Monday, August 28, 2017

Episode 383 (8-28-17): Exploring River Stewardship, Featuring “River Song” by The Floorboards


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:56).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 8-25-17.


Listeners: Please note that the musical excerpt in this episode has somewhat suggestive lyrics, so adults should preview it to determine whether they consider it appropriate for their children or students.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 28, 2017, updating an episode from August 2014.

MUSIC – ~9 sec

This week, we feature a southwestern Virginia band with a song about a riverside rogue whose confession of bad behavior is our cue to look at some good behaviors from the river’s point of view.  Have a listen for about 20 seconds.

MUSIC - ~21 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “River Song,” by The Floorboards, in a live performance in Richmond in December 2013.  When the song’s mischievous narrator says he’s “doin’ things I should never do,” he’s talking about his riverside affairs of the romantic kind.  But if you’re talking about water resources affairs, what should one do, and NOT do, down by or on the river?  Here are four big things.

First - [SOUND - ~ 2 sec - bottles] - Help keep trash and pollutants out of waterways and drainage ditches; and, if you want to go further, participate in one of the waterways clean-ups coordinated by Clean Virginia Waterways each September and October.

Second - [SOUND - ~ 4 sec – boat motor] - If you’re a boater, be a safe, responsible one, including taking Virginia’s required boater-education course, and never boating under the influence of alcohol.

Third - [SOUND - ~ 3 sec – fishing line reeling] - Recycle used fishing line, so that birds and other wildlife don’t gather used line and ultimately get ensnared; recycling receptacles are available at many fishing piers and boat-launch sites.

And fourth - [SOUND - ~ 4 sec – spraying hose] - Help stop the spread of harmful, invasive aquatic plants and animals by cleaning boats and water gear after use, and by NOT putting unused baitfish or other non-native species into waterways.

Thanks to The Floorboards for permission to use this week’s music.  As we close with a few more seconds of “River Song,” here’s hoping you get lots of chances to one thing that’s always OK on Virginia’s rivers—enjoy ‘em!

MUSIC - ~16 sec

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, 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 Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.   In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This episode is a revised repeat of Episode 228 (8-25-14), which has been archived.

The excerpts of “River Songs” were taken from a live performance by The Floorboards at the Cary Street Cafe in Richmond, Va., on December 13, 2013; used with permission.  The recording was accessed from The Floorboards’ page on Internet Archive, https://archive.org/details/TheFloorboards.  More information about The Floorboards is available online at http://thefloorboards.net/.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

  IMAGES
Trash beside Passage Creek in Shenandoah County, Va., August 22, 2016.
Life jacket promotional poster made available for free from the National Safe Boating Council, accessed online at http://www.safeboatingcouncil.org/non-members#!/Wear-It-Poster/p/62419081/category=18136007.
Fishing-line recycling station at Philpott Marina in Henry County, Va., January 16, 2017.
Sign warning against transport of invasive aquatic species at the Claytor Lake State Park marina in Pulaski County, Va., September 23, 2012.
SOURCES USED IN AUDIO AND FOR MORE INFORMATION

BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, “Monofilament Recycling,” online at https://www.boatus.org/clean-boating/recycling/fishing-line-recycling/.

Clean Virginia Waterways (at Longwood University), “Virginia Waterways Cleanup,” online at http://www.longwood.edu/cleanva/VolunteerForCleanup.html.

Florida Fish and Widlife Conservation Commission, “Fishing Line and Tackle Disposal: It’s about More than Just Monofilament,” 2/7/16, online at http://myfwc.com/news/news-releases/2017/february/06/fishing-line/.

KUOW FM-Seattle, Wash., “Oregon Battles Invasive Minnows To Protect Non-Native Trout,” 6/14/16, online at http://kuow.org/post/oregon-battles-invasive-minnows-protect-non-native-trout.

Maryland Sea Grant, “Aquatic Invasive Species,” online at http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/topics/aquatic-invasive-species/aquatic-invasive-species.

