Monday, September 13, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 33: Week of Sept. 13, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 33), for the week of September 13, 2010.

Audio archived 6-20-12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to audio file (length 8:47).

  • September 1 was the deadline for the six Chesapeake Bay states and the District of Columbia to file their draft watershed implementation plans with the U.S. EPA. EPA will use these drafts to help develop the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, restoration plan. A TMDL is required for the Bay under the federal Clean Water Act because the Bay does not meet certain water-quality standards and is therefore classified as “impaired.” The key aspects of the Bay TMDL include strategies for reducing the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. On September 24 the EPA is scheduled to issue a draft of the complete plan. A public comment period on that draft will run until November 8 and will include four public meetings in Virginia between October 4 and 7. By November 29, the Bay jurisdictions are to complete their final Watershed Implementation Plans, and by December 31, the EPA plans to issue the TDML. News sources: Va. will miss bay restoration deadline, Washington Post, 9/3/10; Va. misses deadline on filing plan to cut bay pollution, Virginian-Pilot, 9/2/10; and U.S. EPA Bay TMDL Web site,

    Additional details: In July and August 2010, the EPA announced draft allocations for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment from the six Bay jurisdictions and major Bay tributaries, and the jurisdictions used these allocations to develop their draft watershed implementation plans. The proposed basin-wide allocations announced by EPA in July and August 2010 are 187.4 million pounds per year of nitrogen, 12.5 million pounds per year of phosphorus, and 6.1-6.7 billion pounds of sediment. Virginia’s allocations are 53.4 million pounds per year of nitrogen, 5.4 million pounds per year of phosphorus, and 2.4-2.7 billion pounds of sediment. The Virginia public meetings on the draft TMDL are as follows:

    Oct. 4, Grafton Theatre, James Madison University, Harrisonburg;
    Oct. 5, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale;
    Oct. 6, Jepson Alumni Center, University of Richmond; and
    Oct. 7: Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel, Hampton.

    All are scheduled for 6 p.m.-8. p.m., but check the EPA Web site given above to confirm. Also, on Oct. 7, 1 p.m-3 p.m., the EPA will hold an online public meeting.

    For more information: Virginia Department of Conversation and Recreation:, and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality:

    (Virginia’s draft Watershed Implementation Plan is available at either of these sites). For a compilation of other Bay TMDL references and recent news articles, visit the Virginia Water Central Grouper’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL site, at
  • While the EPA is developing the Bay TMDL, Congress is considering legislation that would reauthorize the federal Chesapeake Bay Program within EPA. In June, the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee approved S.1816, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Act of 2009, sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland. In July, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 5509, the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act, sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Timothy Holden and several co-sponsors including Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte. The two bills, which differ significantly, have generated considerable debate over potential federal requirements on agriculture and localities. A snapshot of some of these local concerns is provided by the Shenandoah County town of Strasburg, which in early September was preparing two resolutions to send to Rep. Goodlatte. The first would request that H.R. 5509’s proposed guidelines for nutrient-credit trading in the watershed apply to agricultural and non-industrial forestry lands , and not only to municipalities; the second would request that the bill include federal funding for capital projects at wastewater-treatment plants. Strasburg is currently facing about $39 million worth of improvements in its water- and wastewater-treatment plants to accommodate Chesapeake Bay-related water-quality requirements.  News sources: Farm Bureau concerned about Chesapeake bill - Staunton News Leader, 9/10/10; Council gets say in Chesapeake Bay bill, Northern Virginia Daily, 8/25/10; 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. Additional details: 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 full provisions and legislative status of any Congressional bill can be found on the Library of Congress’ Web site, According to a press release from Rep. Goodlatte (Goodlatte introduces legislation to protect the Chesapeake Bay, 6/11/10), H.R. 5509 would support programs that help farmers, homebuilders, and localities meet water-quality goals, but it would not 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 Sen. Cardin’s bill, S.1816 (and its companion in the House, H.R. 3852, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland.
  • And in our last news item this week: In August, fisheries officials from Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin agreed to develop a coordinated strategy to manage Blue Catfish in tidal river sections. Native in the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio river basins, Blue Catfish have been stocked in several Virginia rivers for many years. The species is now widespread in Virginia tidal streams and rivers. Large populations of Blue Catfish can diminish other species, such as Channel Catfish. With a cooperative interstate effort, fishery managers hope to understand, manage, and contain Blue Catfish populations and their impacts. News source: The rise and gall of bluefish catfish in Virginia rivers, Virginian-Pilot, 8/30/10. For more information: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries information on Blue Catfish is online at


This week we feature another selection inspired by the Chesapeake Bay: “The Prettiest Marsh,” by Teresa Whitaker on “We’ve Got to Come Full Circle: Chesapeake Song and Story for Young Hearts,” a 1984 album with Tom Wisner on Folkways Records. The Chesapeake region has several kinds of marshes, ranging from freshwater ones in the tidal sections of rivers to grass-dominated salt marshes along the Bay shorelines. Topography, water level, and water salinity all influence the variety and amounts of living things one finds in a marsh. But in any marsh you’ll specially adapted plants and—as Ms. Whitaker sang about—a lot of creeping, crawling, whirring, and croaking animals.  More information about Teresa Whitaker is available online at “Chesapeake Song and Story for Young Hearts” is available for sample listening and purchase on the Smithsonian Folkways Web site at; a PDF of the liner notes is also available. The quote from Teresa Whitaker is from the liner notes. For information on marshes and other wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay region: Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rd Edition, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006). More information about Tom Wisner is available from A Bay's Life in Story and Song: A Celebration of Tom Wisner,, 1/16/10; from the Smithsonian Folkwasy “Artist Spotlight” at; and from the following two obituaries: Thomas A. Wisner, 79: 'Bard of the Chesapeake' sang about the bay he loved, Washington Post, 4/4/10, and “Bard of the Bay”—Tom Wisner-Gone But Not Forgotten,, 4/11/10.


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between September 15-September 21.
  • On September 15, the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Regulatory Advisory Panel meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804)786-2291.
    The Stormwater Management Regulatory 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

  • Also on September 15, the Abandoned Mined Land Advisory Committee meets in Wise County. For more information, phone Roger Williams at (276) 523-8208. The Abandoned Mined Land Advisory Committee assists the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy on Virginia’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program. Information about Virginia’s Abandoned Mined Land program is available at
  • On September 16, the Soil and Water Conservation Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804)786-2291.
  • On September 20, the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804)786-2291.

  • On September 21, the Groundwater Protection Steering Committee meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Mary Ann Massie at (804)698-4042.

  • And also on September 21, the Gas and Oil Board meets in Lebanon. For more information, phone David Asbury at (276) 415-9700.
Finally, in upcoming 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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at

Show hosted by Alan Raflo, with special guest host Minni Gupta. Ms. Gupta also helped write the show. 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