Global Surface Water Explorer Shows Changes to Water Bodies over 30 Years; Summary Article in New York Times on 12/9/16

Scientists at the European Commission’s Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, and engineers at Google have developed the Global Surface Water Explorer, an online tool that uses satellite images to show changes in water bodies from 1986 to 2015.  The project Web site is  A short description of the project, with several examples (including Lake Mead in Arizona), is available in a New York Times article, Mapping Three Decades of Global Water Change, 12/9/16.

New Tool for Identifying Birds from Photos Released in December 2016 by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

In December 2016, the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University in New York announced availability of the “Merlin Photo ID” application for mobile devices.  The app allows users to submit a bird photograph to get an identification of the bird.  Information is available online at

This product works collaboratively with the Cornell Lab and National Audubon Society’s eBird project, online at  At that site, users can find locations of species observations made by contributors and can sign up to contribute their own observations.  The Merlin Web site states that it “draws upon more than 370 million observations from the eBird citizen-science project.

The Merlin Photo ID release is well-timed to assist birders nationwide who will participate in the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, an event that began in 1910 where volunteers record birds seen on one day anytime between December 14 and January 5 (more information is online at; or in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, organized by Audubon and the Cornell Ornithology Lab, held each February (more information is online at  For an audio take on the history of the Christmas Bird Count, have a listen to Virginia Water Radio Episode 294 (12-14-15).

A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States, Canada, and Elsewhere – 12/8/16 Edition

Here are some water-related meetings in the United States, Canada, and other countries in coming months, followed by 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 with subject line: For Water Central Editor.

Some 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

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-related Events.


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 Chesapeake Watershed Forum each September.

2016 Events

Dec. 12-16, 2016, San Francisco, Calif.: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. More information:

2017 Events

Feb. 2-5, 2017, Towson, Md.: Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) Conference.  The theme this year is “Investigate & Create: The Science & Art of Environmental Education.”  More information:; e-mail:

Feb. 14-16, 2017, Sydney, Australia: 11th International Water Association Symposium on Tastes, Odors, and Algal Toxins in Water.  Organized by the University of New South Wales.  More information:; e-mail:

Mar. 1-7, 2017, Toronto, Canada: Annual International Conference on Water Management Modeling.  More information:

March 15-16, 2017, Raleigh, N.C.: Annual Conference of the Water Resources Research Institute of the University of North Carolina.  More information:

Apr. 4, 2017, online and at remote hub locations: National Watershed and Stormwater Conference.  Organized by the Center for Watershed Protection.  More information:; or contact the Center at 3290 North Ridge Road, Suite 290, Ellicott City, MD 21043; phone (410) 461-8323.

Apr. 10-12, 2017: Lincoln, Neb.: Annual Water for Food Global Conference.  More information:; phone (402) 472-5145; e-mail:

Apr. 17-20, 2017:  National Hurricane Conference.  More information:

Jun. 26-29, 2017, Charleston, S.C.: National Marine Educators Association Conference.  More information:; phone: (844) 687-6632.

Sep. 30-Oct. 4, 2017, Chicago, Ill.: Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition & Conference (WEFTEC) 2017.  More information:

Oct. 12-13, 2017, National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Va.: 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference.  Hosted by the West Virginia Water Research Institute (at West Virginia University), in collaboration with the Delaware Water Resources Center (at the University of Delaware), the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center (at Penn State), and the Virginia Water Resources Research Center (at Virginia Tech). Abstracts for presentation proposals due March 27, 2017.  More information: visit, or email:

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.)

January: annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society. More information:

February, Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting.  More information:

February, even years (next 2018): Ocean Sciences Meeting. Organized by the American Geophysical Union, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and the Oceanography Society. More information:

March: North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. Organized by the Wildlife Management Institute.  More information:

March, Lincoln, Neb.:  Annual symposium of the Nebraska Water Center, and  annual Nebraska Water Law Conference.  More information:; (402) 472-3305;

April: Annual Northeast Fish & Wildlife Conference. More information:

March or April, 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:

April, 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:; Janet Carter, (605) 394-3215 or

April through September: Workshops by North Carolina State University Stream Restoration Program.  For more information click on the individual links below or go to; or contact Cathy Smith at (919) 515-6780 or

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

May:  National Monitoring Conference. Organized by the National Water Quality Monitoring Council.  More information:

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; (443) 759-3407;

May or Jun.: annual Congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.  More information:

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:; or contact UCOWR at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, (618) 536-7571 or

June: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Water Center’s annual Water and Natural Resources Tour.  More information:

June: American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference & Exposition.  More information:

June or July: National Marine Educators Association annual conference.  More information:; phone (844) 687-6632; e-mail:

June or July: Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference.  Organized by the American Chemical Society.  More information:

July or August: Soil and Water Conservation Society’s Annual Conference.  More information:

August: American Fisheries Society Annual Conference.  More information:

August: Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. More information:

August: Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference and Membership Meeting.  More information:; phone (303) 837-0812.

