Monday, August 30, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 31: Week of August 30, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 31) for the week of August 30, 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 6-18-12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to audio file (length: 8:32).

NEWS

This week our news segment offers several water-supply “snapshots” from around the Commonwealth.
  • Potomac River basin: In May 2010, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin released a study of expected long-range water demand and availability for utilities serving the area around Washington, D.C., including several northern Virginia localities. The Washington Metropolitan Area Water Supply Reliability Study is repeated every five years for the Washington Aqueduct, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and Fairfax Water. The main conclusions of the demand and resource forecast for the year 2040 are as follows:
    1. The area’s current water supply should meet demands through 2030 under a range of hydrologic conditions. 
    2. By 2040, during droughts the system may struggle to meet demands unless there are usage restrictions, developing additional supplies, or both. 
    3. Summertime increases in water usage may be offsetting the benefits of water-efficient indoor appliances. 
    4. The system’s largest reservoir, Jennings Randolph, is apparently losing storage capacity due to sedimentation faster than previously estimated. 
News source: 2010 Washington Metropolitan Area Water Supply Reliability Study Part 1: Demand and Resource Availability Forecast for the Year 2040, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, accessed 8/24/10. 
  • James River basin: On August 17, Louisa County said that it is ending discussions with Fluvanna County about a proposed project to build a pipeline from the James River across Fluvanna to the developing Zion Crossroads area on the Fluvanna-Louisa border. The counties have been discussing a joint water project for many years, and in April 2009 they formed the James River Authority. On August 16, however, Fluvanna County decided not to agree to Louisa’s requirement that the counties establish shared funding of the Authority and seek funding for the Zion Crossroads pipeline from the Virginia Resources Authority. Fluvanna opponents to the project and to funding the James River Authority have expressed concerns about potential tax increases and about yielding control to the Authority. News sources: Louisa finally gives up on Fluvanna in water partnership, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/18/10; and After Fluvanna balks, Louisa considers new water options, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/16/10.
  • Also in the James basin: A years-long debate continues over water-supply planning in the Albemarle County-Charlottesville area, served by the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. In April 2006, local officials approved a 50-year plan to build a new, larger dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir and a pipeline to this reservoir from the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. The decision was based in part on a 2004 study projecting a demand of 18.7 million gallons per day (or MGD) by 2055. But in 2008, significantly increased cost estimates caused local officials to postpone the project, seek additional studies, and reconsider various other options. One key study has been a new demand analysis, called for after reports in April 2010 of decreased water usage in the area since 2006. In mid-August, Swartz Engineering Economics reported a new 50-year demand projection of 18.45 MGD by 2060. The local group Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan, however, asserted that the Swartz report did not account fully for increased water-conservation practices that have developed in the area in the past decade. News sources: Demand analysis review finds long term water needs largely unchanged, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/20/10; Opponents say review of water supply demand failed to account for conservation, Charlottesville Tommorow, 8/24/10; and City officials divided on water plan info, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 4/7/10. For more information: In January 2010, the Charlottesville Tomorrow Web site, at http://www.cvillepedia.org/mediawiki/index.php/Community_water_supply_plan, posted a review of the recent history of long-term water-supply planning in the Albemarle-Charlottesville area. Also, for accounts of some previous developments in the Albemarle-Charlottesville water-supply planning situation, please see the following issues/pages of Virginia Water Central, available online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu/watercentral.html: May 2010 News Supplement, p.15; August 2009, p.27; June 2009, p.30; and September 2008, p.12.
  • New River basin: In August, Pulaski County officials announced a plan to connect the county’s water system with the City of Radford’s system in order to improve service to the eastern part of Pulaski. Pulaski’s connection will allow some of Radford’s unused water to serve the New River Valley Commerce Park, a 973-acre industrial park co-owned by 11 localities. The $6.8 million project to connect Pulaski’s system to Radford will be paid for by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and a $3.8 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. News source: Roanoke Times/New River Current, 8/13/10 (no Internet link available)
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature another selection by “The Bard of the Chesapeake Bay,” the late Tom Wisner, with Teresa Whitaker and Frank Schwartz, performing an easily digested lesson about ecological food chains, "The Sunshine Bankers," from the 1984 album “Chesapeake Song and Story for Young Hearts,” on Folkways Records. As the lyrics describe, two key components of aquatic food chains are phytoplankton, which are mostly microscopic, floating algae; and zooplankton, which are small floating or swimming animals that feed on phytoplankton or other zooplankton. The amounts and kinds of plankton have important ecological influences in many aquatic systems, including the Chesapeake Bay. A Washington, D.C., native and long-time Maryland resident, Tom Wisner dedicated his life to learning, singing, and teaching about the Bay and its protection. More information about Tom Wisner is available from A Bay's Life in Story and Song: A Celebration of Tom Wisner, Baynet.com, 1/16/10; and from the following two obituaries: Thomas A. Wisner, 79: 'Bard of the Chesapeake' sang about the bay he loved, Washington Post, 4/4/10, and “Bard of the Bay”—Tom Wisner-Gone But Not Forgotten, Baynet.com, 4/11/10. “Chesapeake Song and Story for Young Hearts” is available for sample listening and purchase on the Smithsonian Folkways Web site at http://www.folkways.si.edu/index.aspx. A PDF of the liner notes is also available. A good Web site to learn about plankton is provided by the Chesapeake Bay Program at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/plankton.aspx?menuitem=19401.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS 

