Monday, February 7, 2011

Virginia Water Radio 52: Week of Feb. 7, 2011

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 52), for the week of February 7, 2011.

Audio archived 1-23-12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to audio file (length = 8:43).

  • In January, the U.S. EPA announced that in winter 2011 it will conduct a second round of inspections of water-pollution-prevention practices on Shenandoah Valley farms. The agency inspected seven farms in 2010 as part of its focus on agricultural operations in the Valley, Delmarva Peninsula, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The 2010 inspections focused on large confined-animal operations permitted under the Virginia Pollution Abatement program; the 2011 inspections are expected to focus more on smaller, unpermitted operations, according to Gary Flory of the Valley Regional Office of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ. As in 2010, DEQ staff will accompany EPA inspectors as observers to understand better the specific issues and practices on which the EPA is focused.  News source: EPA to inspect more farms in Valley, Lancaster Farming, 1/22/11.
And the last news item this week is our monthly water status report.
  • First, in precipitation. Here are National Weather Service preliminary rainfall totals for January 2010 at six Virginia locations: Norfolk, 3.6 inches, or 0.3 inches below normal; Richmond, 2.5 inches, or 1.1 below normal; Dulles Airport, 1.9 inches, or 1.2 below normal; Bristol, 1.9 inches, or 1.6 below normal; Roanoke, 0.8 inches, or 2.4 below normal; and Danville, 1.2 inches, or 2.8 below normal.
  • Second, in stream flow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch, streamflows averaged over the month of January were below normal or much below normal at about 91 percent of gages in Virginia or just beyond the state border. Flows were in the normal range at about 9 percent of stream gages, mostly in far southwestern Virginia.
  • And third, our drought watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor on February 1 showed abnormally dry or worse conditions in about 82 percent of Virginia, and moderate drought in about 55 percent of the state, a significant deterioration since December.

    News sources: Precipitation: Climate pages of the following National Weather Service offices: Blacksburg; Morristown, Tenn. (covers the Tri-Cities area near Bristol, Va.-Tenn.); Washington-Dulles; and Wakefield. Streamflow: U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia. Drought: The National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


This week we feature another mystery sound: The Highlander Polar Plunge

Why did about 225 people gather on January 29 to jump into the 34-degree New River? They were all participants in the Highlander Polar Plunge, held in Radford to raise money for Special Olympics of the New River Valley. The charity received approximately $17,000 from the entry fee and from donations raised by the many plunging participants. Other plunges for Special Olympics are taking place in February throughout the country, including at several Virginia locations.  For more information on the 2011 Highlander Polar Plunger, see this Radford University news release or this Roanoke Times article. The Web site for Special Olympics is, and the Web site for Special Olympics Polar Plunges in Virginia is

First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings, occurring between February 10 and February 16.
  • On February 11, the Shenandoah Valley Poultry Litter-to-Energy Watershed and Air Advisory Group meets in Charlottesville.  The Shenandoah Valley Poultry Litter-to-Energy Watershed and Air Advisory Group advisory group has been established by the Virginia Departments of Environmental Quality and of Conservation and Recreation to assist in developing a scope of study to evaluate a large-scale poultry litter-to-energy project, which could help Virginia meet the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load/Watershed Implementation Plan requirements and the Commonwealth’s renewable energy goals. For more information: Rick Weeks, or (804) 698-4020.
  • On February 15, the Virginia Gas and Oil Board meets in Lebanon. For more information: David Asbury, or (276)415-9700.
During this period, there are NO meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:

Finally, in educational and recreational events:
  • On February 19, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia Cooperative Extension is holding the 8th Annual Landowners' Woods and Wildlife Conference. The conference will help owners of large or small woodland tracts learn about their natural resources and potential management tools. For more information, Adam Downing at (540) 948-6881.

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