September, National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, W. Va.: Chesapeake Watershed Forum.  Organized by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.  More information:; (804) 775-0951 (Virginia office) or

September: Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC).  More information:

September: Groundwater Protection Council Annual Forum and National Rural Water Association’s (NWRA) WaterPro Conference.  More information:

September or October: National States Geographic Information Council Annual Conference. More information:

October: Maryland Water Monitoring Council Annual Conference.  More information:

October, St. Paul, Minn.  Annual conference of the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center.  More information:

October: South Carolina Water Resources Conference.  Organized by Clemson University Public Service Activities.  More information:

October: Annual Southeast Stormwater Association Regional Stormwater Conference.  More information:

October or November: GIS-Pro – Annual conference of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. More information:

November: American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Annual Conference.  More information:

November: Society of American Foresters National Convention. More information:

November: Joint annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.  More information:

November, South Carolina: International Conference on Shellfish Restoration.  Organized by South Carolina Sea Grant.  More information:; phone (843) 953-2078.

Late November/early December, North Linthicum, Md.: Maryland Water Monitoring Council Annual Conference.  More information:; or contact Dan Boward at

Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events – December 8, 2016, Edition

Boats and crews 2 Batteau Fest Jun15 2013One of Virginia’s most distinctive water-related events: the annual James River Batteau Festival, launched every June in Lynchburg, Va.  Shown above is the launch on June 15, 2013.  The 31st annual festival took place June 18-25, 2016.

This post lists conferences, meetings, and other events related to Virginia’s water resources and held in Virginia (in  most cases; nearby out-of-state events are occasionally included).  Except for online meetings or seminars, the events here typically are at least several hours long (for example, this site does not list the frequent one-hour water-related seminars held at Virginia colleges or universities).  This post is updated as information becomes available and is re-posted monthly.

This list does not include Virginia government meetings related to water (except for a listing of the dates of the Virginia General Assembly, which starts each January).  The News Grouper blog has a post on those meetings each week, at

For water-related meetings outside of Virginia, please see the Grouper post, “A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States and Elsewhere,” re-posted quarterly.

Thanks to the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC) for providing some of the information in this post.  More information about the VWMC is available online at

For links to events lists from several other organizations, please see the bottom of this post.

Dec. 10, 2016, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland: Virginia Citizens for Water Quality Summit.  More information:

Virginia General Assembly for 2017
Jan.-Feb. 2017: Virginia General Assembly, Richmond.  The 2017 General Assembly convenes on January 11 and is scheduled for 30 or 45 days; this is a so-called “short session,” which is held in all odd-numbered years.  General Assembly session information is available online at this link.  Live video streams of floor sessions are available at for the House and for the Senate.  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 as of June 2016—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available online at  For more information on the General Assembly, visit or contact your local member of the House of Delegates or State Senate.

Jan. 20-22, 2017, Virginia Beach: Winter Wildlife Festival.  Organized by the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  More information:; (757) 385-2990; e-mail:

January 30-31, 2017, Glen Allen (Henrico County): Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals 25th Annual Conference.  More information:

Feb. 25, 2017, Germanna Community College, Culpeper: Annual Woods and Wildlife Conference.  Organized by the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program at Virginia Tech.  More information:; or contact Jen Gagnon at (540) 231-6391, or e-mail:

Expected to be approximately March-November 2017, statewide: Virginia Household Water Quality Program drinking-water clinics.  People who rely on private wells, springs, or cisterns can get their water tested inexpensively for key constituents and receive a report interpreting the results.  The cost to participate in 2016 was $52.  A list of upcoming clinics in 2017 had not been announced as of 12/8/16; keep an eye on this Web site:  For more information, contact Erin James Ling, at (540) 231-9058 or

Mar. 5-7, 2017, Richmond: Virginia Water Conference 2017.  Organized by the Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association.  More information:

