Monday, March 29, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 10: Week of 3-29-2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 10) for the week of March 29, 2010. This week's show is hosted by Alan Raflo, research associate at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Our show presents news and notices that relate to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.
Click to Listen to Episode

NEWS
  • According to the Virginian-Pilot, scientists attending the ninth annual Back Bay forum on March 17 reported that this shallow, 40-square mile, Virginia Beach estuary continued to show ecological improvements in 2009. Aquatic life and habitat conditions began deteriorating in Back Bay in the 1980s, but in 2005 scientists began seeing improvements. Results from 2009 showed increases in fish populations, waterfowl, and submerged aquatic vegetation. Scientists and water-resource officials attribute the improved conditions to several factors, including land conservation, agricultural best management practices, fewer hog farms in the area, and public education about pollution prevention. News source: Va. Beach's Back Bay continues surprising rebound, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 3/18/10. More information about Back Bay is available from the Back Bay Restoration Foundation at http://www.bbrf.org/.
  • As of March 20, 15 states including Virginia have joined the legal challenge to the U.S. EPA’s December 2009 finding that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases endanger public health and are therefore subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli filed the Commonwealth’s challenge on February 16. The 14 states besides Virginia are Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah. Meanwhile, on March 19 the Southern Environmental Law Center, headquartered in Charlottesville, filed a motion to intervene in support of the EPA decision; the Law Center is representing the Norfolk-based non-profit organization Wetlands Watch. News sources: 2 groups fume as Va. disputes EPA proposal, Roanoke Times, 3/22/10; and States join Virginia in EPA challenge, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/22/10.
  • As reported in the Daily Press, Virginia’s 2010 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab season opened on March 18 with 1,864 commercial crabbing licenses, a decrease of 359 licenses following Virginia’s license buy-back program last year. The license buy-back was one of several state actions intended to reduce harvest pressure on crab populations, following the federal government’s declaration of a Chesapeake Blue Crab Fishery Disaster in 2008. Congress provided Virginia $15 million in fishery disaster funds, and the major uses of that money have been $6.7 million for the license buy-back; $2.4 million to train crabbers for oyster aquaculture; and $5 million to pay crabbers to retrieve lost crab pots, providing income to crabbers during the state’s closure of the winter-dredging season. News sources: Virginia's blue crab season comes with high hopes, Daily Press, 3/20/10; Virginia Marine Resources Commission—cited in the newspaper article—on the uses of funds.
  • And our last news item this week is our monthly Virginia water-status report. First, precipitation: According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, precipitation across Virginia between February 23 and March 24 ranged between about 1 and 5 inches. Some areas of southwestern, northern, and south-central Virginia received above-normal rainfall (compared to the historical record for this period), while rainfall in most of the state was normal or 1-2 inches below normal. Next, streamflow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch, streamflows averaged over the 28 days prior to March 24 were generally above normal in northern Virginia, central Virginia, and the New River basin; below normal in far southwestern Virginia and parts of south-central Virginia; and normal in most of south-central Virginia and in the upper James River basin. And last, our drought-watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor on March 23 showed Virginia being drought-free, as the state has been since November 2009.

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature another mystery sound: the Red-Winged Blackbird.

Found year-round throughout Virginia, this bird is often seen around ponds, marshes, and other wet areas. A black body with red-and-yellow shoulder patches makes the males easy to identify; females, though, are brownish and lack the shoulder colors. For more information about birds or bird-watching in Virginia, visit the Web site of the Virginia Society of Ornithology at http://www.virginiabirds.net. More information on bird species is available from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings:
  • On April 6, the advisory committee on a master plan for Middle Peninsula State Park meets in Gloucester. For more information, phone Robert Munson at (804)786-6140.
  • On April 7, the Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Donna Tiller at (804) 864-7470.
This week, March 29-April 5, there are no upcoming public meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters.

Finally, in upcoming educational events:
  • On April 1, 12, and 13, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is holding online seminars, or Webinars, about a proposed National Climate Service. For more information, phone Brady Phillips at (202) 482-2365.
  • On Apr. 2 and Apr. 9, 7-9 p.m., Belle Island State Park in Lancaster County is presenting “Froggy Went a’Courtin’", on the spring mating behavior and calls of frogs and toads. For more information, phone (804) 462-5030.
  • On Apr. 6 in Blacksburg, the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources Showcase offers posters and exhibits on college departments and programs for prospective students. For more information, phone Peggy Quarterman at (540) 231-5481.
  • And on Apr. 9-10, at Hull Springs Farm in Westmoreland County, Longwood University and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science present Living Shorelines Workshops. The April 9 session is for project designers and contractors; the April 10 session, for property owners, wetland boards, and local governments. For more information, phone (804) 472-2621.
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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/.

