A September 19, 2016, Rainbow at (Almost) the Start of Fall

Dear Virginia Water Central News Grouper Readers,

By Fridays, you’ve probably had just enough news and information about water and all other subjects.  So here’s a non-verbal parting post for this week: a rather striking rainbow, photographed in Christiansburg, Va., Sept. 19, 2016, 7 p.m., a little over two days before fall 2016 arrived.


Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Sep. 23-Oct. 10, 2016

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.


9/23/16, 10 a.m.: Board of Conservation and Recreation.  At Natural Bridge Hotel, 15 Appledore Lane in Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County).

9/27/16, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Outdoors Foundation Board of Trustees.  At Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 1201 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg.  At 9:15 a.m. on the same day and at the same location, the Board will consider requests to the Preservation Trust Fund.

10/3/16, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects Regulatory Review Committee.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

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For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+oth+MTG.  Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services are available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions.html.

9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Joint Commission on Technology and Science.  At House Room C in the General Assembly Building, 201 North Ninth Street in Richmond.

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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.

9/27/16, 2 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for aquatic life (benthic) impairments in the Little Calfpasture River, located in the James River basin in Rockbridge County.  At Rockbridge Baths Fire Hall, 5024 Maury River Road in Rockbridge Baths.

10/4/16, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in the McClure River and tributaries Big Spraddle Branch, Buffalo Creek, and Roaring Fork, all in the Pound River/Russell Fork/Big Sandy River watershed in Dickenson County.  At the McClure Kiwanis Building, at the intersection of State Route 63 (Dante Mountain Road) and State Route 773 (Herndon Road) in Dickenson County.

10/5/16, 6:30 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial and aquatic life (benthic) impairments in Woods Creek, located in the Maury River/James River basin in Rockbridge County and the City of Lexington.  At Maury River Middle School, 600 Waddell Street in Lexington.

10/6/16, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic) impairment in Kits Creek (Meherrin River/Chowan River watershed) in Lunenburg County.  At the Historic Courthouse, 11435 Courthouse Road in Lunenburg.

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(topics listed alphabetically)

Air-Water Connections
10/4/16, 9:30 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Title V Fee Stakeholder Advisory Group.  At the DEQ Main Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  Under Title V of the federal Clean Air Act, states charge Title V fees for operating permits required for major sources of air emissions.  This group has been established to assist the DEQ in developing recommendations for adjusting the Title V program fee structure.  More information on Title V permits is available from the U.S. EPA online at https://www.epa.gov/title-v-operating-permits; and from the Va. DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/FeesUndertheVAAirPollutionControlLaw.aspx.

Energy – Climate Change
10/6/16, 1 p.m.: Executive Order 57 Working Group.  At 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond.  This group was established by Executive Order 57, issued by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on June 28, 2016.  The Executive Order calls for the group to evaluate options under existing authority for the Commonwealth to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector.  Executive Order 57 is available online at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=15762.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
10/3/16, 6 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on the draft state major permit for Columbia Gas Transmission LLC’s Strasburg Compressor Station.  At the Shenandoah County Government Center Board Room, 600 North Main Street in Woodstock.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, Columbia Gas has applied for a permit to construct three natural gas-fired turbines, and to modify one natural gas-fired turbine, at the Strasburg Compressor Station in Shenandoah County.  The project will cause the facility to be classified as a major source of air pollution for nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon monoxide (CO).  The public comment period runs 9/2/16 to 10/18/16.

Energy – Wind
9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Offshore Wind Development Authority.  At the State Capitol, House Room 1, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.  Remote location: 1019 Haverhill-Ohio Furnace Road in Haverhill, Ohio; contact Brian Redmond, (713) 705-4591.  According to the Authority’s Web site, http://wind.jmu.edu/offshore/vowda/index.html, the 2010 Virginia General Assembly (companion bills HB 389 and SB 577) created this Authority to “facilitate, coordinate, and support development of the offshore wind energy industry, offshore wind energy projects, and supply chain vendors….”

9/23/16, 9 a.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee/Work Group #3 on Future Permitting Criteria; and 9/23/16, 1 p.m.: Work Group # 4 on Funding.  Both at the Department of Environmental Quality’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The 2015 Virginia General Assembly passed HB 1924 and SB 1341, companion bills that established this Advisory Committee to assist the State Water Commission and the DEQ in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for groundwater in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.  The bills state that the Advisory Committee is to examine the following:
(i) options for developing long-term alternative water sources, including water reclamation and reuse, ground water recharge, desalination, and surface water options, including creation of storage reservoirs;
(ii) the interaction between the Department of Environmental Quality’s ground water management programs and local and regional water supply plans within the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area for purposes of determining water demand and possible solutions for meeting that demand;
(iii) potential funding options both for study and for implementation of management options;
(iv) alternative management structures, such as a water resource trading program, formation of a long-term ground water management committee, and formation of a commission;
(v) additional data needed to more fully assess aquifer health and sustainable ground water management strategies;
(vi) potential future ground water permitting criteria; and
(vii) other policies and procedures that the director of the [DEQ] determines may enhance the effectiveness of ground water management in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.”  The Committee is to provide its report by August 2017.  More information about the Advisory Committee is available online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity.aspx; more information about groundwater management areas in Virginia is available online at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterPermitting.aspx.