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between September 1st and 7th.
  • On September 1, the Virginia Recycling Markets Development Council meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone Steve Coe at (804) 698-4029.

  • On September 1 in Richmond, there will be sub-committee meetings of the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Advisory Panel. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. The Stormwater Management Regulatory Advisory Panel 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 in the Virginia Administrative Code), to address criteria for water quality and quantity, criteria and procedures for local stormwater-management programs, and the administration and schedule of fees. The advisory panel’s four sub-committees are addressing grandfathering, offsets/credits, water quality, and water quantity. More information and relevant documents about the proposed stormwater changes are available online at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1145.
And in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • From September 1 through October 31 across the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is coordinating the Stewardship Virginia Fall Campaign. The campaign encourages citizens to organize projects that enhance natural, historic, and cultural resources. For more information, phone (877) 429-2837.

  • On September 10 to 12, at Skyland Resort in Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, the Virginia Native Plant Society is holding its annual meeting. Many field trips will also be conducted. For more information, phone (540) 837-1600.

  • On September 15 to 16, the 2010 Virginia Environmental Education Conference takes place at James Madison’s Montpelier estate in Orange County. For more information, phone Sheila Barnett at (804) 698-4055. The conference is organized by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Environmental Education and the Virginia Naturally Program, available online at www.virginianaturally.com.

    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, August 23, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 30: Week of August 23, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 30) for the week of August 23, 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 (Length: 00:08:25)

NEWS
  • The August 17 Lynchburg News & Advance reported that 26 Virginia localities have sent agricultural drought emergency requests to the governor’s office, and the director of communications for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said that many more requests are expected. After state agency review, the governor may submit a request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for local disaster declarations. A local declaration makes farmers in the locality eligible to apply for low-interest federal loans.  News source: Campbell County joins requests for drought declaration, Lynchburg News & Advance, 8/17/10. Information on the disaster assistance-request process is available online at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/d-designations.shtml.

  • On August 16, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality released for public comment a proposed settlement—with a $15,099 fine—for the March 26, 2010, derailment of a Chesapeake and Albemarle Railroad train over the Intracoastal Waterway in Chesapeake. The derailment, which left the locomotive dangling from a trestle for most of one day, led to a spill of about 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the waterway. The settlement requires approval by the State Water Control Board, which is expected to consider the matter in September.  News source: Railroad fined $15,099 for fuel spilled in crash, Virginian-Pilot, 8/18/10. The proposed settlement (“consent order”) is available online at www.deq.virginia.gov/export/sites/default/enforcement/publicnotices/NCVARRSignedCSO.pdf; the public comment period ends September 16. All current consent orders available for public comment are available online at www.deq.virginia.gov/enforcement/notices.html