National Safe Boating Council, online at http://www.safeboatingcouncil.org/.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, “Responsible Use of Baitfish,” online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/74079.html.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Aquatic Invasive Species,” online at https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/ANS/index.html.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), “Boating,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Invasive Plant Species of Virginia,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/invspinfo.

Virginia Invasive Species Working Group, online at http://www.vainvasivespecies.org/.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the subject categories for Recreation; Rivers, Streams and Other Surface Water; Science; and Waste Management.

Previous episodes related to topics mentioned in this episode are the following:
boating safetyEpisode 111 – 5/21/12; Episode 270 – 6/15/15 (Operation Dry Water and BUI); Episode 370, 5/29/17;
fishing-line recycling - Episode 175 (8-19-13);
invasive species: Episode 321 (6-20-16);
safety around docks: Episode 131 (10-8-12);
waterways cleanups: Episode 180 Revisited (8-31-15).

Monday, August 21, 2017

Episode 382 (8-21-17): Barred Owl


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:54).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 8-18-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 21, 2017.

MUSIC – ~ 7 sec

This week, that excerpt of “Turn Out the Lights,” from the album “See Further in the Darkness,” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg, sets the stage for a nighttime mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you can guess who’s making these nocturnal hoots.  And here’s a hint: not seeing this creature doesn’t BAR you from identifying it.

SOUNDS - ~19 sec

If you guessed a Barred Owl, you’re right!  You heard Barred Owls—along with crows—calling at Mountain Lake, Virginia, under a bright moon near midnight on August 5, 2017.  Named for brown horizontal and vertical feather bars, the Barred Owl is one of 19 owl species in North America, seven of which are found regularly in Virginia.  The Barred Owl is found year-round in the Commonwealth’s wooded habitats, both in uplands and lowlands, and frequently around water.  According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, it “prefers low, wet, deep woods [and] heavily wooded swamps, often near open country where it [hunts] for food.” That food is mainly rodents, but also includes other small mammals, insects, crayfish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and fish.

Like owls generally, the Barred Owl has exceptional hearing and night vision for finding prey, a strong beak and talons for seizing prey, and feathers adpated for silent flight to avoid alerting prey.  In the early 1800s, John James Audubon described a Barred Owl’s silent flight this way: “So very lightly do they fly, that I have frequently discovered one passing over me, and only a few yards distant, by first seeing its shadow on the ground, during clear moon-light nights, when not the faintest rustling of its wings could be heard.”

Thanks to Bob Gramann for this week’s music, and we close with about 25 more seconds of what could be an owl’s theme song: “Turn Out the Lights.”

MUSIC – ~25 sec

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, 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.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“Turn Out the Lights,” from the 2001 album “See Further in the Darkness,” is copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  More information about Bob Gramann is available online at http://www.bobgramann.com/.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.   More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

Thanks to Carola Haas and Peter Lazar for their help with this episode.

IMAGES

Barred Owl painting originally published between 1827 and 1838 by John James Audubon in Birds of America (plate LXVI [46]), as reprinted in 1985 by Abbeville Press, New York.  Photo taken August 18, 2017, from the reprint copy (no. 6 of 350 copies printed in 1985) owned by Special Collections of Virginia Tech Libraries.  Virginia Water Radio thanks Special Collections for permission to photograph their copy and for their assistance. Information about Birds of America is available from the National Audubon Society, online at http://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america.
Barred Owl in South Carolina, date unspecified.   Photo by Mark Musselman, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov, accessed 8-18-17 (direct link to image is https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/natdiglib/id/14142/rec/1).

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT BARRED OWLS


From the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Fish and Wildlife Information Service/Species Information, “Barred Owl,” online at https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040209&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=17395.

From Life History

“This is a large gray owl spotted with white above, barred transversely on breast and striped lengthwise on the belly and flanks.  It has a large rounded head, no ear tufts, large brown eyes and a yellow bill.”

