Floodplain Mapping, the National Flood Insurance Program, and Other Issues are Part of a Look Back at September 2013 Historic Flooding in Colorado

September 2014 marks the one-year anniversary of historic flash flooding in Colorado along the northern part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.  Resulting from heavy rains between September  9-16, 2013, the disaster killed 10 people in the state and caused an estimated $3.4 billion in damages to residences, dams, roads, irrigation ditches, and other structures.

The Summer 2014 issue of Headwaters, from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, provides a look back at the event, an assessment of recovery efforts as of summer 2014, and a discussion of lessons this event offers for flood prevention and response.  Of particular value for citizens outside of the Rocky Mountain State is the article “Coming Home…A Calculation of Risk, Reward, and Restitution in Flood Zones” (pages 23-27), which discusses floodplain mapping and the National Flood Insurance Program.

The magazine’s issues archive is available online at https://www.yourwatercolorado.org/cfwe-education/headwaters-magazine/archive; or contact the Foundation in Denver at (303) 377-4433 or info@cfwe.org.


U.N. Climate Summit to be held Sept. 23, 2014, in New York City; part of Climate Week, Sep. 22-28

On September 23, 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening Climate Summit 2014 in New York City.  The gathering is expected to include over 100 heads of state, including President Obama.  According to the U.N.’s Web site on the summit, the meeting is intended to “serve as a public platform for leaders at the highest level—all UN Member States, as well as finance, business, civil society and local leaders from public and private sectors—to catalyze ambitious action on the ground to reduce emissions and strengthen climate resilience and mobilize political will for an ambitious global agreement by 2015 that limits the world to a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature.”

The “agreement by 2015” mentioned refers to the Nov.-Dec. 2015 meeting in Paris of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC, where a new international treaty on climate change may result; the Framework Convention is the process that resulted in the 1997 Kyoto climate treaty and subsequent international agreements.

The summit on the 23rd the most prominent, but only one, of what’s being called “Climate Week NYC 2014,” from September 22 to 28.  For example, a “Rising Seas Summit” will take place Sept. 24-26.

United Nations information on the New York City summit is available online at http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/.  Information about the UNFCCC, including about the 2015 Paris meeting, is available online at http://unfccc.int/2860.php.  Information on Climate Week NYC 2014 is available online at http://www.climateweeknyc.org/.

Water in Virginia State Government News Releases for September 11—September 18, 2014: Tourism Grants, Service/Conservation Corps, Stewardship Va., Tree Planting Tips, and Geologic Mapping on Va. Battlefields

Following are titles and short excerpts from water-related Virginia state government news releases between September 11 and September 18, 2014.  To access the full text of any release, click on the release title, or click on the respective agency name to go to that agency’s archive of releases.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Matching Tourism Grants, 9/18/14. Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that more than $852,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 46 local tourism initiatives as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program.  The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 195 other statewide tourism entities.”  The grant recipients included several natural-resource or water-based programs.

Applicants needed for new service program in Virginia State Parks, 9/15/14. Excerpt: “Applications are being accepted for the inaugural season of the Virginia Service and Conservation Corps. …VSCC projects include trail construction and maintenance, invasive species control and prescribed burn projects that re-establish historic, fire-adapted ecosystems on parklands. Crewmembers may also have short-term deployments for disaster relief in affected communities.  Crew members will complete 1,700 hours of service during a 10-month term from November 2014 through August 2015.”

Volunteers kick off Fall Stewardship Virginia Campaign, 9/12/14. Excerpt: “Stewardship Virginia, a statewide campaign to encourage and recognize voluntary activities with a tangible impact on Virginia’s natural resources, continues this year with events across the state.  The campaign features activities in both the spring and fall.  The fall portion runs through October 31.”

None this week.

Tree Planting – Finding the Right Tree for the Right Place, 9/18/14. Excerpt: “Fall is an ideal time to plant new trees.  The best way to keep trees healthy is by planting the right trees in the right places where they naturally grow best.”  The release includes some points to consider when selecting and planting trees.

