Category Archives: Non-Virginia

A Sampler of Water-related Headlines for Virginia and Elsewhere for mid-June to mid-August 2014, covering Aquatic Habitats, Climate, Energy, Hazardous Waste Incidents, Land Use/Watershed Management, Waste Management, and Toledo Water Supply

Following are headlines and notes for a selection of water-news stories published in summer 2014 about Virginia, about nearby areas, or about topics that are otherwise relevant to Virginia. The items were collected between early June and mid-August 2014. The headlines are grouped by topics and—within those groups—from newest to oldest. Explanatory notes have been added in brackets after the publication and date. Unless otherwise noted, all places mentioned are in Virginia. As of 8/15/14, all headlines listed below had working hyperlinks to take you to the full article, but those links may or may not be working at later dates.

Aquatic Habitats, Organisms, and Systems

Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia Oyster Harvests Continue to Climb, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/21/14. Virginia’s oyster harvest in 2013 was over 500,000 bushels, a 25-percent increase of 2012 and the largest harvest since 1987. The total includes wild oysters harvested from public grounds as well as oysters raised in private operations.

Bacteria plagues Fairview Beach, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 7/17/14. In late July, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) presented the draft of a watershed-improvement plan to address chronic bacterial impairments at Fairview Beach on the Potomac River in King George County, Va.

Virginia acts to cut female blue crab harvest, Bay Journal, 6/24/14; and VMRC approves 10 percent reduction in blue crab harvest, Daily Press, 6/24/14. In June 2014, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) voted to cut the allowable harvest of female Blue Crabs by 10 percent from July 2014 to July 2015. The move came after the annual winter dredge survey of Blue Crabs in April 2014 showed decreases in the overall Blue Crab population and in the female population.

Lawmakers urge court to block Chesapeake cleanup, Associated Press, as published by Delaware Online, 6/24/14. In June 2014, 39 members of Congress, including Virginia’s Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-6th), added their support to the lawsuit filed in 2011 by the American Farm Bureau Federation (and other plaintiffs) challenging the legitimacy of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution-reduction plan, published by the U.S. EPA in 2010. The suit is in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia; the plaintiffs are appealing a September 2013 district court ruling in favor of the EPA.   Links to key legal documents are available from the Farm Bureau’s Web site at For more on this topic, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Lawsuit by Farm Bureau and Others Against EPA Over Chesapeake Bay TMDL in Federal Appeals Court as of April 2014 (last updated 5/14/14).


Governor McAuliffe Signs Executive Order Convening Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/1/14. On July 1, 2014, Virginia Gov. Terry McCauliffe signed Executive Order 19, which re-convened the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission. The Commission is to review, update, and prioritize the recommendations of the 2008 Virginia Climate Change Action Plan (available online at  The group is to issue a report by June 30, 2015.

Sea-level rise conference sees urgency and hope, Daily Press, 6/30/14. The current prediction that sea level in the Hampton Roads area may rise about a foot by 2044 was a main focus of a June 30, 2014, sea-level rise forum in Norfolk organized by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine.


Virginia Agencies to Coordinate Review of Potential Permits for Oil and Gas Drilling, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 8/13/14; and Drilling company official says no rush on fracking; Regional fracking discussion set Sep. 3, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/9/14. In August 2014, the Virginia departments of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) and of Environmental Quality (DEQ) signed a memorandum of agreement regarding coordination of environmental reviews of any future proposals for oil or natural gas drilling in Virginia’s Coastal Plain region. The memorandum of agreement is available online at According to the governor’s office’s news release, “the agreement will help the agencies and the public address the distinctiveness and complexity of the Coastal Plain aquifer system, including the Potomac Aquifer, which supplies water for about half of Virginia’s population for drinking, agricultural use and industrial use.” The agency’s agreement came as much public attention in eastern Virginia is focused on natural-gas leases that the Shore Exploration and Production Corporation of Texas has acquired on over 84,000 acres the Taylorsville basin, a shale formation underlying parts of the counties of Caroline, Essex, King George, King and Queen, and Westmoreland. Virginia has also convened (starting in June 2014) a Gas and Oil Regulatory Advisory Panel to assist DMME in its regulation of practices and ingredients used in gas and oil well stimulation and completion, including “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing) and horizontal drilling.  More information about this proposed regulatory action is available online at and (see, particularly, the “Agency Statement” PDF at the latter link). The DMME’s main Web site for Virginia gas and oil regulations is

