Saturday, June 30, 2018

Episode 427 (7-2-18): Frogs and Fireworks


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:14).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 6-30-18.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 2, 2018.  This is a repeat of a 2016 episode celebrating the July 4th holiday.

SOUND - ~ 4 sec.

This week, for Independence Day, we drop in on a most unusual July 4th conversation: two Gray Tree Frogs, surrounded by fireworks, are debating U.S. water history.  Sound unimaginable?  Well, just have a listen.

SOUND - ~2 sec.

Frog 1 – There those humans go again, shootin’ off their fireworks and makin’ it hard for us frogs to hear each other’s calls!  What’s all the ruckus about, anyway?

Frog 2 - Why, it’s July Fourth!  They’re celebrating this country’s Declaration of Independence in 1776 from Great Britain.  I think it’s cool—at least it’s a break from hearing YOU guys calling every evening.

Frog 1 – And just why are YOU so excited about the birthday of this big, bustling, human country?  Seems to me that it’s been nothing but trouble for aquatic habitats and creatures like us since those first ships came over here from that Europe place.  Everywhere we try to hop, there’s polluted rivers and lakes, lost wetlands and other habitats, and hot, dry pavement.

Frog 2 – Well, yeah, you’re right, partly.  This country’s waters have had a pretty hard history.  And we amphibians have had the worst of it in some cases and places, with this permeable skin we have.  But you’re forgetting about some positive things.  The humans’ Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, and a bunch other important acts, too.  And right here in this state, Virginia, the constitution says it’s the Commonwealth’s policy to protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction.

Frog 1 - Have all those things done any good?

Frog 2 – Well, not always or everywhere.  Just in Virginia, hundreds of water bodies are impaired and need expensive clean-up programs.  For instance, I’ve got cousins living over near that Chesapeake Bay, and they tell me every year it’s some things good, other things fair, and still others needing a ton of work.  But many rivers and lakes certainly are in better shape than they were 40 or 50 years ago; the Potomac River’s one example.  Those humans have many competing interests, so sometimes what they do isn’t so good for water, or lands, or creatures like us. But other times, it is.  People have learned a lot over the years about using and managing natural resources more sustainably, and all kinds of people work hard trying to do that.

Frog 1 - Yeah, I guess you’re right.  You know, it’s not easy being a frog, but I guess it’s pretty tough being a person, too.

Frog 2 – Now that’s a pretty realistic call!

SOUND - ~ 2 sec

Hey, there’s the fireworks finale.  And that sounds like the Air Force Concert Band playing one of my favorites, “The Washington Post,” by John Philip Sousa.  Let’s have a quick listen, then we better get back under cover.  All the humans will be coming back from the fireworks soon.

Both - Happy July 4th!

MUSIC - ~ 14 sec

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  And thanks to Kriddie Whitmore for lending her voice to this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This Virginia Water Radio episode replaces Episode 323, 7-4-16.

Thanks to Jennifer Gagnon for reviewing a draft of the episode.

This episode’s sounds were recorded in Blacksburg, Va., on July 4, 2015.

This episode’s music was an excerpt of “The Washington Post,” written by John Philip Sousa in 1889, and performed here by the United States Air Force Concert Band on their 2001 album “I Am An American,” accessed online at http://www.allmusic.com/album/i-am-an-american-mw0002256231.  Information about “The Washington Post” is available from the United States Marine Band, “Sousa-The Washington Post” (3:30 video), online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxrh1CrMmTY; and “The President’s Own/John Philip Sousa,” online at http://www.marineband.marines.mil/About/Our-History/John-Philip-Sousa/.

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.

PHOTO


Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) on the deck of a residence in Blacksburg, Va., Sep. 23, 2009.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT CONSERVATION IN THE VIRGINIA CONSTITUTION

Following are the four sections of Article XI, “Conservation,” of the Virginia Constitution, as accessed at the Virginia Legislative Information System, online at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/constitution/article11/, on June 30, 2018.