None this week.

None this week related to water.

Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to Create Geologic Maps for Petersburg National Battlefield Sites (opens as PDF), 9/15/14. Excerpt: “The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) will begin work on \ digital geologic maps for some of Virginia’s historic civil war battlefields.  DMME received $79,000 from the National Park Service (NPS) for the project….Existing geologic maps and reports for NPS properties in Virginia can be found at http://nature.nps.gov/geology/inventory/index.cfm.

None this week.

A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States, Canada, and Mexico; September 19, 2014 Edition

Here are some water  and water-related meetings in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in coming months.  This list is updated as the Virginia Water Resources Research Center learns of new events and a new version is re-posted quarterly.  If you would like an event added, please send basic information (date, location, event title, event organizer, Web site, and contact information) to water@vt.edu with subject line: For Water Central Editor.  This post is for non-Virginia events; for water meetings and other events in the Old Dominion, please see the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s online Quick Guide to Virginia Water Events.

Some of this information was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  For more information on the VWMC, please visit http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/.

Sep. 21-25, 2014, St. Louis, Mo.: Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Annual Meeting.  (Virginia’s member of this organization is the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.)  More information: http://www.afwaannualmeeting.org/.

Sep. 24-25, 2014, National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, W. Va.: 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference.  This year’s theme is “The Future of Mid-Atlantic Water Infrastructure: Challenges and Solutions.” Organized by the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) and its Mid-Atlantic member institutes in Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  More information: http://www.midatlanticwc.com/.

Sep. 27-Oct. 1, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference.  More information: http://www.weftec.org/about_weftec/default.aspx.

Sep. 30-Oct. 2, 2014, Louisville, Ky.: America’s Watershed Initiative Summit. Organized by The Nature Conservancy and the University of Florida.  More information: http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/awi/.

Oct. 5-11, 2014, Salt Lake City, Utah: International Union of Forest Researchers World Congress.  This year’s theme is “Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research.”  This meeting is held every five years. This year, it’s being held along with the joint annual meeting (Oct. 8-11) of the Society of American Foresters and the Canadian Institute of Forestry.  More information: http://iufro2014.com; phone (301) 897-8720 (Society of American Foresters in Bethesda, Md.).

Oct. 6, 2014, Reisterstown, Md.: 8th Annual Meeting of the Pesticides and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project.  Organized by the Maryland Pesticide Network (Annapolis).  Registration deadline September 19.  To register (it’s free), e-mail mdpestnet@aol.com with your name, title, and affiliationMore information: http://www.mdpestnet.org/projects/pesticides-and-the-chesapeake-bay-watershed/; (410) 849-3909.

Oct. 7-9, 2014, Avon, Colo.: 2014 Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference.  Organized by the Colorado Riparian Association, the Colorado Watershed Assembly, and the Colorado Foundation for Water Education.  More information: http://www.coloradowater.org/conferences; or e-mail erikas@coloradowater.org.

Oct. 8-9, 2014, Kalispell, Mont.: Annual conference of the Montana chapter of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA).  The theme for this year’s conference is “Floods, Forests, and The Flathead.”  More information: http://www.montanaawra.org/conference/; or contact Nancy Hystad at nancy.hystad@montana.edu.

Oct. 8-10, 2014, Charleston, S.C.: 9th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference.  The theme this year is “Improving Water Quality through Relationships, Regulations, and Research.”  Organized by the Southeast Stormwater Association. Presentation proposals are being accepted through February 28.  More information: http://www.seswa.org/annual-conference; SESWA@ksanet.net; (866) 367-7379.

Oct. 14-15, 2014, St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Water Resources Conference.  Organized by the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center.  More information: http://www.wrc.umn.edu/waterconf/; (612) 624-9282; e-mail: umwrc@umn.edu.

Oct. 15-16, 2014, Columbia, S.C.: South Carolina Water Resources Conference.  Organized by Clemson University.  More information: http://www.clemson.edu/restoration/events/past_events/sc_water_resources/index.html; Dawn Anticole White at (864) 656-2618 or dawnw@clemson.edu.