Natural gas pipeline plan riles Floyd County, Roanoke Times, 8/14/14; Large crowd on hand for Nelson pipeline meeting; Spectra project on hold, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/12/14. Proposed pipelines for natural gas also received much attention in Virginia in summer 2014. In June, EQT Corporation of Pennsylvania and NextEra Energy of Florida announced a proposed pipeline from West Virginia to Pittsylvania County; Dominion Resources is proposing the “Southeast Reliability Project” gas pipeline from West Virginia through central Virginia to North Carolina; and Spectra Energy of Houston had been evaluation a proposal for a pipeline from Pennsylvania through central Virginia to North Carolina, but in August the company confirmed that it has suspended work on that proposal for now.

Quantico hosts 2nd Annual Environmental Summit, U.S. Marine Corps/Quantico News Release, 7/25/14. On July 17, 2014, the Quantico Marine Base in Fauquier, Prince William, and Stafford counties held its second annual Environment and Energy Summit to discuss the base’s various programs and efforts on energy conservation and efficiency. ((For another Quantico item, please “Waste Management” above.)

Oil and gas exploration off Va. coast a step closer, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/19/14. On July 18, 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that it will begin accepting applications for permits for surveys for oil and gas resources in federal offshore waters from Delaware Bay to Florida.

Land Use/Watershed Management

Public can comment on bridge, Tidewater News, 7/26/14. Through August 25, 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was accepting public comments on a proposed new bridge over the Nottoway River in Southampton County. The new structure would replace a 1920s-era bridge assessed as “structurally deficient” by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Chesterfield paper plant: No ‘rotten egg’ smell, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/19/14; and Plant offers new market for farmers, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/19/14. On June 18, 2014, Tranlin, Inc., based in China, announced plans to spend $2 billion to open a paper-making factory in Chesterfield County.  The raw materials for the plant are to be corn stalks, wheat stalks, and other agriculture field waste from Virginia and neighboring states. The proposed plant would withdraw and discharge an estimated 28 million gallons of water per day from the James River.

Bedford decreases setbacks for concentrated animal feeding regulations, Lynchburg News & Advance, 6/11/14. On June 9, 2014, the Bedford County Board of Supervisors voted to decrease the property-line setbacks required for concentrated beef, poultry, and swine operations.

Eagle Scout’s project benefits bird lovers, Roanoke Times, 6/12/14. Before graduating from high school in June 2014, Roanoke resident Niemann Pest built a bird-watching platform at the regional wastewater-treatment plant located in the city. The project was part of his work to become an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

Feds give $102M in storm prevention to 11 states including Virginia, Associated Press, as published online by Roanoke Times, 6/16/14. In June 2014, the U.S. Department of Interior announced that 11 states, including Virginia, will share $102.7 million in grants under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resilience Grant Program. Funded projects include restoration of wetlands, beaches, tidal buffers, streams, and flood plains. Four Virginia projects received grants.

Hazardous Materials Incidents

Discharge into Happy Creek kills over 2,000 fish, Northern Virginia Daily, 8/11/14. On August 8, 2014, an unpermitted dumping of materials at a car wash in Front Royal (Warren County) resulted in fish kill in Happy Creek, a tributary of the Shenandoah River.

Hazmat teams respond to runoff of paint from roof of shopping center, Bristol Herald-Courier, 8/8/14. Hazardous-materials teams were apparently able to prevent paint washed from a roof during an August 8, 2014, rainstorm from reaching a nearby stream.

