Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending August 25, 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 August 25, 2015.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.

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 seven-day period ending August 25, 2015.  The maps were accessed on 8/26/15 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 that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Aug25Precipperc Aug25

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.  Shown below are U.S. maps of precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the 7-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on August 26, 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 US
precip perc US

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over the seven-day period ending August 25, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap on 8/26/15.  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 “bluer” the color of the dots, the higher the percentile and flow relative to normal for the site and time of year; the “redder” the dots, the lower the percentile and flow relative to normal.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.

Streams Aug 25KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Climate Exploratorium in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 8-10, 2015; Organized by Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability

On October 8-10, 2015, in Arlington, Va., Virginia Tech’s  Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and the university’s National Capital Region will hold “Climate Exploratorium–Innovative Approaches to Wicked Problems.”  According to the event’s Web site, the event aims to “[bring] together science and the arts [and] interactively engage
stakeholders in a civil discourse on pressing challenges related to climate change in urban environments.”

For more information, visit http://climate2015.ncr.vt.edu/; phone (571) 858-3338; or e-mail ncr_web@vt.edu.

Four Potential Natural Gas Pipeline Projects Affecting Virginia Summarized in 8/18/15 Article by Bacon’s Rebellion

A Plethora of Pipelines, published on August 18, 2015, by Bacon’s Rebellion, a blog by Jim Bacon, provides background information on four currently proposed or possible natural gas pipeline projects whose routes would, or already do, cross parts of Virginia.  The article is available online at http://www.baconsrebellion.com/2015/08/a-plethora-of-pipelines.html.

The four projects discussed in the article are the following:

1) EQT Corporation of Pennsylvania and NextEra Energy of Florida, collaborating to form Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC: approximately 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline from West Virginia to a connection at Chatham, in Pittsylvania County, Va., with the existing Transcontinental, or Transco, pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York.

2) Dominion Resources and several partners: approximately 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia through central Virginia to North Carolina.

3) Williams Company, headquartered in Oklahoma: Appalachian Connector (formerly called the Western Marcellus Pipeline), which would run from Ohio/West Virginia to Chatham, Va.; at Chatham, the pipeline would connect with the Transco pipeline, which Williams operates.

4) Columbia Pipeline Group: WB Xpress, a significant expansion and upgrade of its existing pipeline network in Virginia and West Virginia.

More information about the proposed pipeline projects and other natural gas developments in Virginia is available at this Water Central News Grouper post.  The post includes links to many other sources of information, including a long list of related news articles in 2014-15.

On Virginia Water Radio for 8-24-15: Oysters, Nitrogen, and the Chesapeake Bay – Part 1

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of August 24, 2015, is “Oysters, Nitrogen, and the Chesapeake Bay – Part 1.”  The 4 min./23 sec. episode examines the historic and modern importance of the Eastern Oyster.  The episode features “The Oystermen’s Ball,” by  Bob Michel of Pennsylvania.  Have a listen!

Part 2, next week, will examine Virginia research on oysters’ role in processing nitrogen in the Bay.

Photo 1 Oyster boats

Oysters boats at Chincoteague, Va., April 1946. Photo made available for public use by the NOAA Photo Library (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/U.S. Department of Commerce), image ID fizh0394 in NOAA’s Historic Fisheries Collection, accessed online at http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/index.html.

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

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending August 18, 2015, Plus a Mid-Month Drought Assessment

Precipitation (online, do as Heading 4, bold, darkest blue color)

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 18, 2015.  Also below is a map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of August 19.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.

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 seven-day period ending August 18, 2015.  The maps were accessed on 8/19/15 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 that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).
Precip Aug18Precip perc Aug 18

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. Shown below are U.S. maps of precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the 7-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on August 19, 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.)

full.phpprecipperc us

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over the seven-day period ending August 18, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap on 8/19/15.  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 “bluer” the color of the dots, the higher the percentile and flow relative to normal for the site and time of year; the “redder” the dots, the lower the percentile and flow relative to normal. The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.

streams Aug 18KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Mid-month Drought Status Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators. Shown below is the August 19, 2015, 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.

Drought VA Aug 19

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Aug. 18–Sep. 7, 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.

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

8/18/15, 9 a.m.: Gas and Oil Board. At the Russell County Office Building, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.

8/18/15, 11 a.m.: Aquaculture Advisory Board. At the Virginia Farm Bureau office in Goochland County’s West Creek Business Park, 12580 West Creek Parkway in Richmond.

8/18/15, 4:30 p.m.: Marine Products Board. At the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Watermen’s Hall, 1208 Greate Road in Gloucester Point (Gloucester County).

8/20/15, 9 a.m.: Board of Game and Inland Fisheries. At 7870 Villa Park Drive in Henrico.

8/20/15, 10 a.m.: Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority. At Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Engineering East Hall, Room E3218, 401 W Main Street in Richmond.

8/25/15, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission. At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

9/1/15, 11 a.m.: Cave Board. At the Department of Conservation and Recreation main office, 600 East Main Street in Richmond

9/2/15, 10 a.m.: Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Board Room 4, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

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MEETINGS OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES

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.

8/19/15, 1 p.m.: Joint Commission on Technology and Science. At House Room D in the General Assembly Building, 9th & Broad Streets in Richmond.

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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.

8/27/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL study of bacterial impairments in the South Fork Holston River and tributaries Bishop Branch, Grosses Creek, and Slemp Creek, all in the Holston River/Upper Tennessee River basin in Smyth and Washington counties. At Chilhowie Town Hall, 325 East Lee Highway in Chilhowie (Smyth County).

9/2/15, 3 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in the Hardware River and North Fork Hardware River, located in the James River watershed in Albemarle and Fluvanna Counties. At the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District office, 706 Forest Street in Charlottesville.

