On Virginia Water Radio for the Weeks of 5-9-22 and 5-16-22: Songbirds in Waterside Trees

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the weeks of May 9 and May 16, 2022, is “A Trio of Songbirds with Tree Nests Near Water.”  The 5 min./5 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2022/05/episode-627-5-9-22-trio-of-songbirds.html, focuses on three songbirds that can be found nesting in Virginia trees beside rivers or other waters. This episode is part of a series of episodes this year on trees and shrubs. The episode’s music is by the late Madeline MacNeil, who lived in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Prothonotary Warbler bringing food to its nest in South Carolina, March 2012.  Photo by Mark Musselman, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov; the specific URL for the photograph was https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/14152/rec/3, as of 5-9-22.

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!

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Closing Out Weekly “Virginia Water-related Public Meetings” Posts as of 5-4-22; Sources Provided

Dear readers of “Virginia Water-related Public Events,”

The Virginia Water Resources Research Center will no longer be producing that weekly post.

Our sources for the material for the posts have been the following:

Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/meetings.cfm?time=future;
Virginia Commonwealth Calendar, online at https://commonwealthcalendar.virginia.gov/; and
Virginia Legislative Information System (for General Assembly-related meetings), online at https://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm.

For other events, please see the “Announcements” posts at the Virginia Water Monitoring Council Web site, https://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/announcements/.

Thank you for your past interest in these posts.

Alan Raflo
Virginia Water Resources Research Center

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of April 2022, Plus a Look at Flooding and Drought Nationally

Here is the Virginia Water Central News Grouper’s monthly water-status report on precipitation, stream flow, flooding, and drought, as of the end of April 2022.  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, groundwater, 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: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Water+Status.

Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for April 2022 at 12 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.  The values are in inches.

LocationApril 2022 ObservedMonthly NormalMay 2021 – April 2022 ObservedAnnual Normal based on 1991-2020
Blacksburg2.613.7741.2742.64  
Bluefield  2.413.6432.4441.24
Bristol  2.493.7939.2243.97
Charlottesville  3.053.1733.4041.61
Danville  1.713.5325.7343.73
Lynchburg  2.213.4532.3542.76
Norfolk  2.523.3738.1149.18
Reagan National Airport3.823.2144.1041.82
Richmond  2.223.1845.0445.50
Roanoke  3.103.4936.3942.82
Wallops Island  2.593.1234.6443.25
Washington-Dulles Airport2.253.4734.6243.24

The normal values used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in these provisional reports are based on the period from 1991 to 2020, and were released on May 4, 2021.  For information on the normal values, see the “Climate Normals” page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/land-based-station-data/land-based-datasets/climate-normals.

Location Notes

The Blacksburg location is the Blacksburg National Weather Service Office.

The Bluefield location is the Mercer County, W. Va., airport, near the Va.-W.Va. state line.

The Bristol location is the Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va./Tenn.

The Charlottesville location is the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.

The Danville location is the Danville Regional Airport.

The Lynchburg location is the Lynchburg Regional Airport.

The Norfolk location is the Norfolk International Airport.

Reagan National Airport is in Arlington County.

The Richmond location is the Richmond International Airport.

The Roanoke location is the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

The Wallops Island is in Accomack County; the location is the NASA Test Facility.

Washington-Dulles Airport is in Loudoun County.

Precipitation Sources

Climate pages of the following National Weather Service Forecast Offices:

Blacksburg, Va., online at https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate?wfo=rnk, for Blacksburg, Bluefield, Danville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke;

Morristown, Tenn., online at https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate?wfo=mrx  for Bristol;

Baltimore-Washington, online at https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate?wfo=lwx, for Charlottesville, Reagan-National, and Dulles;

Wakefield, Va., online at https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate?wfo=akq, for Norfolk, Richmond, and Wallops Island.

For graphs of precipitation, visit the High Plains Regional Climate Center at https://hprcc.unl.edu/maps.php?map=ACISClimateMaps), where you can find maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days for all U.S. regions; 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 preliminary maps from the High Plains Center of the percent-of-normal precipitation for the southeastern United States for the previous 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, through April 30, 2022; and for Virginia, the percent-of-normal precipitation along with the departure from normal precipitation (in inches) for previous 30 days, also through April 30, 2022.  Please note that the percent-of-normal scale is different for the Southeast Region 90-day map.