“REPRODUCTION: The breeding season is from February 28 through April 14 with a peak in March. Incubation lasts 28 days, and the average number of offspring is generally 2 (2-4).  There is 1 reproductive period/year, although they will renest if the eggs are removed or lost early in the nesting season.  Courtship consists of a loud spectacular vocal display which is engaged in by both sexes and occurs in the late winter or early spring.  The typical nest tree is tall with a suitable nest cavity greater than or equal to 7.6 meters above the ground.   Nests have also been reported in the tops of broken snags.  The recommended dbh [diameter at breast height] for cavity trees suitable for nesting is greater than 50.8 cm and cavities above 9 meters may be prefered.”

“BEHAVIOR: They are highly defensive of the area immediately around the nest. The home range is from 213-912 acres.  This species is apparently an opportunistic feeder and takes whatever prey is available of a size which can be handled.  Usually prey on rodents; they also prey on birds, herps, insects, crustaceans, and others.  The nest is usually poorly constructed, and most often the owl will use the nest of red shouldered hawk, squirrel, or some other animal with only slight modification.  The young develop relatively slowly, and they will move out of the nest 4-5 weeks after hatching.  The young show fully developed plumage by mid-September.  Parental care of the young is extended throughout the summer and possibly longer.  Considering the display of long-lasting pair bonds, high degree of territoriality, and nest site fidelity by the barred owl, this may be a fairly sedentary species.  As long as they are usable, nest sites may be used by barred owls year after year.”

“LIMITING FACTORS: The major limiting factor is the scarcity of appropriate nesting cavities.”

From Habitat Association

“This species prefers low, wet deep woods, heavily wooded swamps often near open country where it may hunt for food.   It frequently uses mixed or coniferous woods for nesting and roosting.  It prefers mature oak woods for nesting and feeding.   They require an expansive forested area that contains large mature and decadent trees that provide cavities suitable for security and reproduction.  Eastern populations are usually associated with mixed woodland, boreal forest, mixed transitional forests and deciduous forests.  Barred owls are found in mature forests in habitats ranging from upland woods to lowland swamps.”

SOURCES

Used in Audio

John James Audubon, “Barred Owl,” in Birds of North America, made available online by the Audubon Society at http://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/barred-owl.  This is the source of the Audubon quote used in the audio.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists’ Union, “Birds of North America Online” online at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna (subscription required).

David W. Johnston, “Foods of Birds of Prey in Virginia – Part I. Stomach Analyses,” Banisteria (Virginia Museum of Natural History), No. 15, 2000.

National Audubon Society, online at http://www.audubon.org/.

National Geographic Society, “Owls Can’t Move Their Eyeballs,” online at https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/birds-eye-view-wbt/.

Chandler S. Robbins et al., A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2001.

Floyd Scholz, Owls, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Penn., 2001.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheires (VDGIF), Fish and Wildlife Information Service/Species Information, online at https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/?Menu=Home.Species+Information. Direct link to “Barred Owl” is https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040209&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=17395. This is the source of the VDGIF quote used in the audio.

Joel Carl Welty, The Life of Birds, 2nd Edition, W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 1975.

For More Information about Birds

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “Merlin Photo ID.” The application for mobile devices allows users to submit a bird photograph to get identification of the bird. Information is available online at http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society, “eBird,” online at http://ebird.org/content/ebird/. Here you can find locations of species observations made by contributors, and you can sign up to contribute your own observations.

Virginia Society of Ornithology: online at http://www.virginiabirds.org/. The Society is non-profit organization dedicated to the study, conservation, and enjoyment of birds in the Commonwealth.

Xeno-canto Foundation Web site at http://www.xeno-canto.org/. The site provides bird songs from around the world.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the “Birds” subject category.