Mid-March 2017 (recurs every year),  Volunteer Fire Department, White Stone (Lancaster County): 38th Annual Rappahannock River Waterfowl Art Show.  The show includes paintings, prints, sculpture, carvings, photography, jewelry, and taxidermy, and a decoy-carving contest is one of the featured events.  More information:; phone (804) 435-6355; e-mail:

Mar. 22, 2017, Henrico: Virginia Water Monitoring Council Annual Conference.  This year’s theme is “Exploring Emerging Water Issues.”  More information:

Mar. 22, 2017 (recurs every year), everywhere: World Water Day. The annual worldwide event designated by the United Nations since 1993.  More information on the history of the event and the observances and activities for this year is available at the World Water Day Web site: March 22 also starts the annual World Water Monitoring Day period, running through the officially observed day of September 18 and ending December 31.

On or about Mar. 23, 2017 (recurs every year), 9:45 a.m., statewide: Tornado Drill.  Coordinated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.  Learn more about tornado safety and how to hold a drill at

April 4-6, 2017, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington: 28th Annual Environment Virginia Symposium.  Organized by the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics.  More information:

Apr. 1-May 31, and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 2017: Stewardship Virginia.  Statewide initiative held twice annually to help citizens with projects that enhance and conserve Virginia’s natural and cultural resources.  The program seeks to promote waterway adoption, trail improvement, riparian buffers, invasive species control, habitat improvement, landscaping for conservation, environmental education activities, and other projects.  More information:; Bonnie Phillips, (877) 429-2837 or

Apr. 19, 2017, Roanoke: Annual “Water is Life” Conference.  Organized by the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP).  More information:; or e-mail

Apr. 20-22, 2017, Chesapeake and Suffolk: Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival.  More information:; phone (757) 986-3705.

May 3-5, 2017, Roanoke: Virginia Forestry Summit.  Organized by the Virginia Forestry Association.  More information:; (804) 278-8733;

May 17-19, 2017, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond: Spring Meeting of the Virginia Academy of Science.  More information:; (804) 864-1450; e-mail:

Mid-June 2017 (recurs every year), James River starting at Percival’s Island in Lynchburg: Annual James River Batteau Festival.  Organized by the Virginia Canals and Navigation Society.  More information:

Jun. 27-29, 2017, Blacksburg: 15th North American Agroforestry Conference.  Organized by Virginia Tech.  More information:; (540) 231-0790.


Boating Safety Classes by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Nutrient Management Training

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/State Parks Events

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Training for Stormwater Management and Erosion/Sediment Control

Virginia Department of Health Listing of Training Resources for Onsite Sewage Professionals

Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program Events

Virginia Green (Virginia Tourism Corporation site for “green” vacations and activities)

Virginia Household Water Quality Program List of Drinking Water Clinics and Master Well Owner Network Training

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

Virginia Master Naturalists

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Naturally Environmental Education Network

Virginia Sea Grant’s Links to Marine-education Opportunities for K-12 Teachers (click on “Professional Development”)

Virginia Water Environment Association

American Water Resources Association-National Capital Region Section

U.S. EPA Watershed Academy Webcast Seminars

Wetlands Education and Training Opportunities from Environmental Concern (non-profit in St. Michaels, Md.; opportunities for professionals and educators).

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Dec. 8-21, 2016, with Preview for 2017 Virginia General Assembly

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.


12/8/16, 9 a.m.: Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  At the Capitol Building, House Room 3, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.

12/12/16, 9:30 a.m.: State Water Control Board.  At the General Assembly Building, House Room C, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

12/13/16, 9:30 a.m.: 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.

12/13/16, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

*          *          *


For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see  Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services are available online at

12/8/16, 1 p.m.: Joint Meeting of the House and Senate Subcommittees of Commerce and Labor to Study Continued Legislation Relating to Electric Energy.  At Senate Room B in the General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

12/12/16, 10 a.m.: Joint Commission on Technology and Science.  At House Room C in the General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Starts 1/11/17, Richmond: Virginia General Assembly.  The 2017 General Assembly convenes on January 11 and is scheduled for 30 or 45 days; this is a so-called “short session,” which is held in all odd-numbered years.  (Sixty-day “long sessions” are scheduled for each even-numbered year.)  The reconvened (“veto”) session will be held in April.  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; at that site, click on the “Members and Sessions” for session calendars.  The House of Delegates meeting schedule is available at; live video streams of floor sessions from the House are available at  The Senate meeting schedule and the floor sessions’ live video stream are available at

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  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.

*          *          *


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

None during this period.