Shown below is a color-coded percentile map of monthly average stream flow values for April 2022 at stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border, compared to the historical range for each gage.  The map is from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=mv01d&r=va&w=map.  The chart below the map shows the color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records for the month.

An overall look at Virginia streamflow conditions is provided in the USGS WaterWatch summary plot of daily average streamflow conditions, compared to historical records for any given date.  Below is the summary plot for 127 Virginia sites during the 45-day period ending April 29, 2022, accessed on May 1, 2022, at https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=pa01d&sid=w__plot&r=va.

NATIONWIDE FLOODING OVERVIEW

Following is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of stream and river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) for the continental United States, as of 5:27 p.m. EDT on April 30, 2022.  The current map is available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.

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.

DROUGHT IN VIRGINIA

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) report of April 28, 2022, for conditions as of April 26, categorized about 50.4% of Virginia as abnormally dry or worse, and about 2.8% of the state in moderate drought.

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 for conditions as about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:

3/29/22 – 39.1% abnormally dry;

3/1/22 – 16.1% abnormally dry;

2/1/22 – 38.3% abnormally dry or worse, and 4.7% in moderate drought. 

4/27/21 – drought-free.

On April 22, 2022, the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent report (as of 5-2-22).  A link to that report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/water/water-quantity/drought.  The DMTF’s reports typically include information from some or all of the following agencies: National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality.

Following is an excerpt of the April 22 report:

“The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF) met on Thursday, April 21, 2022 to discuss the status of drought monitoring and hydrologic conditions in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Precipitation over the past 14 days has trended slightly below-normal for a majority of Virginia, with the exception of a larger rain event earlier in the week bringing some recovery across the Commonwealth.  Similar to the 14-day trend, the past 30 days have shown below-normal precipitation across Virginia, with some areas trending above-normal primarily across the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeast Virginia.  The outlook over the past 60-90 days continues to show dryness throughout the Commonwealth (50-90% of normal precipitation) primarily in the Upper James and Shenandoah, and portions of the Middle James through the Northern Coastal Plain.  Area-averaged rainfall since the beginning of the current water year (October 1, 2021) has remained below long- term “normal” values in five of the drought evaluation regions.  “Watch” levels persist in the Roanoke, Middle James, Shenandoah, Northern Coastal Plain and Eastern Shore drought evaluation regions.

“The CSU forecast for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season released April 7 predicts an above-normal amount of hurricane activity for this year. These tropical storm systems have the potential to bring additional precipitation across Virginia.  La Niña is expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere, transitioning towards ENSO-neutral conditions into the summer before trending back towards weak La Niña conditions in autumn.

“Groundwater levels for monitoring wells in the Climate Response Network have continued to show recovery in eastern and southern Virginia. Many of the areas that experienced declining levels earlier in the year (Roanoke, York, Eastern Shore) have recently seen levels trending upward within the normal range.  Groundwater levels remain within the “Watch” status range for 6 of the 13 drought evaluation regions, with recent recovery maintaining all indicator wells above the “Warning” and “Emergency” stages at this time.  Recent rainfall has helped streamflow recover in areas that had been dry over the past month. This rainfall has driven up base flows across Virginia, helping to maintain streamflow within the normal and near-normal range.  Moving forward through the year there can be an expected shift away from widespread rainfall events to smaller, more localized storms.  Levels and storage at water-supply reservoirs throughout Virginia remained within normal ranges.”

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators, online at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/water/water-quantity/drought.  Shown below is the map for April 30, 2022.  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.

DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The April 28, 2022, U.S. Drought Monitor, for conditions as of April 26, categorized about 54.2% of the United States (including parts of 44 states plus Puerto Rico) as being abnormally dry or worse.  (The highest percentage in the abnormally or worse categories—that is, in all categories—reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000 was 72.38 % of the country for the week of July 17, 2012.)  The Drought Monitor categorized about 35.8% of the country (including parts of 22 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 38.49% of the country in the report for conditions as of August 7, 2012.)

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (categories D0-D4) and severe or worse (categories D2-D4) for conditions in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:

3/29/22 – 58.3% abnormally dry or worse; 34.5% severe drought or worse;

3/1/22 – 61.6% abnormally dry or worse; 33.4% severe drought or worse;

2/1/22 – 60.6% abnormally dry or worse; 30.5% severe drought or worse;

4/27/21 – 60.6% abnormally dry or worse; 27.1% severe drought or worse.