The following are episodes focusing on or including owls.
Episode 227, 8/18/14 – Eastern Screech-Owl;
Episode 381, 8/14/17 – Midnight at the Water.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

The episode may help with Virginia 2013 Music SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

This episode may also help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

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

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
1.5 - animals’ basic needs and distinguishing characteristics.
3.4 - behavioral and physiological adaptations.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.5 - food webs.

Life Science Course
LS.8 - community and population interactions, including food webs, niches, symbiotic relationships.

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 http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Episode 381 (8-14-17): Midnight at the Water


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:29).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 8-11-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 14, 2017.

MUSIC – ~6 sec.

This week, “Midnight on the Water,” a tune attributed to Texan Luke Thomasson and performed here by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, introduces an exploration of midnight sounds at waters in Virginia.  Have a listen while I play six short recordings, one at a time, from water locations visited near midnight over several nights last week.

We start at Mountain Lake in Giles County, where right at midnight, owls, crows, and a songbird piped up.

SOUNDS - ~16 sec.

Next, at a public boat launch on the New River in Montgomery County, midnight wasn’t too late for some boaters or for a Great Blue Heron.

SOUNDS - ~15 sec.

On to Pandapas Pond, in the Jefferson National Forest in Montgomery County, where rain was accompanied by Green Frogs and mosquitoes.

SOUNDS - ~16 sec.

Next, at the Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg, about 100 ducks and geese were congregated and calling.

SOUNDS - ~16 sec.

Finally, to two spots on Claytor Lake in Pulaski County.  First, near a private dock, a Bullfrog’s call sounded faintly underneath insects chirping.

SOUNDS - ~12 sec.

And last, at Claytor Lake State Park, the sounds of banging boat gear, katydids, and a nearly silent beach ended this series of midnight adventures.

SOUNDS - ~22 sec.

Thanks to several people who helped make these recordings possible.   Thanks also to Timothy Seaman for this week’s music, and we close with a few more seconds of “Midnight on the Water.”

MUSIC - ~16 sec

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, 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 Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thanks to the following people for their help with this episode: Rhonda Bollinger, Mike Dunn, Tara Fowlkes, Nancy Mignone, and Stephen Schoenholtz.

Thanks to the staff at Mountain Lake Hotel, and to Claytor Lake State Park Manager Chris Doss and his staff, for their hospitality.

The dates and locations of the recordings in this episode are as follows (all dates in 2017; all locations in Virginia):
Late August 5 to early August 6 - Mountain Lake in Giles County;
Late August 6 to early August 7 - Whitethorn public boat launch on the New River in Montgomery County;
Late August 7 to early August 8 - Pandapas Pond in the Jefferson National Forest in Montgomery County;
Late August 8 to early August 9 - Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg (Montgomery County);
Late August 9 - private boat dock beside the confluence of Sloan Branch with Claytor Lake in Pulaski County;
Late August 9 to early August 10 - Claytor Lake State Park in Pulaski County.

“Midnight on the Water,” a fiddle tune attributed to Texan Luke Thomasson, was recorded for this episode by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va., in his studio August 9, 2017.  For more information on the tune, please see Andrew Kuntz, “The Fiddler’s Companion,” online at http://www.ceolas.org/cgi-bin/ht2/ht2-fc2/file=/tunes/fc2/fc.html&style=&refer=&abstract=&ftpstyle=&grab=&linemode=&max=250?Midnight. More information on Timothy Seaman is available online at http://timothyseaman.com/en/.

The title of this episode was inspired by “Midnight at the Oasis,” written by David Nichtern and recorded by Maria Muldaur on her 1974 self-titled album.  For more information about that song, please see SongFacts, “Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Muldaur,” online at http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5784; or AllMusic, “Maria Muldaur,” online at http://www.allmusic.com/album/maria-muldaur-mw0000620137.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

PHOTOS
Lights at Mountain Lake Hotel in Giles County, Va., just after midnight on August 6, 2017.
Ducks and geese at the Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg, Va., just after midnight on August 9, 2017.
Moon above Claytor Lake State Park in Pulaski County, Va., at about 11:45 p.m. on August 9, 2017.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE PLACES MENTIONED

Mountain Lake Lodge, online at http://www.mtnlakelodge.com/.