  • In mid-August, several news stories reported blooms in Chesapeake Bay waters of the reddish-colored algae Cochlodinium, which forms the so-called “mahogany tide.” This summer’s hot temperatures, combined with heavy rainstorms that wash nutrients into Bay waters, have created good algal growth conditions in summer 2010. Blooms have been observed from Mathews County to Norfolk in the Chesapeake; in the Elizabeth, James, Nansemond, Poquoson, and York rivers; and in Mobjack Bay. According to Margaret Mulholland, an algae scientist at Old Dominion University, it’s not known if blooms are getting larger over the years.  News sources: Algae stains the Chesapeake Bay, Newport News Daily Press, 8/15/10; Algae blooms strike Hampton Roads waters - again, Virginian-Pilot, 8/12/10. Other media reports included Chesapeake Bay stained red with algae blooms, WTKR (Va.) Television, 8/16/10; Algae blooms color low Chesapeake Bay waters, WJZ (Md.) Television, 8/16/10; Blog: Algal blooms seen in the Chesapeake, Washington Post, 8/16/10; and Blog: Mahogany Tides Are Back in the Bay, Bay Daily, 8/13/10. The algae’s full scientific name is Cochlodinium polykrikoides. 

  • On August 19, the Newport News Daily Press reported that crabbers in Virginia and Maryland were reporting excellent harvests, reflecting the significantly increased Blue Crab populations seen in surveys this past winter. But a reduction in the number of crab-processing plants in the Hampton Roads areas over the past 20 years—as crab harvests declined—has made it hard for some Virginia crabbers to find a market for their 2010 harvests. According to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the number of crab-processing facilities in Virginia decreased from 51 in 1990 to 26 in 2008, as crab harvests declined from 52 million pounds in 1990 to 17 million pounds in 2008.  News source: Chesapeake Bay blue crabs abundant, but not enough Hampton Roads processors, Newport News Daily Press, 8/19/10.
     
  • And our last news item updates a previously reported item on the state budget surplus. On August 19, Governor McDonnell announced that Virginia had a $404-million surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010. Earlier, on July 14, the governor had announced that the Commonwealth expected a $220-million surplus based on tax collections; the additional $184 million resulted from unspent funds that had been allocated to state agencies. Based on the new figure, Virginia’s Water Quality Improvement fund will receive $36.4 million. The fund was established in 1997 to help pay for projects that reduce nutrient loads to the Chesapeake Bay.  News sources: Remarks of Governor Bob McDonnell to the Joint Meeting of the Senate Finance, House Appropriations and House Finance Committees , Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 8/19/10; and Governor McDonnell Announces Virginia Revenue Surplus in FY 2010, Virginia Governor’s News Release, 7/14/10. More information: For state law on the Water Quality Improvement Fund, see the Virginia Code Section 10.1-2117 through 2134. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Web site on the fund is http://www.deq.state.va.us/bay/wqif.html.


WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we featured a new mystery sound: The Striped Cusk-eel

This small fish is common in Atlantic coastal waters from New York to Florida. The fish is believed to use the sounds during courtship and mating. Thanks to Rodney Rountree of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for permission to use this recording from his “Fish and Other Underwater Sounds” Web site.  Information on the Striped Cusk-eel is available at the FishBase.org Web site, specifically at http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?ID=3114. Information on sound production by the Striped Cusk-eel is available in “Sounds Produced by the Striped Cusk-Eel Ophidion marginatum (Ophidiidae) during Courtship and Spawning, by David A. Mann, Jeanette Bowers-Altman and Rodney A. Rountree, Copeia, Vol. 1997, No. 3 (Aug. 1, 1997), pp. 610-612. More information on fish sounds is available from the Rodney Rountree’s fish ecology Web http://www.fishecology.org/index.htm. The original source of many of the fish sounds at Dr. Rountree’s Web site is a file of fish sounds created by Marie Fish and William Mowbray as a companion to their book Sounds of Western North Atlantic Fishes: A Reference File of Biological Underwater Sounds, Johns Hopkins Press, 1970. For other fish sounds, visit the Cornell University MacCauley Library’s online archive of bird, amphibian, fish, and other sounds: http://macaulaylibrary.org/index.do. For an introduction to sound-making by fish: What’s Making that Awful Racket? Surprisingly, It May Be Fish, New York Times, 4/8/08.
 