The following states had 50% or more of their land area categorized by the Drought Monitor as being in severe-or-worse drought, as of April 26:

Arizona = 62%;

California = 95%;

Idaho = 56%;

Kansas = 55%;

Montana = 77%;

Nebraska = 76%;

Nevada = 100%;

New Mexico = 96%;

Oklahoma = 55%;

Oregon = 72%;

Texas = 70%;

Utah = 99%;

Wyoming = 59%.

Following are excerpts from Drought Monitor reports in April 2022 on conditions in various parts of the United States.

From the 4/7/22 report (conditions as of 4/5/22)

FROM WEST REGION SUMMARY:  “Many parts of southern Idaho, and the rest of the West, have set records for the driest 3-month period (January to March) going back 100 years or more.”

From the 4/14/22 report (conditions as of 4/12/22)

FROM SOUTH REGION SUMMARY:  “For the past half-year as a whole, less than 10 percent of normal precipitation has been observed in part of west-central Texas, including much of the Big Bend, while less than 25 percent of normal fell on most of the western half of Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle.”

FROM WEST REGION SUMMARY:  “Slow worsening and expansion continued, with noticeable deterioration in parts of New Mexico, Nevada, and California this week.  Water storage in the two largest reservoirs in the west – Lake Powell along the central Arizona/Utah border, and Lake Mead farther downstream along the Colorado River – has dropped to unprecedented levels.”

From the 4/14/22 report (conditions as of 4/12/22)

FROM WEST REGION SUMMARY: “Given the Southwest’s low humidity levels, high winds, and drought-cured vegetation, two active wildfires—the Hermits Peak and Cooks Peak Fires—charred more than 50,000 acres of vegetation apiece in northeastern New Mexico.  Northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, the Tunnel Fire—ignited on April 17—scorched nearly 20,000 acres of vegetation and destroyed more than 50 structures.  At times, impressively high winds raked the Southwest, raising dust and fanning flames.”

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 April 30, 2022.

Virginia Water-related Public Meetings for April 29 – May 13, 2022; Including Information on the 2022 Virginia General Assembly

Click on underlined meeting dates or times for more information.  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 events, please see the “Announcements” posts at the Virginia Water Monitoring Council Web site, https://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/announcements/.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF AUTHORITIES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, COMMITTEES, AND COUNCILS

5/3/22, 10:30 a.m.: Offshore Wind Development Authority.  At Glen Allen Branch Library, 10501 Staples Mill Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).

5/4/22, 9:30 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board.  At the Perimeter Center, Hearing Room 3 & Hearing Room 5, 9960 Mayland Drive in Henrico County.

5/11/22, 10 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.

5/12/22, 10 a.m.: Board of Conservation and Recreation.  At Natural Tunnel State Park, 1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway in Duffield (Scott County).

5/12/22, 1:30 p.m.: Waterworks Advisory Committee/Subgroup on Fee Regulations.  Electronic meeting; access online at https://vdhoep.webex.com/vdhoep/j.php?MTID=mc67b3a93c4f6321c3841f224f8a37bd6, aaccess code: 2630 806 0792, password: VejituTx257; or join by phone at (844) 992-4726.  The pertinent section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 12VAC 5-600.

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VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WATER-RELATED MEETINGS

For meetings of the General Assembly, legislative committees, and legislative commissions, see https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?222+oth+MTG (as of 3-29-22).  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.  The Virginia General Assembly Web site is https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/.

Started January 12, 2022: Virginia General Assembly, Richmond.  Current status is available online at this link.  The 2022 General Assembly convened on January 12 and adjourned on March 12.  On March 23, Gov. Glenn Younkin called back the Assembly for a special session to begin on April 4 for the purpose of passing a biennial state budget for fiscal years 2023 and 2024; the governor’s proclamation calling back the Assembly is online at this link.  A reconvened (“veto”) session, for the purpose of considering vetoes or recommendations from the governor, was held on April 27, 2022.  More information about the Assembly’s normal schedule and duration is available in “About the General Assembly,” online at this link.  The General Assembly’s main Web page, http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php, offers several useful features, including member lists, session calendars, live video of floor sessions, and information on legislative processes.  The Legislative Information System (LIS) Web site, http://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm, provides lists and summaries of all bills, searchable by topic, member, committee, etc.