River Basin Advisory Committees and Commissions
9/29/16, 1 p.m. (PDF of agenda):  Rappahannock River Basin Commission.  At Stoneridge Events Center, 7373 Comfort Inn Drive in Warrenton (Fauquier County).  The Commission was established by the Virginia General Assembly (see Va. Code section 62.1-69.27 to “provide guidance for the stewardship and enhancement of the water quality and natural resources of the Rappahannock River Basin.”  More information on the work of the Commission is available online at http://rappriverbasin.org/.

State Parks
9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation public meeting on the update to the Belle Isle State Park Master Plan.  At Belle Isle State Park Visitor Center, 1632 Belle Isle Road in Lancaster (Lancaster County).

10/6/16, 6 p.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation public meeting on the update to the Pocahontas State Park Master Plan.  At Pocahontas State Park Heritage Center, 10301 State Park Road in Chesterfield (Chesterfield County).

9/29/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Group on Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program fees.  At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting, “Item 8 of Chapters 68 and 758 of the 2016 Acts of Assembly directs DEQ to evaluate fees related to the consolidated Virginia Erosion and Stormwater Management Program (VESMP) in order to determine whether the program can be funded adequately under the current fee structure.  The legislation [HB 1250 and SB 673] provided that Virginia Stormwater Management Program Authorities and Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Program Authorities were to submit information to DEQ by August 1, 2016, and directed DEQ to conduct its evaluation based on revenues and resource needs from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016.  DEQ is convening a Stakeholders Advisory Group (SAG) to review the Department’s evaluation and consider the need to establish revised fees to fund the consolidated VESMP.”  The DEQ’s Web page for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

Virginia Outdoors Plan
9/26/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) public meeting on the Virginia Outdoors Plan.  At the West Piedmont Planning District Commission, 1100 Madison Street in Martinsville.  Starting in August 2016, the DCR began a series of public meetings on the Outdoors Plan.  The DCR is working with Virginia’s planning district commissions and regional councils to review outdoor recreation and land conservation initiatives related to the Outdoors Plan, which is a comprehensive blueprint for acquisition, development, and management of outdoor recreation and open space resources.  The first plan was developed in 1966; the most recent update, the 11th, was done in 2013).  More information on the Outdoors Plan is available online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/vop.shtml.

The DCR intends to hold public meetings in every region.  Other upcoming meetings are the following (according to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, as of 9/12/16):
9/27/16, 10 a.m., at New River Valley Regional Commission, 6580 Valley Center Drive in Radford.
9/27/16, 2:45 p.m., at Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, 224 Clydesway Drive, Lebanon (Russell County).
9/28/16, 10 a.m., at Mount Rogers Planning District Commission, 1021 Terrace Drive in Marion (Smyth County).
9/29/16, 9:30 a.m., at Lenowisco Planning District Commission, 372 Technology Trail Lane, Duffield (Scott County).
9/30/16, 10 a.m., at Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, Virginia Horse Center, 487 Maury River Road in Lexington.
10/4/16, 10 a.m., at Southside Planning District Commission, 200 South Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill (Mecklenburg County).
10/6/16, 1 p.m., at Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, 9211 Forest Hill Avenue in Richmond.
10/12/16, 12 p.m., at Crater Planning District Commission, 1964 Wakefield Street in Petersburg.
10/13/16, 2 p.m., at George Washington Regional Commission, 406 Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg.
10/18/16, 10 a.m., at Region 2000 Local Government Council, 828 Main Street in Lynchburg.
10/18/16, 3 p.m., at Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, 313 Luck Avenue, SW, in Roanoke.
10/25/16, 2 p.m., at Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library, 1303 West Third Street in Farmville (Prince Edward County).
10/26/16, 2 p.m., at Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, 407 East Water Street in Charlottesville.
10/27/16, 10 a.m., at Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, 400-E Kendrick Lane in Front Royal (Warren County).
11/17/16, 10 a.m., at Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission, 420 Southridge Parkway in Culpeper.
12/6/16, 10 a.m., at Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission, 125 Bowden Street in Saluda (Middlesex County).

Previous meetings included the following:
8/30/16, 10 a.m., at the Northern Neck Enterprise Center, 483 Main Street in Warsaw (Richmond County).
9/6/16, 10:30 a.m., at Tabb Library 100 Long Green Boulevard in Yorktown (York County).
9/7/16, 10 a.m., at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, 3040 Williams Drive in Fairfax.
9/8/16, 1:30 p.m., at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, 723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake.

