Monday, March 21, 2011

Virginia Water Radio 58: Week of Mar. 21, 2011

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 58), for the week of March 21, 2011.

Audio no longer available.

  • 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 For more information, contact William Norris at
  • 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.
Now here’s a lightning-fast look at three other recent stories:
  • 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.
And in our last news item this week: 
  • 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; “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

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.


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, 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 For more information: Tammy Stephenson, (540) 562-6828,
  • 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,
  • 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,
  • 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,
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

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