*          *          *

(topics listed alphabetically)

Air-Water Connections

12/16/16, 7 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft construction permit for Morgan Lumber Company, Inc., in Red Oak (Charlotte County).  At the Charlotte County Administrator’s Office, 250 LeGrande Avenue in Charlotte Court House.  The company has applied for a permit modification to allow construction and operation of a second continuous kiln at this lumber mill.  The permit addresses several air pollutants that can eventually affect water resources, including nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  The public comment period runs 11/16/16 to 1/3/17.

12/19/16, 5:30 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft construction permit for HP Hood, LLC, in Winchester, a producer of extended shelf-life dairy products.  At the Frederick County Board of Supervisors’ Meeting Room, 107 North Kent Street in Winchester.  The company is seeking a permit amendment to allow construction of a digester gas flare and a cogeneration system consisting of one combustion turbine and two heat recovery steam generators, using natural gas and digester gas for fuel.  The project would classify the facility a major source of air pollution for carbon monoxide; the permit also addresses several air pollutants that can eventually affect water resources, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter.  The public comment period runs 11/17/16 to 1/3/17.

Biosolids (Treated Sewage Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
12/8/16, 7 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids to about 1930 acres in Nelson County.  At Nelson County General District Court, 84 Courthouse Square in Lovingston.

12/13/16, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids to about 7257 acres in King and Queen County.  At King and Queen County Courts and Administration Building, 242 Allens Circle in King and Queen Court House.

12/15/16, 9:30 a.m.: Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts Dam Owner Workgroup.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

Fort Monroe
12/8/16, 9 a.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee.  At Building 83, 20 Ingalls Road in Fort Monroe (adjacent to the City of Hampton).  On 12/15/16 at 1 p.m., the full Board of Trustees meets at Paradise Ocean Club, 490 Fenwick Road in Fort Monroe.  In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there.  Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836.  In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (  More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at

12/9/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and State Water Control Board public meeting on evaluation of existing design specifications for best management practices in areas with a seasonal high groundwater table.  At the DEQ’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, in response to House Joint Resolution 587 in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly, the DEQ is “evaluating the existing design specifications for best management practices (BMPs) listed on the Virginia Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse to allow the effective use of these BMPs in areas with a seasonal high groundwater table.”  More information on the Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse is available online at  More information on DEQ stormwater-management activities generally is available online at

12/13/16, 9 a.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee/Work Group #1, on Alternative Sources of Supply, and #2A, on Alternative Management Structures; 12/13/16, 1 p.m.: Work Group #4 on Funding; and 12/15/16, 1 p.m.: Work Group #2 on Trading.  All three meetings at Troutman Sanders Building, 1001 Haxall Point in Richmond.  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; more information about groundwater management areas in Virginia is available online at

Invasive Species
12/13/16, 10 a.m.: Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Noxious Weeds Advisory Committee.  At the Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources in Charlottesville.  The committee will evaluate changes to Virginia’s Noxious Weed Regulation, Section 2 VAC 5-317 in the Virginia Administrative Code.

State Parks
12/14/16, 6 p.m.: Natural Bridge State Park Master Plan public input meeting.  At Natural Bridge Hotel, 15 Appledore Lane in Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County).

Waste Management – Solid Waste
12/14/16, 10 a.m.: DEQ public hearing on a proposed revision to the Virginia’s plan for commercial/industrial solid waste incinerators, under Section 111(d)/129 of the federal Clean Air Act.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, the “DEQ is seeking comment on the overall plan, and on the issue of whether any regulations or inventory information included in the plan should be submitted to EPA as part of the plan.  A general notice regarding the proposed state implementation plan revision is available at:”

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
12/14/16, 1 p.m.: Regulatory Advisory Panel on the James River Chlorophyll-a Study.  At the Patrick Henry Building, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond.  The panel is assisting the DEQ on possible amendments to the existing chlorophyll-a criteria.  Part of the group’s work is to review the James River chlorophyll Science Advisory Panel’s “Empirical Relationships Report” on the protectiveness of the existing chlorophyll criteria, along with the other information resulting from a five-year study by the SAP.  The pertinent section in the Virginia Administrative Code is VAC 25-260-310 bb.

Wells (Private)
12/8/16, 10 a.m.: Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Private Well Regulations Workgroup.  At the Peninsula Health Center, 416 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard in Newport News.  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

Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Resources Conference for 2017: October 12-13 in Shepherdstown, West Va.