Roanoke Chemical Distributor Ordered to Pay $612,339 for Hazardous Waste Storage Violations, U.S. EPA News Release, 6/24/14. On June 24, 2014, the U.S. EPA announced that an administrative court judge had ordered the owner and operator of the Chem-Solv facility in Roanoke to pay a $612,339 penalty for violations of regulations on storage of hazardous waste, as required under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Roanoke Co. residents near wreck cautious about wells, Roanoke Times, 6/21/14; Officials test nearby wells after tanker crash, Roanoke Times, 6/12/14. In June 2014, a tanker-truck crash in Roanoke County resulted in a spill of about 4,400 gallons of embalming fluid. For at least two weeks, some nearby residents were cautioned against using their residential wells, pending results of testing.

Investigation yields no conclusion about source of sewer grease, Bristol Herald-Courier, 7/1/14; BVU given notice of violation for Little Creek spill, Bristol Herald Courier, 6/4/14. In June 2014, Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) received a notice of violation from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for grease build-ups in the city’s sewer lines that have led to at least two manhole overflows, including one in April 2014 that resulted in a kill of about 3000 fish in a city stream.

Waste Management

Quantico cleanup plan proposed, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 6/8/14. In June 2014, the Quantico Marine Base in Fauquier, Prince William, and Stafford counties put out for public comment its plan for a fuel-contaminated area along the Potomac River. The area is one of several being done at the base under the federal Superfund law (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act). (For another Quantico item, please see “Energy” above.)

Water Supply Incident in Toledo, Ohio–Out of Virginia, But Connected to Conditions in the Commonwealth

Like Lake Erie, the tidal James River is afflicted with toxic algae, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/11/14; and Toledo area weathered water crisis with kindness, creativity, patience, Toledo [Ohio] Blade, 8/10/14. Starting August 2, 2014, about 500,000 in the area of Toledo, Ohio, were instructed not to drink public water because the city had detected the algae-produced toxin microcystin above recommended levels in Lake Eire. The plant nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers, animal waste, and other sources contribute to excessive algae growth in Lake Eire, as in many other U.S. lakes and rivers. In Virginia, similar algae in the tidal James River also can produce the microcystin toxin, but the algae and their products normally are mixed by currents and large outbreaks normally occur downstream of any public drinking-water intakes. Excessive algae growth and its consequences are, however, a serious and chronic aquatic-habitat issue in the James, the Chesapeake Bay, and other nutrient-enriched water bodies in Virginia.

Groundwater Atlas of Nebraska Available from University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In 2013, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published the latest version of the Groundwater Atlas of Nebraska.  Groundwater is a key resource supporting Nebraska agriculture, which is a national leader in production of beef, corn, soybeans, and other commodities. The groundwater atlas is available for purchase online at or by contacting the Nebraska Maps and More Store in Lincoln at (404) 472-3471. Information on Nebraska’s agricultural industry and its use of groundwater is available in the “Nebraska Agriculture Fact Card,” from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, online (as a PDF) at

California Drought 2012-2014 – A Quick Summary and Sources of Information, as of July 17, 2014

[This post replaces one put up on 2-28-14]

It’s an event of national significance when persistent and severe drought afflicts California, the nation’s third largest state in land area and largest in population (with over 37 million people as of the 2010 Census), and the source of over $44 billion worth of agricultural products in 2012, about 11 percent of total U.S. cash farm receipts that year (according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, at, 2/28/14).   As of the July 15, 2014, edition of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (online at, 100 percent of California was categorized as being in “severe,” “extreme,” or “exceptional” drought (the Drought Monitor’s three driest categories, out of five).   This has been the situation since May 2014, but as far back as June 2013, over 50 percent of the state was rated as in severe-or-worse drought.

