Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains Course Offered by Virginia Tech Aug. 3-9, 2016

If you’re interested in the Great Smoky Mountains or the southern Appalachians in general–the water, air, land, people, plants, wildlife, and more–consider the Virginia Tech course, Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains, August 3-9, 2016.  This three-credit course is led by Dr. Donald Linzey, an adjunct instructor in the the Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and the author of A Natural History Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 2008).

People who are not degree-seeking Virginia Tech students may still participate in the course as special, non-degree students; an application process to Virginia Tech for that status is required.

For more information, contact Dr. Linzey at (540) 951-9717 or dlinzey@vt.edu.

Jordans Red-cheeked Salamander near Clingmans Dome Obs Tower Great Smoky Mt NP Aug6 2014 in Don Linzeys hands

A Jordan’s Red-cheeked Salamander, found near Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, was one of the treasures found during the 2014 version of Virginia Tech’s summer field course, “Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains.”

On Virginia Water Radio for 2-8-16: Take Your Turn at Saying Yea or Nay to Some Water-related Bills in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of February 8, 2016, is “Voting on Water in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly.”  The 4 min./38 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2016/02/episode-302-2-8-16-voting-on-water-in.html, gives YOU the chance to imagine how you might vote on five water-related bills in the current session of the Virginia legislature.

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!

A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States, Canada, and Elsewhere – 2/3/16 Edition

Here are some water  and water-related meetings in the United States, Canada, and other countries in coming months, along with notes for events that recur annually, listed by the month the event typically occurs.

This post is updated as the Virginia Water Resources Research Center learns of new events and a new version is re-posted at least quarterly.  If you would like an event added, please send basic information (date, location, event title, event organizer, Web site, and contact information) to water@vt.edu with subject line: For Water Central Editor.

Much of the information for this edition was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC), supported in part by grants from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Citizen Monitoring Grant Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Virginia Department of Health.  More information about the VWMC is available online at http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/.

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.

 

nat-cons-tr-ctr-shepherdstown-main-building-sep25-2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W. Va. (shown here in Sep. 2014) annually hosts many water-related meetings, including the annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum each September.

 

2016 Events

Feb. 11-13, 2016, Portland, Ore.: 15th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. This year’s theme is “Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies for Creating Great Communities.” More information: https://newpartners.org/.

Feb. 11-15, 2016, Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting. This year’s theme is “Global Science Engagement.” More information: http://meetings.aaas.org/.

Feb. 21-24, 2016, San Diego, Calif.: National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Winter Conference. This year’s theme is “Back to the Basics…Will Compliance Concerns Derail Efforts to Innovate?” More information: http://www.nacwa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2269&Itemid=718.

Feb. 21-26, 2016, New Orleans, La.: Ocean Sciences Meeting. Organized by the American Geophysical Union, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and the Oceanography Society. More information: http://osm.agu.org/2016/.

Feb. 22-25, 2016, Annapolis, Md.: National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) 2016 Midyear Conference. More information: https://www.nsgic.org/upcoming-conferences.

Feb. 25-26, 2016, Toronto, Canada: 49th International Conference on Water Management Modeling.  More information: http://www.chiwater.com/Training/Conferences/conferencetoronto.asp; or contact, Meghan Korman, Computational Hydraulics Int. (CHI), meghan@chiwater.com.

Mar. 8-9, 2016, Washington, D.C.: American Meteorological Society (AMS) Forum. The forum theme is “Observing the Environment from the Ground Up.” More information: https://www2.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/meetings-events/ams-meetings/forum-on-observing-the-environment-from-the-ground-up/.

Mar. 13-18, 2016, Pittsburgh, Penn.: 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. More information: http://www.wildlifemanagementinstitute.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=348&Itemid=61.

Mar. 17-19, 2016, Denton, Tex.: Environmental Quality Implications of Unconventional Natural Gas Development. Organized by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America. More information: http://fracking.setac.org/.

Mar. 24-25, 2016, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.: Student Water Conference.  Organized by the Oklahoma Water Resources Center.  More information: http://water.okstate.edu/students/swc; or contact Dr. Garey Fox via e-mail to garey.fox@okstate.edu.