Oct. 15-17, 2014, Dayton, Ohio: Natural Areas Conference.   Organized by the Natural Areas Association and Five Rivers MetroParks.  More information:  https://naturalareas.org/conference/2014-natural-areas-conference.

Oct. 19-22, 2014, Seattle, Wash.: 6th Annual Water for Food Conference.  The theme for this year’s conference is “Harnessing the Data Revolution: Ensuring Water and Food Security in a Digital World.”  Organized by the Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska.  More information: http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/wff2014/; Rachael Herpel at (402) 472-4977 or rherpel@nebraska.edu.

Oct. 19-22, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. More information: http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/2014/; phone (303) 357-1000; e-mail: gsa@geosociety.org.

Oct. 20-23, 2014, St. Louis, Mo.: 39th Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop.  Organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  More information: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/outreach/CDPW39.shtml.

Oct. 22-24, 2014, Raleigh, N.C.: Southeastern Alternative Fuels Conference and Expo.  This year’s theme is “Driving the New Economy.” Organized by the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University.  More information: http://www.altfuelsconference.org/; Andrea Bachrach, (919) 515-5693 or andrea_bachrach@ncsu.edu.

Oct. 27-30, 2014, Baltimore, Md.: BioCycle East Coast Conference 2014 (on composting, organics recycling and renewable energy).  More information: http://www.biocycle.net/conferences/biocycle-east-coast-conference-2014/.

Nov. 1-6, 2014, Washington, D.C.: 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration, combined with the 24th Biennial Meeting of the Coastal Society.  Organized by Restore America’s Estuaries (headquartered in Arlington, Va.) and The Coastal Society.  The meeting’s theme is “Inspiring Action, Creating Resilience.”  More information: http://www.estuaries.org/summit; phone (703) 524-0248.

Nov. 2-5, 2014, Long Beach, Calif.: International annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.  More information: https://www.acsmeetings.org/; phone (608) 273-8080.

Nov. 9-13, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: 35th Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America.  More information: http://vancouver.setac.org/.

Nov. 12-14, 2014, Portland, Ore.: Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) Conference.  More information: http://www.aore.org/conference.

Nov. 12-14, 2014, Cholula, Puebla, Mexico: International Conference on Hydrometeorological Risks and Climate Change.  Organized by the Universidad de las Americas Pueblas (UDLAP).  More information: http://web.udlap.mx/ingenieria/ichrcc/.

Nov. 16-20, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Water Quality Technology Conference and Exposition.  Organized by the American Water Works Association.  More information: http://www.awwa.org/conferences-education/conferences/water-quality-technology.aspx.

Nov. 17-20, 2014, Charlotte, N.C.: EcoStream–Stream Ecology and Restoration Conference.  Organized by the North Carolina State University Stream Restoration Program.  More information:  http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/wqg/srp/conference.html.

Nov. 19-21, 2014, St. Petersburg, Fla.: National Clean Water Law Seminar.  Organized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.  More information: http://www.nacwa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=4.

Nov. 21, 2014, North Linthicum, Md.: Maryland Water Monitoring Council’s 20th Annual Conference.  More information: http://mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/MWMC/MWMC2010/annualConference.asp; Dan Broward, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (410) 260-8605 or dboward@dnr.state.md.us.

Dec. 9-12, 2014, Las Vegas, Nev.: National Groundwater Association Expo.  More information: http://groundwaterexpo.com/; phone (800) 551-7379; e-mail: customerservice@ngwa.org.

Dec. 15-19, 2014, San Francisco, Calif.: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.  More information: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2014/; phone (202) 462-6900.

Mar. 2-6, 2015, Charleston, S.C.: Fifth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds.  This year’s theme is “Headwaters to estuaries: advances in watershed science and management.”  More information:
http://www.cvent.com/events/fifth-interagency-conference-on-research-in-the-watersheds-icrw5-/event-summary-23477970235644b2b1d05e3f69273cd7.aspx; or e-mail to jjlockwood@fs.fed.us.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Sep. 22-Oct. 6, 2014

For more information, click on underlined meeting dates. Click here for the Commonwealth Calendar listing of all government meetings open to the public, and here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall listing of all government meetings of a regulatory nature.

