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- Proposed changes to Virginia’s regulations on land application of biosolids, or treated sewage sludge, are up for public comment through April 29. At the direction of the 2007 Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) convened a panel to study the public health and environmental impacts of biosolids land-application. In January 2009, the panel recommended that DEQ review certain aspects of the regulations, and the agency began a process of examining provisions regarding public notice, permit modification, buffer distances, nutrient management, storage, and permit fees. Public hearings on the proposed changes will be held on March 31 at the James River Conference Center in Lynchburg, April 5 at the Western Government Center in Richmond, April 7 at Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, and April 12 at Liberty High School in Bealeton; each hearing starts at 7 p.m. News source: Public comments sought on revised biosolids regulations. Virginia Department of Environmental Quality news release, 3/7/11. Relevant documents and the online place to comment are at www.townhall.state.va.us/L/comments.cfm?stageid=5374. For more information, contact William Norris at email@example.com.
- On March 10, agents from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration conducted searches and seized cell phones, GPS units, and other materials on at least four charter fishing boats that operate out of the Northern Neck and Virginia Beach’s Rudee Inlet. The action is part of a three-year federal investigation into illegal Striped Bass fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (or EEZ), located between 3 and 200 miles offshore. The investigation is being coordinated by the U.S. Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section. News source: Federal officers search charter boats suspected of rockfish poaching, Baltimore Sun, 3/10/11. Striped Bass fishing is legal within three miles of shore and this is quite popular in the winter, before fish move up in the Chesapeake Bay to spawn.
- In a March report entitled National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces, the National Research Council asserts that the Navy should begin now to strengthen its capabilities in the Arctic, prepare for more frequent humanitarian and disaster-relief missions, and analyze potential vulnerabilities of seaside bases to meet potential future environmental changes as well as those already being observed, such as Arctic ice melting and sea-level rises along various coastlines. News source: U.S. Naval Forces Need to Prepare for Effects of Climate Change, National Academies of Science News Release, 3/10/11.
- On March 14, Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s office announced that the Continental Waste Management company will invest $6 million and create 100 jobs as it develops a plastic-recycling operation at an existing industrial site in Covington. News source: Governor McDonnell Announces 100 New Jobs in City of Covington; Continental Waste Management to invest $6 million in new operation, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 3/14/11.
- And on March 16, Governor McDonnell announced to state employees that the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign has initiated a Special Direct Campaign to raise funds for American Red Cross efforts’ to help people affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. News source: E-mail from Governor Robert McDonnell to Virginia state employees, 3/16/11.
- Between March 5 and 10, rains totaled between two and five inches in much of Virginia. This led to minor-to-moderate flooding on several rivers, including the James, the Pamunkey, the Potomac, and the Rappahannock. On the positive side, the rainfall substantially reduced the level of drought in Virginia, at least for one week. The National Drought Monitor reported that the area of moderate drought in the Commonwealth decreased from 53 percent on March 8 to 34 percent on March 15, and the area of abnormally dry conditions decreased from 89 percent to 77 percent. News sources: National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/; “Daily Climate Report” archives at the Web sites of National Weather Service Forecast Offices in Blacksburg, Sterling, Wakefield, and Morristown, Tenn.; and the National Drought Monitor at www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html.
This week we feature “Ohio Valley Rain,” by the Ithaca, New York, bluegrass band Cornerstone on their 1994 CD, “Out of the Valley” from Folk Era Records. The song mentions West Virginia and the Ohio Valley, so what’s the Virginia water connection? While many of Virginia’s major rivers flow generally southeast towards the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean, in southwestern Virginia the Big Sandy, Clinch/Powell, Holston, and New river basins are all part of the Ohio River basin, with their water eventually reaching the Gulf of Mexico. So when Cornerstone sings of “the river miles below drinking rain from far away,” that rain could have fallen on Virginia! Virginia Water Radio was unable to find a Web site for the band Cornerstone, but their CDs are available at various online music vendors.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings, occurring between March 24 and 30:
- On March 28 at 1 p.m., the Shenandoah Valley Poultry Litter-to-Energy Watershed and Air Advisory Group meets at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality office in Harrisonburg. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 698-4020.
- On March 29 at 10 a.m., the State Water Supply Plan Advisory Committee meets at the Innsbrook Technical Center in Glen Allen. The State Water Supply Plan Advisory Committee was established by the 2010 Virginia General Assembly to assist the Department of Environmental Quality in developing, revising, and implementing a state water resources plan. The bill creating the committee was SB 569; information about that bill is at the Virginia Legislative Information System Web site, at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?101+sum+SB569. For more information: Tammy Stephenson, (540) 562-6828, email@example.com.
- On April 1 at 10 a.m., the Health Department’s Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations Advisory Committee meets at the James Madison Building in Richmond. For more information: Allan Knapp, (804) 864-7458, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On April 6 at 9 a.m., the Health Department’s Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board meets at the James Madison Building in Richmond. For more information: Donna Tiller, (804) 864-7470, email@example.com.
- And on April 6 at 10 a.m., the Board for Professional Soil Scientists and Wetland Professionals meets at the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation in Richmond. For more information: Kate R. Nosbisch, (804) 367-8514, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On April 2 and 3, at Graves Mountain Lodge in Madison County, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Trout Unlimited, and many other partners present Trout Heritage Weekend and Kids' Days. For more information: Graves Mountain Lodge at (540) 923-4231, email@example.com.
- From April 5 through 7 in Lexington, Virginia Military Institute holds its annual Environment Virginia conference. For more information: Major Amy DeHart, (540) 464-7740, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- And on April 13 and 14, at the Johnson Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the national Climate Prediction Center, and George Mason are presenting the U.S. Drought Monitor Forum. This free event will bring together authors and users of the weekly national drought monitor map to discuss how to improve the product. For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall. Click here for Virginia General Assembly legislative committee and commission meetings. 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.
Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Emily Whitesell found 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.