Apr. 3-6, 2016, Annapolis, Md.: 72nd Annual Northeast Fish & Wildlife Conference. More information: http://www.neafwa.org/.

Apr. 8, 2016, Washington, D.C.: Rethinking the Value of Water: Innovations in Research, Technology, Policy, and Management.  Organized by the National Capital Region Section of the American Water Resources Association.  More information: http://www.awrancrs.org/events/62-2016-symposium.html.

Apr. 11-14, 2016, Charlotte, N.C.: International Biomass Conference and Expo. Organized by BBI International. More information: http://www.biomassconference.com/ema/DisplayPage.aspx?pageId=Home.

Apr. 12-14, 2015, Washington, D.C. American Meteorological Society Forum. The theme is “Leveraging Environmental Intelligence to Enhance Risk Management.” More information: https://www2.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/meetings-events/ams-meetings/2016-washington-forum/ .

Apr. 16-17, 2016, Washington, D.C.: USA Science and Engineering Festival. The meeting is intended to be “a national grassroots effort to advance STEM education and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.” More information: http://www.usasciencefestival.org/.

Apr. 24-27, 2016, Denver, Colo.: National Groundwater Association Groundwater Summit. The meeting theme is “Solving Groundwater Challenges through Research and Practice.” More information: https://ngwa.confex.com/ngwa/2016gws/cfp.cgi.

Apr. 25-27, 2016, Washington, D.C.: International Marine Renewable Energy Conference. Organized by the National Hydropower Association. More information: http://www.hydro.org/news-and-media/events/details/2016-nha-international-marine-renewable-energy-conference-imrec/.

Apr. 25-27, 2016, Anchorage, Alaska: American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Spring Specialty Conference – “Water-Energy-Environment.”  More information: http://www.awra.org/meetings/Anchorage2016/; (540) 687-8390; info@awra.org.

May 2-6, 2016, Tampa, Fla.:  10th National Monitoring Conference.  Organized by the National Water Quality Monitoring Council.  The conference’s theme will be “Working Together for Clean Water .”  More information: http://acwi.gov/monitoring/conference/2016/.

May 4-5, 2016, Boston: Business Not As Usual: Sustainability in an Age of Disruption. Organized by the non-profit organization Ceres. More information: http://www.ceresconference.org/.

May 22-26, 2016, West Palm Beach, Fla.: World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2016. Organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers/Environmental & Water Resources Institute. More information: http://www.ewricongress.org/.

Jun. 12-15, 2016, New Orleans, La.: Ports ’16: Gateways to a World of Opportunities. Organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers. More information: http://www.portsconference.org/.

Jun. 13-16, 2016, San Antonio, Tex.: National Environmental Health Association’s Annual Education Conference and Exhibition and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Healthy Homes Conference. More information: http://www.neha.org/aec.

Jun. 19-22, 2016, Chicago, Ill.: American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference & Exposition. The theme this year is “Uniting the World of Water.” More information: http://www.awwa.org/conferences-education/conferences/annual-conference.aspx.

Jun. 21-23, 2016, Pensacola Beach, Fla.: Universities Council on Water Resources and National Institute for Water Resources Conference. More information: http://www.ucowr.org/conferences/2016-ucowr-conference.

Jun. 26-29, 2016, Houston, Tex.: International Conference on Transportation and Development. Organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers. More information: http://www.asce-ictd.org/.

Jun. 28-30, 2016, San Francisco, Calif.: Toward Sustainable Groundwater in Agriculture: International Conference Linking Science and Policy. Organized by the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. More information: http://ag-groundwater.org/.

Jul. 11-12, 2016, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Energy Information Administration Energy Conference. More information: http://www.eia.gov/about/#conference2016.

Jul. 11-13, 2016, Sacramento, Calif.: GIS [Geographic Information Systems] and Water Resources IX. Spring Specialty Conference by the Americna Water Resources Association. More information: http://www.awra.org/meetings/Sacramento2016/.

