Monday, July 29, 2013

Episode 172 (7-29-13): Fish Sampling

Click to listen to episode (4:21).

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 29, 2013.

This week, we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you can guess what’s going on with this beeping and splashing.  And here’s a hint:  If you had fins and heard this, you might soon have a stunning experience.

SOUND


If you guessed fish sampling, you’re right!  Those were sounds from an electrofishing demonstration, during a May 2013 Virginia Master Naturalist field trip on stream and river fish.  Led by Jamie Roberts, a Virginia Tech research scientist, participants learned about three fish-assessment techniques commonly used by fishery managers and by fish scientists, or ichthyologists.  For some more details on fish sampling in streams, let’s listen to a two-minute excerpt from Dr. Roberts’ session.

TALK


As Jamie Roberts noted, fish live in an environment largely hidden from unaided human vision or hearing.  So scientists and resource managers combine ancient technologies—like nets—with modern electronics to get the information needed to understand and properly manage fish and the aquatic areas that sustain them.  Thanks to Dr. Roberts and the New River Valley Master Naturalist chapter for permission to record this week’s sounds.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES
 

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 7/29/13]


Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries personnel giving a backpack electrofishing demonstration to the Virginia Master Naturalists/New River Valley Chapter at Toms Creek in Montgomery County on May 6, 2013.  Photo by Bill Sydor, courtesy of New River Valley Master Naturalists Chapter.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries personnel leading a seining demonstration to the Virginia Master Naturalists/New River Valley Chapter at Toms Creek in Montgomery County on May 6, 2013.  Photo by Shannon Ritter, courtesy of New River Valley Master Naturalists Chapter.


Acknowledgments, Sources, and More Information: This episode’s sounds were recorded May 13, 2013, along Toms Creek in Montgomery County, Virginia, at a class of the New River Valley Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists Program.  Thanks to Jamie Roberts of the Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and to this Master Naturalists class for permission to record the session.

Information about the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation is available online at http://fishwild.vt.edu/, or by contacting 100 Cheatham Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0321; phone (540) 231-5573; e-mail: fishwild@vt.edu.

Information about the Virginia Master Naturalists Program is available online at http://www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/, or by contacting 60 Stagecoach Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902; phone (434) 872-4580; e-mail: masternaturalist@vt.edu.

Information on electrofishing is available from the U.S. EPA New England Regional Laboratory, online at http://www.epa.gov/region1/lab/ecology/efishing.html; and from “Revised Protocols for Sampling Algal, Invertebrate, and Fish Communities as Part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program,” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-150, online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2002/ofr-02-150/.


Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Episode 171 (7-22-13): Plankton and "The Sunshine Bankers" by Teresa Whitaker and Frank Schwartz

Click to listen to episode (2:54).

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 22, 2013.
This week we feature a song written by “The Bard of the Chesapeake Bay,” with an easily digested lesson about aquatic food chains.  Have a listen for about 55 seconds.

MUSIC.

You’ve been listening to “The Sunshine Bankers,” written by the late Tom Wisner and performed by Teresa Whitaker and Frank Schwartz on “Singing the Chesapeake,” a 2012 songbook and CD from Finding Home Productions.  As the song describes, plankton are the foundation of many aquatic food chains or webs.  Plankton are primarily microscopic, floating organisms, and this group includes phytoplankton, which are plant-like algae; zooplankton, which are animals; and bacteria.  Phytoplankton capture the sun’s energy through photosynthesis, and this captured energy in turn provides food for zooplankton, oysters, fish, and other aquatic organisms.  Just as financial banks are crucial to the economic health of many human communities, planktonic “sunshine bankers” are key parts of the ecological health of aquatic communities in the Chesapeake Bay and many other water bodies.  Thanks to Ms. Whitaker and to Mr. Schwartz for permission to use this week’s music.


For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES 

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 7/18/13]



Phytoplankton in New York Bight area, photographed in about 1973.  Photo made available for public use by the NOAA Photo Library (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/U.S. Department of Commerce), online at http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/index.html, accessed 7/18/13.



Acknowledgments:
“The Sunshine Bankers” and “Singing the Chesapeake” are copyright by Teresa Whitaker and Frank Schwartz, used with permission.  “Singing the Chesapeake" is songbook and CD collection of songs by Tom Wisner, Mark Wisner, and Teresa Whitaker, published by Finding Home Productions and by C.H.E.A.R.S, an environmental arts and education organization.  More information is available online at at www.findinghomeproductions.com  and at http://www.frankandteresa.net/Welcome%20.html.  “The Sunshine Bankers” was previously recorded by Ms. Whitaker and Mr. Wisner on “We’ve Got to Come Full Circle: Chesapeake Song and Story for Young Hearts,” a 1984 album on Smithsonian’s Folkways Records (http://www.folkways.si.edu/index.aspx).

