Saturday, July 24, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 26: Week of July 26, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 26) for the week of July 26, 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
Stephen H. Schoenholtz,
Director, Virginia Water 
Resources Research Center

Our news segment this week features recent comments by Water Center Director Stephen Schoenholtz on the main challenges he sees for water resources in Virginia. The comments come from a July 15 interview with Dr. Schoenholtz by Virginia Water Radio producer Patrick Fay.

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we featured a new mystery sound: hand water pump

This hand water pump sound was recorded at a camping site along the C&O Canal Towpath in Maryland, just across the Potomac River from Virginia. While such pumps are no longer routinely seen at residences or in communities in the United States, hand-powered well pumps are an important element in providing clean, reliable water to many of the nearly one billion people in the world estimated to lack access to safe drinking water. If you’re interested in world water needs, information is available from many organizations, such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and Water.org, the organizer of World Water Day each March. UNICEF, at http://www.tapproject.org/about/world-water-crisis.html, estimates about 900 million people lack safe drinking water. Information from the World Health Organization on water needs is available at http://www.who.int/topics/water/en/. Information on World Water Day is available at http://water.org/world-water-day/. More information about the use of hand-powered water well pumps in developing countries is available at many Web sites, such as the following: “The Water Page,” at http://www.africanwater.org/htn.htm; “The Rural Water Supply Network,” at http://www.rwsn.ch/; “Afghan Water Well Projects” by the American Friendship Foundation, at http://affhope.org/current-projects/afghan-water-well-project/; “A UNICEF Success Story from Haiti,” at http://www.tapproject.org/about/unicef-success-stories/haiti.html.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between July 28-August 3.
  • On July 28, the technical advisory committee for development of a general permit for pesticide discharges meets in Richmond. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022.  The committee is assisting the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing a permit under the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES). The relevant Virginia regulation is 9 VAC 25-800. More information and relevant documents are at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2418.
  •  On July 29, the regulatory advisory panel for development of a permit for small renewable offshore wind energy projects meets in Glen Allen. A public hearing on this proposed permit will be held August 3, also in Glen Allen. For more information about either meeting, phone Carol Wampler at (804) 698-4579. This advisory panel is helping the DEQ in development of 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 http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3089&display=stages.
Now, here is one upcoming meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • July 29, in Alexandria, on the TMDL study for Cameron Run, Holmes Creek, and Hunting Creek, located in the Potomac River watershed in Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, the City of Falls Church, and Fairfax County. For more information, phone Katie Conaway at (703) 583-3804.
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • Also on July 31, Hungry Mother State Park in Smyth County is holding “Fishin’ for a Cure,” a fishing tournament to raise money for cancer organizations. For more information, phone (276) 781-7400.
  • And on August 7 in Newport News, the Mariners Museum is holding Mermaids and Sea Monster Family Day. Visitors can hear tales of these creatures, participate in activities for all ages, and have their photo taken with a sea monster! For more information, phone (757) 591-7744.

    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. In the educational and recreation events section, 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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