Show notes were provided by Jessica Razumich. Production assistance was provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by Innovation Space at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our  Web site at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 9: Week of 3-22-2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 9) for the week of March 22, 2010. This week's show is hosted by Alan Raflo, research associate at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Our show presents news and notices that relate to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.

Audio of this episode removed 6-17-13;  please contact Virginia Water Radio to request access to the audio file.



NEWS
  • A February 2010 report from the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at UVA assessed the economic impacts of expenditures on agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) needed to achieve goals of the 2005 Commonwealth of Virginia Chesapeake Bay Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Strategy. The study, requested by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, estimates that $804 million would be needed to implement the recommended BMPs. Typically such practices involve 75% of public money and a 25% landowner cost-share, so the public cost is estimated at $603 million and the private share at $201 million. The report estimates that this investment would result in $940 million of "total industrial output" and would generate over 11,000 jobs. The report title is Economic Impacts of Implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices to Achieve Goals Outlined in Virginia's Tributary Strategy.
  • Maryland officials have been expressing opposition to Virginia-based AES Corporation’s proposal to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Baltimore County, Maryland, with an 88-mile pipeline to Pennsylvania. As part of this opposition, on March 2 Maryland’s two U.S. senators joined with senators from Connecticut, Oregon, and Washington in co-sponsoring legislation that return to states the authority for citing liquefied natural gas terminals. The 2005 Energy Policy Act gave that authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). As of 3/5/10, the legislation-Senate Bill 3056-had been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • As reported by the Charlottesville Daily Progress, the Virginia Trout Stream Sensitivity Study is planning its third regional study on the effects of acidic deposition and other factors that affect water quality and habitat in Virginia's native trout streams. Previous surveys were conducted in 1987 and 2000. The 2010 survey will be conducted with the assistance of Trout Unlimited and other volunteer organizations. About 458 stream sites will be sampled in 34 counties during the last seven days of April 2010. Volunteer sample collectors are needed. For more information or to volunteer, phone Rick Webb at (540) 468-2881.
  • According to the Newport News Daily Press, on March 10 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration formally proposed the Loggerhead Turtle for the federal Endangered Species List. The proposal, up for public comment until June 14, would put the species on the list by summer 2011. The species has been listed as "threatened" since 1978; while populations increased after that listing, a steady decline began in the 1990s. Reasons for the decline are not clear but are thought to include boat strikes, entrapment in fishing gear, and loss of nesting habitats in Florida. Loggerhead Turtles are found worldwide, and several thousand enter the Chesapeake Bay each summer. 

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature another Virginia water musical selection: “James River Blues” performed by Old Crow Medicine Show from their 2006 album, “Big Iron World.”

The song (in its second verse) alludes to the bateaux, or flat-bottom boats, that once carried crops and goods across Virginia on the James River canal from the late 1700s to early-1800s. But in the 1830s rail transportation took over and the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad was built along the footpath of the James River canal. For more information about Virginia canals and canal boats, visit the Virginia Canals and Navigation Society Web site at http://vacanals.org.


UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings:
  • On March 30, the State Water Control Board Advisory Committee on the General permit for Nitrogen and Phosphorus Discharges and Nutrient Trading in the Chesapeake Bay, meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone George Cosby at 804-698-4067.
  • On March 31, the Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee meets in Rocky Mount. For more information, phone Tammy Stephenson at 540-562-6828.
  • And on April 1, the State Water Control Board’s advisory committee on Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area regulations meets in Williamsburg. For more information phone Melissa Porterfield at 804-698-4238.
Here’s one upcoming public meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • On March 29, in Martinsville, on the TMDL for the Smith River watershed in Henry County. For more information, phone Mary Dail at 540-562-6715.
Finally, in upcoming educational 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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

This week's show was written by Danielle Guerin. Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Technical assistance was provided by Innovation Space at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our NEW Web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 8: Week of 3-15-2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 8) for the week of March 15, 2010. This week's show is hosted by Alan Raflo, research associate at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Our show presents news and notices that relate to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.

Audio removed 4-2-12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to the audio file.