Wells (Private)
10/6/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Private Well Regulations Workgroup.  Location not yet determined, as of 9/23/16.  The workgroup is advising the VDH on possible revisions to the regulations, located in the Virginia Administrative Code at 12 VAC 5-630-10 et seq.; the regulations are available online at http://lis.virginia.gov/000/reg/TOC12005.HTM#C0630.

Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Magazine for Spring 2016

The spring 2016  edition of Virginia Coastal Zone Management magazine includes sections land conservation, coastal hazards, ocean planning, offshore wind energy, marine debris, and the review completed in 2015 of Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program by the National Oceanic and Atmopsheric Administration (NOAA).  The magazine is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/CoastalZoneManagement/ReportsPublications/VACZMMagazine.aspx .

Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program is part of the Department of Environmental Quality; more information on the program is available online http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/CoastalZoneManagement.aspx; or contact the Program at at P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218; (804) 698-4323.  The Program is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016.  The Fall 2011 “Anniversary” issue of the program’s magazine looks back at the program’s first quarter-century of work.


Cover of Spring 2016 issue of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management, the magazine of  Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program.

Ogallala Aquifer Research in Central U.S. States Receives $10 Million USDA Grant in 2016

On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a four-year, $10 million grant for research on water challenges in the region of the Ogallala Aquifer, a groundwater source providing domestic and agricultural water in several Midwestern and Great Plains states.  The grant will be coordinated by Colorado State University and also involves Kansas State University, the University of Nebraska, New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University, and Texas Tech University.  For more information, please see “Ogallala Aquifer is Focus of New USDA-funded Research Project,” in the Spring 2016 issue of Water Current (Vol. 48, No. 2) from the Nebraska Water Center, online at http://unlcms.unl.edu/ianr/water-for-food/nebraska-water-center/water-current; or USDA Awards $8.5 Million to Improve Communities’ Water Sources, USDA News Release, 3/22/16.

The Ogallala research grant is part of a larger set of USDA grants related to sustainable water for agriculture, under the “Water for Agriculture Challenge Area.”  More information on that program is available online at https://nifa.usda.gov/program/afri-water-agriculture-challenge-area.

For another Water Central News Grouper post on the Ogallala Aquifer, please see, Groundwater Decreases in Texas Portion of Ogallala Aquifer Described in July 2012 Newsletter from Lubbock, Texas, posted 9/24/12.

ogallalaArea underlain by the Ogallala Aquifer.  Map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, “Ogallala Aquifer Initiative,” online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/initiatives/?cid=STELPRDB1048809.

41-lake-along-rt-20-in-cherry-county-jul13-2011-used-grouper-9-21-16View from U.S. Rt. 20 in Cherry County, Nebraska, July 11, 2013.  The area is part of Nebraska’s Sand Hills region, which is underlain by the Ogallala Aquifer.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending September 20, 2016

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending September 20, 2016 (information available as of September 21).  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images. For the current month’s other weekly reports on stream flow and precipitation, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Precipitation.  For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.  For more information on current and historical surface-water and groundwater conditions in Virginia, please see the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Virginia Science Center’s Web site, http://va.water.usgs.gov/.


September 2016 Gaging Station of the Month: James River at Buchanan (Botetourt County), September 19, 2010.


The following two color-coded maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation compared to normal for this period of the year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending September 20, 2016.  The maps were accessed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).


Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, http://water.weather.gov/precip/, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years.  The site also has the capability to show county boundaries, and other map layers available include river flood forecasts and current flood/severe weather warnings.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of September 20, 2016, are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.
stream codes

National Hurricane Center’s Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook for 2 Days and 5 Days, as of 9/19/16

As of Monday, September 19, 2016, Tropical Storm Karl was in the Atlantic Ocean east of Puerto Rico and was predicted to track northwestward and affect Bermuda by Friday-Saturday, September 23-24.  Karl is the 11th named storm for 2016 in the Atlantic basin (Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico).  Shown below are the National Hurricane Center’s NHC) two-day and five-day graphical tropical weather outlooks, as of early afternoon EDT on 9/19/16, accessed at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.



On Virginia Water Radio for 9-19-16: A Virginia Rivers Quiz

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of September 19, 2016, is “A Virginia Rivers Quiz.”  The 4 min./59 sec. episode, available online http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2016/09/episode-334-9-19-16-virginia-rivers-quiz.html, asks some questions about major Virginia rivers and uses musical selections  to signal the answers.


The James River, shown here near Howardsville, Va. (Albemarle County) on July 13, 2009, is one of the stars of “A Virginia Rivers Quiz” in the Sept. 19, 2016, episode of Virginia Water Radio.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!