Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Aug.17-Aug. 30, 2017

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.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

8/18/17, 9 a.m.: Board of Forestry.  At the Inn at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

8/22/17, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

8/28/17, 6 pm..: Marine Resources Commission’s Fisheries Management Advisory Committee.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

*          *          *

VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WATER-RELATED MEETINGS

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+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.

None during this period.

*          *          *

MEETINGS ABOUT TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (or TMDLs) for IMPAIRED WATERS

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.

8/17/17, 11 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) outreach meeting on Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), published in December 2010.  At the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, 23372 Front Street in Accomac (Accomack County).  This is one of a series of outreach meetings on the Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan.    According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, information will be provided on the status of on-going efforts to clean up the Bay, improvements in Bay water quality, and expectations and roles for the Phase III WIP and timelines.  Other meetings were held 1/30/17 in Woodbridge; 2/16/17 in Harrisonburg; 2/21/17, in Woodbridge, 3/6/17 in Harrisonburg, 4/17/17 in Glen Allen, 5/4/17, in St. Stephens Church (King & Queen County), and 6/1/17 in Chesapeake.

8/29/17, 6 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in the Birch Creek and Dan River watersheds (including the following tributaries: Big Toby Creek, Byrds Branch, Cane Creek, Cascade Creek, Double Creek, Fall Creek, Germy Creek, Lawless Creek, Lawsons Creek, Miry Creek, Powells Creek, Pumpkin Creek, Sandy Creek, Sandy River, Stewart Creek, Stokes Creek, Sugartree Creek, Tanyard Creek, and an unnamed tributary to Birch Creek), located in the Roanoke River watershed in Halifax and Pittsylvania Counties and the City of Danville.  At Danville Regional Airport, East Conference Room, 424 Airport Drive in Danville.

*          *          *

MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Air-Water Connections
8/21/17, 10 a.m.: Public Webinar on Allocating Allowances in an Emissions Trading Program; register with the Georgetown [University] Climate Center online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3525779032655290114, no later than August 18, 2017; and 8/28/17, 10 a.m.: Public Webinar on Allowance Consignment Auctions; register with the Georgetown [University] Climate Center online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1473248109318580738, no later than August 25, 2017.  Both webinars conducted by the Georgetown Climate Center for the Virgniia Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Regulatory Advisory Committee on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Trading Regulation.  Register with the Georgetown Climate Center online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3525779032655290114 no later than August 18, 2017.  The Advisory Committee was formed to advise the DEQ on the development of proposed regulatory amendments concerning CO2 trading.  Its formation follows Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Executive Directive 11 (May 2017) that instructed the DEQ to begin a process of developing regulations to reduce carbon emissions from electric power plants.  Executive Directive 11 is available online (as a PDF) at http://governor.virginia.gov/media/9155/ed-11-reducing-carbon-dioxide-emissions-from-electric-power-facilities-and-growing-virginias-clean-energy-economy.pdf].  A Notice of Intended Regulatory Action was published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on June 26, 2017.  The pertinent section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 9 VAC 5-140.   More information on this regulatory action is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=4818.

Stormwater
8/24/17, 10 a.m.: Stormwater Best Management Practices Clearinghouse Stakeholders Group.  At the Department of Environmental Quality Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) Clearinghouse is a Web site on design standards and specifications of stormwater BMPs in Virginia.  The Clearinghouse Committee advises the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board.  More information about the Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse Committee is available at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/swc/.  The DEQ’s Web page for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

8/30/17, 9 a.m.: House Bill 1774 Stormwater Workgroup.  At the Department of Environmental Quality Main Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  According to the Virginia Legislative Information System, House Bill 1774 in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly “directs the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency to convene a work group to consider alternative methods of stormwater management in rural Tidewater localities. …The group is to be facilitated by the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William and Mary Law School and is to include representatives of institutions of higher education, state agencies, local governments, private industry, and other groups.  The…work group is to review and consider the creation of rural development growth areas, the development of a volume credit program, the payment of fees to support regional best management practices, and the allowance of the use of stormwater in highway ditches to generate volume credits.  …The bill also delays from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018, the effective date of new stormwater laws enacted during the 2016 Session of the General Assembly.”  The work group is to report to the governor and the General Assembly by January 1, 2018.

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
8/24/17, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public webinar on the draft 2016 Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report.  Registration information for the webinar can be found at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8931096941103573505.  The DEQ released the Draft 2016 Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report (Integrated Report) on August 7, 2017 for public comment.  A public webinar summarizing the Integrated Report is scheduled for August 24, 2017.  The public is invited to submit questions pertaining to the report during this event.  All submitted questions will be addressed in a “FAQ” document that will be subsequently posted on the DEQ webpage.  The Integrated Report combines both the 305(b) Water Quality Assessment and the 303(d) Report on Impaired Waters.  Both are required by the Federal Clean Water Act and the Virginia Water Quality Monitoring Information and Restoration Act.  The report will be available for download on our website at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityAssessments.aspx, throughout the public comment period, ending September 6, 2017.

Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee Final Report Released in August 2017

On August 4, 2017, the final report of the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee was transmitted to the chair of the Virginia State Water Commission and the director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  A link to the final report, along with other information about the work of the Advisory Committee, is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/EasternVirginiaGroundwaterManagementAdvisoryCommittee.aspx.

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 Advisory Committee’s report includes 12 main recommendations, summarized below from pages 9-10 of the report’s Executive Summary:
*Commonwealth to support storage, recovery, and recharge projects;
*Commonwealth to promote development of alternative water sources;
*General Assembly to lengthen the maximum groundwater permit time to 15 years;
*General Assembly to establish incentives for voluntary regional planning efforts;
*General Assembly to create incentives for local government and wellowners to connect to public water supply systems when reasonably available;
*General Assembly to require new non-agricultural irrigation wells only from unconfined aquifers in the Easter Virginia Groundwate Management Area (EVGMA);
*General assembly to encourage use of ponds, including stormwater ponds, for agricultural irrigation;
*DEQ to establish an annual “State of the Water Resources” forum;
*General Assembly to authorize a groundwater banking system;
*General Assembly to direct DEQ to create a framework for an EVGMA groundwater-trading program;
*General Assembly provide funding for a “robust” groundwater management program (directed particularly at seven listed priority activities);
*General Assembly to “fund the essential operation of DEQ to successfully manage the groundwater resources.”

Following are links to some news items on information contained in or related to the advisory committee’s report (listed from newest to oldest):
East of I-95, Virginia Begins to Limit Permitted Groundwater Users, WVTF FM-Roanoke, 8/9/17.
Virginia tightens spigot on big water users to stem Potomac Aquifer decline, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/5/17.

Draft Biennial Water Quality Report Released by Virginia DEQ on Aug. 7, 2017; Public Comment Period Ends Sep. 6, 2017

Some of the information for this post was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  More information about the VWMC is available online at http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/

On August 7, 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released for public comment the draft 2016 report on water quality in the Virginia’s streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.  The draft report, referred to as the 305(b)/303(d) Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report (the numbers refer to relevant sections of the federal Clean Water Act) is available online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityAssessments/2016305b303dIntegratedReport.aspx (as of 8/15/17).  The Clean Water Act requires such a report every two years.  The 2016 report includes assessments of conditions in Virginia’s waters based on data gathered from January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2014.

According to the draft 2016 report’s Executive Summary, the report assesses the Commonwealth’s water quality based on data from DEQ staff monitoring at 4025 monitoring stations plus data from over 100 citizen groups and other government agencies.  The report’s assessments cover about 7,177 stream miles (23 percent of the state total), 20,318 lake/reservoir acres (97 percent of the state total), and 315 estuary square miles (97.5 percent of the state total).

According to page 4 of the draft report’s Introduction, every two years on a rotating basis, Virginia monitors about one third of the state’s “sub-watersheds” (small drainage areas that combine to form larger river basins), taking six years to complete a full monitoring cycle.

The report describes conditions overall and lists “impaired” water bodies; that is, those that do not meet state water-quality standards and do not support the public uses designated for the water bodies (aquatic life, fish consumption, public water supplies [where applicable], recreation [swimming], shellfishing, and wildlife).  Such waters usually require a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study and implementation plan.

Here are two key findings from the draft 2016 report, according to the Executive Summary.  The numbers given below are subject to revision following public comment and review by the U.S. EPA.

1) Impaired waters now include 15,713 miles of rivers and streams (about 16 percent of the total stream miles in Virginia); 93,508 acres of lakes and reservoirs (about 80 percent of Virginia’s total), and 2,132 square miles of estuaries (about 75 percent of Virginia’s total).

2) Compared to the last biennial report (2014, based on data from 2007-2012), the 2016 draft report shows increased in the number of streams, lake/reservoir acres, and estuary square miles that are not impaired.  Click here for the 2014 biennial report: http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityAssessments/2014305(b)303(d)IntegratedReport.aspx.

The draft report is undergoing a public-comment period until September 6, 2017; written comments on the draft report can be sent to Sandra Mueller, Va. DEQ, Office of Water Monitoring and Assessment, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, Virginia 23218; phone (804) 698-4324; e-mail: sandra.mueller@deq.virginia.gov.

A public webinar on the draft report will be held August 24, 2017, 10 a.m. EDT  Submitted questions will be addressed and posted in a document on the DEQ Web site.  Registration for the webinar is available at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8931096941103573505.

An August 2017 Assessment of the James River at Richmond, 45 Years After Passage of the Federal Clean Water Act

The James River at 45: From toilet to treasure, it’s a modern-day survival tale, by Michael Paul Williams, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/13/17, examines the improvements seen in the James River at Richmond in the 45 years since the federal Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, and the ways that the river today has become a focal point for residents, businesses, and tourism.

Jun22 2007 Cruise view of Richmond from dock USED Radio 2-17-14

James River view of Richmond, Va., June 22, 2007.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending August 14, 2017, Plus an Overview of Flooding and a Mid-Month Drought Assessment

Below are several items summarizing recent precipitation and stream flow:

  1. Images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending August 14, 2017 (information available as of August 15).
  2. An excerpt from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force’s latest statewide assessment on August 14, 2017.
  3. Flooding overview maps for Virginia and nationwide, as of August 15.