Video streams of sessions and meetings for both the House of Delegates and the Senate, including committees, are available online at https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/virginiaLegislature.php?secid=20&activesec=2# (click on the + icon at the center top of that page), as of 12-28-21.

To express an opinion on legislation, citizens are requested to contact their respective delegate of senator.  If you do not know your representatives or their contact information, you can use the online “Who’s My Legislator” service, available at http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/.

You can find members’ contact information at these links:
House of Delegates, at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php;
State Senate, at https://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/.

The Lobbyist-In-A-Box subscriber service also offers free tracking for up to five bills, and it offers tracking of more than five bills for a fee; visit http://lis.virginia.gov/h015.htm.  For more information or assistance, phone Legislative Automated Systems at (804) 786-9631 or Virginia Interactive at (804) 318-4133).

The organization Open Virginia’s Richmond Sunlight Web site, at https://www.richmondsunlight.com/, also offers tools for following the General Assembly and for learning about Virginia law.

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

For more information about TMDLs in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Development Web site.  There are links at that site to search for draft and approved TMDLs.

5/9/22, 10 a.m., on the watershed clean-up plan (TMDL study and subsequent implementation plan) for aquatic life (benthic) impairments in several James River tributaries, located in Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, and Prince George counties and the cities of Petersburg and Hopewell: Bailey Creek, Nuttree Branch, Oldtown Creek, Proctors Creek, Rohoic Creek, and Swift Creek.  At Clover Hill Library, 6701 Deer Run Drive in Midlothian (Chesterfield County).

5/10/22, 1:30 p.m., on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic) impairments in Beaverdam Creek, Fryingpan Creek, Pigg River, and Poplar Branch in Bedford, Franklin, and Pittsylvania counties, in the Roanoke River watershed.  At Franklin County Public Library, 355 Franklin Street in Rocky Mount.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Biosolids (Treated Wastewater Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests

5/5/22, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Recyc Systems, Inc., of Remington, Va., to land-apply biosolids to 3551 acres (including about 1404 acres of new land) in Clarke County.  At the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center, 101 Chalmers Court in Berryville.

Chesapeake Bay

5/5/22 and 5/6/22: Chesapeake Bay Commission.  At Cork Factory Hotel, 480 New Holland Avenue, #3000, in Lancaster, Penn.  Agenda online (as a PDF) at https://lis.virginia.gov/221/oth/Agenda.CBC.0505-0622.pdf.  The next regular meeting is scheduled for September 8-9, 2022, in Charlottesville, Va.  The Commission is a tri-state legislative commission created in the 1980s to advise the members of the General Assemblies of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on matters of Bay-wide concern.  The Commission has 21 members, including 15 from the legislatures of the three states, the three state natural-resource cabinet secretaries, and three citizen representatives.  More information on the Chesapeake Bay Commission is available online at http://www.chesbay.us/.

Groundwater

5/11/22, 10 a.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee.  At the Bank of America Building, 3rd Floor Conference Room, 1111 East Main Street 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 Committee was reestablished by SB 679 in the 2020 General Assembly.  More information about the Advisory Committee is available online at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/water/water-quantity/advisory-committees/eastern-virginia-groundwater-management-advisory-committee.

On Virginia Water Radio for the Weeks of 4-25-22 and 5-2-22: Trees of Virginia’s Watery Areas

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the weeks of April 25 and May 2, 2022, is “A Sampler of Trees Inhabiting Soggy Virginia Sites.”  The 3 min./49 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2022/04/episode-626-4-25-22-sampler-of-trees.html, identifies 16 Virginia native trees found in water areas. This episode is part of a series of episodes this year on trees and shrubs. The episode’s music is by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va.

Silver Maple along the New River in Montgomery County, Virginia, May 19, 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!

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On Virginia Water Radio for the Week of 4-18-22: Ashes, Insects, and Water

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of April 18, 2022, is “Ash Trees, Insect Impacts, and Water Consequences.”  The 4 min./38 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2022/04/episode-625-4-18-22-ash-trees-insect.html, focuses on the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer and some of the potential water-related effects of pest-caused tree damage, loss, and species change. This episode, adding to and updating information in a previous ash tree episode (Episode 376, 7-10-17), is part of a series of episodes this year on trees and shrubs. The episode’s music is by Madeline MacNeil (1940-2020), who was a renowned musician in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Emerald Ash Borer galleries on a White Ash tree in Blacksburg, Va., June 6, 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!