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 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 www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 25: Week of July 19, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 25) for the week of July 19, 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
  • A new oyster report released by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in early July found that research suggests that oyster populations, especially in the southern Bay, may be developing resistance to diseases that have decimated oyster numbers in recent decades. For example, the annual average percentage of native oysters dying from the oyster disease MSX in Virginia’s York River decreased from 50 percent in 2000 to five percent currently, while occurrence of MSX in the lower James River decreased from about 80 percent in 1995 to about 24 percent in 2009. In Maryland’s Bay waters, oyster mortality from diseases decreased from 29 percent in the 1984-2004 period to 17 percent in the 2005-2009 period. Other key conclusions and assertions of the report are 1) that poaching, or illegal harvesting, is a common problem in Bay oyster sanctuaries; 2) oyster sanctuaries can provide significant economic return by enhancing reproduction of commercially valuable fish; 3) reconstructed reefs continue to be needed as oyster-attachment areas; 4) wa ter pollution is a significant obstacle to oyster recovery; and 5) oyster aquaculture offers greater potential for economic growth than does wild-oyster harvesting.  News source: “On the Brink: Chesapeake’s Native Oysters—What it Will Take to Bring Them Back” (36 pages), available online at http://www.cbf.org/Page.aspx?pid=1940.  
  • Over the July 4th weekend, over 1,147 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from an Ammars, Inc., store in Bluefield, entered Beaver Creek, and eventually reached the Bluestone River, which flows across the state line into West Virginia. State agencies in Virginia and West Virginia were involved in efforts to contain the spill and in subsequent clean-up efforts, which are being conducted by consulting firm Marshall Miller. As of July 14, the extent of aquatic-life impacts were still being assessed. News Sources: Diesel spill tops 1,100 gallons - Bluefield (W. Va.) Daily Telegraph, 7/14/10, and Crews continue work to control diesel spill, Bluefield (W. Va.) Daily Telegraph, 7/7/10.  
  • As of the July 13 assessment by the National Drought Monitor, 86 percent of Virginia was rated as “abnormally dry,” and 37 percent of the state was rated as being in “moderate drought.” On July 14, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, issued a statewide drought watch. The DEQ’s news release announcing the watch said that, “Despite recent rain in portions of the Commonwealth, the potential exists for drought impacts to intensify if hot, dry conditions redevelop.” The state is recommending that localities, public water supplies, and self-supplied water users take the following steps: minimize non-essential water use; review or develop local water-conservation and drought-contingency plans, and take conservation or water-use restriction actions consistent with those plans; distribute water-conservation information to citizens; continue monitoring the condition of public waterworks and self-supplied water systems; and aggressively pursue leak-detection and leak-repair programs. News Sources: Virginia issues statewide drought watch, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 7/14/10; and the U.S. Drought Monitor, http://drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html. More information from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force is available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/waterresources/drought.php.  
  • And our last news item this week: In July, the Virginia Department of Transportation awarded a $424,000 grant to Mathews County for work to stabilize and protect its historic New Point Comfort island lighthouse. Since 1805, the lighthouse on the quarter-acre island has provided guidance to ships traveling Mobjack Bay, which separates the Middle Peninsula counties of Mathews and Gloucester. The new grant, coupled with a previous $149,000 grant and a 20-percent local match, will fund construction of a 12-foot high, 46-foot wide, and 300-foot long stone wall around the island. Construction is expected to begin in 2011. Meanwhile, a $10,000 donation by two descendants of Elzy Burroughs, the lighthouse’s original stonemason, has started a long-term fund for maintenance of the lighthouse. News source: “Grant to help Mathews fix lighthouse island,” Daily Press, 7/11/10.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC
 
This week we featured a new mystery sound: The rail clatter and warning horn of a train recorded from the Potomac River.

Many railroad lines developed along river courses, where cities and other commercial centers had originally located to take advantage of river-based transportation and commerce. Virginia examples include active railroad lines along parts of the Clinch, James, Roanoke, and Shenandoah rivers, as well as former lines now converted to recreational trails, such as the 57-mile long New River Trail State Park. For one example of the development of different transportation means along a river course, see “Scottsville Transportation” at the Web site of The Scottsville Museum, http://scottsvillemuseum.com/transportation/home.html. Information about the history of transportation along the Potomac River is available at the National Park Service’s Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Web site, at http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm. Information about New River Trail State Park is available at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/new.shtml.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between July 21-27.
  • On July 23, the regulatory advisory panel on proposed changes to Virginia’s Stormwater Management Regulations meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. The regulatory advisory panel on Stormwater Management Regulations is advising the Soil and Water Conservation Board in considering amendments to Parts 1, 2, 3, and 13 of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations (4 VAC 50-60). The proposed regulations to address criteria for water quality and quantity, criteria and procedures for local stormwater-management programs, and the administration and schedule of fees. Documents and more information on the long process of considering these amendments are available online at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1145.
  • On July 27, the Marine Resources Commission meets in Newport News. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215.
Now, here are two upcoming meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • July 22, in Honaker, on the TMDL implementation plan for Lewis Creek in the Clinch River watershed in Russell County. For more information, phone Martha Chapman at (276) 676-5529.
  • July 26, in Fairfax, on the TMDL study for Accotink Creek in the Potomac River watershed in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. For more information, phone Gregory Voigt at (215) 814-5737.
Finally, looking ahead a bit to some educational and recreational events in August:
  • On August 14, at Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox, Virginia Citizens for Water Quality is holding its annual summit. The theme this year is Volunteer Monitoring: The Next Generation. For more information, phone David Jennings at the Virginia Office of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, at (804) 775-0951.
  • And on August 20 to 22 in Roanoke, the 8th International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture takes place at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. For more information, phone (540) 553-1809.