The following comments in the February 25, 2014, and July 15, 2014, editions of the Drought Monitor add some more perspective on the current California drought:
Feb. 25, 2014
“From a broader perspective, California completed its 12th-driest year from July 1, 2011—June 30, 2012, and its 11th-driest year from July 1, 2012—June 30, 2013, according to the National Climatic Data Center.  During the last 120 years, the only comparable period for dryness occurred from July 1, 1975—June 30, 1977, when California experienced its fourth- and third-driest years on record.  …Heat has certainly not helped California’s drought situation; Needles, Calif.—with a high of 90°F on February 19—reported its earliest ever 90-degree reading (previously, 90°F on February 24, 1904).  Sandberg, Calif., has reached or exceeded the 70-degree mark on 7 days in February; the previous standard of 4 days was established in February 1963.”

July 15, 2014
“…With June [2014] in the books, NCDC [National Climatic Date Center; online at] rankings for California for the July 2013-June 2014 period were the warmest and 3rd driest since 1895.  The only drier July-June periods were in 1923-24 and 1976-77.  This is the first time California experienced 3 consecutive years in the top 20 for dryness: 2011-12 ranked 20th, 2012-13 ranked 18th, and statewide precipitation has averaged 67% of normal during this 3-year period, and was just 56% of normal in 2013-14.  Fortunately California’s reservoirs hold more water than they did in 1977 when the state experienced its 4th and 2nd driest years on record from July 1975-June 1977.  However, a recent study estimated that this drought will cost California $2.2 billion in 2014, with a loss of over 17,000 agricultural jobs.”

On July 16, 2014, the California Water Quality Control Board announced that mandatory restrictions on residential water use would begin August 1, with violators subject to fines of $500 per day.

Below are links to five other information sources (besides the U.S. Drought Monitor) to help you learn about and follows this significant event in the Golden State.

California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, online at, phone: (916) 654-0466.  (For agricultural statistics, see

California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, online at; phone: (916) 653-5791.

California Institute for Water Resources/University of California-Davis, online at, phone: (510) 987-9124.  (For drought-information resources, see

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) California Water Science Center, Sacramento, online at; phone: (916) 278-3000.

PBS “NewsHour” reports:
*February 14, 2014, “California’s historic drought strains towns and farms in Sonoma County,” online at (8 min./4 sec.);
*July 16, 2014, “California’s ‘water cop’ urges residents to take drought seriously with mandatory restrictions,” online at (9 min./38 sec.).

A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States, Canada, and Mexico; June 26, 2014 Edition (Updated 8-14-14)

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 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.

Much of this information was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  For more information on the VWMC, please visit

Aug. 17-21, 2014, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada: American Fisheries Society Annual Conference.  Co-organizer is Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  This year’s theme is “From Fisheries Research to Management: Think and Act Locally and Globally.”  More information:

Aug. 18-19, 2014, Charlotte, N.C.: Municipal Wet Weather Stormwater Conference.  Organized by the U.S. EPA Region 4 Office and the Southeast Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Region One.  More information:

Aug. 19-22, 2014, Iowa City, Iowa: Fourth International Conference on Emerging Contaminants in the Environment (EmCon2014). Organized by the University of Iowa and several partners.  More information:; David Cwiertny, (319) 335-1401;

Aug. 25-27, 2014, Denver, Colo.: 2014 Unconventional Resources Technology Conference.  Conference organization created and sponsored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, & Society of Economic Geologists.  More information:

Sep. 3-7, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Society of Environmental Journalists Annual Conference.  More information:

Sep. 8-10, 2014, Asheville, N.C.: 2014 Water Education Summit.  Organized by North Carolina State University and several partners.  More information:; Karen Hall, (919) 515-8242 or

Sep. 9-12, 2014, San Francisco, Calif.: Specialist Conference on Watershed and River Basins Management.  Organized by the University of the Pacific and the International Water Association.  More information:

Sep. 14-19, 2014, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada: Oceans ’14.  Sponsored by the Marine Technology Society and the Oceanic Engineering Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  More information:

Sep. 15-17, 2014, Kansas City, Missouri: One Water Leadership Summit 2014.  Organized by the U.S. Water Alliance’s Urban Water Sustainability Council.  More information:; phone (202) 223-2299; e-mail:

Sep. 16-18, 2014, Portland, Ore.: “Who Will Own the Forest?” Conference.  Organized by the World Forestry Institute.  More information:

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:

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:

Sep. 27-Oct. 1, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference.  More information:

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

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:; 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 with your name, title, and affiliationMore information:; (410) 849-3909.

