Water and Land Use in Virginia State Government News Releases for Jan. 15—Jan. 23, 2015: USDA Grant to Dept. of Forestry, Solar Energy Development, STEM Essay Contest for Virginia Girls, Pesticide Container Recycling, Youth Conservation Corps Applications for Summer 2015, and PCB Study in Elizabeth River Fish

Following are titles and short excerpts from Virginia state government news releases for January 15 to January 23, 2015 (as of 3 p.m. on Jan. 23) that relate to water resources or to other natural resource uses that may 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/

Governor McAuliffe Announces More Than $1.3 Million in USDA Funding for Virginia Department of Forestry, 1/16/15. Excerpt: “…[A] Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) resource conservation project is among 110 high-impact projects nationwide set to receive more than $370 million through the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), administered through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). … The VDOF project, “Forests – Fundamental for Conservation in Virginia,” is a collaborative effort with NRCS to help increase adoption of forest management planning and practices among Virginia’s more than 350,000 forestland owners through coordinated outreach, education and funding assistance.  Installed practices will offer statewide conservation benefits from cleaner water in the Chesapeake Bay to restoration of declining tree species like the Longleaf Pine and re-establishment of habitat for bobwhite quail and pollinators.  Landowner engagement through participation in the program will help ensure that forestlands are retained and enhanced for ongoing natural resource protection.”

VAP3 Releases RFI for Potential Solar Energy Development Project, 1/15/15 (also released by Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, at http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/Newsroom.shtml). Excerpt: “Today Governor Terry McAuliffe released a Request for Information (RFI) on behalf of the Virginia Office of Public-Private Partnerships (VAP3) and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy exploring whether solar energy development at, around, and/or atop state-owned property and/or buildings would make business sense, address state priorities and benefit the public. The RFI is seeking responses from individuals, firms, teams or organizations that have experience with solar energy development projects and that may have an interest in developing, designing, building and/or financing a solar energy public-private partnership (P3) project in Virginia. The issuing parties are seeking information that will help evaluate options for development, financing, procurement and/or delivery of the project, as well as identify potential site locations.”

Governor McAuliffe and Virginia Council on Women Announce the 4th Annual STEM Essay Contest, 1/15/15. Excerpt: “Today Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women announced the 4th annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for high school junior and senior girls. The Council will award one $5,000 scholarship to a female junior or senior who will be pursuing a STEM career at an institution of higher education. Other scholarships may be awarded at the discretion of the Council. … To be eligible, one must be a female who resides in Virginia, be enrolled as a junior or senior in high school and hold at least a 2.5 GPA.  Applications and guidelines are available online at: http://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/about/council-on-women/. Entries must be submitted by February 25, 2015.”

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

Virginia Program Keeps More Than 128,000 Pounds of Plastic Pesticide Containers from Landfills, 1/22/15. Excerpt: The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced today the results of the 2014 recycling program for plastic pesticide containers. The program collected and granulated a total of 128,226 pounds of properly rinsed, empty plastic pesticide containers at 32 sites throughout the state, including 19 localities, 11 licensed dealers and commercial pesticide applicators and two private agricultural producers. The 2014 program experienced significant growth, collecting nearly 40 percent more pounds than in the previous year. Participating localities included the counties of Accomack, Brunswick, Culpeper, Dinwiddie, Frederick, Greensville, Isle of Wight, Madison, Mecklenburg, Northampton, Orange, Prince George, Rockingham, Southampton, Suffolk, Surry, Sussex and the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.”

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

Virginia’s Youth Conservation Corps program accepting crew applications, 1/23/15. Excerpt: Applications are being accepted through April 15 for two three-week summer sessions of the award-winning Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will notify selected participants via e-mail by May 1. The program will be held June 21 to July 11 and July 19 to Aug. 8. Teams of eight to 10 participants will be chosen from current high school students between the ages of 14 and 17 (participants must be 14 by June 1).”

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

Elizabeth River Red Drum and Speckled Trout PCB Study (with request for public involvement), 1/21/15. “In collaboration with VA Department of Environmental Quality and the Elizabeth River Project, researchers at Duke University are conducting a study to test red drum and speckled trout from the Elizabeth River for PCBs, a cancer-causing chemical found in soil and sediment in the James River Basin.  To find out how you can donate red drum to the project and win a Yeti cooler, check out the ERP website here! (Finding PCBs in fish tissue will NOT cause closures of any fisheries, but may cause consumption advisories to be issued.)  They are also interested in finding out more about fishing behavior and knowledge of fish consumption advisories for the Elizabeth River watershed.  Completing this survey takes about 15 minutes and may help influence how future health advisories are communicated. Follow this link to the survey.  For more information on this study, please contact the researchers at superfund@duke.edu.”

NO RELEASES DURING THIS PERIOD

Dept. of Environmental Qualityhttp://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsReleases.aspx

Dept. of Forestryhttp://www.dof.virginia.gov/news/releases/index.htm

Dept. of Game And Inland Fisherieshttp://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/

Dept. of Healthhttp://www.vdh.virginia.gov/news/PressReleases/2014/index.htm

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