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- Throughout December, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, located in Rockville, Maryland, is asking for basin watershed groups to provide information for a Potomac River Basin Watershed Group Directory. The directory will allow groups to share funding information and lessons from project successes and failures, and it will also include an online map to allow people to find their local watershed group. The Commission hopes to receive information from each Potomac watershed group by the end of December and to develop the map by February 2011. To participate, phone the Commission at (301) 984-1908 or visit potomacriver.org. News source: Interstate Commission on Potomac River Basin, www.potomacriver.org, 12/1/10.
- On December 1, Governor McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring submitted 133 recommendations for reducing state government costs, increasing efficiency, privatizing some functions, and reviewing state mandates on localities. The Commission also made 79 additional recommendations regarding the state’s energy use, waste management, and water use by state agencies and at state-owned or leased facilities. The water recommendations include the following: increased auditing of water use and expenses; employee training for water-use awareness; increased water-efficiency standards for new state buildings; using various practices to reduce building and landscape water use; investigating opportunities for wastewater reuse; and a statewide study of potential cost savings from consolidating, and possibly privatizing, water and wastewater facilities operated by state agencies. News source: Governor McDonnell Receives Full Report from Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 12/1/10. The full report and other information about the Commission are available online at http://www.reform.virginia.gov/.
- The Bay Coast Railroad Barge will resume service in mid-December, after suspending service in 2009 to correct structural safety problems. The barge provides a connection over 26 miles of Chesapeake Bay water between rail lines on the Eastern Shore and in Hampton Roads. While the barge was being repaired, freight it normally carries was hauled by trucks through the Bay Bridge-Tunnel or by the Norfolk Southern rail line through Maryland and then back to Hampton Roads. The $1 million worth of barge repairs were paid for by $700,000 from the Commonwealth and $300,000 from Accomack County, Northampton County, and Bay Coast Railroad. News source: Governor McDonnell Announce Rail-Barge Service from Eastern Shore to Resume, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 12/7/10.
- On December 4, 11 Waynesboro business leaders agreed to serve on a board to help create the Center for Coldwaters Restoration along the South River. The idea for the Center is to develop an advanced hatchery for Brook Trout. The hatchery would support research and education on the water-resources and fisheries impacts of chemical contamination, land use and development, and climate change. The project is estimated to cost $5 million for construction and for the first five years of operation. News sources: Waynesboro hatchery leaders step up, Waynesboro News Virginian, 12/5/10; and “Summit emphasizes revitalization,” Waynesboro News Virginian, 4/14/10.
- And our last news item this week starts with a little quiz. True or false: trash thrown onto a street is often carried by stormwater into local waterways and eventually into larger rivers? That’s quite ture. But in a survey of 1000 adults done in the Potomac River watershed in 2008 by the Trash Free Potomac River Watershed Initiative, 77 percent of respondents incorrectly believed tha So far, Arlington and Fairfax counties, Prince Georges County in Maryland, and the District of Columbia have agreed to implement the public-education campaign. The campaign is one of several projects being done by the Initiative towards a goal of cleaning all trash from Potomac basin waterways by 2013. News source: Potomac Basin Reporter, Sept./Oct. 2010. More information about the Initiative’s Regional Anti-Litter Campaign, including access to the 2008 survey results, is available online at http://www.fergusonfoundation.org/trash_initiative/antilitter.shtml.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC
This week we feature another mystery sound: The Great Blue Heron
A large, mostly gray bird found year-round in Virginia and much of the United States, Great Blue Herons are a familiar sight in all kinds of water bodies, standing very still as they hunt for fish and other aquatic animals. They will also, however, venture into upland fields in search of rodents. Great Blues usually nest in colonies with other herons and related species, typically building a nest of sticks and other materials high up in trees or in other places out of reach of predators. Thanks to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for providing th is recording. Information on Great Blue Herons was taken from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001); Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rd Edition, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); the Cornell University 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.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between Dec. 16 and December 22.
- On December 21, the Marine Resources Commission meets in Newport News. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215.
- December 16, in Cedar Bluff, on the TMDL study for bacterial impairments in Coal Creek, Middle Creek, Plum Creek, and the Clinch River, all in Tazewell County. Coal Creek also has an aquatic-life impairment. For more information, phone Allen Newman at (276) 676-4804.
- And also on December 16, in Madison, on the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in Little Dark Run and the Robinson River, both in Madison County. For more information, phone Bob Slusser (Sluss-er) at (540) 351-1590.
- On the first Saturday of each month through March 2011, people can learn the basics of fly fishing at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake. The sessions, covering casting, fly-tying, and equipment, are organized by Chesapeake Parks and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Bill Wills Chapter of Trout Unlimited. For more information, phone (757) 421-7151.
- And on December 18, from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Suffolk, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is holding its annual Christmas Bird Count. Volunteers of all skill levels needed, but registration is required. In addition, skilled volunteers are needed through March 2011 for weekly surveys of waterfowl and Rusty Blackbirds. For more information about the Christmas count or about the waterfowl/blackbird surveys, phone Don Schwab or Deloras Freeman at (757) 986-3705.
For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall. Click here for Virginia General Assembly legislative committee and commission meetings. 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. 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.