Monday, February 21, 2011

Virginia Water Radio 54: Week of Feb. 21, 2011

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 54), for the week of February 21, 2011.
Click to Listen to Episode (Length: 00:07:46)

The Water Sounds and Music part of this episode, on the Southern Leopard Frog (now called the Coastal Plains Leopard Frog), was updated and expanded in Episode 515, 3-9-20.

  • If you haven’t been hearing rainfall on the roof lately, you’re not alone. In most of Virginia, precipitation between December 20 and February 17 was only about 25 to 50 percent of normal, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. This has led to over 98 percent of Virginia being classified as abnormally dry, with two-thirds of the state in a moderate drought, according to the February 15 U.S. Drought Monitor. The dry conditions call for even closer-than-usual attention to Virginia’s spring wildfire season, which started unofficially with a number of fires around the state due to high winds during the weekend before Valentine’s Day. During the official spring wildfire season from February 15 to April 30, the Commonwealth’s 4 p.m. Burning Law is in effect, prohibiting burning before 4 p.m. “if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland, or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.” News sources: U.S. Drought Monitor for 2/15/11, at, 2/18/1; Southeast Regional Climate Center, 60-day precipitation map at, 2/18/11; Virginia Department of Forestry Web site,, 2/18/11; Winds Increase Wildfires Around Virginia, Associated Press, 2/15/11; High Winds Spark Brush Fires, Down Trees,, 2/14/11.
Now, here’s a lightning-fast look at several recent stories:
  • The Bedford County Public Service Authority plans to seek a state permit to increase its allowable daily Smith Mountain Lake water withdrawal from 2 million gallons to 12 million gallons in order to serve potential growth areas in Bedford and Franklin counties, provide additional supply during drought, and replace two million gallons per day currently purchased from Lynchburg. 
  • On March 3 in Louisa, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hear arguments in the challenge by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League to Dominion Virginia Power’s application for a “combined license” permit to build and operate a third nuclear reactor at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station. 
  • The Eskimo Hill landfill in Stafford County—which in 2009 recycled 45.4 percent of material entering the facility, one of the highest rates in Virginia—is implementing a program to recycle wastewater-treatment sludge into home-garden compost. 
And in our last news item this week:
  • Here’s a quick weather quiz. When and where in Virginia have tornadoes occurred? The answer: every month of the year and all parts of the state. According to Virginia Department of Emergency Management, or VDEM, 62 tornadoes struck the Commonwealth between 2008 and 2010, injuring over 200 people. That’s why March 15 is Tornado Preparedness Day in Virginia. At 9:45 a.m., a statewide tornado drill will be held to give schools, businesses, and citizens a chance to practice tornado-emergency plans. As of February 3, over half a million Virginians had registered to participate in this year’s drill, which YOU can, too, by going to the VDEM Web site at The statewide tornado drill is a joint effort between VDEM and the National Weather Service. News sources: Plan to hold tornado drill March 15, Virginia Department of Emergency Management News Release, 2/3/11; and VDEM Web page for tornadoes, 2/18/11.


This week we feature another mystery sound: Southern Leopard Frog

if you guessed correctly a Southern Leopard Frog, you might want to consider volunteering for the Virginia Frog and Toad Calling Survey, part of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. The frog-calling survey collects data on populations of amphibians, whose permeable skin and life cycle tied to water make them highly sensitive to the environment and good indicators of water quality. Volunteer surveyors and other frog fans in Tidewater—the part of Virginia where this species is found—should soon hear the mating call of the Southern Leopard Frog, because it typically breeds in the winter and early spring. Thanks to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 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 on the Southern Leopard Frog was taken from Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, by Bernard S. Martof et al. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1980) and the Virginia Herpetological Society’s Web Site. Information on the Virginia Frog and Toad Calling Survey was taken from The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Web site at


First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings, occurring between February 24 and March 2.
  • On January 21 at 10:00 a.m., the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Advisory Panel meets at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond. 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 For more information: David Dowling, (804) 786-2291 or
During this period, there is one meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • March 1, 10 a.m., at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality office in Woodbridge, on the TMDL study for bacteria impairments of 15 Potomac River tributaries in Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford counties. For more information: Jennifer Carlson, (703) 583-3859 or
Finally, in educational and recreational events:
  • On February 26, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Fauquier County High School in Warrenton, the Rapidan Chapter of Trout Unlimited is having its annual fishing show. The event is a fundraiser for the chapter’s restoration and educational projects, including the popular Trout in the Classroom program.

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 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