Virginia (and Elsewhere) Water News Headlines Sampler for May 21-29, 2014: Stream-fencing, Sea-level Rise, Natural Gas, Werowocomoco, USDA Grants, VEE Grants, Maryland Wind Energy Proposal, West Virginia Watewater Grants, and Montana Study of Trout and Climate Change

Following are headlines and notes for a selection of water-news stories from the period May 21—29, 2014, that occurred in Virginia, occurred in nearby areas, or are otherwise relevant to Virginia. The headlines are grouped by topics and—within those groups—from newest to oldest.  Explanatory notes have been added in brackets after the publication and date.  Unless otherwise noted, all places mentioned are in Virginia.  As of 5/30/14, all headlines listed below had working hyperlinks to take you to the full article, but those links may or may not be working at later dates.

Chesapeake Bay Clean Up/Restoration
Dubious Stream-Fencing Numbers Reveal Limitations of Bay Model, Lancaster [Penn.] Farming, 5/24/14 – Virginia has an objective of adding stream-side fencing to restrict cattle access to 4,700 miles of streams in Chesapeake Bay tributary watersheds by 2025; the Commonwealth and the Chesapeake Bay Program are working to make on-the-ground estimates of progress toward this goal correspond more closely to information used in the Bay Program’s computer models that assess progress toward the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

Climate Change (see also below under “Montana” for another climate item)
Hampton Roads landmarks in crosshairs of climate change, Daily Press, as published by Stars and Stripes, 5/21/14; and Sea Level Rise Endangers Historic Sites Around Chesapeake Bay, Associated Press, 5/21/14 – On May 20, 2014, the Union of Concerned Scientists released “National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites.”  The 84-page report, available online at http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/national-landmarks-at-risk-from-climate-change.html, presents case studies of sea-level-rise risks at 23 U.S. coastal areas, including four in Virginia: Fort Monroe National Monument, Jamestown, the NASA Langley Research Center, and the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility.

Energy
U.S. groups seek more time to comment on Dominion LNG export project, Reuters, 5/21/14 – On May 21, 2014, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Earthjustice filed petitions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking that the agency extend by 60 days the current mid-June deadline for public comment on FERC’s environmental review of the proposal by Richmond-based Dominion Resources to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal at Cove Point, on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Dominion considers new W.Va.-Va.-N.C. pipeline, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/28/14 – Richmond-based Dominion Resources is considering a 480-mile, natural gas pipeline that would transport gas extracted from Appalachian shale formations from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina.

Fisheries
East Coast menhaden harvest decreased 26% from 2012, Bay Journal, 5/27/14 – In 2013, the first year of new restrictions imposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the harvest of Atlantic Menhaden along the eastern United States coast—including the Chesapeake Bay—decreased by 26 percent from 2012.

Land Use
Werowocomoco National Park? It would benefit both tourism and scholarship, William & Mary News, 5/21/14 – On May 20, 2014, Va. Gov. Terry McCauliffe toured Werowocomoco, the York River site at the center of the Algonquin Indian people led by Chief Powhatan in the 1600s and now proposed for a national park.

Paying for Water
USDA launches $1.2 billion in competitive grants for conservation projects, Charlotte [Va.] Observer, 5/30/14; and New federal farm program should help fight Chesapeake Bay pollution, Roanoke Times, 5/28/14 – On May 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) started the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a program authorized by the new Farm Bill passed in February 2014.  Over the next five years, the program will offer $1.2 billion in competitive grants (requiring a match) for conservation projects nationwide.

Virginia Environmental Endowment awards nearly $300K in grants, Augusta Free Press, 5/25/14 – In late May 2014, the Virginia Environmental Endowment announced about 14 grants totaling about $300,000 for projects on water quality, environmental literacy, land conservation, and “emerging” environmental issues.

Outside of Virginia But in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Gov.’s veto might not end wind debate, The (Gaithersburg Md.) Gazette, 5/21/14 – The Pioneer Green company, based in Austin, Texas, is proposing to build the Great Bay Wind Energy Center, a wind-generating project across the Chesapeake Bay off of Somerset County, Maryland.  On May 16, 2014, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley vetoed a Maryland General Assembly bill that would have delayed the project; Assembly members have expressed concerns about possible impacts on the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, located across the Bay from Somerset County in St. Mary’s County. Information from Pioneer Green is available online at http://greatbaywind.com/about/.

W.Va. clean water loan program marks milestone, Associated Press, as published by [Steubenville, Ohio] Herald-Star, 5/21/14 – In May 2014, West Virginia’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund reached the $1-billion mark in loans (320 total) since 1992 to localities for wastewater-infrastructure projects.

In Montana, but with Worldwide Implications
Climate Change Accelerates Hybridization between Native and Invasive Species of Trout, U.S. Geological Survey News Release, 5/25/14 – On May 25, 2014, the scientific journal Nature Climate Change published “Invasive hybridization in a threatened species is accelerated by climate change,” research by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), University of Montana, and the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department.  The USGS news release on the research asserts that the study is the first to support directly the assumption that “climate change could decrease worldwide biodiversity through cross-breeding between invasive and native species.”  The research study is available online at http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2252.html.

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