Category Archives: Land Use

Items related to agriculture, preservation, development, forestry, and other land-based activities that affect water resources.

Water in Virginia State Government News Releases for September 19—October 14, 2014: State Energy Plan, Emergency Preparedness Grants, TMDL Implementation Grants, Fall Fire Season Oct. 15-Nov. 30, Earth Science Week Oct. 12-18, and More

Following are titles and short excerpts from water-related or land-use-related Virginia state government news releases between September 19 and October 14, 2014.  Also included are some releases on agricultural or other land activities that use, affect, or depend on water resources. To access the full text of any release, click on the release title or (if that link doesn’t work) click on the Web address beside each agency name to go to that agency’s archive of releases.


Governor McAuliffe Formally Unveils 2014 Virginia Energy Plan, 10/14/14. Excerpt: “Key highlights of the Energy Plan include [the following]: Strategically grow the energy sector by promoting increased development of renewable generation and supporting innovation in nuclear technology.  Reduce energy consumption by aggressively pursuing energy efficiency measures in government, businesses and residences.  Invest in reliable and resilient energy infrastructure to strengthen Virginia’s already strong business climate.  Prepare Virginia’s workforce to drive the future energy economy.”  The full plan is available online at

Governor McAuliffe Announces Homeland Security Grant Awards; Dozens of projects across Virginia will receive federal funding, 10/10/14.  Excerpt: …[M]ore than $4.8 million in federal funds will be awarded to multiple local government agencies [for 79 projects] to enhance emergency preparedness throughout Virginia. The funds, administered by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, are from the fiscal year 2014 State Homeland Security Grant program.” Some of the projects address water infrastructure and hazardous materials response.

Governor McAuliffe Announces New Specialty Crop Grants for Virginia, 10/2/14. Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced funding for sixteen agriculture-related projects aimed at promoting and enhancing the competitiveness of Virginia’s specialty crops and creating more economic opportunities. …Specialty crops including apples, wine grapes, sprouts, chestnuts, strawberries, Christmas trees, and more will benefit from the grants. Other grants focus on food safety, protecting honey bees, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) implementation on small farms, marketing and education programs, food safety education, cover crops, nutrient cycling, and more.  Grants range from $20,000 to $50,000 per applicant.”

Governor McAuliffe, First Lady Join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Announce Virginia Receives Nearly $1.2 Million in Funding to Strengthen Local Food Economies, 9/29/14.  Excerpt: “…[T]he Commonwealth was awarded nearly $1.2 million in [U.S. Department of Agriculture] funding to support local food economies. Authorized through the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), Virginia received funding from three participating programs aimed at strengthening organic local and regional food systems through projects that recruit and train farmers, expand economic opportunities, and increase access to healthy foods.”


Tour Crow’s Nest Nov. 8, 10/14/14.  Excerpt: A field day at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County will be held Nov. 8, starting at 9 a.m. [Space limited, registration required: phone 804-786-7951.] … The guided hikes offer views of the freshwater tidal marsh and open water surrounding the preserve….  Crow’s Nest is a peninsula between Accokeek and Potomac creeks.  The 2,872-acre preserve contains mature hardwood forest and some of the best examples of diverse, intact wetlands in the Potomac River drainage basin.”

$1.5 million available for water quality improvement projects for water bodies with implementation plans, 10/8/14.  Excerpt: “The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is making approximately $1.5 million in federal grant funding available to support Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation projects that will result in advancement of goals and milestones provided in eligible TMDL implementation plans.  Local governments (including counties, cities, and towns), county health departments, soil and water conservation districts, planning district commissions, regional commissions, Virginia institutes of higher education, and Virginia state agencies are eligible to apply.  Applications are due by November 17, 2014.”


Fall Wildfire Season Begins Oct. 15 in Virginia, 10/1/14.  Excerpt: “’While Virginia’s most active wildfire season is typically in spring, fall can be just as busy,’ said John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection.  ‘We didn’t have a lot of rain this summer, and the dead leaves are starting to drop from the trees.  This leaf litter is an abundant source of fuel for wildfires, which can spread rapidly during dry and windy days.’ …Fall wildfire season runs from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 each year.”

Sunday Hunting Not Permitted on State Forests, 9/30/14.  Excerpt: “Officials at the Virginia Department of Forestry remind all hunters that Sunday hunting on State Forests is prohibited. ‘While a new law allowing hunting in Virginia on Sundays went into effect July 1st, that law applies only to private lands,’ said Gary Heiser, manager of Virginia’s 24 State Forests.   ‘Hunting on Sunday is still prohibited on public lands, including the State Forests.’”


None related to water during this period.


Virginia Department of Health Rescinds Emergency Closing of James River to Shellfish Harvesting, 9/23/14.  Excerpt: “The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that the emergency condemnation of the James River adjacent to Newport News—initially closed on September 9—is reopened effective immediately.  This action returns all James River harvest areas to the harvest status in effect prior to the September 9 emergency closure.”


Closure of the Directed Menhaden Pound Net Fishery (opens as PDF), 10/9/14.  Excerpt: “Effective 6:00 P.M., Eastern Daylight Savings Time, Friday, October 10, 2014, the commercial menhaden pound net fishery will close.”

Virginia Marine Resources Commission Acts on Fisheries Violations; Votes Unanimously to Revoke Licenses [of repeat offenders] (opens as PDF), 9/23/14.


Governor Declares Earth Science Week (opens as PDF), 10/10/14.  The week is October 12—18, 2014.

