Monday, October 4, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 36: Week of Oct. 4, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 36), for the week of October 4, 2010.
Click to Listen to Episode (Length: 00:08:07) 

  • The first item is our monthly water status report. First, in precipitation: According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, from September 1 through 30, most of southeastern Virginia received 7 to 13 inches of rain; most of central Virginia received 4 to 7 inches; and most of western Virginia, northern Virginia, and the Eastern Shore received 2 to 4 inches. Much of the month’s precipitation came in the last week from the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicolle. For example, between September 27 and 30, Norfolk received over 11 inches, Dulles Airport over 5 inches, and Lynchburg over 4 inches.

    Second, in stream flow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch, streamflows averaged over the month of September were in the normal range at about 56 percent of stream gages in Virginia or just beyond the state border. Flows were below normal at about 21 percent of these gages; much below normal at about 15 percent; and above normal at about 8 percent. Normal and above normal flows generally were in western Virginia, with below normal flows generally in central and eastern Virginia. On October 1, current stream flows were high in much of the eastern two thirds of the state, reflecting the heavy rainfall in the last week of September.

    And third, our drought watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor on September 28—just prior to the heavy rains at month’s end—showed abnormally dry conditions or worse occurring in over 86 percent of Virginia, excluding only some areas of far southwestern Virginia. Moderate drought was reported for 50 percent of Virginia, severe drought in 28 percent of the state, and extreme drought in parts of Frederick and Shenandoah counties. News sources: Precipitation: Southeast Regional Climate Center precipitation map,; and Rainfall washes away drought, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 10/1/10. Streamflow: U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, Drought: The National Drought Monitor map is at; the Virginia archive table is at
  • The heavy rains in the last week of September led the Virginia Department of Health, or VDH, to place emergency closures on several shellfishing areas in southeastern Virginia. VDH ordered the closures because high flows caused by the rainfall were expected to raise bacterial levels above state standards. The shellfishing-area closures were to be in place at least until October 6. News source: Storm brings temporary bans on clam, oyster catch, Virginian-Pilot, 10/1/10.
  • And in our last news item this week: On September 30, the Obama Administration released its Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2011, including a request for a substantial funding increase. The plan, which requires Congressional approval for its proposed funding, calls for $491 million for Bay restoration actions. According to the Virginian-Pilot, requests in the plan include the following: $72 million in aid to farmers for conservation practices; $169.5 million for revolving loans to help wastewater-treatment plants reduce nutrient discharges; $7 million to increase oyster-recovery activities in Virginia and Maryland; $4.1 million to address rising sea levels and other predicted impacts of climate change on the Bay; and $370,000 to help establish nutrient-credit-trading markets. The 2011 Action Plan is required by the president’s May 2009 executive order, which addressed the role in Bay restoration activities by the U.S. EPA and the federal departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, and Transportation. News Sources: White House plans huge cash boost for bay cleanup, Virginian-Pilot, 10/1/10; and $491 Million in Federal Resources Targeted for Chesapeake Bay Restoration in FY 2011, Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Web site, 9/30/10. More information: The Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Fiscal Year 2011 Action Plan is available at this link: Chesapeake EO Action Plan FY2011.pdf.

The Sounds and Music segment of this episode was revised and redone in Episode 335, 9-26-16.

This week we feature another mystery sound: The Canada Goose.

The Canada Goose is the most common of several geese species found in North America, and is one of three species found in Virginia. Canada Geese have spread far beyond their original range and have become year-round residents in parks and other residential areas. As described by Sigurd Olson his 1956 book “The Singing Wilderness,” flocks of migrating Canada Geese are recognizable for their “soft, melodious gabbling,” and their flight formations that resemble a “long skein of dots undulating like a floating ribbon.” Thanks to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for providing this recording.

Please note: The Canada Goose is covered in more detail in Virginia Water Radio Episode 335, 9-26-16.


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between October 7-October 13.
  • On October 7 in Front Royal, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public briefing on an air-quality permit application by Virginia Electric and Power Company for a proposed natural-gas-fired power plant in Warren County. For more information, phone Anita Riggleman at (540) 574-7852. Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO) has applied for a permit to construct the Warren County Combined Cycle Facility, a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle power generating facility. The proposed facility, which would be located in the Warren Industrial Park in Warren County, is classified as a major source of air pollution. The permit application is available on the DEQ website at
Next, in meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • On October 7, 6 p..m. to 8 p.m., at the Crowne Plaza Marina Hotel in Hampton, the U.S. EPA holds the last of four public meetings in Virginia on the draft Chesapeake Bay TMDL, which was published on September 24 for a 45-day public comment period. Also on October 7, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the EPA is holding an online public meeting on the Bay TMDL. For more information, phone Tom Damm at (215) 814-5560. The EPA Web site for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL is Registration for the EPA’s online meeting about the Bay TMDL is at
Finally, in 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 Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Minni Gupta helped write the show. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

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