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between August 25-August 31.
  • On August 26 in Richmond, the State Water Control Board is holding two public hearings: first, on a proposed amendment to the general permit for sewage discharges less than or equal to 1,000 gallons per day; and second, on a proposed amendment to the general discharge permit for seafood-processing facilities. For more information, phone George Cosby at (804) 698-4067.  The sewage discharge regulations being considered for amendment are in the Virginia Administrative Code at 9 VAC 25-110. More information and relevant documents are available online at www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3097&display=stages. The seafood-processing regulations being considered for amendment are in the Virginia Administrative Code at 9 VAC 25-115. More information and relevant documents are available online at www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3149&display=stages.
  • On August 30 in Clarksville, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will give a presentation on a marina facility proposed for future development at Occoneechee State Park [LONG O] in Mecklenburg County. For more information, phone Danette Poole at (804) 786-1119.
  • Also on August 30, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, the U.S. EPA is holding a public hearing on proposed new regulations for coal-combustion by-products, or coal ash. This is one of five public hearings being held nationwide during the 90-day public comment period, which ends September 21. For more information, phone Bonnie Robinson at (703) 308-8429.  The proposed regulations were published in Federal Register on June 21, 2010. The Web site for the proposed regulations, “Coal Combustion Residuals—Proposed Rule,” is http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/industrial/special/fossil/ccr-rule/index.htm.
  • And on August 31 in Glen Allen, the newly created State Water Supply Plan Advisory Committee holds its first meeting. For more information, phone Scott Kudlas at (804) 698-4456.  The State Water Supply Plan Advisory Committee was established by the 2010 Virginia General Assembly to assist the Department of Environmental Quality in developing, revising, and implementing a state water resources plan. The bill creating the committee was SB 569; information about that bill is at the Virginia Legislative Information System Web site, at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?101+sum+SB569.  
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • On September 2 in College Park, Maryland, the Chesapeake Research Consortium is holding the Chesapeake Bay Forecasting System Workshop. The workshop will show how the system can be used for local, short-term forecasts of water quality, harmful algal blooms, and other conditions. The workshop includes sessions on the Rappahannock and James rivers. For more information, phone (410) 798-1283.
  • On September 15 to 17 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the Potomac Headwaters Resource Conservation and Development Council is holding Growing Communities on Karst 2010—The Great Valley Water Resources Science Forum. Virginia presenters include Clarke County and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission. Registration is due by September 1. For more information, phone Olga Adams at (304) 267-8953, ext. 5.
  • And last, here’s a chance for some education, recreation, AND public service: From September 1 through October 31 at water sites across the Commonwealth, Clean Virginia Waterways at Longwood University is organizing the Virginia Waterways Cleanup. For more information, phone (434) 395-2602. The Virginia Waterways Clean-up is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy, online at www.oceanconservancy.org.

    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, August 16, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 29: Week of August 16, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 29) for the week of August 16, 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 6-4-12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to audio file.



NEWS
  • In a July 20 letter to Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Douglas Domenech, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, or CBF, presented an analysis of Virginia’s progress towards meeting the two-year “milestones” for Bay-restoration actions that the Bay Executive Council set in May 2009 for each Bay state. The CBF document asserts that Virginia has had a mixed record of success and failures in progress toward its milestones for 2011. Using data from federal and state agencies, CBF examined eight key milestone areas and generated a percentage-of-goal-reached for each area. The percentages ranged from 13 percent achievement so far for stream fencing to prevent livestock access, to 100 percent achievement projected for wastewater treatment plant upgrades. In response to CBF, according to the July 31 Daily Press, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor said that, while he did not dispute the findings, he believed the analysis was not completely fair.  News sources: Virginia Not on Track to Meet Latest Bay Cleanup Goals, Bay Daily, 7/23/10; and Bay cleanup not on track, foundation says, Daily Press, 7/31/10. More information: The CBF document is available online at available online at http://www.cbf.org/Document.Doc?id=536. The document includes recommendations for additional actions by Virginia in dealing with impacts from wastewater, agriculture, stormwater, and septic systems. 