Section 1. Natural resources and historical sites of the Commonwealth.

To the end that the people have clean air, pure water, and the use and enjoyment for recreation of adequate public lands, waters, and other natural resources, it shall be the policy of the Commonwealth to conserve, develop, and utilize its natural resources, its public lands, and its historical sites and buildings.  Further, it shall be the Commonwealth's policy to protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, for the benefit, enjoyment, and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.

Section 2. Conservation and development of natural resources and historical sites.

In the furtherance of such policy, the General Assembly may undertake the conservation, development, or utilization of lands or natural resources of the Commonwealth, the acquisition and protection of historical sites and buildings, and the protection of its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, by agencies of the Commonwealth or by the creation of public authorities, or by leases or other contracts with agencies of the United States, with other states, with units of government in the Commonwealth, or with private persons or corporations.  Notwithstanding the time limitations of the provisions of Article X, Section 7, of this Constitution, the Commonwealth may participate for any period of years in the cost of projects which shall be the subject of a joint undertaking between the Commonwealth and any agency of the United States or of other states.

Section 3. Natural oyster beds.

The natural oyster beds, rocks, and shoals in the waters of the Commonwealth shall not be leased, rented, or sold but shall be held in trust for the benefit of the people of the Commonwealth, subject to such regulations and restriction as the General Assembly may prescribe, but the General Assembly may, from time to time, define and determine such natural beds, rocks, or shoals by surveys or otherwise.

Section 4. Right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest game.

The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law.

SOURCES

Used for Audio

Chesapeake Bay Program, online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/; and “Chesapeake Bay Report Card highlights signs of progress,” June 15, 2018, news release, online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/news/blog/chesapeake_bay_report_card_highlights_signs_of_progress.

Commonwealth of Virginia, Constitution of Virginia (as of June 30, 2018), accessed online at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/constitution/article11/.

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, “Water Quality Monitoring in the Potomac Estuary,” online at http://www.mwcog.org/environment/water/potomacestuary.asp.   From a January 2014 fact sheet, “Potomac River Water Quality in the Washington Region”: “The assessment of water quality in the Potomac River shows that the Washington region’s huge investments in improving wastewater treatment have yielded significant improvements.  Among the success stories: the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus discharged by wastewater plants in the Washington metropolitan region has declined dramatically since the 1980s and is on track for further reductions.  As a result, the potential for harmful algal blooms in the upper Potomac estuary has declined significantly.   And the populations of at least some of the plants and animals that live in this portion of the river, such as submerged aquatic vegetation and American shad, have rebounded.  But these improvements do not mean that either the river itself has fully recovered from the poor conditions of previous decades or that further efforts are unnecessary.  In this, the river’s situation mirrors that of the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed, of which it is an integral part.”

Thomas V. Cech, Principles of Water Resources: History, Development, Management, and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, N.Y., 2003.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “National Aquatic Resources Surveys,” online at https://www.epa.gov/national-aquatic-resource-surveys.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Water Quality Information and TMDLs,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs.aspx.

Zygmunt J. B. Plater et al., Environmental Law and Policy: Nature, Law, and Society, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minn., 1998.

For More Information about Amphibians in Virginia

John D. Kleopfer and Chris S. Hobson, A Guide to the Frogs and Toad of Virginia, Special Publication Number 3, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Richmond, 2011.

Bernard S. Martof, et al., Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1980.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia is for Frogs,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/virginia-is-for-frogs/.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Wildlife Information/Species Information/Amphibians” online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?t=1.

Virginia Herpetology Society, online at http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/. Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles.

For More Information about Federal Environmental and Natural Resources Law

Cornell University Law School/Legal Information Institute:
“Environmental Law,” online at https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/environmental_law;
“Natural Resources,” online at https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/natural_resources.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Laws and Regulations,” online at https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations.  For the Clean Water Act: https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-water-act.  For the Endangered Species Act: https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-endangered-species-act.  For the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): https://www.epa.gov/nepa.

