On Virginia Water Radio for 11-30-15: Annual Winter Preparedness Episode, Enhanced by “Winter is Coming” by The Steel Wheels

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of November 30, 2015, is “Winter is Coming,” by The Steel Wheels, Gives the Cue for Winter Preparedness and Safety in 2015-16.   The 4 min./15 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2015/11/episode-292-11-30-15-winter-is-coming.html, focuses on Virginia’s Winter Preparedness Week, Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2015.

SNOW SLV igloo Feb15 2014 inside view TWO

View from inside an igloo constructed by Blacksburg, Va., residents in February 2014.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Nov. 25–Dec. 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.


12/1/15, 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. The Board’s Wetland Delineator Exam Committee meets at 11 a.m. on the same day and at the same location.

12/2/15, 10 a.m.: Department of Health’s Sewage Handling and Disposal Advisory Committee. In the 5th Floor Main Conference Room of the James Madison Building, 109 Governor Street in Richmond.

12/3/15, 10 a.m.: Board for Waste Management Facility Operators. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

12/4/15, 10 a.m.: Waste Management Board. At the Department of Environmental Quality Main Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.

12/5/15, 11 a.m.: Cave Board. At Town Hall in Grottoes (Rockingham County).

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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.

12/2/15, 9:30 a.m.: Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund Advisory Committee. In Senate Room 2, the Capitol Building, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond. The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund Advisory Committee advises the General Assembly on use of money received in the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund from special Bay license plates. More information on the Committee is available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/cbr.htm.

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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.

12/3/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacterial impairments in bacterial impairments in the North and South Fork Roanoke River and tributaries, Bradshaw Creek, Goose Creek, and Wilson Creek, in the Roanoke River/Albemarle Sound, N.C., watershed in the counties of Floyd, Montgomery, and Roanoke. At Meadowbrook Community Room, 267 Alleghany Spring Road in Shawsville (Montgomery County).

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(topics listed alphabetically)

Energy – All
12/7/15, 1 p.m.: Virginia Energy Council. In Conference Room 1 of the Patrick Henry Building, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond. The Virginia Energy Council was formed in June 2014 by executive order of Gov. Terry McAuliffe to help develop and implement a comprehensive energy strategy for Virginia and deliver recommendations for the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan (which updated the 2010 version of the plan). For more information on the Virginia Energy Council, see the following link to the 6/4/14 news release from the Virginia governor’s office: Governor McAuliffe Signs Executive Order to Establish the Virginia Energy Council. The 2014 state energy plan is available online at http://commerce.virginia.gov/2014-va-energy-plan/. The 2010 plan is available online at http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/VEP_TitlePage.html.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
12/1/15, 7 p.m.: State Water Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a permit-reissuance application by Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO) for the coal-fired Dominion-Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County. At Central Elementary School, 3340 Central Plains Road in Palmyra. The facility proposes to release cooling water, treated industrial wastewater, and stormwater in Fluvanna County in the James River/Bear Garden Creek/South Creek watershed at a combined rate of 172.2 million gallons per day from seven outfalls. The reissuance addresses additional industrial wastewater and stormwater discharges associated with the closure of the facility’s ash ponds pursuant to a 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Final Rule that regulates the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR). The public comment period is October 30-December 14, 2015.

Energy – Solar
12/3/15, 1 p.m.: Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority. In House Room 1 of the Capitol Building, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond. The 2015 General Assembly (SB 1099) created this Authority to to facilitate, coordinate, and support the development of the solar energy industry and solar-powered electric energy facilities in the Commonwealth.

Energy – Wind
12/2/15, 10 a.m.: Offshore Wind Development Authority. At Tuckahoe Library, 1901 Starling Drive in Henrico. According to the Authority’s Web site, http://wind.jmu.edu/offshore/vowda/index.html, the 2010 Virginia General Assembly (companion bills HB 389 and SB 577) created this Authority to “facilitate, coordinate, and support development of the offshore wind energy industry, offshore wind energy projects, and supply chain vendors….”

12/7/15, 9 a.m.: Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee/Work Group #1, on Alternative Sources of Supply; and 12/7/15, 1 p.m.: Work Group 2A on Alternative Management Structures. Both meetings 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.

Infrastructure Construction Funding
12/7/15, 1 p.m.: Virginia Resources Authority (VRA) Personnel Committee; and 12/7/15, 2 p.m.: VRA Risk Management Committee. At the VRA Offices in the Bank of American Building 1111 East Main Street in Richmond.

River Basin Advisory Committees and Commissions
12/2/15, 1 p.m.: Rappahannock River Basin Commission. In House Room C of the General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond. The Commission was established by the Virginia General Assembly (see Va. Code section 62.1-69.27 to “provide guidance for the stewardship and enhancement of the water quality and natural resources of the Rappahannock River Basin.” More information on the work of the Commission is available online at http://rappriverbasin.org/.

On Virginia Water Radio for Thanksgiving week 2015: Thanks for Many Virginia Musicians’ Water Themes

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of November 23, 2015, is Thanks for Musical Measures of Water.  For Thanksgiving, this episode gives thanks for water-related music by providing samples of how water is used by various Virginia musicians.  The 4 min./00 sec. episode is available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2015/11/episode-291-11-23-15-thanks-for-musical.html.  Happy Thanksgiving!

