And on nine dates between July 17 and September 18, at several Tidewater Virginia locations, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Lynnhaven River Now, and the Elizabeth River Project are holding oyster gardening seminars for people who wish to raise baby oysters for restoration projects in the Bay and its tributaries. For more information, phone Chris Moore at (757) 622-1964.

    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. In the educational and recreation events section, 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 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 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