For other, non-governmental, events, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events.


9/23/14, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission. At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

9/29/14, 10 a.m.: State Water Control Board. At House Room C, General Assembly Building, 9th & Broad Streets in Richmond.

*     *     *


For meetings of legislative committees and commissions during General Assembly sessions (regular and special), see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?142+oth+MTG; use the drop-down menu on the left to pick the session of interest (current or past).

None during this period.

*     *     *


For more information about TMDLs in Virginia, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site; click on “Public Notices” in the menu to the left to access upcoming meetings and public-comment periods. A search tool to find approved TMDL reports is available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/TMDL/TMDLDevelopment/ApprovedTMDLReports.aspx.

9/23/14, 6 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria and sediment impairments in Chestnut Creek (New River watershed) in Carroll and Grayson counties and in the City of Galax. At the Virginia Department of Forestry Office, 106 Matthews Lane in Galax.

9/23/14, 6:30 p.m., on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic and dissolved oxygen) and bacterial impairments in Crooked Run and tributaries (Stephens Run, West Run, Happy Creek, Manassas Run, Willow Brook, Borden Marsh Run, and Long Branch), in the Shenandoah River watershed in Clarke, Frederick, and Warren counties. At North Warren Fire Hall, 266 Rockland Court in Front Royal.

*     *     *

(topics listed alphabetically)

Energy – Fossil Fuels
9/24/14, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Regulatory Advisory Panel. At the University of Mary Washington-Dahlgren Campus, 4224 University Drive in King George. This panel, which first met on June 4, 2014, is assisting the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) in its regulation of practices and ingredients used in gas and oil well stimulation and completion. This includes the practices of hydraulic fracturing, in which fluids are added to gas/oil formations to facilitate remove of the gas or oil, and of horizontal drilling.  The pertinent section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 4 VAC 25 -150.  More information about this proposed regulatory action is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewAction.cfm?actionid=4117 and http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewStage.cfm?stageid=6829 (see, particularly, the “Agency Statement” PDF at the latter link). The DMME’s main Web site for Virginia gas and oil regulations is http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/LawsRegs.shtml#gasoil.

Solid or Hazardous Waste Management
10/2/14, 1 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Stakeholder/Public Meeting on Virginia’s Medical Waste Regulations. The regulations are Section 9 VAC 20-120 in the Virginia Administrative Code, and they are available online at http://law.lis.virginia.gov/admincode/title9/agency20/chapter120. According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice on the October 2 meeting, the DEQ is seeking input “on the on-site storage and treatment of regulated medical waste under the Regulated Medical Waste Regulations. The DEQ is also interested in receiving feedback on areas in which the Regulated Medical Waste Regulations could be clarified to avoid confusion concerning regulatory requirements, reduce redundancy, and avoid overlap with other regulations. The DEQ would like to receive feedback from a wide spectrum of regulated/affected parties, including state and Federal agencies, the military, industry, consultants and others who have an interest in this area.”

State Parks
9/24/14, 6 p.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation public meeting on the master plan update for Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland County.  At Bear Creek Hall in the park, 22 Bear Creek Lake Road in Cumberland. Information on Virginia’s state parks is available online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/.

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
9/22/14, 9:30 a.m.; and 10/6/14, 9:30 a.m.: Advisory Group on the Virginia Water Protection Permit (VWP) Regulation and VWP General Permit Regulations.  Both meetings are at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen.  The advisory groups is assisting the DEQ and State Water Control Board in development of possible amendments to these regulations, specifically the following Virginia Administrative Code sections and subjects 9 VAC 25-210: Virginia Water Protection Permit Regulation; 9 VAC 25-660: General Permit for Impacts Less Than One-Half Acre; 9 VAC 25-670: General Permit for Facilities and Activities of Utility and Public Service Companies Regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the State Corporation Commission and Other Utility Line Activities; 9 VAC 25-680: General Permit for Linear Transportation Projects; 9 VAC 25-690: General Permit for Impacts from Development Activities.  The Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) was published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on June 2, 2014.  More information about the proposed regulatory actions is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1893.

