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- A path forward appears to be in place for a 50-year water-supply plan for Charlottesville and Albemarle County. On February 22, the Charlottesville City Council voted to construct a new earthen dam on the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, raising the reservoir height by 30 feet at first, with the potential for an ultimate 42-foot rise. This reversed the City’s decision last September to repair and raise the existing concrete Ragged Mountain dam, and it put the Council close to the position of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. Later that week, the Albemarle board agreed to a 30-foot, first-phase increase, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority said it would seek a state-permit modification to allow this phased plan. News sources: A split city council endorses earthen dam for water supply plan, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 2/23/11; County accepts initial 30-foot pool rise for dam, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 2/26/11; and Water authority approves next steps for earthen dam's construction, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 2/25/11.
- In mid-February, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries staff did their first trout stocking in South Holston Lake, as part of a joint management agreement between Virginia and Tennessee. The lake is a 7,600-acre reservoir on the South Holston River, with 1600 acres in Washington County, Virginia, and 6000 acres in Tennessee. The two states’ agreement, which took effect on July 1, 2010, also includes coordination of rules on catch limits, and the availability of a special permit to allow fishing on the lake in both states. News source: Virginia Now Stocking Trout in South Holston Lake, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Outdoor Report, 2/23/11.
- The House of Representatives’ spending bill for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011, which the House passed on February 19 and sent to the Senate, includes Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte’s amendment to prohibit any spending during this fiscal year by the U.S. EPA on the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL. News Source: Bay 'diet' funding cut by House, Baltimore Sun, 2/19/11.
- The House spending bill also would reduce from $50 million to $40 million the current year’s funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, and would reduce from $2.1 billion to $690 million the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which provides loans for wastewater-treatment projects. News Source: House votes to block Bay TMDL, other environmental programs, Bay Journal, 2/22/11.
- The recently adjourned Virginia General Assembly passed a bill that removes the Marine Resources Commission’s authority to establish Aquaculture Opportunity Zones in Bay waters; the zones were authorized by the 2010 General Assembly as a tool to help commercial oyster harvesters switch to raising oysters. News Source: Virginia lawmakers cancel oyster zones in Chesapeake Bay, Daily Press, 2/22/11; and New shellfish farming law under attack by oyster industry, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/25/11 (the bill is SB 963).
- And the General Assembly also passed bills that prohibit the sale in Virginia of lawn-maintenance fertilizer containing phosphorus, and the sale of de-icing products containing urea, nitrogen, or phosphorus. The bills also require golf courses to have nutrient-management plans. News Source:General Assembly passes bill aimed at reducing Chesapeake Bay pollution, Associated Press, 2/19/11; and the Virginia Legislative Information System at http://leg1.state.va.us/, 3/1/11 (the bills are HB 1831 and SB 1055).
- The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (or VIMS) has received a $1.75 million grant to study scallop populations in four areas from the Delmarva Peninsula to southern New England. The survey will be used to determine whether current catch limits are appropriate. An unusually large harvest off New York State in 2010 has raised the question of whether populations might be larger than previously thought and consequently might support increased catch limits. The VIMS grant comes from the Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Awards, which the scallop industry funds and the National Marine Fisheries Service administers. Scallop harvests by Virginia-based vessels have been worth more than $60 million annually since 2007, making scallops Virginia’s single most valuable fishery species. News source: VIMS research helps sustain Virginia’s most valuable fishery, Virginia Institute of Marine Science news release, 2/21/11.
This week we feature a selection from a Virginia-based band that takes its name from the 3rd-highest mountain in the Commonwealth: “Banks of New River,” performed by the Whitetop Mountain Band on their 2008 album, “Bull Plus 10%,” from Arhoolie Records. The melancholy lover in this song sits beside the New River, a well-known landmark of Southwest Virginia. Situated near the Eastern Continental Divide, the northward-flowing New distinguishes itself from many other Virginia rivers that flow south toward the Atlantic Coast. The 320-mile long river starts as two streams in North Carolina and continues its journey through Virginia. After joining the Kanawha River in West Virginia, water from the New River continues northward and westward to empty into the Ohio River, then the Mississippi, and finally the Gulf of Mexico. Information on the New River and Whitetop Mountain was taken from the following sources: Frits Van der Leeden, The Environmental Almanac of Virginia (1998), from Tennyson Press, Lexington, Virginia; K.P. Sevebeck, et al., Virginia’s Waters (1986), Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Blacksburg, Virginia; and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “New River,” accessed at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/waterbodies/display.asp?id=163, 2/24/11. More information about the Whitetop Mountain Band is available from their website: http://whitetopmountainband.tripod.com/index.html. Information about the watersheds into which the New River flows is available from the U.S. EPA’s Surf Your Watershed Web site at http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfm.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings, occurring between March 3 and 9.
- On March 3, 6:30 p.m. at Louisa County Middle School in Mineral, the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, holds a public hearing on whether a proposed third reactor at Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna Nuclear Station would be consistent with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. For more information: Ellie Irons at (804) 698-4325 or email@example.com.
- On March 7 at 3 p.m., the Biscuit Run State Park Master Plan Advisory Committee meets at the Albemarle County Social Services Building in Charlottesville. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has land in Albemarle County that will eventually become Biscuit Run State Park. For more information about the meeting: Janit Llewellyn at (804) 786-0887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On March 9 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 http://www.townhall.state.va.us/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1145. For more information: David Dowling, (804) 786-2291 or email@example.com.
- On March 3, 7 p.m. at Chatham Middle School in Chatham, on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria-impaired sections of the Bannister River and several tributaries in Pittsylvania County. For more information: Charles Lunsford at (804) 786-3199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On March 8, 7 p.m., at the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy office in Big Stone Gap, on the TMDL study of aquatic-life impairments in Bull Creek and the South Fork Pound River in Buchanan County. For more information: Allen Newman at (276) 676-4800 or Allen.Newman@deq.virginia.gov.
- On March 9, 7 p.m., at Northern Shores Elementary School in Suffolk, on the TMDL study of bacteria-impaired sections of Hoffler Creek in Portsmouth and Suffolk. For more information: Jennifer Howell at (757) 518-2111 or Jennifer.Howell@deq.virginia.gov.
- On March 6 to 8 in Richmond, the Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association holds its annual Virginia Water Conference. For more information: More information: Stuart Stein, (703) 870-7000 or email@example.com.
- On March 19 and 20, the Volunteer Fire Department of the Lancaster County town of White Stone holds the 32nd Annual Rappahannock River Waterfowl Art Show. The show includes paintings, prints, sculpture, carvings, photography, jewelry, and taxidermy, and a decoy-carving contest is one of the featured events. For more information: (804) 435-6355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.