Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending June 26, 2017, Plus an Overview of Flooding Nationwide

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 June 26, 2017 (information available as of June 27).
  2. Flooding overview maps for Virginia and nationwide, as of June 27.

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 Potts Creek near Covington on Rt 18 Alleghany County Jun3 2017 June 2017 Gaging Station of the Month:  Potts Creek near Covington in Alleghany County, Va., June 3, 2017.  U.S. Geological Survey information from this gage is online at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/uv?site_no=02014000.

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 June 26, 2017.  The maps were accessed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Jun26Precip Perc Jun26

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 6/27/17.  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 Jun27

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at gaging stations as of June 26, 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 Jun26

stream codes

Flooding Overview

As of about 12:30 p.m. EDT on June 27, 2017, one stream-gaging station near Virginia was near flood stage, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of 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 Jun27

Flooding US Jun27

An Introduction to the Marshall Islands’ Sea-level Rise and Freshwater Issues, in 6/25/17 PBS NewsHour Video

The effects of sea-level rise on the Marshall Islands are the focus of “Fighting for Freshwater Amid Climate Change,” broadcast on June 25, 2017, on PBS NewsHour.  The 9 minute/57 second video, available online at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/fighting-freshwater-amid-climate-change/, examines how the islands freshwater supplies are being affected by drought and saltwater intrustion from rising sea levels.

The Marshalls are an island nation in the Pacific Ocean; after being under U.S. administration for about 40 years following World War II, the Marshall Islands gained independence in 1986.

Additional source: World Atlas, “Marshall Islands, online at http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/oceania/mh.htm, 6/27/17.

Final Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Mountain Valley Natural Gas Pipeline Issued by FERC on June 23, 2017

On June 23, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Mountain Valley Project.  A summary of that document and access to the full document are available online at https://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2017/06-23-17-FEIS.asp (as of 6/27/17).  An excerpt of the Final EIS summary is given below in this post.

According to that summary, the Final EIS concludes “construction and operation of the projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts.  In the case of the clearing of forest, effects may be long-term and significant.   However, for most other environmental resources, effects should be temporary or short-term, and impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of the applicants’ proposed mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended in the EIS.”

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC and Equitrans LP have proposed the approximately 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline from West Virginia to a connection at Chatham, in Pittsylvania County, Va., with the existing Transcontinental, or Transco, pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York.

The release of the Final EIS starts a 90-day process for other federal agencies to review the project to determine whether or not certain federal permits should be issued.  FERC commissioners will determine whether or not to issue the project a certificate of public convenience and necessity.  As of June 27, FERC had only two commissioners and lacked a quorum for votes; two commissioners nominated by President Donald Trump were awaiting Senate confirmation.

Additional source:
FERC’s final environmental impact statement for Mountain Valley Pipeline elicits controversy, Roanoke Times, 6/23/17.

For more on this and other natural-gas issues and developments in Virginia, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Natural Gas Drilling and Transport in Virginia under Close Scrutiny in 2014-16.

Excerpt from the Summary of the Final EIS
(accessed on https://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2017/06-23-17-FEIS.asp, 6/27/17; bolding added)
“The FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of the projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts.  In the case of the clearing of forest, effects may be long-term and significant.  However, for most other environmental resources, effects should be temporary or short-term, and impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of the applicants’ proposed mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended in the EIS.  This determination is based on a review of the information provided by Mountain Valley and Equitrans in their applications to the FERC and supplemental filings in response to staff’s environmental information requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analyses; and consultations with federal, state, and local agencies, and other stakeholders.  Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons are:
*Mountain Valley would implement the measures outlined in the FERC’s Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan (Plan), its project-specific Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures (Procedures).

*In addition, Mountain Valley would implement the measures outlined in its various resource-specific mitigation plans filed with its application to the FERC, or included in various supplemental filings, including its Karst Mitigation Plan and Karst-specific Erosion and Sediment Control Plan to reduce impacts when crossing karst terrain; its Landslide Mitigation Plan for reducing impacts when crossing steep topography; its Mining Area Construction Plan to reduce impacts when crossing coal mine areas; its Blasting Plan to reduce impacts when crossing areas of shallow bedrock; its Organic Farm Protection Plan to reduce impacts when crossing organic farms; its Water Resources Identification and Testing Plan, Spill Prevention Controls and Countermeasures Plan (SPCCP), and Unanticipated Discovery of Contamination Plan to reduce impacts on water resources; its Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Plan to mitigate for the conversion of forested wetlands to shrub or herbaceous wetlands; its Migratory Bird Habitat Conservation Plan and Exotic and Invasive Species Control Plan to reduce impacts on birds, other animals, and plants; its Fire Prevention and Suppression Plan to reduce the chance of wildfires; its Traffic and Transportation Management Plan to reduce impacts on local road users; its Fugitive Dust Control Plan to reduce air quality impacts during construction; and its Winter Construction Plan. As indicated in the EIS, we have reviewed these plans and determined that they are acceptable.

