Monday, February 14, 2011

Virginia Water Radio 53: Week of Feb. 14, 2011

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 53), for the week of February 14, 2011.
Click to Listen to Episode (Length: 00:08:20)

NEWS
  • A proposed uranium mining and milling operation in Pittsylvania County has been back in the news lately. On February 1, the City of Virginia Beach released its study of the potential impacts on the city’s drinking water supplies if the proposed mine were to be flooded. According to a news release from the city, the “impacts to the drinking water supplies would be significant but not permanent after a worst-case storm.” Meanwhile, on February 7 in Richmond, about 200 people attended a public-comment meeting held by the National Research Council’s committee studying the potential health and environmental impacts of the proposed uranium operation. The Richmond hearing was the fourth by the committee, with future ones to take place in Denver in March and Saskatoon, Canada, in June. The committee’s report is expected in December. For the mine to proceed, the Virginia General Assembly would have to overturn a moratorium on uranium mining in the Commonwealth.  News sources: Virginia Beach Releases Results of Uranium Mining Study, City of Virginia Beach news release, 2/1/11; Beach study warns of risk if uranium mine floods, Virginian-Pilot, 2/2/11; Panel weighs lifting ban on uranium mining in Virginia, Virginian-Pilot, 2/8/11; and Uranium debate heats up in Richmond, Danville Register & Bee, 2/9/11. The Web site for the National Research Council study is http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/projectview.aspx?key=49253.
  • From the Virginia General Assembly: Senate Bill 1190, sponsored by Sen. Thomas Norment from Williamsburg, would expand the Virginia "Right to Farm Act" to include aquaculture. Some York County elected officials and residents are opposed to the bill, claiming that it would infringe on local land-use prerogatives and allow processing facilities that could reduce nearby residential property values. After an amendment to apply the law only to piers from land already zoned for agriculture, the bill passed the Senate on February 8 and moved to the House of Delegates. News sources: Feud over oyster farm turns into hot-button issue, Virginian-Pilot, 1/28/11; and Modified 'oyster bill' advances over York objections, Virginian-Pilot, 2/8/11. Senator Norment is a Republican from the 3rd Senatorial district.

And finally, here’s a lightning-fast look at other recent stories:
  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is using a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to work with Shenandoah Valley farmers to fence cattle out of streams in three Valley watersheds.
  • On February 1, Governor Robert McDonnell told coal-industry executives that Virginia is considering whether or not to intervene in a lawsuit by West Virginia against U.S. EPA policies on depositing material from mountaintop mining into streams, a practice known as “valley fills.”
  • Also on February 1, the State Corporation Commission heard Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative’s permit request for a proposed 50-megawatt, $175-million power plant in South Boston that would use waste wood for fuel.

WATER SOUNDS AND MUSIC

This week’s selection provides a gentle reminder of the upcoming tax season, as this song was composed in honor of Virginia’s Non-Game Wildlife Tax Check-off: “Little Brown Bats Eating Mosquitos,” performed by Timothy Seaman on his 2004 CD “Virginia Wildlife,” from Pine Wind Music. In addition to the tax deadline, spring also marks another ominous event: the return of mosquitoes. These insects breed in a wide variety of still-water habitats. Their biting habit is annoying and spreads disease, but on the positive side, mosquitoes provide food for other aquatic insects, fish, birds, and—as reflected in the title of this song—bats. Contributions by Virginia taxpayers through the Non-Game Wildlife Tax Check-off help protect the habitats of many non-game animals, including Little Brown Bats. Mr. Seaman did the “Virginia Wildlife” CD in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to celebrate Virginia’s natural resources and support non-game wildlife programs. For more information about the CD, visit https://www3.dgif.virginia.gov/estore/proddetail.asp?prod=VW219. Information about mosquitoes was taken from “Mosquitoes and Water,” in Virginia Water Central, June 2009, available online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu/watercentral.html. Information about voluntary contributions for Virginia taxpayers through various check-offs is available from the Virginia Department of Taxation at http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=voluntarycontributions.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings, occurring between February 17 and February 23.
  • On February 17, at 1 p.m. at the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, regional office in Glen Allen, is a meeting of the State Water Control Board’s Technical Advisory Committee on the general permit for nitrogen and phosphorus discharges and for nutrient trading in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. For more information: George Cosby at (804) 698-4067 or george.cosby@deq.virginia.gov. The committee is assisting the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on reissuance and possible amendment of 9 VAC 25-820. The Notice of Intended Regulatory Action appeared in the Virginia Register of Regulations on September 14, 2009.   
  • Also on February 17, at 7 p.m. at Louisa County Middle School in Mineral, the State Water Control Board holds a public hearing on a draft permit for surface water impacts in King William and Louisa counties from construction of a proposed new reactor at Dominion Power’s North Anna Nuclear Power Station. For more information: Sarah Marsala, (703) 583-3898 or sarah.marsala@deq.virginia.gov.
Now, here are two meetings about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • February 17, 6:30 p.m. at the DEQ office in Virginia Beach, on the TMDL study for dissolved-oxygen-impaired sections of the Northwest River watershed in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.
    For more information: Jennifer Howell, (757) 518-2111 or Jennifer.Howell@deq.virginia.gov

  • February 23, 7 p.m. at Northampton County Middle School in Machipongo, on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria-impaired sections of the Kings Creek watershed in Northampton County. For more information: Jennifer Howell, (757) 518-2111 or jshowell@deq.virginia.gov.
Finally, in educational and recreational events:

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 www.vwrrc.vt.edu.

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Emily Whitesell wrote this week’s Water Sounds and Music segment. 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 www.virginiawaterradio.org.