On October 12-13, 2017, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) will host the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference.

The conference is a collaborative effort of Delaware Water Resources Center (at the University of Delaware), the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center (at Penn State), the Virginia Water Resources Research Center (at Virginia Tech), and WVWRI (at West Virginia Institute).

Those who wish to propose a presentation may submit an abstract until March 27, 2017.

For questions or more information about the conference, visit, or email:

Potomac River and Pawpaw at Nat Cons Tr Ctr Shepherdstown Sep25 2014The Potomac River, viewed September 25, 2014, from the grounds of the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of November 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 November 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. (  For previous monthly water status reports, please see this link:


Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for November 2016 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, along with the “normal” (three-decade average) 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 annual precipitation normals for each location.  All values are in inches.

Location November 2016 Precipitation


Monthly Normal December 2015-November 2016 Precipitation Annual Normal
Blacksburg 1.42 2.87 43.97 40.89




2.32 2.69 35.46 39.63


3.05 3.10 35.58 41.01


1.49 3.83 35.69 42.71


1.03 3.36 50.77 44.41


1.17 3.41 44.37 41.57


0.98 3.15 69.69 46.53


1.08 3.24 55.89 43.60


1.08 3.40 48.57 41.25
Wallops Island4


1.15 2.87 56.73 40.84
Washington-Dulles Airport5 1.77 3.41 36.73 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. (;
Morristown, Tenn. (;
Baltimore-Washington (; and
Wakefield, Va. (

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

For graphs of precipitation, visit the Southeast Regional Climate Center (Chapel Hill, N.C) at, 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 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 November 30, 2016.  Please note that the scale is different for the 30-day map.



According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at, monthly average stream flow values for November 2016 at about 153 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were in the normal range at about 37% of gages, below normal at about 43%, and much below normal at about 20%.  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.


stream codes

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 88 Virginia sites during the 45-day period ending November 29, 2016, accessed at on December 1, 2016.


Information on current groundwater levels in Virginia monitoring wells is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System, online at; and from the USGS Climate Response Network, online at (at that page, you can find a national map showing the status of groundwater monitoring wells compared to historical values).

04-icon-drought DROUGHT IN VIRGINIA

The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ( for November 29, 2016, showed about 69% of Virginia as “abnormally dry,” covering the western and central two-thirds of the state.  The November 1 report also showed about 28% of Virginia in “moderate drought” or worse, from the New River basin westward, plus parts of the northern and central Piedmont; about 5% in “severe drought” or worse, in all or parts of six far southwestern counties; and about 0.9% in “extreme drought,” in Lee County.  The Drought Monitor indication of severe drought began in the week of November 8, 2016; that was the first severe drought indication in Virginia since the Drought Monitor of September 4, 2012.  The Drought Monitor indication of extreme drought began in the week of November 15, 2016; that was the first extreme drought indication in Virginia since the Drought Monitor of September 28, 2010.

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.”

Please note that the Drought Monitor assessment for November 29, 2016, did not incorporate the significant rainfalls received in Virginia during the first week of December 2016.

For comparison, here are Virginia ratings from previous Drought Monitors from about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:
11/1/16 – about 29% abnormally dry or worse; about 3% in moderate drought;
9/27/16 – about 85% abnormally dry or worse; about 0.8% in moderate drought;
8/30/16 – about 5% abnormally dry;
12/1/15 – about 0.01% abnormally dry.

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent (as of 12/6/16) Drought Status Report on December 2, 2016.  A link to the report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at  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.  Following is an excerpt from the December 2 report:

“The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF) met on Monday, November 28, 2016 to discuss the status of drought monitoring and weather forecasts across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Based upon the current three-month precipitation forecast (see below), the DMTF agreed to closely monitor conditions during December and meet again in early January, 2017.  If the current dry conditions have not abated and the three-month precipitation outlook has not improved, the Task Force plans to prepare and distribute a message to water users across Virginia to raise awareness of the long-term water-supply impact of dry winter conditions.  Dry conditions caused by below normal rainfall continued across all of the western two-thirds of Virginia.  Extreme southwestern Virginia continued to be the driest portion of the Commonwealth, with abnormally dry conditions extending northeastward to northern Virginia.  For the current water year (October 1, 2016–November 30, 2016) precipitation totals have so far been below 85% of normal for 9 of the 13 drought-evaluation regions.  The Northern Piedmont, Northern Virginia and Shenandoah drought-evaluation regions received less than 50% of normal precipitation.  Since December 1, 2015, however, all 13 drought-evaluation regions have received 85% or more of normal precipitation.”