For More Information about Virginia Natural Resources Laws

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Web site, online at http://naturalresources.virginia.gov/.  See the “Agencies” link to access the various Virginia state agencies involved with resources regulation and management.

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 “Amphibians” and “History” subject categories.

Following are links to other episodes for July 4th:
Episode 168, 7/1/13; and Episode 273, 7/6/15 – Water and the Revolutionary War.
Episode 220, 6/30/14 – Water origins of Virginia Declaration signers.
Episode 73, 7/6/15 -- The Great Road on the Virginia Peninsula.

Following are links to other episodes on natural resources agencies in Virginia.
Episode 91, 12/5/11 – Marine Resources Commission.
Episode 94, 1/9/12 – State Water Control Board.
Episode 161, 5/13/13 and Episode 320, 6/13/16 – State Parks.
Episode 322, 6/27/16 – Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

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

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
3.9 – Water cycle, including sources of water, energy driving water cycle, water essential for living things, and water limitations and conservation.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
3.10- impacts on survival of species, including effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms.
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.
6.9 – public policy decisions related to the environment (including resource management and conservation, land use decision, hazard mitigation, cost/benefit assessments).

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
4.5 - ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystem.
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.6 - ecosystem interactions, including the water cycle, other cycles, and energy flow.
LS.9 - adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors, including characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater environments.
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
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.1 – current applications to reinforce science concepts.
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:

Civics and Economics Course
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.

Government Course
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/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels:
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403 (1-15-18) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404 (1-22-18) – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade. Episode 406 (2-5-18) – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407 (2-12-19) – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Episode 426 (6-25-18): Introducing the Big Otter River


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:37).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 6-22-18.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 25, 2018.

MUSIC – ~10 sec

This week, that excerpt of “To the Wild,” by the Harrisonburg, Va.-based group, The Steel Wheels, from their 2017 album “Wild as We Came Here,” opens the second in a series of episodes on three relatively small Virginia rivers.  The series highlights waterways which are less widely known than big rivers like the James, Potomac, and Shenandoah, but which still contribute in big ways to Virginia’s common wealth of water, aquatic life, scenic beauty, and human activity.

SOUND – ~8 sec

That’s the sound of the Big Otter River, below a highway bridge near the Campbell County community of Evington on June 15, 2017.   The Big Otter starts from headwaters in the Peaks of Otter, a series of summits along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Bedford County.  The river flows through Bedford and Campbell counties and then joins the Staunton River—the name given to one section of the Roanoke River—just downstream of the town of Altavista.

The Big Otter isn’t particularly big; its watershed area, for example, is only about 390 square miles, compared to over 10,000 square miles in the James River watershed, Virginia’s largest.  The Big Otter’s regional significance, however, is sizable: the otter name applies to several regional landmarks, such as the Peaks of Otter; the Big Otter is a main source of public water for Campbell County and a supplemental source for the town of Bedford; and the river’s headwater area is home to the Peaks of Otter Salamander, a species known only from that part of Virginia.

Thanks to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music, and in keeping with the wild nature of rivers and the wildlife name of the Big Otter River, we close with about 25 more seconds of “To the Wild.”

CLOSING MUSIC – ~28 sec

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.   For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  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

“To the Wild,” by The Steel Wheels, is from the 2017 album “Wild As We Came Here,” used with permission.  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at http://www.thesteelwheels.com/.

The sound of the Big Otter River was recorded by Virginia Water Radio on June 15, 2017, at the Route 682 bridge near Evington, Va. (Campbell County).

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

Big Otter River at bridge on Route 682 near Evington in Campbell County, Va., June 15, 2017.


Big Otter River at U.S. Route 460 in Bedford County, Virginia, June 15, 2013.


Watersheds and land uses in the Big Otter watershed, as of 2006.  Figure 2 (page 6) from “Big Otter River Watershed TMDL Implementation Plan Summary,” Big Otter IP Steering Committee et al., July 6, 2006, online (as PDF) at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Water/TMDL/ImplementationPlans/otterip.pdf.