NEWS
  • The population level of Menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay continues to be an issue for federal and state fishery managers, scientists and others working on Bay restoration, and the Omega Protein Corporation of Houston, which operates a Menhaden harvesting operation out of Reedville, Virginia. Menhaden management received attention in the 2010 Virginia General Assembly: two failed bills would have transferred regulatory authority over Virginia’s Menhaden fishery from the General Assembly to the Marine Resources Commission; while two successful bills extend until 2014 the current Bay Menhaden harvest quota of 109,020 metric tons; the quota was set in 2006 by the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission and ratified by the General Assembly in 2007. Omega’s current annual Bay Menhaden harvest in about 90,000 metric tons per year. Complicating the issue is a recent decline in funds available for research on Menhaden populations, according to the March 2 Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  • The 2010 Virginia General Assembly also passed two bills—HB 1220 and SB 395—that delay stormwater regulations currently under consideration by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board. The regulations establish criteria for the quality and quantity of stormwater generated from land-disturbing activities, such as construction. Implementation of the regulations will now be delayed until no more than 280 days after the establishment of the U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and no later than December 1, 2011. The bill also requires the Board to establish an advisory committee to review the regulations.
  • The February 24 Charlottesville Daily Progress reported that a series of studies are underway revisiting various aspects of a long-term water-supply plan approved by Charlottesville and Albemarle County in 2006. The new studies followed increased cost estimates in 2008 for the expansion of Ragged Mountain Reservoir—a key part of the plan approved in 2006—and continuing local calls for reexamining other options. On February 23, the Lynchburg engineering firm Wiley & Wilson presented to the Charlottesville City Council their review of the plan to build a pipeline and sediment-removal facility to take water from the South Fork Rivanna River reservoir to an expanded Ragged Mountain reservoir. The study called the concept “reasonable” and estimated the cost at $63 million. This does not include the costs of the Ragged Mountain reservoir expansion; new cost estimates for that project are expected in May.
  • And in our last news item this week, from the March 7 Bristol Herald-Courier: Through the middle of the 1900’s, coal mining routinely produced large piles of rock and waste coal, known as “gob piles.” The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy says that Virginia has hundreds of gob piles, some as large as 20 acres and several hundred feet thick. The piles can collapse (a collapse in Dickenson County in the 1950s killed two people), slide into homes, contaminate waterways, and catch fire spontaneously, producing toxic air emissions. Eight companies in Virginia mine the coal from the piles, eventually removing them, but only seven piles are currently being mined and only 15 have been removed. The new Dominion Virginia Power coal-fired plant under construction in Wise County is designed to burn the waste coal from gob piles, and this is expected to increase activity to reduce the number of piles in the area.

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we featured another mystery water-related sound: the Spring Peeper frog.

This small frog is found throughout Virginia and most of the country east of the Mississippi. It moves in late winter and early spring to small, clean pools of water, where the males make a high-pitched “peep” to attract mates. In large breeding congregations, the combined peeps create a loud chorus.


UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings:
  • On March 18, the State Water Control Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Cindy Berndt at (804) 698-4378.
  • On March 19, the advisory committee on Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations meets in Richmond, with several video conference sites throughout the state. For more information, phone Allan Knapp at (804) 864-7458.
  • On March 23, the Marine Resources Commission meets in Newport News. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215. 
  • On March 24, the advisory committee on the general discharge permit for seafood processing facilities meets in Richmond. For more information, phone George Cosby at (804) 698-4067.
  • And also on March 24, the Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dick at (804) 367-8595.
Upcoming public meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • On March 23, in Lynchburg, on the TMDL for Beaver Creek in Campbell County. For more information phone Kelly Hitchcock at (434) 845-3491.
Upcoming educational 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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance has been provided by Patrick Fay. Technical assistance provided by Innovation Space.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 7: Week of 3-8-2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 7) for the week of March 8, 2010. This week's show is hosted by Alan Raflo, research associate at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Our show presents news and notices that relate to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.

AUDIO ARCHIVED 1-30-12; PLEASE CONTACT VIRGINIA WATER CENTRAL FOR ACCESS TO  THIS RECORDING.