Montgomery County, Va., Department of Parks and Recreation, “Whitethorne Public Boat Launch (New River),” online at https://www.montgomerycountyva.gov/content/15989/16578/19399/19408.aspx.

U.S. Forest Service, “Pandapas Pond Day Use Area,” online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/gwj/recreation/fishing/?recid=73539&actid=42.

Mason Adams, “Waterways—Inside the Duck Pond,” Virginia Tech Magazine, Fall 2014, online at http://www.vtmag.vt.edu/fall14/duck-pond.html.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Claytor Lake State Park,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/claytor-lake#general_information.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the following subject categories: “Amphibians”; “Birds”; “Insects”; “Recreation”; and “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water.”

Following are links to some previous episodes with topics related to this week’s episode:
Boating safety – Episode 270, 6/15/15 and Episode 370, 5/29/17;
Bullfrog – Episode 74, 8/8/11;
Dock safety – Episode 131, 10/8/12;
Green Frog – Episode 310, 4/4/16;
Great Blue Heron – Episode 118, 7/9/12 and Episode 77, 8/10/15;
Mosquitoes – Episode 78, 9/5/11 and Episode 259, 3/30/15;
New River – Episode 109, 5/7/12, Episode 179, 9/16/13, and Episode 264, 5/4/15;
Virginia State Parks – Episode 161, 5/13/13 and Episode 320, 6/13/16.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERSThe episode may help with Virginia 2013 Music SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

This episode may also help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
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 Living Systems Theme
2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.9 - adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors, including characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater environments.

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.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOL:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Episode 380 (8-7-17): Natural Gas Pipelines, Water Resources, and the Clean Water Act


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:10).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 8-4-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 7, 2017.

This week, we feature a series of water and energy mystery sounds.   Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you can guess what kind of pipeline-transported fuel is the subject of Clean Water Act-related public hearings in Virginia this week.  And here’s a hint: you can’t see this fuel naturally, but you can see it in the news.

SOUNDS - ~22 sec

If you guessed natural gas, you’re right!  A gas furnace, a gas meter at an industrial building, and the buzz of a power line all represent uses of natural gas.  The flowing water sound is from Sinking Creek in Giles County, Va., a water body potentially affected by one of two currently proposed natural gas pipelines in Virginia.  The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run from West Virginia to North Carolina, crossing approximately 307 miles in Virginia from Highland County to the City of Chesapeake.  The Mountain Valley Pipeline would also begin in West Virginia but end in Virginia, crossing approximately 106 miles in Virginia from Craig County to Pittsylvania County.

In summer 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, issued a final Environmental Impact Statement for each proposal.   According to those documents, the two pipelines collectively and in all states would involve over 2700 waterbody crossings; hundreds of wetland acres; dozens of miles of karst terrain featuring sinkholes, caves, and wells; and dozens of miles of areas with steep slopes.  Both documents assert that most impacts on these and other natural resources would be, quote, “less than significant,” but those assertions have been challenged by opponents of the projects.  The projects now await a decision by FERC commissioners. If approved by them, the projects would then move to other permitting processes, including those under the federal Clean Water Act.

Under that law, any activity that may discharge pollutants, including dredged-and-fill material, into the waters of the United States requires certain permits.   For the pipeline projects, stream and wetland crossings would be subject to the Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit #12 for utility line activities.  The Clean Water Act also requires states to certify whether projects granted licenses by federal agencies, like FERC, meet federal and state water-quality laws and regulations; this is known as Section 401 Water Quality Certification.  For the two pipeline projects, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, has proposed to grant 401 certification for the stream and wetland crossings if the Corps issues the nationwide permit, but with additional conditions for upland activities that may affect water resources.  The proposed additional conditions concern steep slopes, karst terrain, spills, riparian areas, acid-forming materials, public water supplies, horizontal drilling, hydrostatic pressure testing, and dust control.