Jul. 17-20, 2016, Orlando, Fla.: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual Meeting. More information: http://www.asabemeetings.org/.

Jul. 17-22, 2016, Istanbul, Turkey: 35th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. Organized by the Turkish Chamber of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers. More information: http://www.icce2016.com/en/.

Jul. 24-27, 2016, Louisville, Ky.: Soil and Water Conservation Society International Annual Conference. The theme this year is “Managing Great River Landscapes.” More information: http://www.swcs.org/index.cfm?nodeID=85037&audienceID=1.

Jul. 30-Aug. 3, 2016, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: International Marine Conservation Congress. Organized by the Society for Conservation Biology. More information: http://conbio.org/mini-sites/imcc-2016.

Aug. 7-12, 2016, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. This year’s theme is “Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene” (“anthropocene” is used by some scientists to refer to the most recent geologic time period, in which humans have had a dominant influence, according to http://www.anthropocene.info/). More information: http://esa.org/ftlauderdale/.

Aug. 21-25, 2016, Kansas City, Mo.: American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting. This year’s theme is “Fisheries Conservation and Management: Making Connections and Building Partnerships.” More information: http://2016.fisheries.org/.

Aug. 28-Sep. 1, 2016, Davos, Switzerland: International Disaster and Risk Conference. More information: http://idrc.info/.

Sep. 1-10, 2016, Honolulu, Hawaii: World Conservation Congress by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. This year’s theme is “Planet at the Crossroads.” More information: http://www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org/.

Sep. 12-14, 2016, Charlotte, N.C.: Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference. Organized by the Carolinas Integrated Sciences & Assessments team. More information: http://www.cisa.sc.edu/ccrc/.

Sep. 20-23, 2016, Sydney, Australia: International Conference on Emerging Contaminants and Micropollutants in the Environment. More information: http://www.emcon2016.com.au/.

Sep. 25-28, 2016, Denver, Colo.: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. More information: http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/2016/.

Oct. 18-21, 2016, Davis, Calif.: Natural Areas Conference. Organized by the Natural Areas Association. More information: https://naturalareas.org/conference.

Oct. 20-22, 2016, Baltimore, Md.: Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference. Organized by Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, University of California, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University, and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. More information: http://beccconference.org/.

Oct. 24-26, 2016, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: Arctic Technology Conference. Organized by Offshore Technology Council, which is sponsored by a consortium of energy organizations (online at http://www.otcnet.org/Content/OTC-Organisations/3_4/). More information: http://www.arctictechnologyconference.org/.

Oct. 24-27, 2016, Cape Town Stellenbosch, South Africa: Engineering and Technology Innovation for Global Food Security. Organized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. More information: http://asabe2016.co.za/.

Oct. 24-28, 2016, Indianapolis, Ind.: National States Geographic Information Council Annual Conference. More information: https://www.nsgic.org/upcoming-conferences.

Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2016, Toronto, Canada: GIS-Pro 2016. Annual conference of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. More information: http://www.urisa.org/education-events/gis-pro-2016-urisa-s-54th-annual-conference/.

Nov. 2-6, 2016, Madison, Wisc.: Society of American Foresters National Convention. More information: http://www.xcdsystem.com/safconference/website/.

Nov. 6-9, 2016, Phoenix, Ariz.: Joint annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. This year’s theme is “Resilience Emerging form Scarcity and Abundance.” More information: https://www.acsmeetings.org/.

Nov. 9-11, 2016, Minneapolis, Minn.: Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education Annual Conference. More information: http://www.aore.org/future-conferences.

Dec. 12-16, 2016, San Francisco, Calif.: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. More information: http://meetings.agu.org/upcoming-meetings/.

Annually Recurring Events

(Shown is the month(s) each year when the event is normally held; specific dates change each year, and locations may change.)

February, Toronto, Canada: International Conference on Water Management Modeling.  More information: http://www.chiwater.com/Training/Conferences/conferencetoronto.asp.

March, Raleigh, N.C.: Annual Conference of the Water Resources Research Institute of the University of North Carolina.  More information: https://wrri.ncsu.edu/wrri-events/conference/.