EXTRA FACTS RELATED TO THE BIG OTTER RIVER AREA
On the Big Otter Watershed “The [Big Otter River] Basin (388 sq. miles) lies in portions of Virginia's Bedford and Campbell counties and encompasses the City of Bedford and suburbs of Lynchburg.   The Big Otter River discharges into the Roanoke River, which flows south into North Carolina and eventually discharges to the Albemarle Sound. Sheep Creek, Elk Creek, Machine Creek, and Little Otter River are all tributaries to the Lower Big Otter River.  The basin is dominated by forest (59%) and pasture (28%) land uses. The City of Bedford is located within the Little Otter River watershed.”
Source: Otter Implementation Plan Steering Committee et al., “Big Otter River Watershed TMDL Implementation Plan Summary” (page 6), July 6, 2006, online (as PDF) at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Water/TMDL/ImplementationPlans/otterip.pdf.

On River Otters
“The range of the river otter is throughout Virginia. This species is semi-aquatic or almost entirely aquatic and they are most abundant in food-rich coastal areas and the lower parts of streams and rivers. They use drift piles and logjams, and are found among tree roots. They occasionally use duck blinds and abandoned boat houses.”
Source: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Northern River Otter,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/northern-river-otter/.

On Other Wildlife
“[The Peaks of Otter loop trail] offers venues that are all within sight of the Peaks of Otter, named for the three peaks at the headwaters of the Big Otter River.  This is a loop that is sure to satisfy every wildlife-watching aspiration in the mountain region of Virginia, including views of the James River, stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway, historical sites, and large areas of neotropical breeding grounds.  Of particular interest to nature enthusiasts may be Warbler Road, known as a great migrant ‘trap’as well as breeding habitat for songbirds, or the Peaks of Otter, which is home to the endemic Peaks of Otter salamander.”
Source: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail/Peaks of Otter,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/vbwt/mountain-trail/mpo/.

Streams and rivers in Bedford and Campbell counties with animal names, besides the Big Otter River and Little Otter River, include Bear Creek, Beaver and Little Beaver creeks, Buffalo Creek, Goose Creek, Opossum and Little Opossum creeks, and Rattlesnake Branch.
Source: R.H. Early, Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches: Embracing the History of Campbell County, Virginia, 1782-1926, published in 1927; specifically Chapter V: Water Courses”; online (via the U.S. Geological Survey) at http://files.usgwarchives.net/va/campbell/history/chronicles-rivers.txt.

SOURCES

Used for Audio

Bedford Regional Water Authority, “Annual Report and Consumer Confidence Report 2017,” online (as PDF) at http://www.brwa.com/publicinformation/Reports%20and%20Studies%20Documents/2017%20Annual%20Report.pdf.

Big Otter IP Steering Committee et al., “Big Otter River Watershed TMDL Implementation Plan Summary,” July 6, 2006, online (as PDF) at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Water/TMDL/ImplementationPlans/otterip.pdf.

Campbell County, Va., Utilities and Service Authority, “2017 Water Quality Report,” online (as a PDF) at http://www.ccusa-water.com/images/stories/documents/CCUSA2017WaterQualityReport.pdf.

Lynchburg News & Advance, “Department of Environmental Quality report shows E. coli prevalent in Central Va. Waterways,” by Sarah Watson, 6/22/08.

No Depression—The Journal of Roots Music, “The Steel Wheels—Wild as We Came Here” album review by J. McSpadden, 5/11/17, online at http://nodepression.com/album-review/steel-wheels-release-best-album-their-career.

U.S. EPA, “Waterbody Quality Assessment Report/2010 Waterbody Report for Big Otter River,” online at https://ofmpub.epa.gov/waters10/attains_waterbody.control?p_au_id=VAW-L27R_BOR02A00&p_cycle=2010; and “305(b) Assessed Waterbody History Report for VAW-L27R_BOR02A00 [Big Otter River],” online at https://ofmpub.epa.gov/waters10/attains_wb_history_au.control?p_assessment_unit_id=VAW-L27R_BOR02A00&p_cycle=2010.