DMME Reclamation Specialist Recieves National Award (opens as PDF), 10/2/14.  Excerpt: “The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy’s Reclamation Specialist and Field Supervisor, Ken Coomer, has been awarded the Dean Spindler Reclamationist of the Year Award for 2014 from the National Association of State Land Reclamationists.”

Large Industrial Sludge Land-application Permit in Several Virginia Counties is Subject of October 23, 2014, Public Hearing; SWCB Consideration Expected in December 2014

On October 23, 2014, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board will hold a public hearing on the permit application by Synagro, LLC (headquartered in Baltimore, Md.; online at to land-apply residual solid materials from industrial wastewater treatment to about 16,042 acres of farmland in Goochland, King & Queen, King William, New Kent, Prince George, and Surry counties.  The material would come from area hog-processing, poultry-processing, and paper-processing plants.

Information on the October 23 public hearing, which will be held at the DEQ’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen, is available from the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, online at

The permit application has been controversial in the affected counties and has undergone an extended public-comment process.  The current comment period runs 9/17/14 to 11/7/14 and follows two previous comment periods (12/23/13 to 1/31/14; and 3/5/14 to 4/25/14) and two previous public hearings (4/9/14 and 4/10/14).  The State Water Control Board is tentatively scheduled to consider the application during its December 2014 quarterly meeting.

Below are hyperlinked headlines to several news items on this proposal.

Farmers in Prince George are pro-Synagro, Petersburg Progress-Index, 10/14/14.

Delegate [Christopher K. Peace, R-97] addresses DEQ regarding sludge application, The Mechanicsville Local, 9/17/14.

Hanover Board of Supervisors sends letter opposing sludge
, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/16/14.

The Virginia DEQ failed to provide notification to local counties about industrial sludge, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/9/14.

Industrial sludge application pulled [in Hanover County], Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/27/14.

Sludge: Risk Or Resource?, Water Online, 8/27/14.

New Kent supervisors vote to send letter opposing DEQ permit for Synagro, New Kent-Charles City Chronicle, 8/12/14.

Green Infrastructure and its Values in Developing and Urban Landscapes are Focus of Nov. 20, 2014, Workshop in Charlottesville, Va.

On Nov. 20, 2014, in Charlottesville, Va., the Green Infrastructure Center will hold “Evaluating and Conserving Natural Assets: Planning for Green Infrastructure in the Developing and Urban Landscape.”  This workshop is organized by the Green Infrastructure Center, a non-profit organization located in Charlottesville (online at  “Green infrastructure” refers to natural landscape components–such as forests, waterways, wetlands, soils, organisms, etc.–that provide vital services to human communities and other living things.  The Nov. 20 workshop will include presentations and hands-on exercises working with maps.  No GIS knowledge is required to participate.  For more information and to register, visit, e-mail, or phone the Center at (434) 244-0322.

For other water-related conferences and meetings in Virginia, please see this blog’s “Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events,” at

Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region is Focus of Meeting Jan. 13-14, 2015, in Frederick, Md.

Growth and the Future of the Chesapeake Bay will be held January 13-14, 2015, at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.  Organized by Bay Journal, the Chesapeake Research Consortium, and Hood College, the meeting plans to examine the impacts of population and economic growth on human and natural systems in the Bay region.  For more information, visit; or phone  the Bay Journal‘s main office at (717) 428-2819.

Invasive Water Chestnut Removal, Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference in November, and More Available in September 24, 2014, Outdoor Report from Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries

The September 24, 2014, “Outdoor Report” from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) in now available at

Each edition of the Outdoor Report is full of information on fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, boating, and other outdoor activities.  The sections of the 9/24/14 report are listed below, with hyperlinks to go to the individual items.  (Please note: the wildlife rehabilitation conference mentioned in the title of this post is described at the “Wild Events You Don’t Want to Miss” link.)

State of the Birds 2014 in the United States Report Released 9/9/14 by U.S. Committee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiativ

On September 9, 2014, the U.S. Committee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative released The State of the Birds 2014—United States of America.  The Committee (Web site: comprises 23 government agencies and organizations.  According to the Committee’s September 9 news release, the report is “the most comprehensive review of long-term trend data for U.S. birds ever conducted.”  The report found that bird populations are declining in some key habitats but recovering “in areas where a strong conservation investment has been made,” according to the news release.  Habitats addressed in the report include aridlands, eastern forests, western forests, grasslands, coasts, and wetlands.  The report has 233 species on its “watch-list of birds “that are presently endangered or at risk of becoming endangered without significant conservation action.”

The report and news release are available online at The Watch List is available (as PDF) at [posted 9/23/14]

state of birds

Cover of The State of the Birds 2014—United States of America, accessed at the report’s Web site,, 9/23/14.

Two Cellulosic Ethanol Plants at Commercial Scale Opened in Iowa in September 2014

In early September 2014, the United States’ first two commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants opened in Iowa.  Cellulosic ethanol is produced from cellulose in plant residues—such as corn stalks, leaves, and cobs—rather than from grain (the corn kernel), which is the source for the corn-based ethanol that for many years has been commercially produced and blended with gasoline.  The two plants, both in northwestern Iowa, are the Project Liberty plant near the town of Emmetsburg, operated by the DSM and Poet companies; and the Quad County Corn Processors plant near the town of Galva.

2nd Iowa plant makes cellulosic ethanol reality, Des Moines Register, 9/9/14;
Long-Awaited Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Opens In Iowa, Chemical Engineering News, 9/8/14.