March, Lincoln, Neb.:  Annual symposium of the Nebraska Water Center, and  annual Nebraska Water Law Conference.  More information: http://watercenter.unl.edu/ConferencesEvents.asp; (402) 472-3305; waterinfo@unl.edu.

March or April, in different locations –  National Hurricane Conference.  More information: http://hurricanemeeting.com/.

April, in Washington, D.C.: National Environmental Policy Forum.  Organized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Water Environment Federation, and Water Environment Research Foundation.  More information: http://www.nacwa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=4.

April, in Rapid City, S.D.: Western South Dakota Hydrology Meeting. Organized by the U.S. Geological Survey’s South Dakota Water Science Center and several partners.  More information: http://sd.water.usgs.gov/WSDconf/; Janet Carter, (605) 394-3215 or jmcarter@usgs.gov.

January, various locations: annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society. More information: https://www2.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/meetings-events/.

April through September: Workshops by North Carolina State University Stream Restoration Program.  For more information click on the individual links below or go to http://www.ncsu.edu/srp/rivercourse.html; or contact Cathy Smith at (919) 515-6780 or cathy_smith@ncsu.edu.

May: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress.  Organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers.  More information: http://www.ewricongress.org; (800) 548-2723.

May: Annual conference of the Choose Clean Water Coalition (a group of some 200 organizations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; based in Annapolis, Md.).  More information (from 2015 conference): http://choosecleanwater.org/our-conference/may-19-20-2015/; (443) 759-3407; info@choosecleanwater.org.

May-Jun.: annual Congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.  More information: http://congress.cmos.ca/.

June: Conference on Broadcast Meteorology. Organized by the American Meteorological Society. More information (from 2015 conference): http://www.ametsoc.org/Meet/fainst/201543broadcast.html.

June: Annual conference of the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR), the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR), and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI).  More information: http://ucowr.org/conferences; or contact UCOWR at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, (618) 536-7571 or ucowr@siu.edu.

June or July: National Marine Educators Association annual conference.  More information: http://www.marine-ed.org/?conferences; phone (844) 687-6632; e-mail: nmea@marine-ed.org.

June or July: Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference.  Organized by the American Chemical Society.  More information: http://www.gcande.org/.

July, different locations: Soil and Water Conservation Society’s Annual Conference.  More information: http://www.swcs.org/en/conferences/.

August, different locations: American Fisheries Society Annual Conference.  More information: http://fisheries.org/events-listing-registration.

September, National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, W. Va.: Chesapeake Watershed Forum.  Organized by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.  More information: https://allianceforthebay.org/our-work/engaging-local-communities/chesapeake-watershed-forum/; (804) 775-0951 (Virginia office) or contact@allianceforthebay.org.

September, different locations: Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC).  More information: http://www.weftec.org/.

October, different locations: WaterSmart Innovations Conference.  Organized by the Southern Nevada Water Authority and several partners.  More information: https://www.watersmartinnovations.com/; (702) 862-3400.

October, St. Paul, Minn.  Annual conference of the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center.  More information: http://www.wrc.umn.edu/waterconf/.

November, different locations: American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Annual Conference.  More information: http://www.awra.org/index.html.

Freshwater in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain is Focus of Feb. 16, 2016, Conference in New Bern, N.C.

“Freshwater in the North Carolina Coastal Plain: Understanding and Preparing for 21st Century Challenges” will be held February 16, 2016, at the New Bern Convention Center in New Bern, North Carolina.  The conference is sponsored by the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute (at North Carolina State University in Raleigh), East Carolina University, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Cape Fear Public Service Authority.  The conference is intended for academic researchers and students, state agency staff, local governments, water utilities, and private consultants.  For more information, visit https://wrri.ncsu.edu/wrri-events/coastal-plain/, or contact Anna Martin at the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute, phone (919) 513-1203 or e-mail to anna_arnold@ncsu.edu.