*Equitrans would follow its project-specific Plan and Procedures, its Erosion and Sediment Control Plan for the Redhook Compressor Station, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Program Manual.

*In addition, Equitrans would implement the measures outlined in its various resource-specific mitigation plans filed with its application to the FERC, or included in various supplemental filings, including its Mine Subsidence Plan to protect its pipelines while crossing abandoned coal mine areas; it project-specific SPCCP and Preparedness, Prevention, and Contingency and Emergency Action Plan to reduce potential impacts on water resources; its Horizontal Directional Drill Contingency Plan to handle a failure or frac-out while crossing under the Monongahela River and South Fork Tenmile Creek; its Migratory Bird Conservation Plan to minimize impacts on bird species of concern; and its Traffic and Transportation Management Plan to reduce impacts on other local road users. As indicated in the EIS, we have reviewed these plans and determined that they are acceptable.

*Mountain Valley and Equitrans would use mostly dry open-cut methods to cross sensitive waterbodies and coldwater fisheries during state-mandated construction windows. Mountain Valley and Equitrans would obtain permits from the COE and applicable state resource agencies prior to crossing waterbodies and wetlands.

*For the portion of the MVP within the Jefferson National Forest, Mountain Valley would follow the measures outlined in its FS-approved Plan of Development.

*The FERC staff would complete formal consultations with the FWS under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act prior to allowing any construction to begin that could adversely affect federally listed threatened or endangered species.

*The FERC staff would complete the process of complying with the National Historic Preservation Act prior to allowing any construction to begin that could adversely affect historic properties.

*The FERC staff would provide oversight for an environmental inspection and monitoring program that would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorizations.

“In addition, the FERC staff and cooperating agencies developed site-specific mitigation measures that Mountain Valley and Equitrans should implement to further reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise result from construction of their projects. The FERC staff determined that these measures are necessary to reduce the adverse impacts associated with the projects, and in part, are basing conclusions on implementation of these measures. These additional measures [41 areas of actions] are listed as recommendations in section 5.2 of the EIS.”

On Virginia Water Radio for 6-26-17: Exploring the Staunton River

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of June 126, 2017, is “A River Trip from Roanoke to Staunton.”  The 4 min./2 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/06/episode-374-6-26-17-river-trip-from.html, focuses southern Virginia’s Staunton River, a section of the Roanoke River.  The episode features an excerpt of “Exploring the Rivers,” by Timothy Seaman on Williamsburg (http://timothyseaman.com/en/).

10 Staunton River at Altavista River Park ONE Jun15 2017

Staunton River at river park in Altavista, Va. (Campbell County), June 15, 2017.

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!

Happy 60th Anniversary in 2017 for the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia’s Luray Caverns

The year 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of  the debut of the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns in Page County, Virginia.  The Great Stalacpipe Organ, created over three years in the 1950s by Leland Sprinkle of Springfield, Virginia, uses rubber-tipped mallets to strike stalactites, which produce sounds with various tones and pitches.

A June 21, 2017, PBS NewsHour segment (2 min./49 sec.) on the organ is available online at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/virginia-cavern-can-play-moonlight-sonata/.

More information on the creator of the organ is available in “Inside the Great Stalacpipe Organ: The World’s Largest Instrument,” by Blake Madden (April 15, 2015), online at http://www.trustmeimascientist.com/2015/04/15/inside-the-great-stalacpipe-organ-the-worlds-largest-instrument/.

For a Virginia Water Radio episode featuring the Great Stalacpipe Organ, please see “In the Cave” by Pepe Deluxé, for Virginia Cave Week (Episode 158, week of 4-22-13; 2 min./56 sec.).

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for June 22-July 5, 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

6/22/17, 9:30 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board.  At the Department of Environmental Quality Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).

6/22/17, 10 a.m.: Outdoors Foundation Board of Trustees.  At the public library on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg.

6/27/17, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

6/29/17, 1 p.m.: Land Conservation Foundation Grant Workshop.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

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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.

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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.

6/22/17, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in the Rappahannock River and several tributaries (Baylors Creek, Elmwood Creek and an unamed tributary to Elmwood Creek, Jetts Creek, Mill Creek, Peedee Creek and an unnamed tributary to Peedee Creek, Portobago Creek, and Stillwater Creek), located in the Chesapeake Bay basin in Essex, Caroline, King George, Richmond, and Westmoreland counties.  At Westmoreland Fire Department, 52 Rectory Road in Montross.