*          *          *

MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Agriculture/Forestry
8/27/15, 9 a.m.: Virginia Agricultural Council.   At the Skelton Conference Center, 901 Prices Fork Road in Blacksburg. The Virginia Agricultural Council was established by the General Assembly in 1966 to assist in financing agricultural research, education, and services. More information about the Council is available online at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/about/boards.shtml.

Biosolids (Treated Wastewater Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
8/19/15, 7 p.m.: On the permit application by Nutri-Blend, Inc., of Richmond, and Synagro Central LLC of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids in Goochland County. At the Goochland Branch Library, 3075 River Road West in Goochland.

Climate Change
8/31/15, 1 p.m.: Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission. In the West Reading Room, Patrick Henry Building, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond. On July 1, 2014, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe 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 https://naturalresources.virginia.gov/media/3930/ccc_final_report-final_12152008.pdf). For more information, see Gov. McAuliffe’s 7/1/14 news release at https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=5342, or the governor’s executive order reconvening the Commission, online at https://governor.virginia.gov/media/3348/eo-19-convening-the-governors-climate-change-and-resiliency-update-commission.pdf.

Energy – Fossil Fuels/Groundwater
9/3/15, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Leaking Heating Oil Tanks Cleanup Program Stakeholder Group. At the DEQ central office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond. According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, Item 363 of the state budget passed by the 2015 Virginia General Assembly required the DEQ to “form a stakeholder working group to advise DEQ [on a review of] current guidance and policy governing the cleanup of petroleum releases. The review is expected to consider [the following]: a) if DEQ’s present guidance is being applied uniformly across regional offices; b) the adequacy of DEQ’s guidance with respect to groundwater protection regulations and DEQ’s technical regulations regarding petroleum spill remediation; and c) the appropriate deductibles for homeowners.” The DEQ is to submit a report by November 30, 2015, to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees. For more information about this review, contact Melissa Porterfield, (804) 698-4238 or e-mail: melissa.porterfield@deq.virginia.gov.

Groundwater
8/18/15, 1 p.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee. At the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. 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.

Fort Monroe
8/20/15, 1 p.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees. At 490 Fenwick Road in Fort Monroe. In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there. Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836. In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm). More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at http://www.fmauthority.com/.

State Parks
8/24/15, 6 p.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation public meeting on the Claytor Lake State Park Master Plan.  At Water’s Edge Meeting Facility, 6620 Ben H. Bolen Drive in Dublin (Pulaski County).

Stormwater
8/24/15, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Group. At the DEQ DEQ’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. According to the Regulatory Town Hall notices about these meetings, the Advisory Group was “formed by the Department of Environmental Quality, at the request of the chairs of the Senate and House natural resources committees, to consider ways to streamline and clarify the Stormwater Management Act, Erosion and Sediment Control Law, and Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, while continuing to ensure the protection of the Commonwealth’s water quality. The Group [includes] representatives of local government, agriculture, the development and engineering communities, environmental organizations, and other necessary participants.”   The DEQ’s Web page for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

Waste Management – Solid Waste
8/20/15, 7 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on a draft permit modification for the Region 2000 Regional Landfill in Campbell County, regarding a new disposal area, a new liner design, and a new cap design. At Yellow Branch Elementary School, 377 Dennis Riddle Drive in Rustburg. The public comment period runs 7/19/15 to 9/4/15.

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
8/25/15, 3 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) General Permit for Domestic Sewage Discharges Less Than or Equal to 1,000 Gallons per Day. At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen. The DEQ and State Water Control Board are reviewing the regulations for reissuance and possible amendment. The pertinent section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 9 VAC 25-110. The notice of intended regulatory action (NOIRA) was published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on October 20, 2014, and the proposed changes appeared on July 27, 2015. The public comment period runs 7/27/15 to 9/25/15. Information about the regulation is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=2092.

Two Virginia Water Resources Studies Called for by 2015 General Assembly: 1) Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee Convenes Aug. 18, 2015; 2) JLARC to Study Groundwater and Surface Water Planning and Management

The 2015 Virginia General Assembly passed two sets of bills that call for examination of various aspects of Virginia’s water resources.

Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee

First, the General Assembly passed HB 1924 and SB 1341, companion bills that established the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee.  The Committee is to assist the State Water Commission and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for groundwater in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.   The Committee’s first meeting is 8/18/15, 1 p.m., at the DEQ’s Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen.

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.

Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission Study of Virginia’s Water Resources Planning and Management

The 2015 General Assembly also passed HJ 623, which directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to study Virginia’s water resource planning and management, particularly with regard to groundwater. The resolution called for the JLARC study to consider and assess the following:
i) the extent to which groundwater and surface water consumption is unsustainable, the potential effects of any unsustainable consumption, and the risk of over-consumption in the future;
ii) the effectiveness of the state’s permitting process for groundwater and surface water withdrawals; …the effectiveness of state and local water resource planning, particularly with regard to groundwater, including the role state and local plans play in water withdrawal permitting;
iii) the adequacy of current funding and staff levels for managing Virginia’s water resources;
iv) the need for strategies and practices to preserve or increase the amount of groundwater and surface water available for future consumption; and
v) any other issues and, make any other recommendations, as appropriate.

As of August 17, 2015, the JLARC study had not yet started.  Information on the current status of JLARC studies is available online at http://jlarc.virginia.gov/projectstatus.asp.

News Articles on One or Both Studies
(Listed from most recent to oldest; hyperlinks were working at the time of posting, but they may not be later.)

New panel looks at why underground water is disappearing east of Interstate 95, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/18/15.

Groundwater Management Committee to be watched closely by James City County, Virginia Gazette, 8/14/15.