Waterworks Regulations
9/25/14, 9:30 a.m.: Department of Health Regulatory Advisory Panel meetings on development of possible amendments to the Waterworks Regulations (Section 12 VAC 5-590 in the Virginia Administrative Code).  At English Inn, 2000 Morton Drive in Charlottesville.

Drought Report for Virginia and Elsewhere as of Mid-September 2014

The September 16, 2014, U.S. Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (available at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) rated about 15 percent of Virginia as “abnormally dry.”

The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions, and local conditions may vary.” The Drought Monitor’s categories, from mildest to most severe, are as follows:
D0 = Abnormally Dry;
D1 = Moderate Drought;
D2 = Severe Drought;
D3 = Extreme Drought;
D4 = Exceptional Drought.

Virginia’s abnormally dry areas on September 16 included part of the Alleghany Highlands, part of Washington County, the Martinsville area, most of the northern Shenandoah Valley from Rockingham County to near Winchester, and a swath across the state from the northern Valley to around Richmond.

The current Virginia drought map and a link to archived maps are available at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?VA.

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent Drought Status Report on August 18, 2014. The report typically includes information from some or all of the following agencies: University of Virginia Climatology Office, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality. Task Force reports and other current drought-status information are available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.

The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating groundwater levels (GW), precipitation deficits (Prcp), reservoir storage (Res), and stream flow (Flow) conditions across the Commonwealth. In each area, a color code indicates “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.” The September 18, 2014, map is shown below.  The current map and more information on the ratings are available the Task Force Web site listed above.

Drought VA 9-18-14

Elsewhere in the United States, the September 16 Drought Monitor categorized about 38 percent of the country (in 43 states) as at least abnormally dry (combined categories D0-D4), and about 17 percent (in 15 states) in at least severe drought (combined categories D2-D4). Three states—listed below—had at least 50 percent of their area rated severe drought or worse (Categories D2-D4).
California = 95%
Nevada = 81%
Oregon = 57%

The September 16 Drought Monitor noted that summer 2014 was on “the ninth wettest summer on record for the U.S. (according to the National Climatic Data Center)….” But, “[a] near-complete lack of precipitation [during the week ending 9/16/14] means drought continues largely unabated through California and along the West Coast.”

For a look ahead, the National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center’s “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” for the next 90 days is available at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.html.  Shown below is the September 18—December 31, 2014, outlook map.

Drought outlook Sep18
For previous Virginia Water Central News Grouper mid-month drought reports, please click the following links.
Mid-August 2014
Mid-July 2014

[No reports for December 2013—June 2014]

Mid-November 2013
Mid-October 2013
Mid-September 2013
Mid-August 2013
Mid-July 2013

Hurricane Edouard in Atlantic Ocean Well Off Coast of Virginia on September 17, 2014; Northeast/East Track Predicted; Rip Currents Along U.S. East Coast Likely

As of late morning on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) public advisory #25 on Hurricane Edouard stated that the eye of Edouard was in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia and was predicted to move toward the northeast and then the east over the next 24 to 36 hours.  The NHC advisory stated, however, the following about potential swells and rip currents from Edouard:


Below are a satellite photo of Edouard as of about 2 p.m. on 9/17/14 and a chart of the possible path of the storm over the next five days (through 8 a.m., Tuesday, July 30), based on information available on September 17.  The images were accessed via the National Hurricane Center Web site, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/, on 9/17/14.  Public advisories and other information are also available at that site.

Eduard Sep 17

Hurricane Eduard, just visible in upper right of this photograph, over the Atlantic Ocean east of Virginia, 9/17/14, 2:15 p.m. EDT.

Eduard track Sep 17