A Washington, D.C., native and long-time Maryland resident, Mr. Wisner dedicated his life to learning, singing, and teaching about the Bay and its protection.  More information about Mr. Wisner is available from the Smithsonian Folkways “Artist Spotlight” at http://www.folkways.si.edu/explore_folkways/tom_wisner.aspx; from Thomas A. Wisner, 79: 'Bard of the Chesapeake' sang about the bay he loved, Washington Post, 4/4/10; and from Tom Wisner, his love of Chesapeake, will carry on in his songs, Bay Journal, May 2010.

This episode’s music and information were used previously in Episode 31 (week of 8-30-10), now archived.  Please contact Virginia Water Radio to request access to the audio for Episode 31.

Sources:

Chesapeake Bay Program, online at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/plankton.aspx?menuitem=19401;


“The Bridge” marine-education Web site of the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Extension Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, online at http://web.vims.edu/bridge/plankton.html?svr=www.

Application to Virginia State Science Standards of Learning (SOLs), January 2010 edition:
This episode may be useful to support Virginia Science SOLs 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5.



Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.



Monday, July 15, 2013

Episode 170 (7-15-13): Hydroelectric Power

Click to listen to episode (2:51).

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 15, 2013.

This week, we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you can guess where these flowing and buzzing sounds were recorded, and what they have to do with each other.  And here’s a hint: if you’re well hydrated, you can power through this mystery.

SOUNDS.


If you guessed a hydroelectric power facility, you’re right.  That was water flowing through the Claytor Hydroelectric Project dam on the New River in Pulaski County, followed by the buzz of power lines carrying electricity from the facility.  As of 2013, Virginia has 28 hydropower facilities.  They range from the large—such as the 2400 megawatt-capacity, pumped-storage project on Little Back Creek in Bath County—to the relatively small, like the 0.4 megawatt-capacity, Big Island plant on the James River in Bedford County.  Whether from a large or small facility, all hydropower ultimately results from solar energy transferred to evaporated water, then to flowing water, then to mechanical turbines, and finally to electrical generators.  Collectively in 2010, Virginia’s hydropower plants produced about 1.5 million megawatt-hours of power, about two percent of the total electricity generated in the Commonwealth that year.  Most of Virginia’s hydropower plants are licensed for 30, 40, or 50 years by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  The relicensing process, therefore, is a key time for various groups and interests to comment on water levels, fish passage, shoreline development, and many other environmental and human effects of hydropower dams and the lakes they create.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


SHOW NOTES
 

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 7/15/13]

Claytor Hydroelectric Project on the New River, Pulaski County, Virginia, October 11, 2012
Side view of Claytor Hydroelectric Project, Pulaski County, Virginia, July 13, 2013.

City of Radford hydroelectric facility on Little River in Montgomery County, Va., July 13, 2013.





Turbine at Claytor Lake Hydroelectric Facility, Pulaski County, Virginia.  Photo courtesy of Appalachian Power Company, 7/26/13.


Turbine at Smith Mountain Lake Hydroelectric Facility, Pittsylvania/Bedford County border, Virginia.  Photo courtesy of Appalachian Power Company, 7/26/13.

A glimpse into the manufacture of hydroelectric-power equipment is shown in this 1997 view of the American Hydro Manufacturing Plant in York, Pennsylvania.  This plant manufactured the turbine shown in the previous photo being delivered to Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake facility.  American Hydro is now Weir American Hydro, part of the Weir Power and Industrial company.  Photo courtesy of Zack Stair, Harlesyville, Penn.

Application to Virginia State Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):
Information in this episode can support Virginia Science SOLs 6.5 and PS.6 (Physical Science).

Sources:

“2010 Virginia Energy Plan,” Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, online at http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/VEP_TitlePage.html.


“Dam relicensing acknowledges that with power comes responsibility,” by Karl Blankenship, Bay Journal, June 2013, online at http://www.bayjournal.com/article/dam_relicensing_acknowledges_that_with_power_comes_responsibility.


“Hydroelectric Power: How it Works,” U.S. Geological Survey, online at http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/hyhowworks.html.


“Hydropower/Complete List of Issued Licenses,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), online at https://www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower.asp.


Relicensing document for Claytor Hydroelectric Project, December 27, 2011, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, http://www.claytorhydro.com/documents/2012/Claytor_New_License122711.pdf.


“Virginia Electricity Profile 2010,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, online at http://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/virginia/.


“Virginia Energy Patterns and Trends,” Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, online at http://www.energy.vt.edu/vept/renewables/hydro.asp.




Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.