  • On August 5, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced grants totaling $5.8 million for 11 projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The 11 projects include four in Virginia, six in Maryland, and one in Pennsylvania. The Virginia recipients are the Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council, for a project to reduce nutrients and sediments in agricultural production; Virginia Tech, to reduce ammonia emissions and runoff from poultry litter on two Shenandoah Valley farms and two Eastern Shore farms; the Potomac Conservancy, to promote Low Impact Development in 37 Virginia localities; and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, to create and implement a watershed restoration project in the Eastern Shore town of Onancock. In addition, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District will be a partner on a Foundation grant to the Maryland Department of Agriculture for remote sensing of winter cover crops.  News sources: $5.8 Million in Grants for Innovative Projects to Reduce Water Pollution in Chesapeake Bay Watershed, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation News Release, 8/5/10; and Maryland Gets Grant To Remote Sense Cover Crops, American Agriculturist, 8/11/10. More information on the Foundation’s grant programs is available online at www.nfwf.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=GrantPrograms.
     

  • Following approvals in July and August by Cumberland and Henrico counties, a plan will now go forward to construct a $280-million, 1,110-acre water-supply reservoir on Cobbs Creek, a James River tributary in Cumberland. The agreement follows years of negotiation among Cumberland, Henrico, Goochland, Hanover, and Powhatan counties over a potential regional water source. Under the approved deal, Henrico will build and operate the reservoir, pay Cumberland $56.6 million over 50 years in lieu of property taxes, and reimburse Cumberland $1.55 million for previously-incurred design costs. Eventually Cumberland and Powhatan will be allowed to purchase up to 7 million and 10 million gallons per day, respectively, from Henrico. Goochland and Hanover counties are current customers of Henrico, and the new reservoir is expected to make more water available to those two localities. Land use and recreation around the reservoir will be under Cumberland’s control, and that county is required to develop a watershed-protection plan.  News Sources: Henrico approval of reservoir ends decade of debate, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/11/10; Cumberland OKs resolution on reservoir deal, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/27/10; and Cobbs Creek Reservoir deal possible next week, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/22/10. 

  • And in our last news item this week: Since its formation in January 2010 with the help of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, the non-profit group Waste Watchers has been promoting recycling and other waste-reduction tools on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. One of the results so far has been placement of fishing-line recycling stations at five locations on the Shore. Waste fishing line that reaches waterways is significant threat to aquatic life, so the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Marine Resources Commission began a statewide fishing-line recycling program in February 2009. As of early August, the program’s Web site showed about 100 recycling locations in the state, including the Eastern Shore ones.  News Source: Changing the Shore's perception about recycling, Eastern Shore News, 8/7/10. Information about Virginia’s fishing-line recycling program is available online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/fishing-line-recycling/, and in a February 10, 2009, news release at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/release.asp?id=204 (a photo of a recycling tube is available there). Maryland began a fishing-line collection and recycling program in 2007, modeled on a program in Florida. Information on the Florida program, including advice on starting such a program, is available online at http://fishinglinerecycling.org.
WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we feature a traditional Appalachian fiddle tune named for one of Virginia’s most famous natural wonders: “Natural Bridge Blues,” by the late North Carolina fiddler Fred Cockerham, from the collection of Ray Alden on a 2004 CD from Field Recorders’ Collective. Virginia’s Natural Bridge, located in Rockbridge County, is a limestone arch that towers 200 feet above Cedar Creek, a James River tributary. According to the Library of Virginia’s Landmarks of American Nature Writing, in an 1809 letter Thomas Jefferson—who owned the Natural Bridge site from 1774 until his death in 1826—called Natural Bridge both “dead capital” and “undoubtedly one of the sublimest curiosities of nature.”  Fred Cockerham (1905-1980) was from the Round Peak community in Surry County, North Carolina. More information about Mr. Cockerham is available at the Field Recorders’ Collective Web site, at http://www.fieldrecorder.com/docs/notes/cockerham_alden.htm.   Information about Natural Bridge was taken from “Natural Bridge of Virginia” Web site at http://www.naturalbridgeva.com and from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_Bridge_%28Virginia%29. An 1852 painting of Natural Bridge by Frederick Church is available at the “Discovering Lewis and Clark” Web site at http://lewis-clark.org/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=1752 . An interesting collection of historical quotes about Natural Bridge is available from the Library of Virginia, online at http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/nature/bridge.html.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between August 18-August 24.
  • On August 18, the technical advisory committee for development of a general permit for pesticide discharges meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022. The committee is assisting the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing a pesticide-discharge 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 August 18, the Virginia Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee meets in Clarksville. For more information, phone Scott Kudlas at (804) 698-4456.