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of January 2016, Plus a Look at Drought Nationally

Here is the Virginia Water Central News Grouper’s monthly water-status report on precipitation, stream flow, and drought, as of the end of January 2016. The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing the data and maps used in this post. Icons for precipitation, stream flow, and drought are by George Wills of Blacksburg, Va. (https://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt). For previous monthly water status reports, please see this link: Please see this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Water+Status.

Precipitation Icon by George Wills

Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for January 2016 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, along with the normal for this month of the year at each location. Also shown are the precipitation totals at each location for the previous 12 months and the normal annual precipitation for each location. All values are in inches.

Location January 2016

Precipitation

 

Normal for Month Feb. 2015-Jan. 2016 Precipitation

 

Normal Annual Precipitation
Blacksburg 2.44 3.08 50.14 40.89

 

Bluefield1

 

1.85 2.90 42.37 39.63
Bristol2

 

2.92 3.37 45.21 41.01
Charlottesville3

 

1.86 2.77 46.92 42.71
Danville

 

2.54 3.42 53.07 44.41
Lynchburg

 

2.77 3.14 46.21 41.57
Norfolk

 

4.62 3.40 50.62 46.53
Richmond

 

3.30 3.04 49.02 43.60
Roanoke

 

2.99 2.92 56.24 41.25
Wallops Island4

 

2.62 3.04 43.80 40.84
Washington-Dulles Airport5 4.47 2.68 40.59 41.54

Location notes
1 – The Bluefield location is the Mercer County, W. Va., airport, near the Va.-W.Va. state line.
2- The Bristol location Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va./Tenn.
3 – The Charlottesville location is the (Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.
4 – Wallops Island is in Accomack County.
5 – Washington-Dulles Airport is in Loudoun County.

Precipitation sources: Climate pages of the following National Weather Service Forecast Offices:
Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=rnk);
Morristown, Tenn. (http://www.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=mrx;
Baltimore-Washington (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=lwx); and
Wakefield, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=akq).

The normal values used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in these provisional reports are based on the period from 1981 to 2010. The National Climatic Data Center released these normal values in July 2011. For information on the normal values, see the National Climatic Data Center Web page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/land-based-station-data/land-based-datasets/climate-normals.

For graphs of precipitation, visit the Southeast Regional Climate Center (Chapel Hill, N.C) at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps, where you can find maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days; or the NWS’ Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at http://water.weather.gov/precip/ for a map of precipitation nationwide or by state, with capability to show county boundaries, and archives available for specific days, months, or years. Shown below are the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s preliminary maps of the percent-of-normal precipitation for the previous 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, through January 31, 2016. Please note that the scale is different for the 30-day map.

Precipperc30

Precipperc60

Precipperc90

 Stream flow icon by George Wills

According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=mv01d&r=va&w=map), monthly average stream flow values for January 2016 at 154 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were in the normal range at 81% of gages, below normal at 14%, above normal at 12%, and much above normal at 3%. The color-coded, flow-percentile map for this period is shown below. The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compared flows to historical records for the month are shown in the chart below the map.

Streams

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

An overall look at Virginia streamflow conditions is provided in the USGS WaterWatch summary plot of average streamflow conditions. Below is the summary plot for 87 Virginia sites during the 45-day period ending January 31, 2016, accessed at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=pa07d&sid=w__plot&r=va on 2/1/16.

Streams graph Jan31
Water status icons groundwater by George Wills

Information on current groundwater levels in Virginia monitoring wells is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System, online at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/current/?type=gw; and from the USGS Climate Response Network, online at http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/net/ogwnetwork.asp?ncd=crn (at that page, you can find a national map showing the status of groundwater monitoring wells compared to historical values).

Drought Watch icon by George Wills
DROUGHT IN VIRGINIA

The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) for January 26, 2015, showed Virginia as drought-free. Drought Monitor categories are as follows:
D0 = abnormally dry;
D1 = moderate drought;
D2 = severe drought;
D3 = extreme drought;
D4 = exceptional drought.

The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions [and] local conditions may vary.”

For comparison, here are Virginia ratings from previous Drought Monitors from about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:
12/29/15 – 0.01% abnormally dry;
12/1/15 – 0.01% abnormally dry;
10/27/15 – 0.01% abnormally dry;
1/27/15 – 10.4% abnormally dry.

