On Virginia Water Radio for 8-29-16: Passage Creek and Fort Valley, Va.

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of August 29, 2016, is “Present and Past along Passage Creek in Fort Valley”  The 4 min./41 sec. episode, available online http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2016/08/present-and-past-along-passage-creek-in.html, features sounds from this stream and historic valley that divide Massanutten Mountain, which in turn divides much of the northern Shenandoah Valley.  The episode also includes music from the Harrisonburg, Va.-based band, The Steel Wheels.

43 Passage Creek at Audio 15 site beside St Andrews Church Road above Stage Hill Lane near jog toward Edinburg road Shenandoah County Aug22 2016

Passage Creek along St. Davids Church Road in Shenandoah County, Va., August 22, 2016.


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!

Chesapeake Bay Hypoxic Zone (“Dead Zone”) Update for August 2016

On August 17, 2016, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (Md. DNR) reported that the dissolved oxygen conditions in the Chesapeake Bay were average in early August 2016, compared to records from 1985 to 2015.  The so-called “dead zone” in the Bay—that is, the area of “hypoxia,” where the levels are below 2 milligrams per liter (mg/l) of water, too low to support the Bay’s normal community of organisms—covered about 1.15 cubic miles (about 14 percent of the Bay’s mainstem area), compared to the 1985-2015 average of 1.13 cubic miles for early August.  In addition, no areas were found to be “anoxic”—that is, with dissolved oxygen levels below 0.2 mg/l—and no such areas have been found since 2014.  In July 2016, the Bay’s hypoxic area had covered 1.65 cubic miles, about 20 percent of the Bay mainstem and the seventh largest area recorded in July during the 1985-2015 period.  In June 2016, federal and state Bay scientists had predicted that the maximum 2016 dead zone would be about 1.58 cubic miles.

Sources:
Maryland DNR, “2016 Chesapeake Bay Hypoxia Report—Early August Update,” online (as PDF) at http://dnr.maryland.gov/waters/bay/Documents/HypoxiaReports/2016_earlyAugust.pdf.

Bay “dead zone” average in early August, Bay Journal, 8/17/16.

For a previous Water Central News Grouper post on this year’s dead zone, please see Chesapeake Bay “Dead Zone” Prediction for 2016, Plus Link to Univ. of Md.’s “EcoCheck” Web Site with Previous Predictions and Links to “Report Card” Conditions Reports, posted 6/15/16.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending August 23, 2016

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending August 23, 2016 (information available as of August 24).  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/.

Aug 2016 Gage - Graysontown Jul15 2012 by Will Stacy August 2016 Gaging Station of the Month: On Little River (New River/Gulf of Mexico basin) between Snowville (Pulaski County) and Graysontown (Montgomery County), July 15, 2012.  Photo courtesy of Will Stacy.

Precipitation

The following two color-coded maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation compared to normal for this period of the year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending August 23, 2016.  The maps were accessed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Aug23Precip perc Aug23

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

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of August 23, 2016, are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.

Streams Aug23KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Virginia Gas and Oil Reguations Review by STRONGER Group Conducted Aug. 8-11, 2016

In June 2016, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) announced that it had contracted with the STONGER group (State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations; online at http://www.strongerinc.org/) to conduct a comprehensive review of all of Virginia’s gas and oil regulations.  (Virginia’s gas and oil regulations are available online at https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/LawsRegs.shtml#gasoil.)  STRONGER did a similar review in 2004 (a PDF of that review is available online at http://www.strongerinc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Virginia-Initial-Review-4-2004.pdf), so the current review is being termed a “follow up.”  The group conducted the 2016 review from August 8-11 in Abingdon, and it expects to publish the “State Review Report of the 2016 Virginia Follow-Up Review” in December 2016.

Sources:
Proposed state fracking review by private group concerns environmentalists, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 6/25/16.

Virginia Natural Gas Regulations to be reviewed by STRONGER, DMME News Release, 8/3/16.

STRONGER Completes Virginia In-State Interview, STRONGER News Release, 8/11/16.

For more details on natural gas developments in Virginia, please see this News Grouper post.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Aug. 24-Sept. 5, 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

8/25/16, 8:30 a.m.: Virginia Agricultural Council.  At the Martha Washington Inn, 150 West Main Street in Abingdon (Washington County).

8/31/16, 10:30 a.m.: Aquaculture Advisory Board.  At the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, 12580 West Creek Parkway in Richmond.

9/1/16, 10 a.m.: Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

9/1/16, 2 p.m.: Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Fund Advisory Board.  At the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy office, 3405 Mountain Empire Road in Big Stone Gap (Wise County).

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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?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.

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.