  • On August 21, the Virginia Cave Board meets in Grottoes. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291.

  • And on August 24, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission meets in Newport News. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215.
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • Two Northern Neck museums tell the story of vessels and industries that have been key parts of the history of the Chesapeake Bay. The Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington, in Lancaster County, has updated its permanent exhibits describing the history of steamboat travel and commerce on the Bay. And the Reedsville Fishermen’s Museum in Northumberland County has an exhibit through October 31 on the history of Menhaden-fishing vessels and the Menhaden industry in the Bay. For more information on the steamboat museum, phone (804) 438-6888; for more information on the Menhaden museum, phone (804) 453-6529.  For an article on the two museums’ exhibits, see Story of the Bay expanded, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/12/10.

    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, August 9, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 28: Week of August 9, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 28) for the week of August 9, 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 (Length: 00:08:35)

NEWS
  • As of mid-July, work had begun on a project to remove contaminated sediments from a Portsmouth section of the Elizabeth River near the Superfund-listed Atlantic Wood Industries toxic waste site. At the site, wood formerly was treated with creosote and wastes were stored in pits or discharged into the Elizabeth, prior to laws regulating such discharges. The contaminated river sediments are to be stored behind an 11-foot high, 250-foot long concrete wall, which is also intended to prevent any new contaminants from flowing off the site into the river. The containment-wall plan was chosen in 2008 by the U.S. EPA to deal with contamination at the site. After initial objections to the plan, Virginia resource officials have now agreed to the project, because of a lack of funds available to remove the contaminated sediments altogether. The wall project is expected to cost about $100 million, with the cost to be shared by the property owner, the EPA, the Commonwealth, and the U.S Navy, which disposed of waste materials on the site during World War II. News source: Slow-moving plan to rid river of toxic goo gains momentum, Virginian-Pilot, 7/19/10. 

  • On July 19, President Obama issued an executive order establishing a national ocean policy. The executive order states that the policy’s purposes include ensuring “the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources [and] enhancing ocean and coastal economies,” in coordination with national security and foreign policy interests. The 10-point policy is to be coordinated by a new National Ocean Council, consisting of cabinet secretaries and representatives of federal natural resource and environmental agencies.  News source: “Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force,” White House Council on Environmental Quality Web page, www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans, 7/30/10. 

  • On July 28, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 5509, the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act, which had been introduced on June 11 by Pennsylvania Rep. Timothy Holden with several co-sponsors, including Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte. According to a press release from Rep. Goodlatte, the bill would support programs that help farmers, homebuilders, and localities meet water-quality goals. It would not, however, codify the elements of President Obama’s May 2009 Executive Order on the federal role in Bay restoration. That’s one of the key differences between the Holden bill and another bill currently in Congress to reauthorize the Bay Program, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, both from Maryland. News sources: Holden's Chesapeake Bill Moves; Cardin's Bill Sits, American Agriculturist, 7/29/10; Bay health bill clears committee, Northern Virginia Daily, 7/31/10; and Goodlatte introduces legislation to protect the Chesapeake Bay, U.S. Rep. Robert Goodlatte’s Office News Release, 6/11/10. More information: Rep. Holden is a Democrat from Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District. Mr. Goodlatte, from Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, is the Ranking Republican Member of the Agriculture Committee’s Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research Sub-committee. The Cardin/Cummings bills, Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, are S. 1816 in the Senate and H.R. 3852 in the House. The full provisions and legislative status of any Congressional bill, can be found on the Library of Congress’ Web site, http://thomas.loc.gov/