    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. In the educational and recreation events section, 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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

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 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 www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 24: Week of July 12, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 24) for the week of July 12, 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.

Sound file archived 11/21/11.  For a copy, please contact Virginia Water Radio.

NEWS

  • Through the Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) is offering grants of up to $5,000 for groups and individuals to monitor the quality of Virginia’s waters from January 1 to December 31, 2011. According to the program’s Web site, the grants can be used for purchasing monitoring equipment, training volunteers, analyzing samples, and promoting stream-monitoring efforts in locations where the DEQ is not currently collecting water quality samples. Applications are due by September 1, 2010. More information and the grant application are available online at www.deq.virginia.gov/cmonitor, or phone Stuart Torbeck at (804) 698-4461.  News source: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality/Citizen Monitoring Web page, www.deq.virginia.gov/cmonitor, 7/7/10.
  • July 1, 2010, was the take-effect date for a 2008 Virginia General Assembly bill requiring that household dishwashing detergent in Virginia have no more than 0.5 percent phosphorus by weight. Phosphorus above this level was already banned by Virginia law in laundry detergents, dishwashing compounds, household cleaners, metal cleaners, and industrial cleaners. The 2008 legislation gave manufacturers two years to develop low-phosphorus alternatives, which are now widely available. Similar laws in Maryland and Pennsylvania also took effect on July 1. Excessive phosphorus in waterways—along with excessive nitrogen—leads to overpopulation of algae. Too much algae, in turn, can block sunlight to desirable aquatic plants and can lead to low oxygen in the water during nighttime and when dead algae are decomposed by bacteria.  News source: Banning phosphates, Virginia goes green, still gets clean, Virginian-Pilot, 7/1/10. For information on the 2008 bill, HB 233, see the Virginia Legislative Information System Web site, at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?081+sum+HB233.
  • The Reedy Creek Coalition and the Virginia office of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay are collaborating on a project to help homeowners and businesses in Richmond adopt landscaping practices that will reduce residential stormwater runoff and the sediment and other pollutants that such runoff delivers to Reedy Creek, a James River tributary. The three-year project involves volunteers doing assessments of residences to identify options to decrease stormwater runoff. The project is funded by a $390,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and by local matches, including $120,000 from Phillip Morris parent company Altria.  News source: Chesapeake Bay effort targets polluted runoff in Richmond , Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/6/10
  • In our last news item this week: Dry and hot conditions in June and early July led Governor McDonnell and the Virginia Department of Forestry to warn of increased wildfire potential. The July 6 National Drought Monitor rated 86 percent of Virginia as at least “abnormally dry,” and as of July 7, Virginia rated above 500 on a ground-moisture index that ranges from 0 to 800, with 0 representing saturated conditions and 800 representing extremely dry conditions. In a governor’s news release on July 7, State Forester Carl Garrison said, “While the drought index scale has not yet risen to the level at which the Virginia Department of Forestry will officially enact a burn ban, conditions are extremely dry and cities and counties across the Commonwealth are advised to closely watch local conditions and take any proactive measures they deem necessary.” The Forestry Department notes that burning trash or debris is the leading cause of wildfires, but wildfires can be sparked by other activities, as well—such as campfires, vehicle towing, and parking on grass. So keep water or a fire extinguisher handy during such activities. And let’s hope the rainfall that reached Virginia on July 12 is widespread and soaking.  News source: The U.S. Drought Monitor Web site is http://drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html. Governor McDonnell Warns Virginians of Increased Fire Danger; Extreme Temperatures, Lack of Rain Concern Virginia Forestry Officials, Virginia Governor’s News Release, 7/7/10. More information about wildfire and Virginia forests is available at the Department of Forestry Web site, http://www.dof.virginia.gov/index.shtml.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC
This week we feature a delightful banjo tune inspired by one of Virginia’s major rivers: “Rappahannock Rapids,” written by Morey A. Stanton. After visiting Rappahannock River Campground in Richardsville (in Culpeper County) for many years, Mr. Stanton wrote the tune for the staff at the campground, who now feature it on their Web site. The headwaters of the Rappahannock River, and of its major tributaries the Hazel and Rapidan rivers, begin at the Blue Ridge in Fauquier, Rappahannock, Madison, and Greene counties. The Rappahannock ends at its confluence with the Chesapeake Bay, where the river separates Lancaster County on the Northern Neck from Middlesex County on the Middle Peninsula. The river’s approximately 184-mile length is rich with natural beauty and aquatic habitats, local and national history, and of course, rapids! Thanks to Rappahannock River Campground for permission to use this recording. “Rappahanock Rapids” is posted at the Web site of Rappahannock River Campground, http://www.canoecamp.com/. This episode’s information on the Rappahannock River was taken from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Web site at www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/waterbodies/display.asp?id=170, 7/7/10.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between July 14-20.
  • On July 14, the technical advisory committee for development of a general permit for pesticide discharges meets in Richmond. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022.  The committee is assisting the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing a permit under the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES). The relevant Virginia regulation is 9 VAC 25-800. More information and relevant documents are at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2418.
  • Also on July 14, the Goose Creek Scenic River Advisory Board meets in Leesburg. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. 
  • On July 15, the Soil and Water Conservation Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. 
  • On July 20, the regulatory advisory panel for development of a permit for small renewable solar energy projects meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone Carol Wampler at (804) 698-4579.  This advisory panel is helping the DEQ in development of a permit by rule for small renewable solar energy projects, a regulatory action that the 2009 General Assembly (HB 2175/SB 1347) required for small renewable energy projects from various sources.
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • On July 14, 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., at Longwood University in Farmville, Clean Virginia Waterways is conducting a Rain Barrel and Water Conservation Train-the-Trainer Workshop, for employees of non-profit organizations, churches, schools, soil/water conservation districts, and other environmental-educational groups. For more information, phone Sandy Miller (434) 395-2602.
  • And on nine dates between July 17 and September 18, at several Tidewater Virginia locations, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Lynnhaven River Now, and the Elizabeth River Project are holding oyster gardening seminars for people who wish to raise baby oysters for restoration projects in the Bay and its tributaries. For more information, phone Chris Moore at (757) 622-1964.