USED Jan04 New River Trail turkey tracks 12-21-03

Wild Turkey tracks on the New River Trail near Foster Falls, Va. (Wythe County), Dec. 21, 2003.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two! 

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending November 17, 2015, Plus a Mid-Month Drought Assessment

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending November 17, 2015.  Also below is an excerpt from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force’s daily map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of November 18.  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/.


The following two color-coded maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts over the seven-day period ending November 17, 2015 (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation compared to normal for this period of the year (bottom map). The maps were accessed on 11/18/15 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).

VA Precip Nov 17

VA Precip Perc Nov 17

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

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over the seven-day period ending November 17, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map on 11/18/15. 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 color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.

VA Streams Nov17

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Mid-month Drought Status Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its latest Virginia drought-status report on October 8, 2015. The next report is scheduled for November.

The DMTF also produces a daily map rating drought-status indicators. Shown below is the November 18, 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 Nov18.jpg


Chesapeake Bay Program Approach for Granting Nutrient-reduction Credits for Farms’ Nutrient-management Plans Described in Nov. 2015 Bay Journal Article

In November 2015, the Chesapeake Bay Program approved a plan to award greater nutrient-reduction credits for nutrient-management plans by farms in the Bay watershed while also requiring Bay states to improve the information they provide on how well the nutrient-management plans are actually implemented. Reductions of the levels of plant nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus in Bay waters are a key goal under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollution-reduction plan issued by the U.S. EPA in December 2010, but the Bay Program (a regional partnership among federal and state agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions that leads and directs Chesapeake Bay restoration), has struggled with how much credit farm nutrient-management plans should receive toward state nutrient-reduction goals.  This Nov. 16, 2015, Bay Journal article, Bay Program OKs controversial nutrient reduction credits for farms, describes the developments over the past several years to address that problem.

Virginia Oyster Harvest Increased by 24 Percent from 2013 to 2014; Highest Since 1986

On November 10, 2015, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that the Commonwealth’s commercial oyster harvest in 2014-15 was almost 659,000 bushes, a 24-percent increase over 2013-14 (about 532,000 bushels) and the largest since 1986-87 (about 781,000 bushels).  This harvest was still far below, however, the harvests of 3 to 4 million bushels per year in the late 1950s.  (Information on the history of Virginia’s oyster harvests is available from the VMRC online at http://www.mrc.state.va.us/SMAC/VA-Oyster-Harvests.pdf.)

The 2014-15 harvest from privately leased bottomlands was about 357,000 bushels; from wild oyster beds on public bottomlands, about 302,000 bushels. The dockside value of the 2014-15 harvest was $33.8 million.

According to the governor’s office’s news release on the harvest, “The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) manages the oyster stocks through rotational oyster harvest areas and by spreading fossil oyster shells mined annually from beneath the James River on public oyster grounds in its oyster replenishment program. These fossil shells become home for naturally occurring oyster larvae that attach to them during spawning and grow to form new adult oysters that will reach market size in roughly three years. This oyster replenishment program provides significant ecological as well as economic benefits. … The VMRC also leases water bottoms for the purpose of propagating oysters…and now has more than 121,000 acres under lease to Virginia citizens and businesses. This is the highest acreage under lease since the 1960s.”

Sources: Virginia Oyster Harvests Continue to Soar; Last year’s harvest increased to the highest level since 1986, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 11/10/15; and Virginia oyster harvest up 24 percent in 2014, Associated Press, as published by Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11/10/15.

For two audio takes on oysters and oystering in Virginia and elsewhere, have a listen to Virginia Water Radio episodes 279 (8-24-15) and 280 (9-7-15), “Oysters, Nitrogen and the Chesapeake Bay,” parts 1 and 2, respectively.

Dominion Virginia Power Proposed Integrated Resource Plan through 2030 – Public Hearings Held in October 2015 by Va. SCC

On October 20-22, 2015, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) held a hearing on Dominion Virginia Power’s most recent plans for how the company expects to provide electricity through 2030, including the roles that renewable energy and nuclear energy are likely to play. The plans are described in the company’s latest Integrated Resource Plan, filed with the SCC on July 1, 2015. Access to the plan is available online at https://www.dom.com/corporate/what-we-do/electricity/generation/2015-integrated-resource-planning.

SCC information on Dominion’s case (case number is PUE-2015-00035) is available online at http://www.scc.virginia.gov/docketsearch#caseDetails/134454.  SCC Webcasts of its October hearings on Dominion’s plan are available online at http://www.scc.virginia.gov/case/hrg_archives.aspx. Part of the company’s plans currently are seek in 2019 second 20-year renewal for the Surry Nuclear Power Station, which began operation with a 40-year permit in 1972 and received its first 20-year renewal in 2003.

Additional sources and related media accounts:
Dominion to seek renewal of Surry license, Suffolk News-Herald, 11/11/15.
Can N.C., Va. meet new carbon standards without Atlantic Coast Pipeline?, Charlotte Business Journal, 11/11/15.
Virginia’s Electric Future, WVTF/Radio IQ-Roanoke, 11/9/15.
Dominion outlines new power plan, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/2/15.