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Virginia Water-related Public Meetings for April 22 – May 6, 2022; Including Information on the 2022 Virginia General Assembly

Click on underlined meeting dates or times for more information.  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 events, please see the “Announcements” posts at the Virginia Water Monitoring Council Web site, https://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/announcements/.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF AUTHORITIES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, COMMITTEES, AND COUNCILS

4/26/22, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 380 Fenwick Road in Ft. Monroe (adjacent to the City of Hampton).

4/28/22, 8:30 a.m.: State Trails Advisory Committee.  At Hilton Richmond Downtown, 501 East Broad Street in Richmond.

5/3/22, 10:30 a.m.: Offshore Wind Development Authority.  At Glen Allen Branch Library, 10501 Staples Mill Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).

5/4/22, 9:30 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board.  At the Perimeter Center, Hearing Room 3 & Hearing Room 5, 9960 Mayland Drive in Henrico County.

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VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WATER-RELATED MEETINGS

For meetings of the General Assembly, legislative committees, and legislative commissions, see https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?222+oth+MTG (as of 3-29-22).  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.  The Virginia General Assembly Web site is https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/.

Started January 12, 2022: Virginia General Assembly, Richmond.  Current status is available online at this link.  The 2022 General Assembly convened on January 12 and adjourned on March 12.  On March 23, Gov. Glenn Younkin called back the Assembly for a special session to begin on April 4 for the purpose of passing a biennial state budget for fiscal years 2023 and 2024; the governor’s proclamation calling back the Assembly is online at this link.  A reconvened (“veto”) session, for the purpose of considering vetoes or recommendations from the governor, will be held on April 27, 2022.  More information about the Assembly’s normal schedule and duration is available in “About the General Assembly,” online at this link.  The General Assembly’s main Web page, http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php, offers several useful features, including member lists, session calendars, live video of floor sessions, and information on legislative processes.  The Legislative Information System (LIS) Web site, http://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm, provides lists and summaries of all bills, searchable by topic, member, committee, etc.

Video streams of sessions and meetings for both the House of Delegates and the Senate, including committees, are available online at https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/virginiaLegislature.php?secid=20&activesec=2# (click on the + icon at the center top of that page), as of 12-28-21.

To express an opinion on legislation, citizens are requested to contact their respective delegate of senator.  If you do not know your representatives or their contact information, you can use the online “Who’s My Legislator” service, available at http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/.

You can find members’ contact information at these links:
House of Delegates, at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php;
State Senate, at https://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/.

The Lobbyist-In-A-Box subscriber service also offers free tracking for up to five bills, and it offers tracking of more than five bills for a fee; visit http://lis.virginia.gov/h015.htm.  For more information or assistance, phone Legislative Automated Systems at (804) 786-9631 or Virginia Interactive at (804) 318-4133).

The organization Open Virginia’s Richmond Sunlight Web site, at https://www.richmondsunlight.com/, also offers tools for following the General Assembly and for learning about Virginia law.

*          *          *

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

For more information about TMDLs in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Development Web site.  There are links at that site to search for draft and approved TMDLs.

None during this period.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Biosolids (Treated Wastewater Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests

4/28/22, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Recyc Systems, Inc., of Remington, Va., to land-apply biosolids to about 1909 acres (including about 848 acres of new land) in King William County.  At the King William County Administration Building, 180 Horse Landing Road in King William.

5/5/22, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Recyc Systems, Inc., of Remington, Va., to land-apply biosolids to about 3551 acres (including about 1404 acres of new land) in Clarke County.  At the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center, 101 Chalmers Court in Berryville.

Chesapeake Bay

5/5/22 and 5/6/22: Chesapeake Bay Commission.  At Cork Factory Hotel, 480 New Holland Avenue, #3000, in Lancaster, Penn.  Agenda online (as a PDF) at https://lis.virginia.gov/221/oth/Agenda.CBC.0505-0622.pdf.  The next regular meeting is scheduled for September 8-9, 2022, in Charlottesville, Va.  The Commission is a tri-state legislative commission created in the 1980s to advise the members of the General Assemblies of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on matters of Bay-wide concern.  The Commission has 21 members, including 15 from the legislatures of the three states, the three state natural-resource cabinet secretaries, and three citizen representatives.  More information on the Chesapeake Bay Commission is available online at http://www.chesbay.us/.