    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. In the educational and recreation events section, 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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

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 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 www.virginiawaterradio.org.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 23: Week of July 5, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 23) for the week of July 5, 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
  • A reduction by an estimated 60 percent of stormwater runoff is expected to be one of the benefits of a major re-landscaping of the grounds at Virginia’s State Capitol. The stormwater-reduction features include rain gardens and porous paving material in walkways. Paid for by federal grants, the approximately $800,000 project is scheduled to begin in August and be completed in the fall.  News source: Virginia's State Capitol Goes Green, WVIR (Charlottesville) Television, 6/11/10.
  • On June 24, the Town of Culpeper dedicated a $27.7 million upgrade at its wastewater treatment plant. According to the Culpeper Star-Exponent, the two-year project increased the plant’s capacity by 33 percent and added two nutrient-removal tanks that will reduce the plant’s discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus from about 8-10 parts per million to 1-2 parts per million. Culpeper’s nutrient-removal project is one of hundreds occurring in Virginia and other Chesapeake Bay states as a result of requirements to reduce nutrients reaching Bay waters. Culpeper’s plant is one of the first dozen or so facilities in Virginia to have completed its improvements.  News source: Cleaner Wastewater - Culpeper Star-Exponent, 6/25/10.
  • Speaking of the Chesapeake Bay, two significant legal developments took place this past week. First, On June 30, the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee approved the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Act, sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland. The bill reauthorizes the federal Chesapeake Bay Program and addresses the federal and state roles in developing and enforcing requirements for restoring the Bay. Among other provisions, it would establish a regional nutrient-credit trading system by 2012, and authorize $1.5 billion in new funds for water pollution-prevention grants. According to the New York Times, the Senate committee passed an amendment that would remove authority for the U.S. EPA to write permits for non-point pollution sources, especially agriculture; and would limit EPA’s authority to change state plans for implementing the requirements of the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, currently being developed.  News sources: Sen. Benjamin Cardin’s Office News Release, 6/30/10; and Md. Senator Strikes Deal With GOP to Move Chesapeake Cleanup Bill Through Committee, New York Times, 6/30/10. More information: The Cardin bill is S.1816. The companion House bill is H.R.3852, sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. For details on the two bills and their legislative status, please visit http://thomas.loc.gov and search by bill number.  
  • The second Bay legal development was on July 1, when the EPA announced draft annual allocations, or limits, for nitrogen and phosphorus reaching the Bay, as part of the agency’s development of the Bay TMDL. The proposed basin-wide annual allocations are 187.4 million pounds of nitrogen and 12.5 million pounds of phosphorus. These overall amounts are divided among the six Bay states and the District of Columbia, as well as among the major Bay tributary rivers. Virginia’s proposed annual allocations are 53.4 million pounds of nitrogen and 5.4 million pounds of phosphorus. The EPA expects to issue allocations for sediment in August. The agency plans to have a draft of the complete Bay TMDL in late September and a final version by the end of December.  News sources: EPA Announces Next Step Toward Establishing Rigorous Pollution Diet for Chesapeake Bay, U.S. EPA News Release, 7/1/10; and EPA Reaffirms December 2010 Deadline for Bay TMDL, U.S. EPA News Release, 6/18/10. More information about the allocations and the Bay TMDL overall is available online at http://www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl/. 
  •  And the last news item this week is our monthly water status report. First, in precipitation: According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, between June 2 and July 1 precipitation was well above normal in part of far southwestern Virginia; normal to 1.5 inches below normal in other parts of the southwest as well as in parts of south-central and southeastern Virginia; and 1.5 to 3 inches below normal in other parts of the southeast as well as in most of the western and northern areas. Second, in stream flow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch, streamflows averaged over the month of June were normal at many gaging stations in the middle and lower James, Rappahannock, Roanoke, New, Holston, and Clinch basins; below-normal at many locations in the Chowan, Upper James, Shenandoah, Potomac, and York basins; and above-normal in the Big Sandy basin. And last, our drought watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor on June 23 showed abnormally dry conditions in over 78 percent of Virginia. Prior to June, Virginia had been drought-free for most of the time since October 2009.  Sources and additional information: Precipitation: Southeast Regional Climate Center precipitation map, http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps; see below for the map used this week. Streamflow: U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=mv01d&r=va&w=pa28d%2Cmap; see map and color-code chart below. Drought: The National Drought Monitor map is at http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html; the Virginia archive table is at http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_tables.htm?VA
 

