Monday, January 17, 2011

Virginia Water Radio 49: Week of Jan. 17, 2011

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 49), for the week of January 17, 2011.

Audio archived 7-23-12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to the audio file (length = 11 min. 4 sec.).


Our water news segment this week focuses on one of the many connections between water and energy. Water Center Research Scientist Sheila Christopher is a member of a research group investigating the biofuel potential of Switchgrass planted among Loblolly Pine trees. In the included interview with Virginia Water Radio producer Patrick Fay, Dr. Christopher discusses some of the water-resources connections of her research and of biofuels in general. The Virginia Tech homepage featured this research in a spotlight on innovation article titled: Water center scientist studies environmental impact of using switchgrass as a biofuel.  Click here  for the full story and a special video presentation.


This week we feature “The Wreck of the 1256,” in a 1925 performance by Vernon Dalhart, reproduced on the 1981 album “Native Virginia Ballads and Songs” from the Blue Ridge Institute in Ferrum, Virginia. The song describes the January 1925 derailment of a train traveling beside the James River from Clifton Forge toward Richmond. A rock slide onto the tracks caused the locomotive to fall into the James, killing one person. But the tragedy could have been much worse, because a passenger train had passed the same spot not long before the rock slide occurred. Information on the song “The Wreck of the 1256” was taken from the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum’s online exhibit, “Deathly Lyrics: Songs of Virginia Tragedies,” accessed at (1/14/11); and from Norm Cohen, Long Steel Rail: The Railroad in American Folksong, 2nd ed. (Champaign, Ill: University of Illinois Press, 2000), p. 241; accessed at, 1/14/11).


First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between January 20 and 26:
  • On January 21, the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Advisory Panel meets in Richmond. Then, on January 24, the Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Committee meets in Charlottesville. For more information about either of these stormwater meetings, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. The Stormwater Management Regulations Advisory Panel is advising the Soil and Water Conservation Board in considering amendments to Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations (4 VAC 50-60 in the Virginia Administrative Code.) More information and relevant documents about the proposed stormwater changes are available online at The 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
  • On January 24, the Biscuit Run State Park Master Plan Advisory Committee meets in Charlottesville. For more information, phone Janit Llewellyn at (804) 786-0887.  The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has land in Albemarle County that will eventually become Biscuit Run State Park.
  • And on January 26 in Richmond, the State Board of Health will hold a public hearing on regulations for alternative onsite sewage systems. For more information, phone Allen Knapp at (804) 864-7458. The regulations, under Virginia Administrative Code section 12VAC5-613, establish requirements for performance, operation, and maintenance of alternative onsite sewage systems. Relevant documents and information on the process of the regulation are available online at
Now, here are five meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  •  January 20 in Colonial Beach, on bacteria impairments in the Nomini and Rosier creek watersheds in King George and Westmoreland counties. For more information, phone Margaret Smigo at (804) 527-5124.
  • January 20 in Appalachia, on bacteria impairments in Callahan Creek in Wise County. For more information, phone Allen Newman at (276) 676-4804.
  • January 25 in Louisa and January 26 in Orange, on bacteria impairments in six York River basin streams in Louisa, Orange, and Spotsylvania counties. For more information, phone May Sligh at (804) 443-1494.
  • January 26 in Machipongo, on bacteria impairments in Kings Creek in Northampton County. For more information, phone Jennifer Howell at (757) 518-2111.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, where these meetings are listed by date. E-mail addresses for contact people are available there. For TMDL meetings, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site. Please note that TMDL meetings are also listed at the Town Hall site, but are included among all other meetings. Organizations, events, or both are hyperlinked whenever possible. Click on those links for more information.

Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. We invite you to visit the center online at

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at