  • And out last news item this week is about two recent winners of awards for environmental protection. (A.) First, in late July, Virginia awarded NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on Wallops Island with its E4, or “Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise,” recognition, the highest level of recognition in the Commonwealth’s Environmental Excellence Program. Wallops Island becomes only the second federal facility in the Commonwealth, and one of only 23 facilities overall, to receive the E4 award. (B.) And second, on July 29, Cleremont Farm in Loudoun County was named as one of seven regional winners of the National Environmental Stewardship Awards, presented by the National Cattlemen’s Association. The national winner will be announced in February 2011. According to a governor’s office news release on the recognition, conservation practices at Cleremont include rotational grazing, stream fencing with alternative watering systems, maintaining 1,000 acres of hardwood forest, and placing the farm under a conservation easement.  News source: (A) Wallops awarded highest environmental honor, Eastern Shore News, 7/31/10. More information: The recognition for Wallops Island is based on the facility’s efforts in using renewable energy and alternative fuels, pursuing LEED certifications for resource conservation in buildings, managing hazardous waste, protecting endangered species, recycling, managing petroleum and chemical storage tanks, and environmental planning. More information about the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program, with a link to the list of recipients of the different levels of recognition, is available at http://www.deq.state.va.us/veep/. (B) Governor McDonnell Congratulates Cleremont Farm in Loudoun County for Winning Regional Environmental Stewardship Award, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/30/10. More information about the National Environmental Stewardship Award program is available online at http://www.environmentalstewardship.org/.

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week we featured a new mystery sound: The American Bullfrog

The American Bullfrog is Virginia’s largest frog, growing to as much as 8 inches in length. That size helps account for its deep call, which can be heard at considerable distance. Bullfrogs are found all over Virginia in larger ponds, lakes, and streams. They feed on insects, crayfish, and—according to one source—“almost anything living that [they] can at least partially swallow”! 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.” 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); the Web site of the Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) Web site, www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com (click here to go directly to VHS information about the American Bullfrog); and “Species Information” from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, at www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?s=020004 (the source of the quote about feeding).


UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in state government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between August 11-August 17.
  • On August 12, the Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Committee meets in Charlottesville. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. This Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) Clearinghouse is a Web site on design standards and specifications of all stormwater BMPs approved for use in Virginia to control the quality and/or quantity of stormwater runoff. More information about the Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse Committee is available at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/swc/.

  • On August 16 and 17 in Richmond, there will be four subcommittee meetings of the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Advisory Panel. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. Virginia’s stormwater management regulations are at in the Virginia Administrative Code at 4 VAC 50-60. The state is in the process of considering amendments to Parts I, II, and III of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations to address water quality and quantity and local stormwater management program criteria. More information about the proposed regulatory changes is available at http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1145.
  • On August 17, the Gas and Oil Board meets in Lebanon. For more information, phone David Asbury at (276) 415-9700.

  • And on August 17, the regulatory advisory panel for development of a permit for small renewable offshore wind energy projects meets in Richmond. 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 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.
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • On August 14, at Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox, Virginia Citizens for Water Quality is holding its annual summit. For more information, phone David Jennings at (804) 775-0951.

  • On August 18 to 19 at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, the Aquacultural Engineering Society is holding an Issues Forum; for more information, phone Greg Boardman at (540) 231-1376. The issues forum precedes the 8th International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture, which takes place August 20 to 22, also at the Hotel Roanoke. For more information about the conference, phone (540) 553-1809.

  • And on August 23 and 30 at Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Department of Forestry are holding a two-part Family Forestland Short-course entitled, Focusing on Land Transfer to Generation “Next.” Registration is due by August 13. For more information, phone (540) 948-6881.

    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, August 2, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 27: Week of August 2, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 27) for the week of August 2, 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 3/26/12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to the audio file.



NEWS
  • In the June 21 Federal Register, the U.S. EPA published proposed regulations for disposal of coal-combustion residuals (also referred to as CCRs or coal ash). In a May 4 news release on the proposals, the EPA said that the regulations would for the first time require liners and monitoring at new landfills handling coal ash, in order to prevent leaching of contaminants to groundwater. The EPA is also proposing to establish dam-safety requirements for surface impoundments of coal ash, in order to prevent catastrophic dam breaks, such as the one near Kinston, Tennessee, in December 2008, that led to a massive spill. A 90-day public comment period is in process, and five public hearings will be held nationwide, including one on August 30 in Arlington at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.  News sources: U.S. EPA Web site, “Coal Combustion Residuals—Proposed Rule,” http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/industrial/special/fossil/ccr-rule/index.htm. Additional information from EPA Announces Plans to Regulate Coal Ash, U.S. EPA News Release, 5/4/10.
  • In July, the Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council, headquartered in Augusta County, announced a three-year partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service that will provide $720,000 annually for agricultural conservation practices, such as cover crops, nutrient management, and watering systems for livestock. The funds come through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, which also will be providing $142,000 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Trout Unlimited for various stream protection and restoration practices in the Shenandoah Valley. News source: Conservation efforts in Valley get big boost, Augusta Free Press, 7/12/10 

