Applications Due by May 15 for the 2015 William R. Walker Award Graduate Research Fellow Award from the Virginia Water Resources Research Center

Graduate students from Virginia Tech are invited each spring to submit applications to the Virginia Water Resources Research Center for the William R. Walker Graduate Fellowship.  Established to honor the late William Walker, the founding director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, this award has been given since 1999 to help people who are preparing for a professional career in water resources.  Individuals pursuing graduate work in a water resources field different from the field of emphasis as an undergraduate, or individuals with work experience who are returning to graduate school to study water resources, are especially encouraged to apply.

Funds can be used at the recipient’s discretion during enrollment at a university as a student for professional development (such as attending workshops and conferences) and for purchasing materials that will enhance professional productivity (such as books and software).  Award funds are effective at the start of the fall semester.

Applications for the 2015 award are due to the Water Center by May 15, 2015. For more information, visit http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/walker-award/; or contact Dr. Kevin McGuire at kevin.mcguire@vt.edu or (540) 231-6017, or the main Water Center office at water@vt.edu or (540) 231-5624.

Bill Walker cartoon for Apr 1992 Water News - retirement

Cartoon by George Wills of Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt), published originally in the April 1992 Water News–the former newsletter of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center–to commemorate the retirement of William Walker, the Water Center’s first director.

 

Water Conservation at Commercial Car Washes is Focus of Certification Program by International Carwash Association

Following a snowy February 2015, many Virginians may be thinking it’s time to wash the dirt and road salt off of their vehicles.

The WaterSavers® Program of the International Carwash Association promotes reduced use of fresh water, proper handling of the used water, backflow prevention, and cleaning quality at commercial car-wash facilities.  The program Web site, at http://www.carwash.org/watersavers, provides information for businesses to seek certification in the program, and a location tool for consumers to find certified facilities.  More information about the International Carwash Association is available at their main Web site, http://www.carwash.org/, or contact the group at in Chicago at (888) 422-8422; e-mail: info@carwash.org.

U.S. EPA information on water use and management in vehicle washing is available in the EPA’s “WaterSense” program document online (as PDF) at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/commercial/docs/watersense_at_work/#/179/zoomed.

Water and Land Use in Virginia State Government News Releases for Feb. 20—Feb. 26, 2015: Chesapeake Bay Ag BMPs Grant; Ag and Forestry Planning Grants; Block Grants for Water/Sewer Projects in SW Va.; Agricultural Mediation Service; Conservation Corps Snow-emergency Assistance to Town of Appalachia; Invasive Plant List, Consent Order for April 2014 James River Oil Tanker Spill in Lynchburg; Big Game 2014 Harvest Data; Conservation Officer Recruitment through Mar. 15; and Winter Oyster Season Extension

Following are titles and excerpts from Virginia state government news releases for February 20 to February 26, 2015 (as of 4 p.m. on Feb. 26), which relate to water resources or to other natural resource uses with significant potential to affect water.  To access the full text of any release, click on the release title, or (if that link doesn’t work) click on the Web address beside each agency name to go to that agency’s archive of releases.

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE – https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/

Virginia Receives Federal Grant to Advance Chesapeake Bay Cleanup; Funds will go toward agricultural best practices, 2/26/15. Excerpt: “…Virginia has been selected to receive a federal grant to accelerate the implementation of practices related to Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals. Virginia will receive $1.75 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service….   Specifically, the funds will be used over the next four years to expand the use of fencing and other techniques designed to prevent livestock from wading into streams and fouling water quality. The funds will be concentrated in the areas of Virginia where tributary streams drain to the Chesapeake Bay. The majority of Virginia’s grant—$1.45 million—will be paid out to farmers directly. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will receive the remaining $300,000, which will be distributed to the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to provide technical assistance in establishing forested buffers on agricultural land.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces Agriculture, Forestry Planning Grants for Orange County, City of Richmond, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the award of two planning grants from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).  Projects in Orange County and the City of Richmond have been awarded $40,000 to support the growth of agricultural and forestry projects in the Commonwealth. … The AFID planning grant program, funded annually at $250,000, was developed to encourage localities to plan strategically how they can better support and integrate agriculture- and forestry-based businesses into their overall economic development and job creation efforts. Since its creation in 2012, AFID planning grants have been awarded to 25 projects in 50 localities across the Commonwealth, leveraging more than $505,000 in funding.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces More Than $3 Million in Community Development Block Grant Funding, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “…$3 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) [will go to] the counties of Dickenson, Scott, York, Lee and Fauquier, as well as the town of Clarksville and the city of Franklin. Projects include water and sewer, downtown revitalization, and microenterprise. … Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Virginia receives approximately $17 million annually for this grant program. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process.  Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons….” The awards for water and sewer projects are as follows: Dickenson County, Centennial Heights/Clinchco Sewer Line Project, $300,000; Lee County, Baileytown Water Project, $100,000; and Scott County, Big Stoney Creek Water Project, $412,500.

DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES – http://vdacs.virginia.gov/news/press.shtml

Agriculture Mediation Services Available for Farm-related Disputes, 2/23/15. Excerpt: “…[A]gricultural mediation services are now available to Virginia’s agriculture community through a partnership with the North Carolina Agriculture Mediation Program (NCAMP), which operates out of Western Carolina University. Known as FARM-VA, the program is certified through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency. Although the Virginia agricultural mediation program is based in North Carolina, mediations are held in the county where the parties work or reside. … FARM-VA helps settle disputes between USDA agencies and their customers and clients.”

DEPT. OF CONSERVATION AND RECREATION – http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/pr_relz.shtml#prarch

Virginia State Parks crew providing emergency assistance to the Town of Appalachia, 2/26/15. Excerpt: A Virginia Service and Conservation Corps (VSCC) crew from Virginia State Parks has deployed to the Town of Appalachia in Wise County, to assist snowbound residents. This is the first time a Virginia State Parks VSCC crew is providing assistance to a local community. The Virginia State Parks VSCC was created in November 2014 to assist with large projects in parks—trail creation and maintenance, for example—but also to serve as a quick-response team for communities in general. … Assistance for the town of Appalachia was requested and efforts were coordinated by Virginia’s Office of Volunteer and Community Service, Virginia State Parks, and Glen “Skip” Skinner, Executive Director of LENOWISCO Planning District Commission.”

Kudzu and bamboo and privet! Oh my! New list identifies invasive plants in Virginia, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “…English ivy, golden bamboo or Japanese barberry—and 87 other [plants]—are on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s new list of non-native invasive plants of the state. … The list is for educational purposes only and has no regulatory authority. … Invasive plants can displace native plant species, reduce wildlife habitat and alter ecosystems. They threaten natural areas, parks and forests. In the United States, they cost an estimated $34 billion annually in economic loss.

DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY – http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsReleases.aspx

Proposed consent order imposes $361,000 penalty on CSX in response to James River tanker fire, 2/13/15. Excerpt: The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has proposed a consent order in response to the derailment of a railcar that caught fire in the James River in Lynchburg on April 30, 2014. The order imposes a $361,000 civil charge against tanker car owner CSX Transportation Inc. An investigation by DEQ and CSX determined that of the more than 29,000 gallons of crude oil in the breached tanker, approximately 98 percent was consumed in the fire. DEQ checked water quality for several days along the river from Lynchburg to Richmond and observed no other environmental concerns at the time. … The consent order, to which CSX has agreed, also calls for CSX to pay more than $18,500 for DEQ’s investigative costs following the oil spill. In addition, CSX will complete restoration of the James River bank in the area of the derailment and conduct monitoring of the river to determine if there are any long-term environmental impacts from the incident. The public has until March 25, 2015, to submit comments on the order before it goes to the State Water Control Board for final approval.”

DEPT. OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIEShttp://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/

Deer, Bear, Turkey Harvest Data Announced, 2/23/15. Excerpt: “While Virginia deer and turkey harvests reflected a decline from last year, the black bear harvest reached record numbers. … A bumper crop of acorns across the state coupled with management actions to meet population objectives and some higher than normal disease mortality all factored into fluctuations in populations and harvest trends.”

Virginia Conservation Police Recruitment Effort Underway, 2/23/15. Excerpt: The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is currently conducting a recruitment effort to hire up to 36 conservation police officers to be assigned to various duty stations across the Commonwealth. Virginia Conservation Police officers (CPOs) have full police authority with statewide jurisdiction. CPOs primarily enforce the fish, wildlife and boating laws…. Applications will be accepted until 5:00pm, March 13th 2015.”

MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION – http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/whatsnew.shtm

Winter Oyster Season Extension: [At its monthly meeting on 2/24/15], the Marine Resources Commission “agreed to extend the winter oyster season by almost two weeks because of snow and ice that have kept harvesters off the water for most of February. In other action the Commission suspended the sale of oyster hand scrape and dredge licenses until further notice in order to keep harvest levels from expanding from increased fishing effort.” A summary of the 2/24/15 meeting is available online at http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/Commission_Summaries/cs0215.shtm.