Virginia Atlas and Gazetteer, DeLorme, Yarmouth, Me., 2000.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Virginia’s Major Watersheds,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/wsheds.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), “Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail/Peaks of Otter,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/vbwt/mountain-trail/mpo/.

VDGIF, “Peaks of Otter Salamander,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/peaks-of-otter-salamander/.

For More Information about the Big Otter River and its Watershed

Kurt J. McCoy et al., “Hydrogeology and simulation of groundwater flow in fractured-rock aquifers of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Physiographic Provinces, Bedford County, Virginia,” U.S Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015-5113 (September 2015), online at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20155113.  This report discusses groundwater in Bedford County, including the area within the Big Otter River watershed.

Peaks of Otter Soil and Water Conservation District, online at http://www.poswcd.com/.

U.S. Geological Survey/National Water Information System, gaging station information for Big Otter River gage near Evington, Va., online at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=02061500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,62620,00062.

Virginia Tourism Corporation/Virginia Is For Lovers Web site, “Big Otter Mill,” online at https://www.virginia.org/listings/HistoricSites/BigOtterMill/.

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 “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category

The other two episodes in the summer 2018 series on relatively small Virginia rivers are the following:
Episode 428, 7/9/18 - on the Jackson River.
Episode 425, 6/18/18 - on the South Fork Holston River.

Following are links to other episodes on Virginia waters in the Roanoke River watershed:
Episode 360, 3/20/17 – on the Smith River and Philpott Reservoir.
Episode 374, 6/26/17 – on the Staunton River.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

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 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.

Earth Science Course
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.1 – current applications to reinforce science concepts.
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.

World Geography Course
WG.3 – how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.

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

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels:
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade;
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403 (1-15-18) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 404 (1-22-18) – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade; Episode 406 (2-5-18) – on ice on rivers, for middle school;
Episode 407 (2-12-19) – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Episode 425 (6-18-18): Introducing the South Fork Holston River


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:05).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 6-15-18.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 18, 2018.

MUSIC – ~ 30 sec

This week, that excerpt of “Find Your Mountain,” by the Harrisonburg, Va.-based group, The Steel Wheels, opens a series of episodes on three relatively small Virginia rivers.  The series highlights waterways which are less widely known than big rivers like the James, Potomac, and Shenandoah, but which still contribute in big ways to Virginia’s common wealth of water, aquatic life, scenic beauty, and human activity.

SOUND - ~8

That’s the sound of the South Fork Holston River, near the Smyth County community of Sugar Grove on June 11, 2018.  Beginning in this area, the South Fork flows southwestward through Smyth and Washington counties to merge with the Middle Fork Holston River near Washington County’s border with Tennessee.  This combined river becomes South Holston Lake, a water-supply and hydroelectric reservoir created by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Further downstream at Kingsport, Tennessee, the South Fork joins the North Folk to form the mainstem Holston River, which in turn is a tributary of the Tennessee River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

Back upstream in Virginia, the South Fork Holston is “one of the premier trout streams” in southwestern Virginia and one of the Commonwealth’s “most beautiful rivers,” according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  The Holston name comes from an 18th Century explorer and Revolutionary War soldier named Stephen Holstein. Before that, native tribes in Virginia called the upper river “Hogoheegee,” a name now applied to a high school athletics district in the area.

By any name, the South Fork Holston River remains a resource worth finding among the mountains and valleys of southwestern Virginia.

Thanks to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with a few more seconds of “Find Your Mountain.”

MUSIC – ~ 33 sec

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“Find Your Mountain,” by The Steel Wheels, is from the 2015 album “Leave Some Things Behind,” used with permission.  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at http://www.thesteelwheels.com/.

The sound of the South Fork Holston River was recorded by Virginia Water Radio on June 11, 2018, along Teas Road in Smyth County, Va.