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:; or contact Nancy Hystad at

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:;; (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:; (612) 624-9282; e-mail:

Oct. 15-16, 2014, Columbia, S.C.: South Carolina Water Resources Conference.  Organized by Clemson University.  More information:; Dawn Anticole White at (864) 656-2618 or

Oct. 15-17, 2014, Dayton, Ohio: Natural Areas Conference.   Organized by the Natural Areas Association and Five Rivers MetroParks.  More information:

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:; Rachael Herpel at (402) 472-4977 or

Oct. 19-22, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. More information:; phone (303) 357-1000; e-mail:

Oct. 20-23, 2014, St. Louis, Mo.: 39th Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop.  Organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  More information:

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:; Andrea Bachrach, (919) 515-5693 or

Oct. 27-30, 2014, Baltimore, Md.: BioCycle East Coast Conference 2014 (on composting, organics recycling and renewable energy).  More information:

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:; 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:; 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:

Nov. 12-14, 2014, Portland, Ore.: Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) Conference.  More information:

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:

Nov. 16-20, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Water Quality Technology Conference and Exposition.  Organized by the American Water Works Association.  More information:

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:

Nov. 19-21, 2014, St. Petersburg, Fla.: National Clean Water Law Seminar.  Organized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.  More information:

Nov. 21, 2014, North Linthicum, Md.: Maryland Water Monitoring Council’s 20th Annual Conference.  More information:; Dan Broward, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (410) 260-8605 or

Dec. 9-12, 2014, Las Vegas, Nev.: National Groundwater Association Expo.  More information:; phone (800) 551-7379; e-mail:

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

Virginia (and Elsewhere) Water News Headlines Sampler for May 21-29, 2014: Stream-fencing, Sea-level Rise, Natural Gas, Werowocomoco, USDA Grants, VEE Grants, Maryland Wind Energy Proposal, West Virginia Watewater Grants, and Montana Study of Trout and Climate Change

Following are headlines and notes for a selection of water-news stories from the period May 21—29, 2014, that occurred in Virginia, occurred in nearby areas, or are otherwise relevant to Virginia. The headlines are grouped by topics and—within those groups—from newest to oldest.  Explanatory notes have been added in brackets after the publication and date.  Unless otherwise noted, all places mentioned are in Virginia.  As of 5/30/14, all headlines listed below had working hyperlinks to take you to the full article, but those links may or may not be working at later dates.

Chesapeake Bay Clean Up/Restoration
Dubious Stream-Fencing Numbers Reveal Limitations of Bay Model, Lancaster [Penn.] Farming, 5/24/14 – Virginia has an objective of adding stream-side fencing to restrict cattle access to 4,700 miles of streams in Chesapeake Bay tributary watersheds by 2025; the Commonwealth and the Chesapeake Bay Program are working to make on-the-ground estimates of progress toward this goal correspond more closely to information used in the Bay Program’s computer models that assess progress toward the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

Climate Change (see also below under “Montana” for another climate item)
Hampton Roads landmarks in crosshairs of climate change, Daily Press, as published by Stars and Stripes, 5/21/14; and Sea Level Rise Endangers Historic Sites Around Chesapeake Bay, Associated Press, 5/21/14 – On May 20, 2014, the Union of Concerned Scientists released “National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites.”  The 84-page report, available online at, presents case studies of sea-level-rise risks at 23 U.S. coastal areas, including four in Virginia: Fort Monroe National Monument, Jamestown, the NASA Langley Research Center, and the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility.