  • On July 14, Governor McDonnell announced that Virginia had a $220-million surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010. As called for by state law, 10 percent of the surplus, or $22 million, will go to the Water Quality Improvement Fund, or WQIF. The WQIF was established by the General Assembly in 1997 to provide grants to prevent, reduce, or control water pollution. News source: Governor McDonnell Announces Virginia Revenue Surplus in FY 2010, Virginia Governor’s News Release, 7/14/10. Additional information: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Web site on the Water Quality Improvement Fund: http://www.deq.state.va.us/bay/wqif.html. The Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act of 1997, which governs the WQIF, is in the Virginia Code starting at Section 10.1-2117. 
  • And the last news item this week is our monthly water status report.
    • First, in precipitation: According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, from June 29 to July 28 precipitation compared to historical averages was 4-6 inches below normal on the Eastern Shore; 2 to 4 inches below normal in most of the state east of I-95; normal to 2 inches below normal in most of the state west of I-95; and normal to 2 inches above normal in a few southwestern, northern, and Shenandoah Valley counties.
       
    • Second, in stream flow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch, streamflow averages from July 1 to July 28 were normal at about 35 percent of stream gages in the state, and below normal or much below normal at about 65 percent of gages, with four gages in the Chowan basin having a record low average over this period.

    • And last, our drought watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor on July 27 showed abnormally dry conditions or worse occurring in over 97 percent of Virginia. Moderate drought conditions were reported for 75 percent of the state—essentially, all of the state east of the New River basin. And severe drought conditions were reported for 15 percent of the state, all in eastern and southeastern areas. 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=pa28d&r=va&w=mv01d%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.









      28-day average stream flows, as of July 28, 2010; see chart below for explanation of color code that rank the current average flows against historical records.



       

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC


This week we feature a fiddle tune named for a Smith River tributary in Floyd, Franklin, and Patrick counties: “Shooting Creek,” performed by Henry Reed in 1966 in the Giles County community of Glen Lyn. Born in Monroe County, West Virginia in 1884, Henry Reed moved to Giles County in 1907, where he lived, worked, and played remarkable music until he died in 1969. “Shooting Creek” is one of 184 tunes collected by folk life historian Alan Jabbour in 1966 and 1967 and compiled on “Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier—The Henry Reed Collection,” now housed at the Library of Congress. The Henry Reed Collection—including the recordings along with information about the songs, Mr. Reed, and collector Alan Jabbour—is available at the Library of Congress’ American Memory Web site, at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/reed/index.html, as of 7/30/10. Click this link for information specifically about the tune “Shooting Creek.”
 

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between August 4 and August 10.
  • On August 4 in Montross, the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, is holding a public meeting on the application by Recyc Systems to land-apply biosolids, or treated sewage sludge, in Westmoreland County. For more information, phone Anita Tuttle at (804) 527-5039.

  • On August 5 in Bealeton, the DEQ is holding a public hearing on the application by Agri-Services Corporation to land-apply biosolids in Fauquier County. For more information, phone Elizabeth Biller at (703) 583-3896.

  • And on August 6, the technical advisory committee for development of a general permit for pesticide discharges meets in Glen Allen. 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.
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • 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.

  • On August 14, at Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox, Virginia Citizens for Water Quality is holding its annual summit. For more information, phone David Jennings at (804) 775-0951.
     
  • And on August 18 to 19 at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, the Aquacultural Engineering Society is holding an Issues Forum, focusing on three topics: biofloc, advanced oxidation in recirculating aquaculture, and marine aquaculture systems. For more information, phone Greg Boardman at (540) 231-1376.

    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.