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent Drought Status Report on December 14, 2015. A link to the report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx. The Task Force’s reports typically include information from some or all of the following agencies: University of Virginia Climatology Office, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality.

The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators. Shown below is daily map for February 1, 2016. The status-indicator abbreviations on that map are as follows: GW = groundwater levels, Prcp = precipitation deficits, Res – reservoir storage, and Flow = stream flow conditions. For each region of Virginia, the indicators are color coded for “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.” Any given day’s current map and more information on drought status in Virginia are available the Task Force Web site listed above.
Drought VA Feb 1

DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The January 26, 2016, U.S. Drought Monitor rated 25.3% of the United States (including all or parts of 33 states, plus Puerto Rico) as being abnormally dry or worse; this is the lowest nationwide percentage of abnormally dry-or-worse conditions since the week of August 3, 2010. The Drought Monitor rated 7.2% of the country (including all or parts of 6 states, plus Puerto Rico), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4); this the lowest nationwide percentage of severe-or-worse drought since the week of January 18, 2011.

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (D0-D4) and severe or worse (D2-D4) in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
12/29/15 – 29.4% abnormally dry or worse; 9.7% severe drought or worse;
12/1/15 – 32.4% abnormally dry or worse; 12.3% severe drought or worse;
10/27/15 – 48.7% abnormally dry or worse; 14.4% severe drought or worse;
1/27/15 – 43.4% abnormally dry or worse; 14.1% severe drought or worse.

In California, over 86% of the state was categorized by the 1/26/16 report as being in severe-or-worse drought, with 64% in extreme or exceptional drought. The Golden State has had over 80% of its area categorized in severe-or-worse drought every week since June 25, 2013; over 90% in those categories from February 2014 to mid-December 2015; and 100% from May 13—July 29, 2014. California’s current drought began in late 2011 to early 2012.  Following are some comments from the 1/26/16 Drought Monitor on modest improvements in California from that state’s severe, multi-year, drought:

“There are finally some signs that some modest dents in the armor of the multi-year drought in California are appearing. …[C]ontinued recovery in soil moisture, long-term average streamflow, well above normal snow water content (150-180% of normal), and a trend up in reservoir levels has led to some slight improvement in the water supply situation and to the long-term drought in northern California….In what must seem like a broken record…we must stress that this doesn’t mean the region is out of drought, as many of the larger reservoirs in northern California and southern Oregon are still below half of capacity. …Relative to last year, though, the trend is going in the right direction for now with a good chunk of the snow season still left to play out over the next two months.”

90-DAY DROUGHT OUTLOOK

For a look ahead, the National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center’s “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” is available at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.php. Shown below is the outlook map available on February 1, 2016.

Drought outlook nationwide

 

 

Water in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly: Inventory of Water-related Legislation

The Virginia Water Resources Research Center annually compiles an inventory of water-related legislation in the Virginia General Assembly.   We update the inventory during the session, then publish a final version after the end of the regular session and reconvened “veto” session.

The first inventory for 2016, with status of bills as of Feb. 1, is now available at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  At that page you can also access  inventories from previous General Assembly sessions (back to 1998), information on how to follow legislation and how to contact your local General Assembly members, and links to other natural-resource legislation-tracking services.

For a list of some 2016 Virginia General Assembly measures that were reported in news media, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Water in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly – Water-related Legislation in the News.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Feb. 2-Feb. 15, 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.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

2/10/16, 9:30 a.m.: Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Section of the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

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MEETINGS OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES

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.

1/13/16 to 3/12/15 (scheduled adjournment date), Richmond: Virginia General Assembly. The 2016 General Assembly convenes on January 13 and is scheduled for 60 days; this is a so-called “long session,” which is held in all even-numbered years.  (Thirty-day sessions (“short sessions”) are scheduled for each odd-numbered year.) During long sessions, the Commonwealth’s budget for the upcoming two years is set; amendments to the current biennial budget may be considered both in long and short sessions. In some years, sessions are extended beyond the scheduled length, particularly for budget discussions (any session may be extended for up to 30 days). The General Assembly’s main Web page is http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php; at that site, click on the “Members and Sessions” for session calendars. The House of Delegates meeting schedule is available at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/schedule/meetingSchedule.php; live video streams of floor sessions from the House are available at http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3. The Senate meeting schedule and the floor sessions’ live video stream are available at http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.

