Water and Land Use in Virginia State Government News Releases for Feb. 20—Feb. 26, 2015: Chesapeake Bay Ag BMPs Grant; Ag and Forestry Planning Grants; Block Grants for Water/Sewer Projects in SW Va.; Agricultural Mediation Service; Conservation Corps Snow-emergency Assistance to Town of Appalachia; Invasive Plant List, Consent Order for April 2014 James River Oil Tanker Spill in Lynchburg; Big Game 2014 Harvest Data; Conservation Officer Recruitment through Mar. 15; and Winter Oyster Season Extension

Following are titles and excerpts from Virginia state government news releases for February 20 to February 26, 2015 (as of 4 p.m. on Feb. 26), which 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/

Virginia Receives Federal Grant to Advance Chesapeake Bay Cleanup; Funds will go toward agricultural best practices, 2/26/15. Excerpt: “…Virginia has been selected to receive a federal grant to accelerate the implementation of practices related to Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals. Virginia will receive $1.75 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service….   Specifically, the funds will be used over the next four years to expand the use of fencing and other techniques designed to prevent livestock from wading into streams and fouling water quality. The funds will be concentrated in the areas of Virginia where tributary streams drain to the Chesapeake Bay. The majority of Virginia’s grant—$1.45 million—will be paid out to farmers directly. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will receive the remaining $300,000, which will be distributed to the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to provide technical assistance in establishing forested buffers on agricultural land.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces Agriculture, Forestry Planning Grants for Orange County, City of Richmond, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the award of two planning grants from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).  Projects in Orange County and the City of Richmond have been awarded $40,000 to support the growth of agricultural and forestry projects in the Commonwealth. … The AFID planning grant program, funded annually at $250,000, was developed to encourage localities to plan strategically how they can better support and integrate agriculture- and forestry-based businesses into their overall economic development and job creation efforts. Since its creation in 2012, AFID planning grants have been awarded to 25 projects in 50 localities across the Commonwealth, leveraging more than $505,000 in funding.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces More Than $3 Million in Community Development Block Grant Funding, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “…$3 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) [will go to] the counties of Dickenson, Scott, York, Lee and Fauquier, as well as the town of Clarksville and the city of Franklin. Projects include water and sewer, downtown revitalization, and microenterprise. … Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Virginia receives approximately $17 million annually for this grant program. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process.  Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons….” The awards for water and sewer projects are as follows: Dickenson County, Centennial Heights/Clinchco Sewer Line Project, $300,000; Lee County, Baileytown Water Project, $100,000; and Scott County, Big Stoney Creek Water Project, $412,500.

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

Agriculture Mediation Services Available for Farm-related Disputes, 2/23/15. Excerpt: “…[A]gricultural mediation services are now available to Virginia’s agriculture community through a partnership with the North Carolina Agriculture Mediation Program (NCAMP), which operates out of Western Carolina University. Known as FARM-VA, the program is certified through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency. Although the Virginia agricultural mediation program is based in North Carolina, mediations are held in the county where the parties work or reside. … FARM-VA helps settle disputes between USDA agencies and their customers and clients.”

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

Virginia State Parks crew providing emergency assistance to the Town of Appalachia, 2/26/15. Excerpt: A Virginia Service and Conservation Corps (VSCC) crew from Virginia State Parks has deployed to the Town of Appalachia in Wise County, to assist snowbound residents. This is the first time a Virginia State Parks VSCC crew is providing assistance to a local community. The Virginia State Parks VSCC was created in November 2014 to assist with large projects in parks—trail creation and maintenance, for example—but also to serve as a quick-response team for communities in general. … Assistance for the town of Appalachia was requested and efforts were coordinated by Virginia’s Office of Volunteer and Community Service, Virginia State Parks, and Glen “Skip” Skinner, Executive Director of LENOWISCO Planning District Commission.”

Kudzu and bamboo and privet! Oh my! New list identifies invasive plants in Virginia, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “…English ivy, golden bamboo or Japanese barberry—and 87 other [plants]—are on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s new list of non-native invasive plants of the state. … The list is for educational purposes only and has no regulatory authority. … Invasive plants can displace native plant species, reduce wildlife habitat and alter ecosystems. They threaten natural areas, parks and forests. In the United States, they cost an estimated $34 billion annually in economic loss.

DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY – http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsReleases.aspx

Proposed consent order imposes $361,000 penalty on CSX in response to James River tanker fire, 2/13/15. Excerpt: The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has proposed a consent order in response to the derailment of a railcar that caught fire in the James River in Lynchburg on April 30, 2014. The order imposes a $361,000 civil charge against tanker car owner CSX Transportation Inc. An investigation by DEQ and CSX determined that of the more than 29,000 gallons of crude oil in the breached tanker, approximately 98 percent was consumed in the fire. DEQ checked water quality for several days along the river from Lynchburg to Richmond and observed no other environmental concerns at the time. … The consent order, to which CSX has agreed, also calls for CSX to pay more than $18,500 for DEQ’s investigative costs following the oil spill. In addition, CSX will complete restoration of the James River bank in the area of the derailment and conduct monitoring of the river to determine if there are any long-term environmental impacts from the incident. The public has until March 25, 2015, to submit comments on the order before it goes to the State Water Control Board for final approval.”

DEPT. OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIEShttp://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/

Deer, Bear, Turkey Harvest Data Announced, 2/23/15. Excerpt: “While Virginia deer and turkey harvests reflected a decline from last year, the black bear harvest reached record numbers. … A bumper crop of acorns across the state coupled with management actions to meet population objectives and some higher than normal disease mortality all factored into fluctuations in populations and harvest trends.”

Virginia Conservation Police Recruitment Effort Underway, 2/23/15. Excerpt: The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is currently conducting a recruitment effort to hire up to 36 conservation police officers to be assigned to various duty stations across the Commonwealth. Virginia Conservation Police officers (CPOs) have full police authority with statewide jurisdiction. CPOs primarily enforce the fish, wildlife and boating laws…. Applications will be accepted until 5:00pm, March 13th 2015.”

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

Winter Oyster Season Extension: [At its monthly meeting on 2/24/15], the Marine Resources Commission “agreed to extend the winter oyster season by almost two weeks because of snow and ice that have kept harvesters off the water for most of February. In other action the Commission suspended the sale of oyster hand scrape and dredge licenses until further notice in order to keep harvest levels from expanding from increased fishing effort.” A summary of the 2/24/15 meeting is available online at http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/Commission_Summaries/cs0215.shtm.


Dept. of Forestry – http://www.dof.virginia.gov/press/index.htm

Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries – http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/

Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy – http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/Newsroom.shtml

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