Friday, March 18, 2016

Episode 308 (3-21-16): Treating Spring Fever with Water, Featuring "Until the Summer Comes" by The Steel Wheels

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:00)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-18-16.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 21, 2016.

MUSIC – ~ 12 sec

This week, music from the Harrisonburg, Va.-based band, The Steel Wheels, captures some of the “fever” of spring, which begins astronomically in Virginia this week. Have a listen for about 40 more seconds.

Music – ~ 42 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “Until the Summer Comes,” from The Steel Wheels’ 2013 album, “No More Rain.” Water is part of spring’s feverish pull for this song’s narrator and for many non-humans, like Spring Peepers and American Toads [SOUND ~ 3 sec] seeking temporary ponds for breeding; Red-winged Blackbirds [SOUND ~ 1 sec] nesting in wetlands; and—to humans’ dismay—mosquitoes [SOUND ~ 1 sec] seeking all kinds of standing water for egg-laying.

As of March 18, 2016—just before Virginia’s spring equinox on March 20—water was relatively abundant in the Commonwealth, with no current signs of drought, according to the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, and stream flows over the previous 28 days at normal levels or above, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Let’s hope that water adequacy holds true well beyond when summer begins astronomically on June 20, for the sake of kids in creeks, frogs in ponds, birds in wetlands, water supplies in reservoirs, plants in the ground, and countless other aquatic connections—including water images in music.

Thanks to for the mosquito sound, and thanks to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music. Here’s to spring...

MUSIC – ~ 23 sec

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463. Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show. In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“Until the Summer Comes,” by The Steel Wheels, is from the 2013 album “No More Rain,” used with permission. More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at

The mosquito sound was recorded by user Zywx and made available for public use on, online at, under Creative Commons License 0 (public domain). For more information on Creative Commons licenses, please see [Used previously in Episode 259, 3-30-15.]


Two early spring views of shimmering ponds in Blacksburg, Va.: upper photo - a temporary pool and and adjacent wetlands where several kinds of frogs breed and Red-winged Blackbirds are common, April 4, 2015; lower photo - part of Virginia Tech's Duck Pond, March 21, 2016.

Virginia drought indicator map as of 3/18/16, from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, accessed online at, 3/18/16.


Deborah Byrd, “Everything you need to know: Vernal equinox 2016,” EarthSky, 3/16/16, online at

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Meteorological Versus Astronomical Seasons,” online at

National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center, “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for March 17—June 30, 2016” (released March 17), online at

U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Watch,” Virginia 28-day streamflow map, online at on 3/18/16.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “U.S. Drought Monitor,” online at

U.S. Naval Observatory, “Earth’s Seasons—Equinoxes and Solstices—2015-2025,” online (as PDF) at

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service, “Taxonomy Chapter for Red-winged Blackbird,” online at

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia is for Frogs” Web site, online at

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Wildlife Information/Species Information/Amphibians,” online at

Va. Drought Monitoring Task Force, “Current Drought Conditions in Virginia,” online at, accessed 3/18/16.

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Mosquitoes and Water,” Virginia Water Central, June 2009 (pages 6-15), online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (

Previous episodes on spring or on the organisms mentioned in this episode include the following (listed from oldest to most recent):
Mosquitoes, Episode 78 (9-5-11);
Spring Peepers, Episode 105 (4-2-12);
Summertime Birds around Water (including Red-winged Blackbird), Episode 118 (7-9-12);
Frog Medley, Episode 148 (2-11-13);
Spring Serenade (of frogs, birds, and a mammal), Episode 206 (3-24-14);
Spring Signals for Fish and Those Who Would Catch Them, Episode 208 (4-7-14);
Red-winged Blackbird Research, Episode 259 (3-30-15).


This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
2.7 – Weather and seasonal changes affecting plants and animals.
3.8 – Basic patterns and cycles in nature.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems Theme
6.6 – organization and interactions of the solar system (including gravity, moon phases, earth tilt, tides, and history of space exploration).

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
2.4 - life cycles.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Earth Science Course
ES.3 – characteristics of Earth and the solar system (including sun-Earth-moon relationships, tides, and history of space exploration).

Biology Course
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at