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


South Fork Holston River along Teas Road near Sugar Grove in Smyth County, Va., June 11, 2018. The audio for this episode of Virginia Water Radio was recorded at this location.


U.S. Forest Service fishing access sign for the South Fork Holston River along Teas Road in Smyth County, Va., June 11, 2018.


Upper Tennessee River watershed in Virginia, including the Holston River forks.  Map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), accessed on the Web site of the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable, online at http://www.uppertnriver.org/three-rivers.html.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT THE SOUTH FORK HOLSTON RIVER

Following is information about the South Fork Holston River trout fishery, from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Holston River—South Fork,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/waterbody/holston-river-south-fork/, as of 6/15/18.

“The South Fork Holston River originates in Smyth County, Virginia, near the community of Sugar Grove, where it is formed by the combination of several coldwater streams.  There are two different special regulation trout fishing sections within the upper portions of the river. …

“The South Fork Holston River special regulation trout fishery is one of the premier trout streams in southwest Virginia.  It offers an excellent opportunity for anglers to catch many rainbow trout and large brown trout. ...Fly-fishing tackle is excellent and almost always produces good numbers of trout.  The river has a large forage base of aquatic insects and patterns to match include everything from tiny [caddisfly] larvae to giant black stonefly nymphs.

“During late winter, as spring approaches, a few warm, sunny days in succession may prompt blue-wing olive mayfly hatches, offering anglers occasional spurts of dry-fly action.

“The activity levels of trout and trout anglers both increase greatly with the arrival of spring.  All the standard fly-fishing tactics are applicable as insect hatches swing into action. In high-flow conditions, a bulky streamer or flashy spinner can produce impressive results.

“As the long days of summer bring low, clear flows, anglers must adjust their fishing tactics accordingly to be successful.  Keeping a low profile and making long casts can help prevent spooking the trout.

“As waters cool in fall, trout everywhere begin feeding heavily, and those in the South Fork are no exception.   Autumn also offers the best chance to tangle with one of the stream’s trophy brown trout as they prepare to spawn. …[T[the best advice for an angler considering a trip to the South Fork Holston River is simply go for it.  Even on the rare day when the trout refuse to cooperate, the experience of being on one of Virginia’s most beautiful rivers makes any trip worthwhile.”

SOURCES

Used for Audio

American Rivers, “Holston River,” online at https://www.americanrivers.org/river/holston-river/.

Holston River Soil and Water Conservation District, “The Holston River Watershed,” online at https://holstonriverswcd.weebly.com/holston-river-watershed.html.

No Depression—The Journal of Roots Music, “The Steel Wheels—Leave Some Things Behind” album review by John Apice, 8/26/15, online at http://nodepression.com/album-review/steel-wheels-%E2%80%93-leave-some-things-behind.

School Today Athletic Scheduler, “Hogoheegee District,” online at http://www.hogoheegeedistrictva.org/g5-bin/client.cgi?G5genie=290.

Tennessee Sons of the American Revolution/Stephen Holston Chapter, “About Stephen Holston,” online at http://stephenholston.org/stephen_holston.html.

Smyth County, Va., Web site, online at http://www.smythcounty.org/.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, “South Fork Holston River,” online at https://www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/wr-water-resources/watershed-stewardship/watersheds-by-basin/upper-tennessee-river-basin0/south-fork-holston-river.html.

Upper Tennessee River Roundtable, “Our Rivers—The Powell, Clinch, and Holston Rivers in Virginia,” online at http://www.uppertnriver.org/three-rivers.html.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Holston River—South Fork,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/waterbody/holston-river-south-fork/.

For More Information about the Holston River

Drexel University Academy of Natural Sciences, “2010 South Fork Holston River

Environmental Monitoring Studies,” Report No. 10-04F, submitted to the Eastman Chemical Company Tennessee Operations, April 20, 2012, online (as PDF) at https://www.eastman.com/Literature_Center/Misc/2010_Holston_River_Study_Technical_Report.pdf.

