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- On October 5, the U.S. Coast Guard reported an oil spill of about 1,000 gallons into the southern branch of the Elizabeth River. The spill was discovered during a state inspection at the S.E.A. Solutions Corporation, a ship-dismantling facility. The oil leaked from a container ship that was being cut up for steel. According to the Virginian-Pilot, by October 8 the oil had been removed from the river, the source of the leak has been secured, and the Coast Guard had closed off the area with containment and absorbent booms. News sources: More than 1,000 gallons of oil spill into Elizabeth River, Newport News Daily Press, 10/7/10; and 1,000 gallons of spilled oil cleaned from Elizabeth River, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 10/8/10
- The U.S. EPA’s September 24 draft of a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, for the Chesapeake Bay is currently in a public-comment period, until November 8. During this period, the EPA is holding 18 public-comment meetings in the Bay jurisdictions, including four meetings between October 4 and 7 in Virginia. Here is a snapshot of some reactions and comments during three of Virginia’s public meetings. At the Hampton meeting on October 7, a Virginia Beach resident and environmental activist stated that he wanted Virginia to, quote, “stop dragging its feet cleaning the Bay.” Also at the Hampton meeting, an Eastern Shore farmer said he has already voluntarily implemented practices to reduce Bay pollution, but he—like other farmers—is concerned that their actions are not reflected in the EPA data. And Anthony Moore, Virginia’s assistant secretary of Natural Resources for Chesapeake Bay Restoration, reiterated Gov. Robert McDonnell’s assertion that the EPA is using flawed data. At the October 6 meeting in Richmond, Malvern Butler, a member of the Goochland County Board of Supervisor, said that he worries that strict regulations could drive farmers out of business, and he requested grants to help them follow new regulations. A Fredericksburg fly fisherman called for action on the Bay now, rather than passing its problems onto future generations. 5) And at the October 4 meeting in Harrisonburg, both U.S. Representative Robert Goodlatte and several farmers reiterated agricultural concerns about their getting credit for already-implemented conservation practices, and about the potential for more regulations on farming. News sources: Supporters urge prompt action on Bay “population diet”, Virginian- Pilot, 10/8/10; Crowd at UR hears clean up plans for Bay, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/7/10; Residents offer bay solutions, Newport News Daily Press, 10/7/10; Farmers show concern over TMDL at hearing, Chesapeake Bay Journal, 10/6/10; and Farmers Voice Concerns Over Chesapeake Bay Regulations from EPA , WHSV.com, 10/5/10.
- As of September 28, the weekly National Drought Monitor rated 86 percent of Virginia as “abnormally dry” or worse. But at the end of September, the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole, combined with other weather systems, brought large amounts of rainfall to Virginia, including well over 10 inches in many areas of eastern Virginia. This changed the drought picture significantly, with the October 5 and October 12 Drought Monitors rating only 48 percent of the Virginia as at least abnormally dry. As a result, by mid-October, some localities were lifting water conservation measures that had been in effect since early September. For example, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, on October 12 the City of Richmond and the counties of Henrico, Hanover, and Goochland removed voluntary restrictions, although Richmond’s mayor advised residents to continue conserving water. On the other hand, 12 public water systems remain under voluntary water restrictions and nine systems still have mandatory restrictions, according to the October 8 report from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force. News Source: Richmond, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland lift water restrictions, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/13/10.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC
This week we feature another mystery sound: Snow Geese
Large, noisy flocks of Snow Geese can be found in Chesapeake Bay waters in winter months. The Snow Goose can be found in two color forms, the white morph and the blue morph. From 1916 to 1975, Snow Goose hunting in Eastern U.S. was banned due to low population levels of the birds, but populations now have grown so large that in some areas the birds are causing damage to their habitat. Thanks to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for providing this recording. Sources: Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “Bird Guide” Web site at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search, and “Birds of North America Online” at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/514/articles/introduction.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between October 21 and October 28.
- On October 26 in Newport News, the Marines Resources Commission is holding their regular Monthly Meeting. For more information, contact Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215.
- On October 28 in Richmond, the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries will host members of the Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus to provide requested information regarding license exemptions, fee structure, and future funding strategies. For more information, phone Bob Duncan at (804) 367-9231.
- October 21st, in Chesapeake, on the TMDL study for Northwest River, located in southern Chesapeake. For more information, phone Jennifer Howell at (757) 518-2111.
- On October 23, from 3 to 5 pm, Belle Isle Sate Park in Lancaster County is holding a Ghosts and Legends Canoe Trip. For more information, phone (804) 462-5030.
- And from October 25 to 29, the Virginia Center for Onsite Wastewater Training is conducting its System Design II course at Southside Virginia Community College’s Farmville campus. For more information, phone Lydia Shepherd at 434-292-3101.
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. 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. Minni Gupta wrote this week’s 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 www.virginiawaterradio.org.