Water Quality Regulations and Standards

4/28/22, 9:30 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulatory advisory panel on fees under the Virginia Stormwater Management Program and the Nonpoint Source Nutrient Credit Certification Program.  At the Bank of America Building, 3rd Floor Conference Room, 1111 East Main Street in Richmond.  This regulatory advisory panel is considering changes to the regulations concerning the statewide permit fee schedule supporting the Virginia Stormwater Management Program and the application fee schedule supporting the Nutrient Credit Certification Program.  The relevant sections of the Virginia Administrative Code are 9 VAC 25-870 for the Stormwater Management Program and 9 VAC 25-900 for the Nutrient Credit Program.  Notices of Intended Regulatory Action were published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on September 13, 2021.  More information on the regulatory action for the Stormwater Management Program is online at https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2776; for the Nutrient Credit Program, at https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2871.

Wells (Private)

4/25/22, time not indicated: Department of Health (VDH) Private Well Regulations Workgroup.  At the James Madison Building, 5th Floor Main Conference Room, 109 Governor Street in Richmond.  Click on the meeting date for information on electronic access.   The regulations are located in the Virginia Administrative Code at 12 VAC 5-630.  More information on this regulatory process is available online at https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1457.

On Virginia Water Radio for the Week of 4-11-22: Sycamores

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of April 11, 2022, is “Sycamores are Sizable and Scenic at Streamsides.”  The 3 min./57 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2022/04/episode-624-4-11-22-sycamores-are.html, focuses on one of North America’s largest hardwood trees and its close connection to waterways. This revised version of an episode from August 2013 is part of a series of episodes this year on trees and shrubs. The episode’s music is by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va.

American Sycamore near Goose Creek in Markham, Va. (Fauquier County), July 22, 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!

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Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of March 2022, Plus a Look at Flooding and Drought Nationally

Here is the Virginia Water Central News Grouper’s monthly water-status report on precipitation, stream flow, flooding, and drought, as of the end of March 2022.  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, groundwater, 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: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Water+Status.


Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for March 2022 at 12 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.  The values are in inches.

LocationMarch 2022 ObservedMonthly NormalApril 2021 – March 2022 ObservedAnnual Normal based on 1991-2020
Blacksburg2.613.7840.6342.64  
Bluefield  2.553.8432.2741.24
Bristol  2.573.9637.8143.97
Charlottesville  3.193.5432.9941.61
Danville  4.393.5325.1943.73
Lynchburg  3.933.7632.8742.76
Norfolk  4.493.6938.2749.18
Reagan National Airport2.773.5042.4841.82
Richmond  3.514.0044.1645.50
Roanoke  2.473.5135.2942.82
Wallops Island  4.253.9134.4543.25
Washington-Dulles Airport1.923.5034.6543.24

The normal values used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in these provisional reports are based on the period from 1991 to 2020, and were released on May 4, 2021.  For information on the normal values, see the “Climate Normals” page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/land-based-station-data/land-based-datasets/climate-normals.

Location Notes

The Blacksburg location is the Blacksburg National Weather Service Office.
The Bluefield location is the Mercer County, W. Va., airport, near the Va.-W.Va. state line.
The Bristol location is the Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va./Tenn.
The Charlottesville location is the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.
The Danville location is the Danville Regional Airport.
The Lynchburg location is the Lynchburg Regional Airport.
The Norfolk location is the Norfolk International Airport.
Reagan National Airport is in Arlington County.
The Richmond location is the Richmond International Airport.
The Roanoke location is the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.
The Wallops Island is in Accomack County; the location is the NASA Test Facility.
Washington-Dulles Airport is in Loudoun County.

Precipitation Sources

Climate pages of the following National Weather Service Forecast Offices:

Blacksburg, Va., online at https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate?wfo=rnk, for Blacksburg, Bluefield, Danville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke;
Morristown, Tenn., online at https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate?wfo=mrx  for Bristol;
Baltimore-Washington, online at https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate?wfo=lwx, for Charlottesville, Reagan-National, and Dulles;
Wakefield, Va., online at https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate?wfo=akq, for Norfolk, Richmond, and Wallops Island.