Eastman Chemical Company, “Eastman and the South Fork Holston River,” 2 min./39 sec video on the history since 1965 of water quality and aquatic life in the South Fork in Bristol, Tenn.; online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAdsOdXs3-Y.

P.S. Hampson, et al., “Water Quality in the Upper Tennessee River Basin, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia 1994–98,” U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1205, 2000; online at at https://pubs.water.usgs.gov/circ1205/.

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 “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category

The other two episodes in the summer 2018 series on relatively small Virginia rivers are the following:
Episode 428, 7/9/18 - on the Jackson River.
Episode 426, 6/25/18 - on the Big Otter River.

Following is a link to another episode on Virginia waters in the Tennessee River watershed:
Episode 420, 5/14/18 – Exploring Virginia’s Tennessee River Tributaries Through “Clinch Mountain Quickstep” by Timothy Seaman.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

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 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.

Earth Science Course
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.1 – current applications to reinforce science concepts.
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.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – major land and water features of North America, including their importance in history.

World Geography Course
WG.3 – how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.5 – regions of United States and Canada.

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

Following are links to previous Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade;
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403 (1-15-18) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 404 (1-22-18) – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade;
Episode 406 (2-5-18) – on ice on rivers, for middle school;
Episode 407 (2-12-19) – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Episode 424 (6-11-18): Fowler's Toad


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:24).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 6-9-18.
 

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 11, 2018.

SOUND - ~4 sec

That crying-like call is this week’s amphibious mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 10 more seconds, and see if you can guess what makes this call.  And here’s a hint: the name sounds like, but has nothing to do with, the collective name for chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese.

SOUNDS - ~13 sec

If you guessed a Fowler’s Toad, you’re right! Y ou heard this species of amphibian calling along the James River near Howardsville, Va., on an evening in July 2009.  Named for S.P. Fowler, a Massachusetts naturalist who identified the species in the mid-1800s, Fowler’s Toad is found throughout the eastern half of the United States. It’s one of five toad species found in Virginia.  In the Commonwealth, the species is found statewide and is particularly common in the Coastal Plain region.

During breeding season from March or April into July or August, the males’ mating call—sounding somewhat like a human baby’s cry—can be heard in shallow water near rivers, along lakeshores and roadsides, or in fields or gardens.  Breeding produces long strands of eggs numbering several thousand, which develop into tadpoles in about a week, turn into juvenile toads—or toadlets—in about two months, and become reproductive adults in two years.

Juvenile and adult Fowler’s Toads eat a variety of insects and other invertebrate animals, and in turn are prey for some snakes and birds, American Bullfrogs, and raccoons. The toad’s toxic skin secretions sometimes result in a surviving toad and a disappointed predator.

We close with one more sample of the distinctive call of Fowler’s Toads, from The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads, by Lang Elliott’s NatureSound Studio and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

SOUND - ~ 8 sec

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  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

The first two recordings of Fowler’s Toad sounds heard in this episode were recorded on July 12, 2009, along the James River near Howardsville, Va. (Albemarle County).

The closing sounds were from The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads CD, by Lang Elliott’s NatureSound Studio and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 2008, used with permission.  Information about that CD is available online at http://www.shopdgif.com/product.cfm?uid=1928838&context=&showInactive=N; or contact the Department at 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230; phone: (804) 367-1000 (VTDD); e-mail: dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov.  Lang Elliott’s work is available online at his “Music of Nature” Web site, http://www.musicofnature.org/.

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.

PHOTO


Fowler’s Toad calling beside the James River near Howardsville, Va. (Albemarle County), 9 p.m., July 12, 2009.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT FOWLER’S TOAD

The current scientific name for Fowler’s Toad is Anaxyrus fowleri.

Here are some points about Fowler’s Toad, excerpted from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Fish and Wildlife Information Service/Fowler’s Toad,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=020062&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=17690.