U.S. groups seek more time to comment on Dominion LNG export project, Reuters, 5/21/14 – On May 21, 2014, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Earthjustice filed petitions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking that the agency extend by 60 days the current mid-June deadline for public comment on FERC’s environmental review of the proposal by Richmond-based Dominion Resources to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal at Cove Point, on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Dominion considers new W.Va.-Va.-N.C. pipeline, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/28/14 – Richmond-based Dominion Resources is considering a 480-mile, natural gas pipeline that would transport gas extracted from Appalachian shale formations from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina.

East Coast menhaden harvest decreased 26% from 2012, Bay Journal, 5/27/14 – In 2013, the first year of new restrictions imposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the harvest of Atlantic Menhaden along the eastern United States coast—including the Chesapeake Bay—decreased by 26 percent from 2012.

Land Use
Werowocomoco National Park? It would benefit both tourism and scholarship, William & Mary News, 5/21/14 – On May 20, 2014, Va. Gov. Terry McCauliffe toured Werowocomoco, the York River site at the center of the Algonquin Indian people led by Chief Powhatan in the 1600s and now proposed for a national park.

Paying for Water
USDA launches $1.2 billion in competitive grants for conservation projects, Charlotte [Va.] Observer, 5/30/14; and New federal farm program should help fight Chesapeake Bay pollution, Roanoke Times, 5/28/14 – On May 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) started the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a program authorized by the new Farm Bill passed in February 2014.  Over the next five years, the program will offer $1.2 billion in competitive grants (requiring a match) for conservation projects nationwide.

Virginia Environmental Endowment awards nearly $300K in grants, Augusta Free Press, 5/25/14 – In late May 2014, the Virginia Environmental Endowment announced about 14 grants totaling about $300,000 for projects on water quality, environmental literacy, land conservation, and “emerging” environmental issues.

Outside of Virginia But in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Gov.’s veto might not end wind debate, The (Gaithersburg Md.) Gazette, 5/21/14 – The Pioneer Green company, based in Austin, Texas, is proposing to build the Great Bay Wind Energy Center, a wind-generating project across the Chesapeake Bay off of Somerset County, Maryland.  On May 16, 2014, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley vetoed a Maryland General Assembly bill that would have delayed the project; Assembly members have expressed concerns about possible impacts on the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, located across the Bay from Somerset County in St. Mary’s County. Information from Pioneer Green is available online at

W.Va. clean water loan program marks milestone, Associated Press, as published by [Steubenville, Ohio] Herald-Star, 5/21/14 – In May 2014, West Virginia’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund reached the $1-billion mark in loans (320 total) since 1992 to localities for wastewater-infrastructure projects.

In Montana, but with Worldwide Implications
Climate Change Accelerates Hybridization between Native and Invasive Species of Trout, U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 5/25/14 – On May 25, 2014, the scientific journal Nature Climate Change published “Invasive hybridization in a threatened species is accelerated by climate change,” research by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), University of Montana, and the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department.  The USGS news release on the research asserts that the study is the first to support directly the assumption that “climate change could decrease worldwide biodiversity through cross-breeding between invasive and native species.”  The research study is available online at

Virginia Water News Headlines Sampler for May 10–20, 2014: Natural Gas, Proposed Power Plants, Biofuels, Soil Remediation along James River, 2014 Va. General Assembly Stormwater Bill, Industrial Sludge, Maryland Oysters, National Water Projects Bill, and Antarctica Glacier Melt

Following are headlines and notes for a selection of water-news stories from the period May 10—20, 2014, that occurred in Virginia, occurred in nearby areas, or are otherwise relevant to Virginia.  The headlines are grouped by topics and—within those groups—from newest to oldest. Explanatory notes have been added in brackets after the publication and date. Unless otherwise noted, all places mentioned are in Virginia.  As of 5/21/14, all headlines listed below had working hyperlinks to take you to the full article, but those links may or may not be working at later dates.

