Audio archived 2/22/12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to the audio file.
Our opening item this week is the Monthly Water Status report as of the end of March:
- First, here are National Weather Service preliminary precipitation totals for March at five Virginia locations: Bristol, 6.4.inches, or 2.5 inches above normal for March; Dulles Airport, 5.1 inches, or 1.5 above normal; Richmond, 4.3 inches, or 0.2 above normal; Danville, 4.2 inches, or just about normal; and Norfolk, 3 inches, or 1.1 below normal.
- Second, in stream flow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch, streamflows averaged over March were in the normal range at about 42 percent of gauges in Virginia and just beyond the state border. Monthly average flows were below normal at about 11 percent of gauges, and above normal at about 47 percent of gauges.
- And third, our drought watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor on March 29 showed abnormally dry or worse conditions in 63 percent of Virginia, and moderate drought in about 30 percent of the state.
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.
- On March 29 U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings introduced H.R. 1230 that would require the U.S. Interior Department to proceed with lease sales for offshore oil and gas exploration in certain areas of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The bill affects areas where sales were postponed until at least 2017 by Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar in December 2010, including Lease Sale 220, a 2.9-million acre area off the coast of Virginia. News sources and other information: Governor McDonnell Applauds Congressional Legislation to Begin Offshore Energy Development in Virginia, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 3/29/11 (posted 3/31). If passed, H.R. 1230 would require the lease sales to proceed not later than one year after enactment of the bill. Rep. Hastings is a Republican from Washington’s 4th Congressional district.
- On March 16, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that the agency will send four Strategic Watershed Action Teams of technical experts to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the Delmarva Peninsula, southeastern Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to help farmers implement practices to reduce nutrients and sediments reaching the Chesapeake Bay. News Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service to Deploy Technical Teams to Accelerate Conservation in Chesapeake Bay, U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service News Release, 3/16/11.
- Meeting in Alexandria on March 21-24, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to propose increasing to 15 percent (from the current 9 percent) the level of Atlantic Menhaden spawning stock protected from annual harvest, and to pursue a long-term management plan for Menhaden that takes into account its role as food for several predators, including Striped Bass and Bluefish. News Sources: “ASMFC Atlantic Menhaden Board Initiates Addendum to Increase Abundance and Spawning Stock Biomass,” ASFMC News Release, 3/24/11; and “Blog: Fisheries regulators take stock in menhaden,” Baltimore Sun, 3/22/11. The only commercial Menhaden harvest operation in Atlantic waters is conducted out of Reedsville, Va., by Omega Protein Corporation of Texas.
- Did you know that old or unused medicines left in the home are a significant source of drug abuse, and that disposing of old prescriptions by flushing them down the toilet or a drain can introduce chemicals into waterways that may affect fish or other aquatic life? National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is designed to help people prevent these problems and dispose of unused drugs properly. On April 30, law enforcement agencies at various locations statewide and around the country will accept old or unused prescription medications. To see if a take-back day is happening near you, call your police or sheriff’s department. If you can’t participate in a take-back initiative, the American Pharmacists Association recommends you follow these steps to dispose of medications: 1. Put medication into a sealable plastic bag. 2. Add cat litter, sawdust, coffee grounds, or any other material that will deter pets and children from eating the conte nts. 3. Seal the bag and put it in the trash. And 4. Remove and destroy all identifying personal information from prescription containers before recycling them or throwing them away. News source and more information: U.S. Department of Justice “National Take Back Initiative” Web site, www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html; you can search this site for the take-back location nearest you. For instructions on proper disposal of drugs, visit the American Pharmacists Association’s Smart Disposal Web site at smarxtdisposal.net.
This week we feature “All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight,” performed by Bobby Horton on the 1985 album “Homespun Songs of the C.S.A., Vol. 1.” The lyrics are from Ethel Lynn Beers’ poem “The Picket Guard,” published by Harper’s Magazine in November 1861. As a key border between the Union and the Confederacy, the Potomac River was a focal point of the Civil War. But many other waterways also were important in battles, strategy, and movement of troops and supplies. Control of the Mississippi River, for example, was a major objective of the war. Some Virginia examples are Bull Run near Manassas, the Rappahannock River, the Rapidan River, and of course the James River, site of the Confederate capital at Richmond and a major transportation route. Information on “All Quiet Along the Potomac” and Ethel Beers was taken from http://womenshistory.about.com/library/bio/blbio_beers_ethel_lynn.htm and from Britannica Encyclopedia Online at www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/58438/Ethel-Lynn-Beers. Information on rivers in the Civil War was taken from The History Place Web site at http://www.historyplace.com/civilwar/, and the USA Civil War Web site at http://usa-civil-war.com/CW_Rivers/rivers.html. Information on the First Battle of Manassas was taken from the National Park Service Web site at www.nps.gov/mana/index.htm.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings, occurring between April 7 and April 13.
- On April 7 at Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, and on April 12 at Liberty High School in Bealeton, the Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ), holds the final public hearings on proposed changes to Virginia’s regulations on land application of biosolids, or treated sewage sludge. Both meetings are at 7 p.m. For more information: William Norris, (804) 698-4022 or email@example.com. Public comments on the proposed changes are being accepted until April 29. Relevant documents and the online place to comment are at www.townhall.state.va.us/L/comments.cfm?stageid=5374.
- On April 12, 9 a.m. at the DEQ regional office in Glen Allen, is the first meeting of the Regulatory Advisory Panel that helping develop a permit for small renewable energy projects using combustible materials, such as solid waste or biomass. For more information: Carol Wampler at (804) 698-4579 or Carol.Wampler@deq.virginia.gov. The Department of Environmental Quality is developing a permit by rule for small renewable energy projects from combustible sources, a regulatory action that the 2009 General Assembly (HB 2175/SB 1347) required for small renewable energy projects from various sources (wind, solar, and combustible sources). More information and relevant documents on the combustible-substances permit are available at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2803.
- Also on April 12 at 9 a.m., the Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals meets at the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation office in Richmond. For more information: David Dick at (804) 367-8595 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On April 13 at 9 a.m., the Stakeholder Committee for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Nutrient-exchange Program meets at the Virginia Housing Center in Glen Allen. For more information: Russ Baxter at (804) 698-4382 or email@example.com. The committee was established called for the 2011 General Assembly (SJ 334) to study the possible expansion of the Bay nutrient credit-exchange program.
- And also on April 13 at 10 a.m., the Wildlife and Boat Committee of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries meets at 4000 West Broad Street in Richmond. For more information: Beth Drewery at (804) 367-9149 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- April 13, 7 p.m., at the Great Falls Public Library, on the TMDL for bacteria impairments in Mine Run, Pimmit Run, and Sugarland Run. For more information: Jennifer Carlson at (703) 583-3859 or email@example.com.
- Applications are being accepted now for high-school students from Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states to participate in the Natural Resources Careers Conference, held July 24-30 in Garrett County, Maryland. The Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards organizes this opportunity for students to learn from professionals about forestry, wildlife, watersheds, and natural resources management through field work and classroom exercises. For more information: (410) 260-8501 (Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Service) or NRCCINFO@gmail.com.
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. 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.