The proposed conditions are the subject of a public comment period ending August 22, and a series of public hearings—for the Mountain Valley project in Radford August 8 and Chatham August 9; and for the Atlantic Coast project in Harrisonburg August 7, Farmville August 10, and Alberta August 14.

Clean Water Act procedures, and indeed water resources altogether, are only part of complicated and controversial gas pipeline proposals.  But pipelines and water are clearly the focus in Virginia during this month of August 2017.

[Additional note, not in the audio: Two more information hearings on the DEQ’s proposed additional conditions for 401 certification will take place on August 10, 2017, at 1 p.m. at the Newport Community Center, 434 Bluegrass Trail in Newport (Giles County); and at 5 p.m. at Cave Spring High School, 3712 Chaparral Drive in the City of Roanoke.  These meetings were organized by Virginia House of Delegates members Greg Habeeb and Joseph Yost.  Verbal comments at these meetings won’t be recorded or considered submitted by the Virginia DEQ.]

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, 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.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The natural gas furnace sound was excerpted from a recording by “daveincamas,” dated November 5, 2011, and made available for public use by Freesound.org, online at https://freesound.org/people/daveincamas/sounds/25034/, under the Creative Commons Attribution License.  The gas meter at an industrial building sound was excerpted from a recording by “jpberger,” dated December 24, 2008, and made available for public use by Freesound.org, online at https://freesound.org/people/jpberger/sounds/65361/, under the Creative Commons Attibution Noncommercial License.  For more information on Creative Commons licenses, please see http://creativecommons.org/.

All other sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio.  The stream sound was of Sinking Creek in Giles County, Va., recorded on December 21, 2015.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

IMAGES

Map of the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Final Environmental Impact Statement, issued July 21, 2017, p. 1-4; available online at https://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2017/07-21-17-FEIS.asp.


Map of the proposed route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Final Environmental Impact Statement, issued June 23, 2017, p. 1-3; available online at https://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2017/06-23-17-FEIS.asp.
The two photos above were taken at the August 8, 2017, public hearing held by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at Radford University.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT NATURAL GAS AND THE PIPELINE PROJECTS IN VIRGINIA

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Natural Gas Explained,” online at https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=natural_gas_home.

“Natural gas occurs deep beneath the earth's surface.  Natural gas consists mainly of methane, a compound with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms.  Natural gas also contains small amounts of hydrocarbon gas liquids and nonhydrocarbon gases.  We use natural gas as a fuel and to make materials and chemicals. …Because natural gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, distributors add mercaptan (a chemical that smells like sulfur) to give natural gas a distinct unpleasant odor (it smells like rotten eggs).  This added odor serves as a safety device by allowing it to be detected in the atmosphere in cases where leaks occur.”

From From the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Use of Natural Gas,” online at https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=natural_gas_use.

“The United States used about 27.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2015, the equivalent of 28.3 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) and 29% of total U.S. energy consumption.
Natural gas use by U.S. consuming sectors in 2015:
Electric power—9.7 Tcf;
Industrial—9.1 Tcf ;
Residential—4.6 Tcf;
Commercial—3.2 Tcf;
Transportation—0.9 Tcf.