8/29/16, 10 a.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial and aquatic life (benthic) impairments in Woods Creek, located in the Maury River/James River basin in Rockbridge County and the City of Lexington.  At the Natural Bridge Soil and Water Conservation District Office, 40 Magnolia Square Way, Suite 5, in Lexington.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Air-Water Connections
8/29/16, 9:30 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Title V Fee Stakeholder Advisory Group.  At the DEQ Main Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  Under Title V of the federal Clean Air Act, states charge Title V fees for operating permits required for major sources of air emissions.  More information on Title V permits is available from the U.S. EPA online at https://www.epa.gov/title-v-operating-permits; and from the Va. DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/FeesUndertheVAAirPollutionControlLaw.aspx.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
8/29/16, 6 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment requested by Doswell Limited Partnership for the Doswell Energy Center in Ashland (Hanover County).  At the Ashland Branch Library, 201 South Railroad Avenue in Ashland.  The facility proposes to add two natural-gas-fired combustion turbines, each rated at 170 megawatts.  The public comment period is 7/29/16 to 9/13/16.

Groundwater
8/25/16, 9 a.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee/Work Group #3, on Future Permitting Criteria.  Also on 8/25/16, 1 p.m.: Work Group #4, on Funding.  Both meetings at the Department of Environmental Quality’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The 2015 Virginia General Assembly passed HB 1924 and SB 1341, companion bills that established this Advisory Committee to assist the State Water Commission and the DEQ in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for groundwater in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.  The bills state that the Advisory Committee is to examine the following:
(i) options for developing long-term alternative water sources, including water reclamation and reuse, ground water recharge, desalination, and surface water options, including creation of storage reservoirs;
(ii) the interaction between the Department of Environmental Quality’s ground water management programs and local and regional water supply plans within the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area for purposes of determining water demand and possible solutions for meeting that demand;
(iii) potential funding options both for study and for implementation of management options;
(iv) alternative management structures, such as a water resource trading program, formation of a long-term ground water management committee, and formation of a commission;
(v) additional data needed to more fully assess aquifer health and sustainable ground water management strategies;
(vi) potential future ground water permitting criteria; and
(vii) other policies and procedures that the director of the [DEQ] determines may enhance the effectiveness of ground water management in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.”  The Committee is to provide its report by August 2017.  More information about the Advisory Committee is available online at http://deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity.aspx; more information about groundwater management areas in Virginia is available online at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterPermitting.aspx.

8/29/16, 1:30 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) 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 DEQ stormwater-management activities is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

Legislative Commissions
8/24/16, 10 a.m.: State Water Commission.  At House Room C of the General Assembly Building in Richmond.  Agenda (opens as PDF).  The State Water Commission was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1990.  Its purpose, according to Virginia Code section 30-187, is to “study all aspects of water supply and allocation problems in the Commonwealth, whether these problems are of a quantitative or qualitative nature; [and] coordinate the legislative recommendations of all other state entities having responsibilities with respect to water supply and allocation issues….”  More information about the Commission is available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/swc.htm.

On Virginia Water Radio for 8-22-16: A Mid-season Look at the 2016 Atlantic Tropical Storm Season

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of August 22, 2016, is “Natural Disaster by John McCutcheon Opens a Mid-season Window on the Atlantic Tropical Storm Season.”  The 4 min./20 sec. episode, available online http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2016/08/episode-330-8-22-16-natural-disaster-by.html, focuses on the mid-August outlook for the rest of this year’s tropical storm season in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.  It features music by renowned singer/songwriter John McCutcheon, a former resident of Charlottesville, Va.

Outlook graphNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mid-season update on the outlook for the 2016 Atlantic tropical storm season, as of August 11, 2016. Graphic accessed at http://www.noaa.gov/media-release/atlantic-hurricane-season-still-expected-to-be-strongest-since-2012.


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!

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending August 16, 2016, Plus a Mid-Month Drought Assessment

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending August 16, 2016 (information available as of August 17).  Also below is the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force’s daily map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of August 17.  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/.

Aug 2016 Gage - Graysontown Jul15 2012 by Will Stacy August 2016 Gaging Station of the Month: On Little River (New River/Gulf of Mexico basin) between Snowville (Pulaski County) and Graysontown (Montgomery County), July 15, 2012.  Photo courtesy of Will Stacy.

Precipitation

The following two color-coded maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation compared to normal for this period of the year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending August 16, 2016.  The maps were accessed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Aug 16

PrecippercAug16

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

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of August 16, 2016, are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.

Streams Aug16

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Mid-month Drought Status Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its latest Virginia drought-status report on July 19, 2016 (the latest available as of August 17).  The report is available at the DMTF Web site, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.  The Task Force was scheduled to meet and report again on August 11, 2016.

The Task Force also produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below is the August 17, 2016, map.  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, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.

VA Drought Aug17