- As of mid-July, work had begun on a project to remove contaminated sediments from a Portsmouth section of the Elizabeth River near the Superfund-listed Atlantic Wood Industries toxic waste site. At the site, wood formerly was treated with creosote and wastes were stored in pits or discharged into the Elizabeth, prior to laws regulating such discharges. The contaminated river sediments are to be stored behind an 11-foot high, 250-foot long concrete wall, which is also intended to prevent any new contaminants from flowing off the site into the river. The containment-wall plan was chosen in 2008 by the U.S. EPA to deal with contamination at the site. After initial objections to the plan, Virginia resource officials have now agreed to the project, because of a lack of funds available to remove the contaminated sediments altogether. The wall project is expected to cost about $100 million, with the cost to be shared by the property owner, the EPA, the Commonwealth, and the U.S Navy, which disposed of waste materials on the site during World War II. News source: Slow-moving plan to rid river of toxic goo gains momentum, Virginian-Pilot, 7/19/10.
- On July 19, President Obama issued an executive order establishing a national ocean policy. The executive order states that the policy’s purposes include ensuring “the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources [and] enhancing ocean and coastal economies,” in coordination with national security and foreign policy interests. The 10-point policy is to be coordinated by a new National Ocean Council, consisting of cabinet secretaries and representatives of federal natural resource and environmental agencies. News source: “Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force,” White House Council on Environmental Quality Web page, www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans, 7/30/10.
- On July 28, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 5509, the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act, which had been introduced on June 11 by Pennsylvania Rep. Timothy Holden with several co-sponsors, including Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte. According to a press release from Rep. Goodlatte, the bill would support programs that help farmers, homebuilders, and localities meet water-quality goals. It would not, however, codify the elements of President Obama’s May 2009 Executive Order on the federal role in Bay restoration. That’s one of the key differences between the Holden bill and another bill currently in Congress to reauthorize the Bay Program, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, both from Maryland. News sources: Holden's Chesapeake Bill Moves; Cardin's Bill Sits, American Agriculturist, 7/29/10; Bay health bill clears committee, Northern Virginia Daily, 7/31/10; and Goodlatte introduces legislation to protect the Chesapeake Bay, U.S. Rep. Robert Goodlatte’s Office News Release, 6/11/10. More information: Rep. Holden is a Democrat from Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District. Mr. Goodlatte, from Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, is the Ranking Republican Member of the Agriculture Committee’s Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research Sub-committee. The Cardin/Cummings bills, Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, are S. 1816 in the Senate and H.R. 3852 in the House. The full provisions and legislative status of any Congressional bill, can be found on the Library of Congress’ Web site, http://thomas.loc.gov/.
- And out last news item this week is about two recent winners of awards for environmental protection. (A.) First, in late July, Virginia awarded NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on Wallops Island with its E4, or “Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise,” recognition, the highest level of recognition in the Commonwealth’s Environmental Excellence Program. Wallops Island becomes only the second federal facility in the Commonwealth, and one of only 23 facilities overall, to receive the E4 award. (B.) And second, on July 29, Cleremont Farm in Loudoun County was named as one of seven regional winners of the National Environmental Stewardship Awards, presented by the National Cattlemen’s Association. The national winner will be announced in February 2011. According to a governor’s office news release on the recognition, conservation practices at Cleremont include rotational grazing, stream fencing with alternative watering systems, maintaining 1,000 acres of hardwood forest, and placing the farm under a conservation easement. News source: (A) Wallops awarded highest environmental honor, Eastern Shore News, 7/31/10. More information: The recognition for Wallops Island is based on the facility’s efforts in using renewable energy and alternative fuels, pursuing LEED certifications for resource conservation in buildings, managing hazardous waste, protecting endangered species, recycling, managing petroleum and chemical storage tanks, and environmental planning. More information about the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program, with a link to the list of recipients of the different levels of recognition, is available at http://www.deq.state.va.us/veep/. (B) Governor McDonnell Congratulates Cleremont Farm in Loudoun County for Winning Regional Environmental Stewardship Award, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/30/10. More information about the National Environmental Stewardship Award program is available online at http://www.environmentalstewardship.org/.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC
This week we featured a new mystery sound: The American Bullfrog
The American Bullfrog is Virginia’s largest frog, growing to as much as 8 inches in length. That size helps account for its deep call, which can be heard at considerable distance. Bullfrogs are found all over Virginia in larger ponds, lakes, and streams. They feed on insects, crayfish, and—according to one source—“almost anything living that [they] can at least partially swallow”! 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); the Web site of the Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) Web site, www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com (click here to go directly to VHS information about the American Bullfrog); and “Species Information” from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, at www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?s=020004 (the source of the quote about feeding).
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
First, in state government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between August 11-August 17.
- On August 12, the Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Committee meets in Charlottesville. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. This Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) Clearinghouse is a Web site on design standards and specifications of all stormwater BMPs approved for use in Virginia to control the quality and/or quantity of stormwater runoff. More information about the Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse Committee is available at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/swc/.
- On August 16 and 17 in Richmond, there will be four subcommittee meetings of the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Advisory Panel. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. Virginia’s stormwater management regulations are at in the Virginia Administrative Code at 4 VAC 50-60. The state is in the process of considering amendments to Parts I, II, and III of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations to address water quality and quantity and local stormwater management program criteria. More information about the proposed regulatory changes is available at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1145.
- On August 17, the Gas and Oil Board meets in Lebanon. For more information, phone David Asbury at (276) 415-9700.
- And on August 17, the regulatory advisory panel for development of a permit for small renewable offshore wind energy projects meets in Richmond. 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 wind energy projects, a regulatory action that the 2009 General Assembly (HB 2175/SB 1347) required for small renewable energy projects from various sources. More information and relevant documents on the wind-energy permit are available at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3089&display=stages.
- On August 14, at Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox, Virginia Citizens for Water Quality is holding its annual summit. For more information, phone David Jennings at (804) 775-0951.
- On August 18 to 19 at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, the Aquacultural Engineering Society is holding an Issues Forum; for more information, phone Greg Boardman at (540) 231-1376. The issues forum precedes the 8th International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture, which takes place August 20 to 22, also at the Hotel Roanoke. For more information about the conference, phone (540) 553-1809.
- And on August 23 and 30 at Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Department of Forestry are holding a two-part Family Forestland Short-course entitled, Focusing on Land Transfer to Generation “Next.” Registration is due by August 13. For more information, phone (540) 948-6881.
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.
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 www.virginiawaterradio.org.