“Most U.S. natural gas is used to heat buildings and to generate electricity, but some consuming sectors have other uses for natural gas.
“The electric power sector uses natural gas to generate electricity.   In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 26% of U.S. electric power sector energy consumption.  (Other consuming sectors also use natural gas to generate electricity.)
“The industrial sector uses natural gas as a fuel for process heating and for combined heat and power systems and as a raw material (feedstock) to produce chemicals, fertilizer, and hydrogen.  In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 30% of U.S. industrial sector energy consumption.
“The residential sector uses natural gas to heat buildings and water, to cook, and to dry clothes. About half of the homes in the United States use natural gas for these purposes.   In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 23% of U.S. residential sector energy consumption.
“The commercial sector uses natural gas to heat buildings and water, to operate refrigeration and cooling equipment, to cook, to dry clothes, and to provide outdoor lighting.  Some consumers in the commercial sector also use natural gas as a fuel in combined heat and power systems.   In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 18% of U.S. commercial sector energy consumption.
“The transportation sector uses natural gas as a fuel to operate compressors that move natural gas through pipelines.  A relatively small amount of natural gas is used as vehicle fuel in the form of compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas.   Nearly all vehicles that use natural gas as a fuel are in government and private vehicle fleets.  In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 3% of U.S. transportation sector energy consumption, of which 97% was for natural gas pipeline and distribution operations.”

Pipeline Company Information
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, online at https://atlanticcoastpipeline.com/default.aspx, is being
proposed by Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Southern Company Gas.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, online at mountainvalleypipeline.info, is being proposed by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, a joint venture of EQT Midstream Partners, LP; NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC; Con Edison Transmission, Inc.; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream, LLC.”]

From the Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, “Water Protection for Pipelines,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/ProtectionRequirementsforPipelines.aspx.

“…[F]ive regulatory and review tools provide comprehensive oversight and thorough technical evaluation to ensure that Virginia’s water quality is protected.
1) Environmental impact review.  DEQ, along with Virginia’s other natural resource agencies, submitted numerous comments and recommendations on the draft environmental impact statements published by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for these pipelines….
2) Stormwater, erosion, and sediment control.  DEQ is requiring each pipeline developer to submit detailed, project-specific erosion and sedimentation control and stormwater plans for every foot of land disturbance related to pipeline construction, including access roads and construction lay-down areas….”
3) Federal wetlands and stream regulation.   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is the federal regulatory partner in permitting dredge and fill activities in wetlands and streams.   The Corps’ Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 requires that water quality is protected during the construction of pipelines in wetlands and streams.  The Corps will evaluate each wetland and stream crossing to see if it is consistent with the conditions of NWP 12.  Because the Corps’ permit only covers construction activities that cross a wetland or stream, DEQ is addressing other water quality impacts through its water certification authority….
4) Virginia water quality certification.  DEQ will require water quality certification conditions for all potentially impacted water resources related to activities that may affect water quality outside the temporary construction impacts to stream and wetland crossings. ...DEQ also will hold public hearings on the draft conditions.  Once the comment period has ended, DEQ will recommend certification conditions for the State Water Control Board’s consideration.
5) Water quality monitoring.  DEQ will conduct its own water quality monitoring [Va. DEQ, Water Quality Monitoring, online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityMonitoring.aspx] to evaluate water quality conditions at a number of locations. Monitoring is expected to begin in the fall of 2017.”

SOURCES

Used in Audio

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, online at https://atlanticcoastpipeline.com/default.aspx.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), “Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Supply Header Project (CP15-554-000, -001; CP15-555-000; and CP15-556-000), issued July 21, 2017; available online at https://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2017/07-21-17-FEIS.asp.

FERC, “Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Mountain Valley Project and Equitrans Expansion Project (CP16-10-000 and CP16-13-000), issued June 23, 2017; available online at https://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2017/06-23-17-FEIS.asp.

Lynn M. Gallagher and Swidler B. S. Friedman, Clean Water Handbook, Third Edition, Government Institutes, Rockville, Md., 2003.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, online at mountainvalleypipeline.info.

Permitting Dashbord, “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines,” online at https://www.permits.performance.gov/tools/certificate-public-convenience-and-necessity-interstate-natural-gas-pipelines.

Mark A. Ryan, ed., The Clean Water Act Handbook, Second Edition, American Bar Association Publishing, Chicago, Ill., 2003.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “Nationwide Permits,” online at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Regulatory-Program-and-Permits/Nationwide-Permits/.