For graphs of precipitation, visit the High Plains Regional Climate Center at https://hprcc.unl.edu/maps.php?map=ACISClimateMaps), where you can find maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days for all U.S. regions; 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 preliminary maps from the High Plains Center of the percent-of-normal precipitation for the southeastern United States for the previous 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, through March 31, 2022; and for Virginia, the percent-of-normal precipitation along with the departure from normal precipitation (in inches) for previous 30 days, also through March 31, 2022.  Please note that the percent-of-normal scale is different for the Southeast Region 90-day map and the Virginia 30-day map.

Shown below is a color-coded percentile map of monthly average stream flow values for March 2022 at stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border, compared to the historical range for each gage.  The map is from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=mv01d&r=va&w=map.  The chart below the map shows the color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records for the month.

An overall look at Virginia streamflow conditions is provided in the USGS WaterWatch summary plot of daily average streamflow conditions, compared to historical records for any given date.  Below is the summary plot for 127 Virginia sites during the 45-day period ending March 30, 2022, accessed on April 1, 2022, at https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=pa01d&sid=w__plot&r=va.

NATIONWIDE FLOODING OVERVIEW

Following is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of stream and river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) for the continental United States, as of 1:52 p.m. EDT on March 31, 2022.  The current map is available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.

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.

DROUGHT IN VIRGINIA

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) report of March 31, 2022, for conditions as of March 29, categorized about 39.1% of Virginia as abnormally dry.

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 for conditions as about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:

3/1/22 – 16.1% abnormally dry;
2/1/22 – 38.3% abnormally dry or worse, and 4.7% in moderate drought. 
12/28/21 – 92.6% abnormally dry or worse, 59.1% in moderate drought or worse, and about 6.4% in severe drought. 
3/30/21 – 7.9% abnormally dry.

On March 4, 2022, the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent report (as of 4-1-22).  A link to that report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/water/water-quantity/drought.  The DMTF’s reports typically include information from some or all of the following agencies: National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality.

Following is an excerpt of the March 4 report:

“The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF) met on Thursday, March 3, 2022, to discuss the status of drought monitoring and hydrologic conditions in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Precipitation over the past 14-30 days has varied across Virginia, with above-normal precipitation in the west, gradually
transitioning to below-normal in the east.  The outlook over the past 90 days continues to show dryness across the Commonwealth, with a majority of Virginia receiving 50-90% of normal precipitation.  Area-averaged rainfall since the beginning of the current water year (October 1, 2021) declined in many areas, with below long-term “normal” values occurring in 7 of the drought evaluation regions.  “Watch” levels persist in the Roanoke, Shenandoah, Northern Piedmont, Northern Coastal Plain, Southeast Virginia; “Warning” levels of precipitation exist in the Middle James drought evaluation region; the Eastern Shore region has started to fall below the threshold for “Emergency” levels of precipitation.  La Niña is expected to persist through the Northern Hemisphere into spring, continuing an increased probability of warmer than normal temperatures, before transitioning to neutral conditions in the summer.

“Groundwater levels for monitoring wells in the Climate Response Network have declined to below normal in the eastern portion of Virginia.  Many sites that showed recovery throughout January have begun a decline though February.  Groundwater levels fall within the “Watch” status range for 6 of the 13 drought evaluation regions, with levels falling in the “Warning” stage in the Roanoke region and “Emergency” stage in the York-James region.  Following precipitation trends, current streamflow conditions varied across Virginia, with much above-normal streamflow in the west, transitioning to much below-normal in the east.  Statewide streamflow has fluctuated from January through February across Virginia, with dry conditions spreading during February in eastern and south-central Virginia.  Many areas that showed a sharp recovery from precipitation in January have begun decreasing sharply in February.  DEQ drought streamflow probabilities estimate the maximum likelihood of drought in Jul-Sep from flows that occurred Nov. 2021 through Feb. 2022.  Results from this model show a 15-25% likelihood of drought warning flow levels occurring across central Virginia in the upcoming summer months based on winter recharge.  Some areas may have greater than 25% likelihood of summer drought occurring if no additional precipitation were received over the coming months.  Levels and storage at water-supply reservoirs throughout Virginia remained within normal ranges. …