Natural gas drilling draft edited; no action taken [in Washington County, Va.], Bristol Herald-Courier, 5/19/14 – As of mid-May 2014, the Washington County Planning Commission was considering the draft of an ordinance to impose local regulations on the areas allowed, environmental protections required, and financial assurances required for natural-gas drilling in the county.  Any ordinance recommended by the planning commission would then go to the county’s board of supervisors.

Dominion Hosts Groundbreaking Event for Brunswick County Power Station, Dominion Virginia Power news release, as published by PR Newswire, 5/16/14 – Construction actually started in September 2013 on Dominion Virginia Power’s $1.27-billion, 1358-megawatt-capacity, natural-gas fired power plant in Brunswick County, Va.  As of mid-May, the plant was about 17-percent complete, with opening expected in 2016. The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved Dominion’s application for the plant in August 2013.

Session addresses questions on proposed Smyth County plant, Bristol Herald-Courier, 5/15/14 – On May 15, 2014, Competitive Power Ventures (headquartered in Silver Spring, Md.; online at held a public forum in Atkins, Va. (Smyth County) on the company’s proposal to build a 700-megawatt (MW)-capacity, natural-gas-fired power plant.  The company filed its request for air-emission permits with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in January 2014 and intends to seek additional needed federal, state, and local permits over the next year.

Sweet Briar plants native grasses to produce biofuels, Lynchburg News & Advance, 5/12/14 – Sweet Briar College, in Amherst, Va., is partnering with FDC Enterprises (headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa; online at to plant 500 acres of native grasses that will eventually be harvested to produce biofuels.  The work is a demonstration project funded by a Conservation Innovation Grant is from the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Exxon to do soil remediation, park upgrades at Ancarrow’s Landing, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/10/14 – In May 2014, the ExxonMobil company agreed to restore for reuse approximately four acres of Ancarrow’s Landing along the James River, as part of the company’s environmental remediation of soil contaminated by arsenic and lead during operations between the 1920s and 1960s by the former Virginia Carolina Chemical Corporation.

Governor visits VIMS to sign stormwater management bill, William & Mary News, 5/19/14 – On May 15, 2014, Virginia Gov. Terry McCauliffe ceremonially signed companion bills passed by the 2014 Virginia General Assembly (HB 1173/SB 423) that delayed for six months (until January 2015) the deadline for localities to implement a local stormwater-management program, and provided that the Department of Environmental Quality will establish such a program if a locality chooses not to do so (if the locality is not required by the federal Clean Water to have a municipal separate storm sewer system, or MS4).

Counties should follow King and Queen’s lead and urge State Water Control Board to deny industrial sludge permit [editorial], Tidewater Review, 5/14/14 – On May 12, 2014, the King and Queen County Board of Supervisors voted to request that the State Water Control (SWCB) not grant a permit for Synagro, LLC (headquartered in Baltimore, Md.; online at to land-apply residual solid materials from industrial wastewater treatment to about 16,200 acres of farmland in King & Queen, King William, New Kent, Goochland, Hanover, Prince George and Surry counties.  The material would come from area hog-processing, poultry-processing, and paper-processing plants.  The SWCB is to consider Synagro’s permit application on June 27, 2014.

Out of Virginia but in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Maryland’s Oyster Population Continues to Improve, Highest since 1985, Southern Maryland News Net, 5/14/14 – In mid-May 2014, Maryland announced that the state’s fall 2013 oyster survey indicated that the “oyster biomass index” (a combined measure of oyster abundance and size) had doubled since 2010 and was at its highest value since 1985, when this monitoring started.

Water projects authorized by House, Associated Press, as published by Washington Post, 5/20/14 – On May 20, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform Development Act of 2013 (H.R. 3080), which among other things provisions authorizes over $15 billion for 34 water-related projects nationwide for navigation, flood-risk-management, hurricane-risk-reduction, and environmental restoration.  A restoration project in Virginia’s Lynnhaven River would receive about $23 million under the measure.  The House vote was on a conference report to reconcile the House bills with the Senate’s version, (S.601), which was passed by that body on May 15.  The Senate was to consider the conference version during the week of May 19-23, 2014.  Information on the content and status of Congressional bills is available online at the Library of Congress’ Web site.