Committees are key parts of the General Assembly process. Legislation about water or about activities that can affect water may be assigned to any of several standing committees, most of which meet weekly during the General Assembly session. Information about all standing committees—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available online at http://lis.virginia.gov/151/com/COM.HTM. Two committees that receive many (but by no means all!) of the water-related bills are the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m., in House Room C of the General Assembly Building; and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Thursdays, one-half hour after adjournment of the day’s floor session, in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building. The General Assembly Building is located at 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Relevant subcommittee meetings for this period:

2/2/16, 7:30 a.m., and 2/9/16, 7:30 a.m.: Senate Finance Committee/Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 10th Floor Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/3/16, 3 p.m.: House Appropriations Committee/Agriculture, Commerce, Technology and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 9th Floor Appropriations Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/3/16, 4 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Natural Resources Subcommittee. 8th Floor West Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/4/16, 4 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Chesapeake Subcommittee. 5th Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Natural resource-related caucus meetings for this period:

2/4/16, 7 a.m.: Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. 6th Floor Speaker’s Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

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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.

None during this period.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Energy – All
2/12/16, 9 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stakeholder group on the federal Clean Power Plan regulation for carbon emissions (emissions of greenhouse gases).   At the DEQ Central Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond. According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice about this meeting: “A stakeholders group has been established to advise and assist the Commonwealth on elements that could be included in the state compliance plan to meet the final U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule for the control of greenhouse gases. The purpose of [the 11/12/15 meeting] is for DEQ to coordinate and facilitate discussions of this group in an effort to find common ground and elements that could be included in the state compliance plan for the Commonwealth.” More information on the Clean Power Plan is available from the DEQ online at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Air/GreenhouseGasPlan.aspx,” or from the EPA online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards.

Mining
2/4/16, 10:30 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) informal hearing to review notice of violation RYH0010259 for Jewell Smokeless Coal Corporation. At the company office at 440 Putnam Bypass in Honaker (Russell County). The mine site is 8 miles southwest of Vansant (Buchanan County) on Fox Creek, in the Russell Fork/Big Sandy River basin.

2/9/16, 10 a.m.: Three DMME informal hearings, all at the DMME Office, 135 Highland Drive in Lebanon (Russell County). Click on the numbers below to go to Regulatory Town Hall information for a particular issue:
1—On Notice of Violation JRJ0002471 issued to Virginia Fuel Corporation. The mine site is 3.6 miles west of Appalachia near Exeter (Wise County) in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

2—On Cessation Order for Failure to Abate RDS0011216 issued to A & G Coal Corporation. The mine site 1 mile north of Stonega (Wise County) on Callahan Creek in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

3—On Notice of Violation RDS0011182 issued to A & G Coal Corporation. The mine site is 1 mile northwest of Roda (Wise County) on Black Mountain in the Powell River/Upper Tennessee River basin.

Ports
2/3/16, 4 p.m.: Virginia Port Authority Executive Committee. At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk. Also on that day at the same location, the Port Authority’s Growth and Operations Committee will meet at 1 p.m., and the Finance and Audit Committee will meet at 2:30 p.m.

2/4/16: Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners. At 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk.

Waste Management – Hazardous Waste
2/10/16, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on an application for reissuance of permit for site-wide corrective action at Radford Army Ammunition Plant, located on the New River in Montgomery County. At the Radford Public Library, 30 West Main Street in Radford. The purpose of the public meeting is to discuss a draft corrective-action permit that will allow the facility to continue site-wide corrective action for identified solid waste management units, hazardous waste management units, and areas of concern. The public comment period on the draft permit runs 12/22/15 to 2/26/16. The draft permit and a fact sheet are available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/PublicNotices.aspx.