“The Task Force discussed the drought indicators identified by the Virginia Drought Assessment and
Response Plan.  Consensus was reached to maintain the current drought watch advisory issued December 21, 2021, for the Eastern Shore and Roanoke drought evaluation regions, with no additional areas included at this time.  The decision to maintain status quo was reached after considering many factors, including a lack of agricultural activity and vegetative water demand occurring at this time of year, as well as minimal water supply concerns at this time.  The Task Force will continue closely monitoring drought indicators and meet again in a few weeks.  The next DMTF meeting is scheduled for April 7, 2022.”

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators, online at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/water/water-quantity/drought.  Shown below is the map for March 31, 2022.  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.

DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The March 31, 2022, U.S. Drought Monitor, for conditions as of March 29, categorized about 58.3% of the United States (including parts of 43 states plus Puerto Rico) as being abnormally dry or worse.  (The highest percentage in the abnormally or worse categories—that is, in all categories—reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000 was 72.38 % of the country for the week of July 17, 2012.)  The Drought Monitor categorized about 34.5% of the country (including parts of 24 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 38.48% of the country in the report for August 7, 2012.)

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (categories D0-D4) and severe or worse (categories D2-D4) for conditions in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:

3/1/22  – 61.6% abnormally dry or worse; 33.4% severe drought or worse;
2/1/22  – 60.6% abnormally dry or worse; 30.5% severe drought or worse;
12/28/21  – 61.5% abnormally dry or worse; 30.3% severe drought or worse;
3/30/21 – 58.6% abnormally dry or worse; 24.7% severe drought or worse.

The following states had 50% or more of their land area categorized by the Drought Monitor as being in severe-or-worse drought, as of March 29:

California = 94%;
Louisiana = 56%;
Montana = 84%;
Nebraska = 59%;
Nevada = 100%;
New Mexico = 91%;
Oklahoma = 63%;
Oregon = 74%;
Texas = 71%;
Utah = 98%;
Wyoming = 61%.

Following are excerpts from Drought Monitor reports in March 2022 on conditions in various parts of the United States.

From the 3/17/22 report (conditions as of 3/15/22)

FROM SOUTH REGION SUMMARY: “Despite year-to-date rainfall deficits being reduced to near zero for several locations and USGS average stream flow running near-normal, soil moisture still ranks between the 5th and 10th percentile of the climatological distribution.  This indicates that drought is still firmly entrenched across the Lower Mississippi Valley and that more rainfall will be needed to continue to see meaningful improvements.”

FROM WEST REGION SUMMARY: “Following a very wet December 2021 (in some cases a record wet December) for many areas in the West, a very dry pattern has persisted since the start of 2022, mainly from southern Oregon southward   Average snow water equivalent (SWE) values have continued to decline across many basins in the West and are now below-normal since the start of the water year (October 1, 2021).  Water availability [in parts of California] is a real concern as allocation from the Central Valley Project is likely to be either much reduced or non-existent for many farmers in California’s Central Valley, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.”

From the 3/31/22 report (conditions as of 3/20/22)

FROM HIGH PLAINS REGION SUMMARY: “Short-term dryness is superimposed over long-term moisture deficits across the region.  The lack of seasonal snow cover combined with the onset of spring has people in the region worried.  Soil moisture is very low, stream flows continue to decline, and state reports indicate that stock ponds are drying up.”

FROM WEST REGION SUMMARY: “Across much of the West, higher than normal temperatures last week caused premature snow melt, with snowpack values plummeting over just a few days.  The California Department of Water Resources noted that about one-third of the water equivalency disappeared in a week.”

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 March 31, 2022.

On Virginia Water Radio for the Week of 4-4-22: The Music of “Piney Mountains” Puts a Focus on Forest Lands and Livelihoods

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of April 4, 2022, is Exploring Forest Lands and Labors with Music of “Piney Mountains.”  The 4 min./39 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2022/04/episode-623-4-4-22-exploring-forest.html, explores some aspects of forests and the forest industry with a musical tale of a mid-1900s logger. This revised version of an episode from May 2013 is part of a series of episodes this year on trees and shrubs. The episode’s music is by Bruce Molsky of Beacon, New York, who lived in Virginia in the 1970s.

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!

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