NEWS 
  • Energy generation can involve water resources in many ways, from placement of facilities in coastal or ocean waters; to potential construction and operating impacts on water, air, climate, and wildlife; to the relative amounts of water supply needed by different energy sources. As a renewable and emissions-free energy source, wind energy is under development or consideration in many parts of the United States, including Virginia, both off-shore and on high ground. Here are some snapshots of recent wind-energy developments in the Commonwealth:
    1. In early March, the Roanoke Times reported that Chicago-based Invenergy intends to develop a 15-turbine wind-energy project on Poor Mountain in Roanoke County. The project would generate enough electricity for about 8000 households.
    2. On March 1, the Virginia State Corporation Commission gave final approval to the 19-turbine wind-energy project in Highland County, dismissing a complaint filed in August 2009 by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources that the project developers had not adequately consulted with the department over the potential impacts of the project on views from Camp Alleghany Battlefield.
    3. Throughout the state, local governments have also been considering, or have recently enacted, wind-energy facility ordinances. 4) And according to the February 26th Virginian-Pilot, Virginia’s first two applications for offshore wind-energy projects were filed in August and September 2009 by Apex Wind Energy Corporation of Charlottesville and by Seawind Renewable Energy Corporation of Richmond. The companies are seeking permits from the federal Minerals Management Service to lease space 12-25 miles off the Virginia Beach coast.
  • In late February, Lynchburg was seeking a state permit for placing rip-rap (large rocks used for stabilizing slopes) along about a mile of the James River where a sewer line-replacement project has been hampered by eroding river banks. The February 28th Lynchburg News & Advance reported that higher-than-normal rainfall since fall 2009 has resulted in more bank instability than was expected when the project was designed. The rip-rap placement would cost the city an estimated $3 million; the sewer-line replacement is estimated to cost $10 million.
  • According to the February 26th Newport News Daily Press, on February 23 the Virginia Marine Resources Commission approved a $3.5 million set of initiatives for Virginia’s oyster populations and industry. The initiatives include creating oyster sanctuaries and public reefs in the York River and on the Eastern Shore; replenishing sanctuaries in the Piankatank and Rappahannock rivers; and providing oyster larvae and equipment for crabbers to raise oysters.
  • And in our last news item this week: The February 25 Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star provided the following update on Virginia’s regulation of land-application of biosolids (or treated sewage sludge). Since January 2008, when the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) took over biosolids regulation from the Virginia Department of Health, the DEQ has issued 16 new permits, and reissued one permit, for biosolids land application. About 258,000 tons were applied statewide in 2008 (the most recent year for numbers were available). The state’s application is 15 tons per acre annually, and various buffer distances are required between application areas and wells, streams, homes, and property lines. Approximately 60 percent of land-applied biosolids in Virginia originate at the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant in Washington, D.C. 

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature a song by some of Virginia’s most well-known traditional musicians, about an important weather and water tragedy in southwestern Virginia: “The Story of the Flood” by the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys, on the CD “Native Virginia Ballads and Songs,” originally from Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute and reissued by Global Village Music. The song describes the devastating January-February 1957 flood in the Big Sandy watershed that affected Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee (1), influenced flood-control measures in the region (2), and even became a 1960 presidential campaign issue for John F. Kennedy in West Virginia (3).

Sources: 1) WSAZ, Huntington, W. Va., http://www.wsaz.com/wsazhistory/60moments/64891267.html, 3/4/10; and other sources; 2) Floyd County Times, Prestonburg, Ky., January 2007, at http://www.floydcountytimes.com/pages/full_story?page_label=full_story&article-1957%20flood%20remains%20county-s%20worst%20disaster%20=&id=1423453&widget=push&open=&, 3/4/10); and 3) JFK remarks of April 26, 1960, in Mullens, West Virginia, at http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resources/Archives/Reference+Desk/Speeches/JFK/JFK+Pre-Pres/1960/002PREPRES12SPEECHES_60APR26B.htm,3/4/10).


UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings:
  • On March 15, the Chesapeake Bay Local Advisory Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291.
  • On March 16, the Virginia Gas and Oil Board meets in Lebanon, in Russell County. For more information, phone David Asbury at (276) 415-9700.
  • On March 16, the Groundwater Protection Steering Committee meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Mary Ann Massie at (804) 698-4042.
  • And on March 17, the State Water Control Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Cindy Berndt at (804) 698-4378.
Upcoming public meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • March 16, in Suffolk, on the TMDL for shellfishing areas in the Lower Nansemond River watershed. For more information phone Jennifer Howell at (757)518-2111.
Finally, in upcoming educational events:
  • On March 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Axton in Henry County, the Dan River Basin Association presents the “Rivers and Bugs” summit on water and environmental issues in the Dan River watershed. Pre-registration is required. For more information, phone Regina Manns at (276) 631-2591.
  • And on March 16, at 6:30 p.m. in Gloucester Point in Gloucester County, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science presents “Discovery Lab: Shipwrecks to Living Reefs,” on the USS Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. For more information, phone Sarah McGuire at (804) 684-7878.