NO RELEASES DURING THIS PERIOD

Dept. of Forestry – http://www.dof.virginia.gov/press/index.htm

Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries – http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/

Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy – http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/Newsroom.shtml

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Feb. 27–Mar. 16, 2015

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

3/3/15, 11 a.m.: Aquaculture Advisory Board. At the Virginia Farm Bureau office in Goochland County’s West Creek Business Park, Conference Room 3F, 12580 West Creek Parkway in Richmond.

3/3/15, 4:30 p.m.: Marine Products Board. At the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Watermen’s Hall, 1208 Greate Road in Gloucester Point.

3/5/15, 9:30 a.m.: Soil and Water Conservation Board. At 600 East Main Street, 24th Floor, in Richmond.

3/6/15, 10 a.m.: Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority Board. At Engineering Hall, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

3/10/15, 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.

3/12/15, 9 a.m.: Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

*          *          *
MEETINGS OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions during General Assembly sessions (regular and special), see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+oth+MTG; use the drop-down menu on the left to pick the session of interest (current or past). Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services is available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions.html.

1/14/15 to 2/28/15 (scheduled adjournment date): Virginia General Assembly. The reconvened (“veto”) session is scheduled for April 15. Live video streams of floor sessions are available at http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3 for the House and http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3 for the Senate.

Committees are key parts of the General Assembly process. Legislation about water or about activities that can affect water may be assigned to any of several standing committees, most of which meet weekly during the General Assembly session. Information about all standing committees—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available online at http://lis.virginia.gov/151/com/COM.HTM.

*          *          *
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.

3/3/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in South Fork Holston River, Bishop Branch, Grosses Creek, and Slemp Creek, all in the Holston River/Upper Tennessee River watershed in Smyth and Washington and Smyth counties. At Town Hall, 325 East Lee Highway in Chilhowie.

3/4/15, 2:30 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in the Mattaponi River and 13 tributaries, located in the York River watershed in the counties of Caroline, King and Queen, and Spotsylvania. At Bowling Green Town Hall, 117 Butler Street in Bowling Green.

3/5/15, 9 a.m., on the TMDL study of aquatic life (benthic) impairments in Lodge Creek, Meadow Creek, Moores Creek, and Schenks Branch, all in the Rivanna River/James River watershed in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. At Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, 407 East Water Street in Charlottesville.

*          *          *
MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Climate Change
2/27/15, 10 a.m.: Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission/Public Education Work Group. At the Department of Environmental Quality Central Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond. On July 1, 2014, Virginia Gov. Terry McCauliffe signed Executive Order 19, which re-convened the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission. The Commission is to review, update, and prioritize the recommendations of the 2008 Virginia Climate Change Action Plan (available online at http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/state/state-examples/action-plans.html#va).  The group is to issue a report by June 30, 2015. For more information, see Gov. McAuliffe’s 7/1/14 news release at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=5342.

Fort Monroe
3/5/15, 1 p.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees. At 490 Fenwick Road in Fort Monroe.  On 3/12/15, 9 a.m., the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee meets at 151 Bernard Road in Fort Monroe.  In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there. Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836. In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm). More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at http://www.fmauthority.com/.

Infrastructure Construction Funding
3/2/15, 12:30 p.m.: Virginia Resources Authority (VRA) Strategic Planning Committee.   3/2/15 at 1:30 p.m.: VRA Legislative Committee. 3/2/15, 2:30 p.m.: VRA Personnel Committee. 3/2/15, 3:30 p.m.: VRA Portfolio Risk Management Committee. 3/3/15, 8:30 a.m.: VRA Budget Committee. 3/3/15, 9:30 a.m., and 3/10/15, 9 a.m.: VRA Board of Directors.  All at the VRA Office, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 1920, in Richmond.

