Monday, January 24, 2011

Virginia Water Radio 50: Week of Jan. 24, 2011

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 50), for the week of January 24, 2011.

Audio archived 1/17/14.  Please contact Virginia Water Radio to request access to the audio file.
The "Water Sounds and  Music" segment of this episode has been replaced by Episode 197, 1-20-14.

  • In early January, Virginia Tech announced that Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Marc Edwards will lead a $450,000 study examining the federal Lead and Copper regulation. Issued in 1991 by the U.S. EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the lead and copper regulation is intended to prevent harmful levels of these two toxic metals in drinking water. The research project will examine three aspects of the regulation: sampling methods for measuring lead levels; replacement of water lines containing lead; and public education on safe water-use practices. Funds for the research come from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Other groups participating in the research are the Washington, D.C., Water and Sewer Authority; Parents for Nontoxic Alternatives, a non-profit organization in Washington; the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington; Northeastern University in Boston; the Childhood Lead Action Project in Providence, R.I.; the Metropolitan Tenants Organization of Chicago; the Vanguard Community Development Corporation in Detroit; and the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. News source: Marc Edwards to head $450,000 study to identify lead risks in drinking water, Virginia Tech News, 1/4/11.

  • On January 10, the American Farm Bureau Federation and its Pennsylvania affiliate filed suit in federal district court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to force the U.S. EPA to re-start its process of developing the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, which the agency issued on December 29, 2010. The Farm Bureau suit alleges that the EPA exceeded its authority, used inaccurate or inadequate scientific information, and allowed too little time for public input and response during development of the TMDL. News sources: Farm Bureau sues over 'pollution diet' for the bay, Virginian-Pilot, 1/12/11; and Farm Bureau sues EPA in Pa. federal court over Chesapeake Bay cleanup standards, Newport News Daily Press, 1/12/11. 

  • On January 7, Governor McDonnell’s administration announced several agricultural and forestry initiatives for the 2011 Virginia General Assembly and beyond. The initiatives include several budget amendments for the 2011 Assembly session. Two water-related amendments are the following: first, $400,000 in additional funds for Virginia's Purchase of Development Rights program to preserve of farmland and forests, raising the program's total annual appropriation to $500,000; and second, about $186,000 for two new positions in the Agriculture Stewardship Act program, with one person stationed in the Shenandoah Valley and the other in Richmond but focusing on the Northern Neck, Tidewater, and Eastern Shore regions. The two new Ag Stewardship program staff members will work to help family farms meet water-quality goals in the Chesapeake Bay region, fulfilling one requirement of Virginia’s Watershed Implementation Plan for the Bay TMDL. News source: Secretary Haymore Announces Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Initiatives for 2011 – Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 1/7/11.
  • And in our last news item this week: This year the Elizabeth River Project, a non-profit watershed organization in Norfolk, will launch its River Star Homes program. The program will recruit area residents to take various actions to reduce pollution reaching the river, such as reducing fertilizer use, not putting oily or greasy food waste down kitchen drains, and reducing stormwater runoff from houses and yards. Following a 2010 pilot project with about 25 residences on the Lafayette River, the full-scale program aims to recruit 25,000 residences by 2020. The Hampton Roads Sanitation District is providing $120,000 for the program, which begins officially on April 30. News source: Elizabeth River Project cleanup effort comes home, Virginian-Pilot, 1/19/11.


This week we feature another mystery sound: The Canvasback Duck

Canvasback ducks winter in the Chesapeake Bay and along the east and west coasts of the United States, but they migrate to prairies of Canada and northern states for spring and summer. A relatively large duck, Canvasbacks are also recognizable by the male's red-headed appearance. Canvasbacks are considered diving ducks, because typically they go completely underwater to obtain food and avoid predators, in contrast to dabbling ducks, which typically don't completely submerge themselves. Thanks to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for providing this recording. Information on Canvasbacks was taken from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001); Life in the Chesapeake Bay, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); and the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s “Bird Guide” Web site at Another good source of information is “Birds of North America Online” at  


First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings, occurring between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2. 

  • On January 28 in Lebanon, the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy holds an informal hearing on a notice of permit violation at a Dominion Coal Corporation mining site, regarding the mine’s chemical agent treatment process, post-mining land use, and area covered by the permit. For more information, phone Harve Mooney at (276) 523-8271. According to Virginia DMME Notice of Violation Number JDR0004533, the notice of violation to Dominion Coal Corporation concerns needed revisions to the company’s permit number 1200194, regarding its chemical agent treatment process, a change from the post-mining land use from forest to gas wells, and the permit boundary.
Next, here is one meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • February 1, in Richmond, on the TMDL study for polychlorinated biphenyl- (or PCB-) impaired sections of the James River, Appomattox River, Bailey Creek, Bailey Bay, and Chickahominy River, located from the Fall Line to Charles City County and Surry County. This meeting is rescheduled from January 11. For more information, phone Margaret Smigo at (804) 527-5124.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
  • On January 29 at Bissett Park in Radford, the Radford City Police Department and several Radford University organizations are holding the Highlander Polar Plunge. For a donation of $25 to benefit Special Olympics, participants will take a cold plunge into the New River. For more information, phone (540) 951-2918.
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. Emily Whitesell helped write this week’s show. 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