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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu
    Show notes and production assistance has been provided by Patrick Fay. Technical assistance provided by Innovation Space. Editorial assistance provided by Danielle Guerin.

    Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.

    If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463.

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Virginia Water Radio 6: Week of 3-1-2010

    Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 6) for the week of March 1, 2010. This week's show is hosted by Alan Raflo, research associate at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Our show presents news and notices that relate to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.
    Click to listen to episode 


    NEWS
    • On February 9, Potomac Riverkeeper filed a notice of intent to sue Flour Lane LLC, the main contractor on the project to build 14 miles of new high-occupancy, or HOT, lanes on the Capital Beltway in Virginia. According to the February 10th Washington Post, Potomac Riverkeeper alleges that the contractor has taken inadequate measures to prevent sediment from reaching Accotink Creek, a Potomac River tributary. In response to the group’s notice of intent to sue, Flour Lane stated that it has met all federal and state requirements. A Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation spokesperson told the Washington Post on February 9 that the agency found sediment-control failures by the contractor seven times in the past two years, and as recently as January 2010.
    • The February 15th Martinsville Bulletin reported that Martinsville expects to provide 3 to 4 percent of its annual energy needs, and save about $420,000 per year, by generating electricity from methane being released at a closed city landfill. The city has spent about $750,000 so far on the project and expects to spend another $2.5 million, possibly receiving $1 million in federal stimulus funds. The city has received estimates that the landfill could provide sufficient methane for the project for at least 20 years. Several other Virginia localities have landfill methane-to-electricity systems.
    • On February 21, the Washington Post reported that Loudoun County has approved a Limestone Overlay Zone in the U.S Rt. 15 corridor north of Leesburg to the Potomac River. New regulations in the county's zoning and subdivision ordinances establish buffer zones, require additional studies prior to approval of development, require community wells and wastewater-disposal systems for developments of 15 or more lots, and prohibit groundwater use for irrigation. Potential water-quality impacts and potential land collapse are two concerns with development in the county’s limestone-bedrock areas.
    • According to the Associated Press on February 19, Governor Robert McDonnell’s proposed cuts to state expenditures to cover a $4 billion shortfall include temporarily closing the following five of Virginia’s 35 state parks: Caledon Natural Area in King George County; False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach; Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County; Staunton River Battlefield Park in Halifax and Charlotte counties; and Twin Lakes State Park in Prince Edward County. The closures, which could be reversed when the state’s budget improves, would include lay-offs of wage staff and would save an estimated $500,000 per year.
    • And our last news item this week is a monthly report on precipitation, stream flow, and drought status. Precipitation across Virginia between January 25 and February 23 ranged around 3 to 8 inches. As of February 23, streamflows averaged over the past 28 days were mostly above normal or much above normal in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, while most western Virginia streamflows were normal to above normal, compared to the historical record of flows for this part of the year. And the weekly National Drought Monitor on February 23 showed Virginia being drought-free, as the state has been since November 2009.  

    WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

    This week we feature another mystery water-related sound: Brimley’s Chorus Frog, a small frog found in marshes, swamps, and wet woods in Virginia’s Coastal Plain. If you live in that part of the state, listen for this call during the species’ breeding season, typically from February to April. Thanks to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Frog Call Survey staff and to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for permission to use this recording from the 2008 CD, “The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads.”


    UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS 

    First, in government policy and regulatory meetings:
    • On March 9, the Department of Environmental Quality’s advisory committee on a general permit for sewage discharges of 1000 gallons per day or less will meet in Richmond. For more information, phone George Cosby at (804) 698-4067.
    Upcoming public meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters include the following:
    • March 4 in Low Moor, on the TMDL for the Jackson River in Alleghany and Botetourt counties and the City of Covington. For more information, phone Jason Hill at (540) 562-6724.
    • March 4 in Sussex, on the TMDL for Assamoosick Swamp and several tributaries in Sussex and Southampton Counties. For more information, phone Margaret SmIgo at (804) 527-5124.
    • And March 8 in Arlington, on the TMDL for the tidal Four Mile Run in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. For more information, phone Katie Conaway at (703) 583-3804.
    Finally, in upcoming educational 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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

    Show notes and production assistance has been provided by Patrick Fay. Technical assistance provided by Innovation Space. Editorial assistance provided by Danielle Guerin.

    Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.

    If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463.