NASA-UCI Study Indicates Loss of West Antarctic Glaciers Appears Unstoppable, NASA News Release, 5/12/14 – On May 12, 2014, NASA announced that researchers at that agency and at the University of California-Irvine have published research finding that glaciers in West Antarctica are “irreversibly” melting and that the melting will contribute to rises in sea levels for decades or centuries.

Coral Reefs and Protection of Coastlines Worldwide are Focus of Research Published May 14, 2014

A study conducted by an international team of researchers and published in May 2014 found that coral reefs provide an important protective barrier for the world’s developing coastal communities that are facing increased storm activity and flooding.  According to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) news release on the study (one of the co-authors is at the USGS’ Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center), the researchers’ key findings were the following: “Coral reefs provide substantial protection against natural hazards by reducing wave energy by an average of 97 percent (studies across all tropical oceans); [t]he reef crest, or shallowest part of the reef where the waves break first, dissipates 86 percent of wave energy on its own; [and the] median cost for building artificial breakwaters is…$19,791 [U.S. dollars] per meter, compared to $1,290 per meter for coral reef restoration projects” [emphasis in original].  The research article is “The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation,” by Filippo Ferrario et al., Nature Communications 5, May 13, 2014; journal Web site:

Source: Coral Reefs are Critical for Risk Reduction & Adaptation, U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 5/13/14.

Preliminary Severe Weather Reports for April 27 and 28, 2014, from NWS/Storm Prediction Center

Below are the National Weather Service/Storm Prediction Center’s maps of preliminary (not yet verified) reports of high winds, hail, and tornadoes in the continental United States on April 27 and  April 28, 2014, including fatal tornadoes in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.  (For two news accounts, see Killer Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas, Oklahoma, National Public Radio, 4/28/14; and Tornadoes cause damage, injuries in Miss., Ala., Associated Press, as published on, 4/28/14).

storm report


Storm report April 28

The 4/27/14 storm-report map and text of reports are available online at; the same for April 28 is available at  From either link, you can also access the Center’s archive of maps and reports going back several years.


West Virginia Chemical Spill on Jan. 9, 2014 – April 16 PBS Update Includes Discussion of New West Virginia Chemical-storage Law

On April 16, 2014, the PBS NewsHour broadcast an update on the January 2014 chemical spill into the Elk River near Charleston, West Virginia.  The segment includes the following:
*review of the basic facts of the spill;

*discussion of a law passed in 2014 by the West Virginia legislature, Senate Bill 373, which creates the “Above-ground Storage Tank Water Resources Protection Act” authorizing various actions related to chemical-storage tanks and protection of water resources (for a news account of the bill, see Tomblin Signs Storage Tank Bill, Charleston Gazette, 4/1/14);

*discussion of a long, detailed article published April 7, 2014, in The New Yorker magazine (Chemical Valley: The coal industry, the politicians, and the big spill) on the historic role of the chemical and coal industries in West Virginia’s economy and politics.

The 10 min./19 sec. PBS video is available at this link:

Water-Energy Connections Examined in Fall 2013 Issue of Headwaters Magazine from Colorado Foundation for Water Education

The Fall 2013 issue of Headwaters, published by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, examines the connections among energy extraction, power production, and water use.  The focus is on Colorado, of course, but the articles offer information and perspectives useful for understanding water-energy connections in other states, too.  See, for example, “Water Fuels Power” (page 7); the comparison of costs and water use for six sources of energy for electrical power (pages 14-15); and “How Hydraulic Fracturing Works” (pages 20-21).

The publication’s archive is available online at; or contact the Foundation in Denver at (303) 377-4433 or