Monday, October 11, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 37: Week of Oct. 11, 2010

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 37), for the week of October 11, 2010.

Sound file archived 1/17/12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to the recording.

  • On October 5, the U.S. Forest Service held a public meeting in Augusta County about the Service’s revision of its 15-year management plan for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, located in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. At 1.8 million acres, including over 1.6 million acres in Virginia, the two national forests—combined into one administrative unit in 1995—constitute one of the largest areas of public lands in the eastern United States. National forest management plans help determine timbering, recreation, watershed management, mineral use, and other potential activities in national forests. The Forest Service is currently reviewing six alternative plans for the Washington-Jefferson forest, addressing terrestrial biodiversity, wilderness and roadless areas, ecosystem diversity, and natural gas leasing. The Service expects by January 2011 to select one of the alternative plans and publish an environmental impact statement for a 90-day public-review period. News source: Forest Service Reviewing Plans For George Washington National Forest, WVIR (Va.) Television, 10/5/10. More information: Click here to access the Forest Service’s site for the GWNF Plan Revision; more information about the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests is available at
  • On September 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, announced that it intends to propose a regulation in 2011 to reduce mercury waste dental offices. According to the agency, replacement of tooth fillings containing mercury—called dental amalgams—generates 3.7 million tons of mercury per year in wastewater from dental offices, or about 50 percent of the mercury that reaches wastewater treatment plants. EPA asserts that dental offices can use existing devices called amalgam separators to remove 95 percent of the mercury currently being discharged in wastewater. Twelve states and some localities already require dentists to install amalgam separators. EPA intends to publish a final regulation by 2012. News source: EPA Will Propose Rule to Protect Waterways by Reducing Mercury from Dental Offices / Existing technology is available to capture dental mercury, U.S. EPA News Release, 9/27/10. More information on mercury from dental offices is available at this EPA Web site: More information on mercury and the environment is available at this EPA Web site:
  • On September 28, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted to open nearly all of the Commonwealth’s Chesapeake Bay oyster-harvest grounds on October 1, rather than the usual process of opening areas in stages during the fall months. According to Commission spokesman John Bull, the earlier opening is intended to allow Virginia’s commercial oyster harvesters to take better advantage of a short supply of oysters, with accompanying higher prices, resulting from this summer’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. News sources: Va. opens oyster grounds in Chesapeake Bay waters, Daily Press, 10/5/10; Virginia changes oyster regs as gulf recovers, Daily Press, 10/4/10; and minutes of the September 28 VMRC meeting, online at (as of 10/11/10).
  • And in our last news item this week: Smallmouth Bass appear to have had their third consecutive below-average spawning year in the upper Rappahannock River, according to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist John Odenkirk, in an interview in the October 3 Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. The bass that are present, however, appear to have relatively fast growth rates, due to their lower numbers and to increased fish prey—such as shad and catfish—traveling farther upstream since the Embrey Dam near Fredericksburg was removed in 2004. Mr. Odenkirk, who has been studying Rappahannock fish populations since the 1990s, said that unusually high spring river flows and unusually low summer or fall flows are the main factors influencing spring spawning and survival of juvenile fish into the following year. News source: Fewer fish, but they are getting bigger - Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 10/3/10


This segment has been replaced by Episode 456, 1-21-19.

This week we feature another mystery sound: The pelican

Seven species of pelicans exist worldwide, with one species, the Brown Pelican, found along Virginia’s coast. Only Brown Pelicans exhibit a feeding behavior of plunging from flight into water to trap fish in their large, expandable throat pouch. After their populations were drastically reduced, largely from exposure to pesticides, Brown Pelicans were placed on the federal Endangered Species List in 1970, but they have since made a remarkable recovery along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Sound Clips Web site for making this recording available. Information on pelicans was taken from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al., St. Martin’s Press, 2001 edition; the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “Bird Guide” Web site at; and Cornell’s “Birds of North America Online” Web site at  


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between October 14-October 20.
  • On October 18, the Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Committee meets in Charlottesville. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. The 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
  • Also on October 18, in Richmond, the Department of Environmental Quality is having a public-comment meeting on the proposed permit for Small Renewable Wind Energy projects. For more information, phone Carol Wampler at (804) 698-4579. The Department of Environmental Quality is developing 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

  • On October 19, the Virginia Gas and Oil Board meets in Lebanon. For more information, phone David Asbury at (276) 415-9700
  • On October 20, the Department of Health’s Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Donna Tiller at (804) 864-7470.
Now, here are two meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • October 20, in Buckingham, on the TMDL implementation plan for the Slate River, several Slate River tributaries, and Rock Island Creek, all in Buckingham County. For more information, phone Ram Gupta at (804) 371-0991.
  • And also on October 20, in Waynesboro, on the TMDL implementation plan for Christians Creek and the South River in Augusta and Rockingham counties. For more information, phone Nesha McCrae at (540) 332-9238.
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. 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