Monday, October 25, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 39: Week of Oct. 25, 2010

Sound file archived 10-24-16; for access, contact Virginia Water Radio.

This episode's "Water Sounds and Music" segment, on the Hazel River, was re-done in Episode 339, 10-24-16.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 39), for the week of October 25, 2010.

  • On October 13, at the Governor’s Conference on Energy held in Richmond, Governor Robert McDonnell reiterated his position that offshore oil and gas exploration should be part of a Virginia energy strategy, along with traditional fuels (such as coal), nuclear power, biofuels, offshore wind, and other renewable alternatives. The governor’s speech came one day after the U.S. Department of the Interior ended the moratorium on deep-water oil and gas exploration that was imposed on July 12 in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. That removal, however, did not re-open the Lease Sale 220 area off of Virginia’s coast that was being considered for oil and gas exploration prior to the Gulf oil spill. A potential lease sale in that area for 2012 was canceled by Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar on May 12, to “allow additional consultations with the Department of Defense on military training requirements in the area,” according to Interior’s news release on the action. The next possible opportunity for that area to be opened to leasing would be as part of the Interior’s 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf Program. News sources: Governor McDonnell calls for Virginia offshore drilling, Newport News Daily Press, 10/13/10; and State's energy future lies offshore, McDonnell says, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 10/14/10. Additional information from Deepwater Drilling May Resume for Operators Who Clear Higher Bar for Safety, Environmental Protection, U.S. Department of the Interior News Release, 10/12/10; and Salazar Calls for New Safety Measures for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations; Orders Six Month Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling; Cancels Western Gulf and Virginia Lease Sales, Suspends Proposed Arctic Drilling, U.S. Department of Interior News Release, 5/27/10. More information on the Virginia Governor’s Energy Conference is available at

  • On October 14 in Yorktown, a group of watermen, scientists, and businessmen announced formation of the Oyster Company of Virginia, a privately funded oyster-restoration cooperative. The group, which incorporated in August, plans to sell memberships and use the money raised to finance training and equipment for people who want to start oyster farming operations. Cooperative funds will also be used to lease state waters for these operations. The cooperative has an initial goal of financing 12 people to start oyster aquaculture, at an estimated $200,000 per operation, and the group has raised about $1 million so far. News sources: ; “Group launches Va.'s first oyster co-op,” Newport News Daily Press, 10/13/10; “Virginia oyster restoration plan proposed,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/14/10; and Partnership focuses on bay recovery, oyster revival, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 10/15/10. More information: the Web site for the Oyster Company of Virginia, which features a humorous take on the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is at

  • And in our last news item: On October 5, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (or NOAA) announced that it is proposing five populations of Atlantic Sturgeon, including the Chesapeake Bay population, for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The fish, which has been known to grow as long as 16 feet and live for as much as 60 years, inhabits rivers, bays, and estuaries along the eastern U.S. coast. According to NOAA’s news release on the proposed listing, the threats to Atlantic Sturgeon include “unintended catch of Atlantic sturgeon in fisheries, vessel strikes, poor water quality, dams, lack of regulatory mechanisms for protecting the fish, and dredging.” NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service is accepting public comments on the proposed listing until January 4, 2011. News source: NOAA Proposes Five Atlantic Sturgeon Populations for Listing as Endangered or Threatened, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) News Release, 10/5/10. More information about Atlantic Sturgeon, its status, and how to comment on the proposed Endangered Species Listing is available at the NOAA Web site

This week we feature an instrumental tune about one of Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountain streams: “Hazel River,” by Timothy Seaman with Henry Smith and Paulette Murphy, on the 1997 CD “Here on This Ridge,” from Pine Wind Music. The CD was a project celebrating Shenandoah National Park and the people and lands of the Blue Ridge. The Hazel River begins on the Blue Ridge in Rappahannock County, and travels approximately 48 miles to its confluence with the Rappahannock River in Culpeper County. According to Mr. Seaman, the song commemorates a 1977 hike downstream along the river’s headwaters to a waterfall and a cave, and the composition reflects that experience by transitioning downward through several musical keys. Information on the Hazel River’s length was taken from “Virginia’s Hazel River,” by the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection, online at

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between October 28-November 3.
  • 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.

  • On November 2, the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board’s Northern Area Review and Southern Area Review committees meet in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291.
  • Between October 28 and November 3, there are no meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters in Virginia, but the public comment period on the U.S. EPA’s draft Chesapeake Bay TMDL continues until November 8. For more information, phone Tom Damm at (215) 814-5560.  The EPA’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL Web site is
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
  • Fall Forestry and Wildlife Tours, organized by the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, continue on October 29 in Russell and Wise counties, and on November 10 in King & Queen County. For more information, phone Jennifer Gagnon at (540) 231-6391.

  • On October 30 in Charlottesville, the Virginia Master Well Owner Network is holding a volunteer training. For more information, phone Erin James Ling at (540) 231-9058. The Master Well-owner Network volunteer training is for people who would like to help other understand, protect, and manage their private water supplies.

  • On November 4, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point is holding its Fall Tidal Wetlands Workshop. For more information, phone (804) 684-7380. The VIMS Fall Tidal Wetlands Workshop is intended for anyone interested in decision-making along tidal shorelines in the Commonwealth.

  •  And on November 5, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg in the morning and at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in the afternoon, the Garden Club of Virginia is holding “Beneath the Surface”, a public education forum on issues related to the Atlantic Ocean and coastal areas. The afternoon session includes talks on shoreline erosion and on getting energy from algae. For more information, phone Peyton Wells at (804) 285-0030.

    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. 
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