U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Natural Gas Explained,” online at https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=natural_gas_home.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Clean Water Act/Section 401 Certification,” online at https://www.epa.gov/cwa-404/clean-water-act-section-401-certification.

U.S. EPA, “Clean Water Act and Federal Facilities,” online at https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/clean-water-act-cwa-and-federal-facilities.

U.S. EPA, Text of the 1972 Clean Water Act, online at https://www3.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/cwatxt.txt.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), “Frequently Asked Questions about the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines,” online (as PDF) at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Water/Pipelines/PipelineFAQ.pdf?ver=2017-08-01-111816-663.

Virginia DEQ, “Water Protection for Pipelines,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/ProtectionRequirementsforPipelines.aspx.

Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, “Meetings,” online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/meetings.cfm?time=future. Following are hyperlinks to the meeting dates for public hearings on draft Section 401 Certification.
For the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline:
8/7/17, 6 p.m., At James Madison University, Festival Conference and Student Center Grand Ballroom, 1301 Carrier Drive in Harrisonburg;
8/10/17, 6 p.m., at Longwood University, Jarman Auditorium, 201 High Street in Farmville;
8/14/17, 6 p.m., at Southside Virginia Community College, Center for Workforce Development, Christanna Campus, 109 Campus Drive, Alberta (Brunswick County).
For the proposed Mountain Valley pipeline:
8/8/17, 6 p.m., at Radford University, Preston/Bondurant Auditorium, 801 East Main Street in Radford;
8/9/17, 6 p.m., at Chatham High School Auditorium, 100 Cavalier Circle in Chatham (Pittsylvania County).

For More Information about Natural Gas in Virginia

Virginia Water Resources Research Center/Water Central News Grouper, “Natural Gas Drilling and Transport in Virginia under Close Scrutiny in 2014-17 – Summary of Developments and Cumulative List of News Items,” first posted 10/31/14; and Section 401 Water Quality Permit Certification Process in Virginia for Proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Natural Gas Pipeline Projects, first posted 5/25/17. Other Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on news, events, and information resources relevant to natural gas are available online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/page/2/?s=natural+gas.

News Items on the Clean Water 401 Certification Process for Proposed Gas Pipelines in Virginia
(most recent listed first)

Pipeline meeting draws project supporters, opponents, WHSV TV-Harrisonburg, 8/8/17.
DEQ hearings to focus on water quality impacts of Mountain Valley Pipeline, Roanoke Times, 8/7/17.
While other states go along, NY says no to gas pipelines
, Bay Journal, 7/20/17.
DEQ agrees to add informal meetings on Mountain Valley Pipeline, Roanoke Times, 7/18/17.
Call for additional DEQ public hearings on pipeline falls flat, Roanoke Times, 7/12/17.
Virginia DEQ Holds Public Comment Period on NatGas Pipeline Permits, Natural Gas Intelligence, 7/7/17.
Va. to expand review of proposed gas pipelines
, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/30/17.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the Community/Organizations subject category for Virginia state agencies involved with water; see also the Energy subject category.

Following are links to some episodes related to aspects of water quality, its regulation in Virginia, or both:
Clean Water Act jurisdiction – Episode 69, 6/8/15;
Groundwater generally – Episode 306, 3/7/16;
Virginia State Water Control Board – Episode 94, 1/9/12;
Virginia Marine Resources Commission – Episode 91, 12/5/11;
Water quality introduction – Episode 378, 7/24/17;
Wetlands introduction – Episode 327, 8/1/16.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode may help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
3.11 – sources of energy.
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Force, Motion, and Energy Theme
6.2 – energy sources, transformations, and uses.

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

Life Science Course
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.6 – renewable vs. non-renewable resources (including energy resources).
ES.8 - influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia.

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.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.8 – government at the local level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.18 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.