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/.

GAGE South Fork Shenandoah near Luray Rt 211 Jul22 2012

August 2017 Gaging Station of the Month: South Fork Shenandoah near Luray (U.S. Route 211), July 22, 2012.  U.S. Geological Survey information from this gage is online at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/uv?site_no=01629500.  (For the Virginia map of sites, see https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/rt.)

Precipitation

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 August 14, 2017.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).  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.

PrecipAug14PrecippercAug14

Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/.  The site 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.  Shown below is the continental U.S. 7-day precipitation map as of 8 a.m. EDT on 8/15/17.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time and five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Precip US Aug15

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at gaging stations as of August 14, 2017 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 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.  Note: Additional gaging stations (such as for reservoirs or for inactive sites) are shown on maps available at the USGS’ National Water Information System Mapper, online at https://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/index.html.

Streams Aug14
KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph
Flooding Overview

As of about 1:15 p.m. EDT on August 15, 2017, four stream-gaging stations in or near Virginia were either experiencing flooding or near flood stage, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of stream and river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) for Virginia and nearby areas.  The AHPS map for Virginia is shown below, along with the nationwide map as of the same time.  The maps are available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.

Flooding VA Aug15

Flooding US Aug15

Mid-month Drought Status Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its latest Virginia drought-status report on August 14, 2017.  The report is available at the DMTF Web site, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.  The Task Force was scheduled to meet again on September 14, 2017.

Following is an excerpt from the August 14 report:

“Above normal temperatures prevailed across much of Virginia during July, but precipitation varied considerably across the Commonwealth.  Precipitation totals were below normal across much of central and southern Virginia.  Stream flow gaging stations across the Commonwealth reported widely varying flows, with the lowest in the James River and York River basins.  Most of the wells in the Virginia Climate Response network of groundwater level observation wells were reporting normal to above-normal levels, except for the wells in central Virginia, which continued to report below-normal levels.  The DMTF agreed to recommend continuing the existing Drought Watch in the Northern Piedmont region, based upon the continued low groundwater levels and consequent low base flows between storm events.

“For the current water year (October 1, 2016–August 10, 2017) precipitation totals were below the July drought-watch indicator level for precipitation (85% of normal) for one of Virginia’s thirteen drought-evaluation regions.  The Northern Piedmont region received 81% of normal precipitation for the current water year.”

National Hurricane Center’s Graphical Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook for 2 Days and 5 Days, as of August 14, 2017

Here’s a look at the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) Atlantic tropical weather outlook for the next few days.  The Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts these outlooks approximately weekly (depending on the level of weather activity) during the Atlantic tropical storm season (June 1-November 30).  As of August 14, 2017,  at 2 p.m EDT, Tropical Storm Gert was in the Atlantic Ocean, east of Florida, but was expected to turn towards the northeast on August 15 and move away from the U.S. East Coast.  Also on August 14, a pre-tropical disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean west of Africa being given a 30-percentchance of tropical cyclone formation within 48 hours and a 60-percent chance of cyclone formation within the next five days.  Shown below are the NHC’s two-day and five-day graphical tropical weather outlooks as of 2 p.m. EDT on August 7, accessed at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
Tropical 2 day Aug 14Tropical 5 day Aug 14

Virginia DEQ Inviting Proposals for Citizen Water-quality Monitoring Grants for 2018; Applications Due August 31, 2017

Through August 31, 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is inviting proposals for citizen water-quality monitoring grants for 2018.  The grants are to cover project activities from January 1 to December 31, 2018; a final report on the use of the grants funds will be due by February 16, 2018.  Any organization that involves citizen volunteers in water-quality monitoring in Virginia is eligible to apply.

This year, the DEQ is offering three kinds of grants:

Mini-Grant (up to $1,000): Open only to applicants who have not received a DEQ citizen monitoring grant in the previous three years.  The grantee must use at least one-third of the award for equipment and begin water monitoring before the end of the grant period.

Regular Grant (up to $5,000): Maximum award up to $5,000.  Recommended to applicants already familiar with water quality monitoring.  The applicant must submit a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) if a grant is awarded, and begin water monitoring before the end of the grant period.

Coordination Grant (up to $11,000): Open only to applicants who meet the following three conditions.
1 – Coordinate at least three member monitoring organizations that total 35 or more volunteers.  A member monitoring organization is defined as an organization that collects water quality samples but uses the coordinator protocols or submits their data to the coordinating organization.
2 – Monitoring occurs at more than 50 sample sites.
3 – Monitoring occurs in three Virginia city and/or county localities. The grantee must submit a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), and begin water monitoring before the end of the grant period.

DEQ will only accept one application from a requesting group.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) information is available online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityMonitoring/CitizenMonitoring/GrantOpportunities.aspx.

For more information, contact Stuart Torbeck, Va. DEQ Data Liaison, at (804) 698-4461 or charles.torbeck@deq.virginia.gov.

The Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC) provided information for this post.  More information on the VWMC is available online at http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/.