The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below are daily maps for December 1 and December 6, 2016, showing an improvement in conditions in parts of the Commonwealth from rainfall between those dates.  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-dec-1 drought-va-dec6


The November 29, 2016, U.S. Drought Monitor rated about 48.6% of the United States (including all or parts of 46 states) as being abnormally dry or worse.  The Drought Monitor rated about 13.9% of the country (including parts of 38 states), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4).  (The highest percentage in the severe-or-worse categories reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000 was 38.5% of the country for the week of August 7, 2012.)   In the November 29 report, areas of severe-or-worse drought stretched from eastern Texas and Oklahoma to southwestern Virginia, and from eastern Pennsylvania to Maine.

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (categories D0-D4) and severe or worse (categories D2-D4) in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
11/1/16 – 41.6% abnormally dry or worse; 9.2% severe drought or worse;
9/27/16 – 38.8% abnormally dry or worse; 6.8% severe drought or worse;
8/30/16 – 37.7% abnormally dry or worse; 6.1% severe drought or worse;
12/1/15 – 32.4% abnormally dry or worse; 12.3% severe drought or worse.

In the following states, 50 percent of more of the state was rated by the November 29 Drought Monitor as in severe-or-worse drought:

Alabama, 100%.  This severe-or-worse rating is the highest for the Yellowhammer State since 100% in the Drought Monitor of December 12, 2000 (although the state had near 100% ratings in June 2007).

California, 60%.  California’s current drought began in late 2011 to early 2012.

Connecticut, 83%.

Georgia, 75%.  This severe-or-worse rating was the highest for the Peach State since 79% in the Drought Monitor of February 5, 2013.  In the November 29 report, the Atlanta metropolitan region was in an area of extreme-to-exceptional drought (categories D3 and D4) that stretched from Louisiana to far southwestern Virginia.

Kentucky, 90%.

Massachusetts, 64%.

Mississippi, 100%.  This severe-or-worse rating, which was the case for Mississippi since the report for November 22, 2016, is the highest for the Magnolia State since 100% in the Drought Monitor of November 14, 2000.

New Hampshire, 57%.

Tennessee, 99%.  This severe-or-worse rating, which was the case for Tennessee since the report for November 22, 2016, is the highest for the Volunteer State since 100% in the Drought Monitor of October 16, 2007.

Following are some comments from the November 29, 2016, Drought Monitor on some of the conditions current in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and lower Mississippi Valley, and Far West:

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic
“…Long-term precipitation deficits ranged from 4 to 8 inches over the last 90 days to more than 12 inches over the last 12 months across southern New England, with 20-inch deficits evident for the last 24 months. …. Record low to much-below-normal streamflows continued across much of southern New England to eastern Pennsylvania.  According to November 27 USDA reports, topsoil moisture was rated short to very short (dry to very dry) across 85% of Connecticut, 66% of New Hampshire and Virginia, 55% of West Virginia, 46% of Massachusetts, 38% of Pennsylvania, and 34% of Maine….”

Southeast, and Lower Mississippi Valley
“…Severe drought impacts continued to mount in this region and included parched soils, record to near-record low streamflows, and drying stock ponds.  …November 27 USDA reports indicated that 81% of topsoil moisture in Tennessee was rated short or very short, with such ratings at 76% in Kentucky and Mississippi, 74% in Louisiana, 59% in Florida, 57% in South Carolina, and 43% in North Carolina. Subsoil moisture was rated short to very short in 80% of Tennessee, 79% of Mississippi, 75% of Kentucky, 70% of Louisiana, 53% of Florida, 49% of South Carolina, and 35% of North Carolina….”

…The Rockies and Far West
“…The precipitation [Nov. 22-28, 2016] increased high elevation SNOTEL station snow depth almost everywhere across the West, but SWE (snow water content) values continued to be lower than average across the Pacific Northwest and most of the Rockies.  …This was still early in the snow season…  Reservoirs in [part of New Mexico] continued below 30+ year average levels, but this is due to long-term conditions mostly upstream in the basin out of state; in arid regions like New Mexico, it may take many years for some of these reservoirs to refill to these long-term average levels. …”

On the brighter side of the November 29 report: Puerto Rico was drought-free for the first time since the report of November 19, 2013.


For a look ahead, the National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center’s “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” is available at  Shown below is the outlook map available on December 1, 2016.