Physical Description
“This species is 2 to 3 inches (50-75 mm) long.  Its dorsum [top side] color ranges from brown to olive to gray with a light mid-dorsal stripe.  The dark dorsal spots typically each have 3 or more warts. … The venter [underside] is generally unspotted though some specimens have a large dark breast patch. Males are smaller than the females and have a black throat.  This species hybridizes with [other toads], making identification sometimes difficult.”

Reproduction
“This species breeds from March to July.  During the breeding season, the male emits a discordant call lasting 1-4 seconds. Mating occurs in the shallows along stream, lake and pond borders.  …The female lays approximately 7000 eggs in 2 gelatinous strings. T he eggs hatch in about 1 week. These tadpoles metamorphose in 1 to 2 months.  The newly transformed toads range in size from 8 to 11 mm.”

Behavior
“During breeding season, males call from shallow bodies of water including ditches, ponds and streams.  Toads may appear in areas where not previously known during heavy rains following a period of drought.”

Aquatic/Terrestrial Associations
”This species is abundant on the coastal plain with a more patchy distribution further inland. The inland populations are typically found in sandy areas around shores of lakes or in river valleys.”

Food Habits
“The adults eat a great variety of invertebrate animals, mostly insects.”

SOURCES

Used for Audio

AmphibiaWeb, University of California-Berkeley, “Anaxyrus fowleri/Fowler’s Toad,” online https://amphibiaweb.org/species/173.

John D. Kleopfer and Chris S. Hobson, A Guide to the Frogs and Toad of Virginia, Special Publication Number 3, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Richmond, 2011; purchase information available online at https://www.shopdgif.com.

J.C. Mitchell and K.K. Reay, Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (1999).

New Hampshire PBS, “Wildlife Journal Junior/Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri),” online at http://www.nhptv.org/wild/fowlerstoad.asp.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/.  The entry for Fowler’s Toad is at http://vafwis.org/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=020062&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=17690.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia is for Frogs” Web site, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/virginia-is-for-frogs/.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Wildlife Information/Species Information/Amphibians” online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?t=1.  The Fowler’s Toad entry specifically is online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/fowlers-toad/.

Virginia Herpetological Society, online at http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/. Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles.  The Fowler’s Toad entry specifically is online at http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/amphibians/frogsandtoads/fowlers-toad/fowlers_toad.php.

For More Information about Amphibians

Bernard S. Martof, et al., Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1980.

Donna Morelli, Catch the spring action at a vernal pool near you, Bay Journal, 2/8/18.  This article is on amphibian breeding in spring temporary pools, known as “vernal pools.”  It includes a list of local parks and other areas in the Bay watershed areas of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania that sponsor amphibian monitoring or viewing events.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia Frog and Toad Calling Survey,” online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/frogsurvey/; part of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, online at https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/naamp/.  These programs use the sensitivity of amphibians to water availability and quality as a tool for assessing changes or threats to aquatic systems.

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 “Amphibians” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes on Virginia frogs and toads generally:
Episode 206, 3/24/14 – Spring Serenade;
Episode 371, 6/5/17 – Virginia Herpetological Society’s “Herp Blitz”;
Episode 408, 2/19/18 – Frog and Toad Medley.

Listed below are previous episodes on specific frogs or toads:
American Toad – Episode 413, 3-26-18;
Barking Treefrog – Episode 319, 6/6/16;
Bullfrog – Episode 74, 8/8/11;
Eastern Spadefoot – Episode 357, 2/27/17;
Green Frog – Episode 310, 4/4/16;
Spring Peeper – Episode 105, 4/2/12.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

This episode may 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
K.7 - basic needs and processes of plants and animals.
1.5 - animals’ basic needs and distinguishing characteristics.
2.4 - life cycles.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.6 - ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

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

Biology Course
BIO.6 - bases for modern classification systems, including structures, biochemistry, and developmental stages.
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/.

Following are links to previous Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels:
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade;
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade;
Episode 403 (1-15-18) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 404 (1-22-18) – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade; Episode 406 (2-5-18) – on ice on rivers, for middle school;
Episode 407 (2-12-19) – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.