Land and Watershed Management
3/3/15, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Department of Aviation public hearing on proposed runway extension at Richmond Executive-Chesterfield County Airport. At the Chesterfield County Public Meeting Room, 1001 Iron Bridge Road in Chesterfield. According to the Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, the airport has proposed an 800-foot runway extension and associated property interest acquisition, relocation of navigational aids and fueling facilities, and removal of tree obstructions. Prior to approving the airport’s License Modification Application, the Department of Aviation must consider the environmental review conducted by the DEQ, and the DEQ also coordinates the Commonwealth’s review of documents to ensure that federal activities that can affect Virginia’s coastal resources and uses are conducted in ways that are consistent with Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program. The public comment period on the proposal runs 2/15/15 through 3/17/15.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
2/27/15, 9 a.m.: DMME Review and Reconsideration Hearing for Denial of Application 1003841 (Ison Rock Ridge) by A & G Coal Corporation for a permit under Virginia’s Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations. At the DMME office, 3405 Mountain Empire Road in Big Stone Gap. The proposed site is located 0.8 miles West of Andover (Wise County).

State Parks
3/12/15, 6 p.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation public meeting on update of the Hungry Mother State Park Master Plan. At Hungry Mother State Park, Hemlock Haven Conference Center, 2854 Park Boulevard in Marion (Smyth County).

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 24, 2015

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 February 24, 2015.  (For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper 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/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map) over the past seven days.   The maps were accessed on 2/25/15 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 2/25/15, these data are provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Feb 24Precip perc Feb 24
 

For another precipitation-information source: 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.  As an example, shown below is the map of one-day precipitation ending at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on February 25, 2015.  (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)

Precip National Feb25

 

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending February 24, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 2/25/15).  The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows at 81 stream-gaging stations in Virginia and just beyond the state border to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  (Please note: the USGS map for the average 7-day flow in Virginia usually has readings from about 140 stations.  But according to the USGS, about 60 stations during the 7-day period ending 2/24/15  were affected by ice, so a seven-day average could not be calculated. The empty circles on the map below indicate those stations.)   The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records are as shown in the following chart (the higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow relative to normal for the site and time of year).

KEEP ON DESK _ Stream Flow Chart

streams Feb 25

 

 

On Virginia Water Radio for 2-23-15: Sparrows

This week, Virginia Water Radio features human and avian melodies to highlight a large group of bird species known for their small size, diverse songs, and widespread distribution (including in many water-related habitats).  Click here to have a listen (3 min./55 sec.)

Virginia Water Radio, online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org, is the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s weekly podcast using sounds and music to focus on issues, events, people, and creatures connected to Virginia’s waters.

Water and Land Use in Virginia State Government News Releases for Feb. 13—Feb. 19, 2015: Mid-Feb. Winter Storm Response, Community Supported Agriculture, Disaster Declaration for 2014 Drought in Bath and Highland Counties, State Park Camping Opening Date, Hungry Mother State Park Master Plan, Wild Turkey Hunt Event, and Cold-weather Safety

Following are titles and short excerpts from Virginia state government news releases for February 13 to February 19, 2015, that relate to water resources or to other natural resource uses with significant potential to affect water.   To access the full text of any release, click on the release title, or (if that link doesn’t work) click on the Web address beside each agency name to go to that agency’s archive of releases.

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE – https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/

State Agencies Respond to Winter Storm, 2/17/15.   Excerpt: “…The storm dropped as much as 12 inches of snow in some parts of the state, leaving Virginians with snow-packed, icy roads and very low temperatures for the next few days.  Residents are encouraged to protect themselves by limiting travel, staying inside and taking safety precautions. … Here’s a list of current state agency storm response efforts and how they are assisting Virginians: Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews continue to work 12-hour shifts across the commonwealth to treat and plow roads as needed. … VDOT’s goal is to make all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours of the end of a storm. … From 4 p.m. Monday through 12 p.m. Tuesday, Virginia State Police troopers and dispatchers statewide have fielded 3,363 calls for service. During that period Virginia troopers responded to 1,035 traffic crashes and 1,023 disabled vehicles statewide. … The Virginia National Guard is returning to routine operations after staging personnel at readiness centers across the state for possible winter storm response operations, and senior leaders expect most personnel to be released from state active duty by end of the day Feb, 17, 2015.  More than 125 Virginia National Guard personnel were on standby for possible missions across the commonwealth Tuesday morning, Feb. 17, 2015.”