6/27/17, 1 p.m., on the TMDL study of aquatic life (dissolved oxygen) and bacterial impairments in the Rudee Inlet watershed (including Lake Rudee, Lake Wesley, and Owl Creek, located in the Atlantic Ocean basin in the City of Virginia Beach.  At the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Boulevard in Virginia Beach.

6/28/17, on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic) impairments in Accotink Creek and Long Branch (Potomac River watershed) in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.  At Kings Park Library Meeting Room, 9000 Burke Lake Road in Burke.

6/29/17, 2 p.m., on the TMDL modification process for aquatic life (benthic) and bacterial impairments in Blacks Run and Cooks Creek, located in the Shenandoah River/Potomac River wateshed in Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg.  At the Department of Environmental Quality Valley Regional Office, 4411 Early Road in Harrisonburg.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Air-Water Connections
6/26/17, 6:30 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on a draft permit modification for air emissions from Perdue Grain and Oilseed, LLC, in Chesapeake.  At the South Norfolk Memorial Library Meeting Room, 801 Poindexter Street in Chesapeake.  The permit covers natural gas and diesel fuel emissions of volatile organic compounds, particulates, nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide.

Pesticides
6/23/17, 9 a.m.: Board of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesPesticide Fee Regulatory Advisory Panel.  At the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services office, 102 Governor Street in Richmond.  The panel is advising the board and department on possible amendments to adjust the fees established in the Virginia Administrative Code Section 2 VAC 5-675 et seq.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts
6/27/17, 10 a.m.: Board of Soil and Water Conservation’s District Audit Subcommitee.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

State Parks
6/29/17, 3 p.m.: Natural Bridge State Park Master Plan Advisory Committee.  At Natural Bridge Hotel, 15 Appledore Lane in Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County).

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
6/22/17, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) technical advisory committee on proposed amendments to the general Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit for concrete products facilities.  At the Virginia Department of Fire Programs Training Room, 1005 Technology Park Drive in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The relevant section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 9 VAC 25-193.

6/28/17, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public meeting on proposed amendments to the Water Quality Management Planning Regulation for the James River Basin nitrogen and phosphorus waste load allocations to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers (Section 9 VAC 25-720-60 C in the Virginia Administrative Code).  At the DEQ main office, 629 Main Street in Richmond.  More information on this regulatory process is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewNotice.cfm?gnid=712.  According to the notice at that Web site, “[t]he amendments that are the subject of this notice…would reduce the existing Total Nitrogen waste load allocation for the Dominion-Chesterfield Plant…by 80,000 pounds and would add a Total Nitrogen waste load allocation of 80,000 pounds to the Tranlin, Inc./Vastly Facility…. These amendments…are needed to reflect the transfer of nitrogen allocation from the Virginia Electric and Power Company (Dominion) to Tranlin, Inc. (Vastly) as identified in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties dated the 5th day of April 2017.

Virginia Solid Waste Report for 2016 Data Issued on June 20, 2017, by Va. DEQ

On June 20, 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released its 20th annual report on solid waste management in Virginia, covering municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris, vegetative and yard waste, and other types of waste collected in 2016 at 202 permitted facilities.

The total amount of solid waste received at Virginia facilities during 2016 was about 22.0 million tons, an increase of about 1.3 million tons over 2014’s total.  About 6.1 million tons originated from outside of Virginia, an increase of about 700,000 tons over 2015’s total, due to an increase in out-of-state industrial waste.  Municipal solid waste comprised about 12.8 million tons (about 58 percent) of Virginia’s total waste in 2016; construction/demolition debris comprised about 4.3 million tons; industrial waste about 2.0 million tons; and the rest was from several other kinds of waste (regulated medical waste, vegetative waste, incineration ash, sludge, tires, white goods, friable asbestos, petroleum contaminated soil, and other).

Out-of-state waste came primarily from Maryland (about 39.8% of all out-of-state waste), Washington, D.C. (about 19.8%), North Carolina (about 19.7%), New York (about 16.4%), and New Jersey (about 3.1%).

Of the 2016 total waste, about 13.3 million tons were disposed of in landfills; about 2.0 million tons were incinerated on-site; about 4.5 million tons were sent off-site for treatment, storage, or disposal; about 1.2 million tons were recycled on-site; about 848,000 tons were sent off-site to be recycled; and the rest was managed by mulching, composting, on-site storage, or other means.

The report for 2016 data (32 pages) and reports for previous years are available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/ReportsPublications/AnnualSolidWasteReports.aspx.  See also Virginia issues solid waste report for 2016, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality news release, 6/20/17.

For News Grouper posts on previous years’ solid-waste reports, please see this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Solid+Waste+Report.