Monday, August 16, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 29: Week of August 16, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 29) for the week of August 16, 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.

Audio archived 6-4-12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to audio file.

  • In a July 20 letter to Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Douglas Domenech, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, or CBF, presented an analysis of Virginia’s progress towards meeting the two-year “milestones” for Bay-restoration actions that the Bay Executive Council set in May 2009 for each Bay state. The CBF document asserts that Virginia has had a mixed record of success and failures in progress toward its milestones for 2011. Using data from federal and state agencies, CBF examined eight key milestone areas and generated a percentage-of-goal-reached for each area. The percentages ranged from 13 percent achievement so far for stream fencing to prevent livestock access, to 100 percent achievement projected for wastewater treatment plant upgrades. In response to CBF, according to the July 31 Daily Press, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor said that, while he did not dispute the findings, he believed the analysis was not completely fair.  News sources: Virginia Not on Track to Meet Latest Bay Cleanup Goals, Bay Daily, 7/23/10; and Bay cleanup not on track, foundation says, Daily Press, 7/31/10. More information: The CBF document is available online at available online at The document includes recommendations for additional actions by Virginia in dealing with impacts from wastewater, agriculture, stormwater, and septic systems. 

  • On August 5, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced grants totaling $5.8 million for 11 projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The 11 projects include four in Virginia, six in Maryland, and one in Pennsylvania. The Virginia recipients are the Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council, for a project to reduce nutrients and sediments in agricultural production; Virginia Tech, to reduce ammonia emissions and runoff from poultry litter on two Shenandoah Valley farms and two Eastern Shore farms; the Potomac Conservancy, to promote Low Impact Development in 37 Virginia localities; and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, to create and implement a watershed restoration project in the Eastern Shore town of Onancock. In addition, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District will be a partner on a Foundation grant to the Maryland Department of Agriculture for remote sensing of winter cover crops.  News sources: $5.8 Million in Grants for Innovative Projects to Reduce Water Pollution in Chesapeake Bay Watershed, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation News Release, 8/5/10; and Maryland Gets Grant To Remote Sense Cover Crops, American Agriculturist, 8/11/10. More information on the Foundation’s grant programs is available online at

  • Following approvals in July and August by Cumberland and Henrico counties, a plan will now go forward to construct a $280-million, 1,110-acre water-supply reservoir on Cobbs Creek, a James River tributary in Cumberland. The agreement follows years of negotiation among Cumberland, Henrico, Goochland, Hanover, and Powhatan counties over a potential regional water source. Under the approved deal, Henrico will build and operate the reservoir, pay Cumberland $56.6 million over 50 years in lieu of property taxes, and reimburse Cumberland $1.55 million for previously-incurred design costs. Eventually Cumberland and Powhatan will be allowed to purchase up to 7 million and 10 million gallons per day, respectively, from Henrico. Goochland and Hanover counties are current customers of Henrico, and the new reservoir is expected to make more water available to those two localities. Land use and recreation around the reservoir will be under Cumberland’s control, and that county is required to develop a watershed-protection plan.  News Sources: Henrico approval of reservoir ends decade of debate, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/11/10; Cumberland OKs resolution on reservoir deal, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/27/10; and Cobbs Creek Reservoir deal possible next week, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/22/10. 

  • And in our last news item this week: Since its formation in January 2010 with the help of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, the non-profit group Waste Watchers has been promoting recycling and other waste-reduction tools on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. One of the results so far has been placement of fishing-line recycling stations at five locations on the Shore. Waste fishing line that reaches waterways is significant threat to aquatic life, so the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Marine Resources Commission began a statewide fishing-line recycling program in February 2009. As of early August, the program’s Web site showed about 100 recycling locations in the state, including the Eastern Shore ones.  News Source: Changing the Shore's perception about recycling, Eastern Shore News, 8/7/10. Information about Virginia’s fishing-line recycling program is available online at, and in a February 10, 2009, news release at (a photo of a recycling tube is available there). Maryland began a fishing-line collection and recycling program in 2007, modeled on a program in Florida. Information on the Florida program, including advice on starting such a program, is available online at

This week we feature a traditional Appalachian fiddle tune named for one of Virginia’s most famous natural wonders: “Natural Bridge Blues,” by the late North Carolina fiddler Fred Cockerham, from the collection of Ray Alden on a 2004 CD from Field Recorders’ Collective. Virginia’s Natural Bridge, located in Rockbridge County, is a limestone arch that towers 200 feet above Cedar Creek, a James River tributary. According to the Library of Virginia’s Landmarks of American Nature Writing, in an 1809 letter Thomas Jefferson—who owned the Natural Bridge site from 1774 until his death in 1826—called Natural Bridge both “dead capital” and “undoubtedly one of the sublimest curiosities of nature.”  Fred Cockerham (1905-1980) was from the Round Peak community in Surry County, North Carolina. More information about Mr. Cockerham is available at the Field Recorders’ Collective Web site, at   Information about Natural Bridge was taken from “Natural Bridge of Virginia” Web site at and from Wikipedia at An 1852 painting of Natural Bridge by Frederick Church is available at the “Discovering Lewis and Clark” Web site at . An interesting collection of historical quotes about Natural Bridge is available from the Library of Virginia, online at


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between August 18-August 24.
  • On August 18, the technical advisory committee for development of a general permit for pesticide discharges meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022. The committee is assisting the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing a pesticide-discharge 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 August 18, the Virginia Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee meets in Clarksville. For more information, phone Scott Kudlas at (804) 698-4456.

  • On August 21, the Virginia Cave Board meets in Grottoes. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291.

  • And on August 24, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission meets in Newport News. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215.
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • Two Northern Neck museums tell the story of vessels and industries that have been key parts of the history of the Chesapeake Bay. The Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington, in Lancaster County, has updated its permanent exhibits describing the history of steamboat travel and commerce on the Bay. And the Reedsville Fishermen’s Museum in Northumberland County has an exhibit through October 31 on the history of Menhaden-fishing vessels and the Menhaden industry in the Bay. For more information on the steamboat museum, phone (804) 438-6888; for more information on the Menhaden museum, phone (804) 453-6529.  For an article on the two museums’ exhibits, see Story of the Bay expanded, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/12/10.

    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