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

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