Governor McAuliffe Declares State of Emergency for Winter Storm Response, 2/16/15.  Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency today, an action that authorizes state agencies to assist local governments in responding to the winter storm that is sweeping across the commonwealth today through tomorrow morning and is expected to blanket many parts of the state with 3-14 inches of snow.   In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia.  This action does not apply to individuals or private businesses.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces VDOT is in High Response Mode for Statewide Snow Storm to Impact Virginia Beginning Monday [Feb. 16], 2/16/15.  Excerpt: “…Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are prepared and ready for a statewide winter storm that is expected to bring significant snow fall across Virginia beginning Monday morning.  Up to a foot of snow is expected in the far western region of the state and four to nine inches of snow across the rest of the state. … During the height of a statewide storm, 2,500 crew members in addition to contractors work in shifts to treat roads and remove snow.   VDOT and its contractors have nearly 12,000 pieces of equipment, including plows, trucks and motor graders for snow removal operations.  VDOT started the season with over 550,000 tons of salt, sand and treated abrasives and about 565,000 gallons of calcium chloride and salt brine.”

DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES – http://vdacs.virginia.gov/news/press.shtml

Subscription Programs Deliver Farm-Fresh, Virginia Grown Products, 2/18/15.  Excerpt: The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages Virginians to consider enrolling or re-enrolling in a CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] program to support local agriculture and obtain fresh, seasonal food and farm products.  CSA members pay an upfront subscription fee as a share of a farm’s harvest, and then receive a portion of the crops as they’re harvested.”

Two Virginia Counties—Bath and Highland—Receive Primary Disaster Declarations for Drought in 2014, 2/18/15.  Excerpt: “The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced today that Highland County received U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designation as a primary disaster area due to drought that occurred from June 1 through October 31, 2014.  Bath County received a similar designation due to drought that occurred from August 22 through October 15, 2014.  Alleghany, Augusta, and Rockbridge Counties were named contiguous disaster counties, meaning they border a county named as a primary disaster area.  A federal Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.  This assistance includes FSA emergency loans.  Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.”

DEPT. OF CONSERVATION AND RECREATION – http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/pr_relz.shtml#prarch

Virginia State Parks campsites to open March 6 [2015], 2/19/15. Excerpt: The opening day of camping season in Virginia State Parks is changing [from March 1].  Campgrounds will open Friday, March 6. … Managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia State Parks offers more than 1,800 campsites, ranging from primitive camping to RV sites with electric and water hookups.”  [The news release notes several exceptions to the new opening date; visit http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/ or phone 800-933-PARK (7275) for information on specific parks.]

Hungry Mother State Park master plan to be discussed March 12 [2015], 2/18/15.  Excerpt: “A public meeting to discuss long-range planning for Hungry Mother State Park in Smyth County will be March 12, 6 p.m., in Ferrell Hall at the Hemlock Haven Conference Center, Hungry Mother State Park, 2854 Park Blvd., Marion, Virginia.  Virginia law requires that master plans be written for all Virginia State Parks.  The plans cover the size, types and locations of facilities as well as the site’s special features and resources.  Plans also address roads and utilities, and outline phased development and costs for operations, maintenance and staffing.  Each state park master plan is reviewed and updated as necessary every five years.”

DEPT. OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIEShttp://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/

The 2015 Virginia Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt, 2/13/15.  Excerpt: “…[The] First Annual Virginia Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt, to be based out of Richmond, Virginia, [will take place] on April 17 and 18, 2015. … The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia (WFV) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) are coordinating this inaugural event. … WFV and DGIF work in partnership to acquire land, improve wildlife habitat, and develop events to connect people to the outdoors.  Proceeds from the 2015 Virginia Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt will be used to promote hunting opportunities across Virginia.”

DEPT. OF HEALTH – http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/news/PressReleases/2015/index.htm

State Officials Advise Virginians to Take Precautions in Extreme Cold Weather, 2/13/15.  Excerpt: “The Virginia Departments of Health and Emergency Management encourage everyone to protect themselves against serious health problems that can result from prolonged exposure to the cold [particularly frostbite and hypothermia]. .. To lower your risk:
*Wear…appropriate clothing like gloves/mittens, hats, scarves and snow boots.
*Dress in several layers of loose-fitting clothing and cover your face and mouth if possible.
*Be aware of the wind chill factor; wind can cause body-heat loss.
*Stay dry, and if you become wet, head indoors and remove any wet clothing immediately.
*Limit your time outdoors. Make sure you monitor the time your children are out in the cold.
*Do not ignore shivering…; [p]ersistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.
*If the heat in your home doesn’t work properly, contact your local government to find a warming center near you.
*Check on others who might not be able to care for themselves.”

NO RELEASES DURING THIS PERIOD

Dept. of Environmental Quality – http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsReleases.aspx

Dept. of Forestry – http://www.dof.virginia.gov/press/index.htm

Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy – http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/Newsroom.shtml

Marine Resources Commission – http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/whatsnew.shtm