Streamflow averaged over June 2010, compared to historical records (see color code chart below).


WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC
This week we featured a new mystery sound: The Green Frog
Despite the common name, this frog sometimes looks more brown than green. Green Frogs are found throughout Virginia and the southeastern United States, inhabiting streams, ponds, and lakes. A Green Frog’s breeding call is the sound you just heard, but these animals also make a characteristic squeak when jumping away from perceived danger. Information from Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, by B.S. Martof et. al., University of North Carolina Press/Chapel Hill (1980); Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, J.C. Mitchell and K.K. Reay, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (1999); and the “Frog and Toad Calling Survey” Web site of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/frogsurvey/.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between July 7-13.
  • On July 7, the Regulatory Advisory Panel on development of a permit for Small Renewable Offshore Wind Energy Projects meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Carol Wampler at (804) 698-4579.  The advisory panel is assisting the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in the development of a permit regulation for small renewable offshore wind energy projects. Development of the regulation was mandated by the 2009 Virginia General Assembly. More information and relevant documents are at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=14775.
  • On July 8, the Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Fund Advisory Board meets in Big Stone Gap. For more information, phone Gavin Bledsoe at (276) 523-3212.  This board advises the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. The July 8 meeting is to review and discuss the current status and administration of the Reclamation Fund.
Now, here are two upcoming events about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • On July 8, in Cedar Bluff, is a public meeting on the TMDL for the Clinch River and three tributaries in Tazewell County. For more information, phone Shelley Williams at (276) 676-4845.  The three Clinch River tributaries included in this TMDL are Coal Creek, Middle Creek, and Plum Creek. The waterways have aquatic life and bacteria impairments.
  • Also on July 8, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the U.S. EPA is holding another in its series of online seminars, or Webinars, on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. The link to the Webinar is www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl. For more information, phone Tom Damm at (215) 814-5560. Registration for the EPA Webinar on the Bay TMDL is available at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/918076986.
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • On July 11, the Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown is holding its Heritage Festival and Workboat Races. This is the museum’s annual salute to Chesapeake Bay working watermen. For more information, phone (757) 887-2641.
  • And from July 16 to 18, the Dan River Basin Association is organizing the Dan River Sojourn. The Sojourn features 22 miles of paddling along the Dan in North Carolina—just below the Virginia border—and special programs highlighting the basin. For more information, phone Wayne Kirkpatrick at (276) 694-4449.

    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. In the educational and recreation events section, 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 Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

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 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 www.virginiawaterradio.org.