Category Archives: Land Use

Items related to agriculture, preservation, development, forestry, and other land-based activities that affect water resources.

Acquisition of Werowocomoco along Virginia’s York River Announced by National Park Service on Nov. 30, 2016

On November 30, 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) publicly announced its acquisition of Werowocomoco, the site along the York River in Virginia that was the center of the Algonquian Indians for centuries prior to European settlement.  Following is an excerpt from the Virginia governor’s office news release on the NPS announcement, Governor McAuliffe Celebrates National Park Service Purchase of Werowocomoco, 11/30/16:

“Governor McAuliffe today celebrated the National Park Service’s acquisition of Werowocomoco, the former capital of the Powhatan Chiefdom and the presumed site of Captain John Smith’s first meeting with the leader Powhatan and his daughter, Pocahontas.  When opened to the public, the 264-acre property, located on the bank of the York River in Gloucester County, will be the crown jewel of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

“…The announcement was made today during the recognition ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., and also served as an opportunity for tribal representatives to share their knowledge of the site’s significance with state and federal officials.  The private discussion among tribal leaders before the public announcement offered invaluable insight into the town’s sacred nature and affirmed the project’s historical and archeological significance.

“…Only about 1 percent of Werowocomoco’s 50-acre archeological core has been investigated to date, but initial findings suggest the extensive settlement was occupied as early as 1200 CE and functioned as a spiritual and political center for the region’s Algonquian Indians.  At its peak, the Powhatan Chiefdom spread across much of eastern Virginia and may have included 30 tribes with an estimated population of above 14,000.

“…Since 2003, Virginia’s Indians have worked with archeologists from the College of William and Mary to study and excavate the ancient town.  Their efforts led to Werowocomoco’s 2006 listing on the National Register of Historic Places and spurred a conservation easement to be signed in 2013 by then-Governor Bob McDonnell, covering the site’s 50-acre archeological core.  Werowocomoco is managed by the National Park Service through their Chesapeake office and their staff on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.”

For more on the site:
National Park Service, “Werowocomoco Planning,” online at

Werowocomoco National Park?  It would benefit both tourism and scholarship, William & Mary News, 5/21/14

Course for Va. Erosion/Sediment Control and Stormwater Inspectors to be Held Dec. 1, 2016, in Fredericksburg

On Dec. 1, 2016, 8:30 am.-4:30 p.m., in Fredericksburg, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold an Erosion/Sediment Control (ESC) and Stormwater Inspectors Course.  This course focuses on hydrology and plan-reading skills for ESC and stormwater inspectors.  Register by e-mailing

Information for this post was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  More information about the VWMC is available online at; or contact Jane Walker at the or (540) 231-4159.  Please feel free to forward this information; when forwarding, please acknowledge the VWMC.



Forest Heath Professionals’ Annual Conference Jan. 30-31, 2017, in Glen Allen, Va.

The Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals will hold its 25th annual conference on January 30-31, 2017, at the Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The meeting is a chance for representatives of state and local government entities and the commercial sector to exchange information, expertise, and ideas about managing and controlling forest pests and other problems.

For more information, visit, or e-mail

Virginia Forest Landowner Update October 2016 Issue Available – Items on Bears, Forest Fragmentation, Fall Tours, and More

As of September 28, 2016, the latest issue of the Virginia Forest Landowner Update newsletter is available online at

The newsletter is part of the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, which is coordinated by the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation in collaboration with several state and federal partners.  Each newsletter focuses generally on applied forest and wildlife management topics, innovations in wood products, exotic invasive species, useful resources for forest owners, non-timber forest products, and upcoming forestry education events.

The October 2016 issue has the following items:
What’s Going on with Bears in Virginia?
The Fragmented Forest;
The Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary!
Useful Resources;
Events Calendar.

For more information about the newsletter of the program, contact Jennifer Gagnon at (540) 231-6391 or

Ogallala Aquifer Research in Central U.S. States Receives $10 Million USDA Grant in 2016

On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a four-year, $10 million grant for research on water challenges in the region of the Ogallala Aquifer, a groundwater source providing domestic and agricultural water in several Midwestern and Great Plains states.  The grant will be coordinated by Colorado State University and also involves Kansas State University, the University of Nebraska, New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University, and Texas Tech University.  For more information, please see “Ogallala Aquifer is Focus of New USDA-funded Research Project,” in the Spring 2016 issue of Water Current (Vol. 48, No. 2) from the Nebraska Water Center, online at; or USDA Awards $8.5 Million to Improve Communities’ Water Sources, USDA News Release, 3/22/16.

The Ogallala research grant is part of a larger set of USDA grants related to sustainable water for agriculture, under the “Water for Agriculture Challenge Area.”  More information on that program is available online at

For another Water Central News Grouper post on the Ogallala Aquifer, please see, Groundwater Decreases in Texas Portion of Ogallala Aquifer Described in July 2012 Newsletter from Lubbock, Texas, posted 9/24/12.

ogallalaArea underlain by the Ogallala Aquifer.  Map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, “Ogallala Aquifer Initiative,” online at

41-lake-along-rt-20-in-cherry-county-jul13-2011-used-grouper-9-21-16View from U.S. Rt. 20 in Cherry County, Nebraska, July 11, 2013.  The area is part of Nebraska’s Sand Hills region, which is underlain by the Ogallala Aquifer.

Climate Change and Agriculture are the Focus of the March-April 2016 Issue of Colorado Water

“Climate Smart Agriculture” is the theme of the March/April 2016 issue of Colorado Water, from the Colorado State University (CSU) Water Center and the Colorado Water Institute.

Much of the 40-page newsletter focuses on the Rocky Mountain State, but several articles discuss nationwide and worldwide aspects of climate change, energy use, and their connections to agriculture.  Of particular value in this broader scope are “Global and Local Climate Change: What We Know and Expect”; “Greenhouse Gases and Agriculture”; “Climate Smart Agriculture”; “Looking at Climate Change and Global Food Security”; “Solving the Climate Change Riddle: Reasons for Optimism”; and the list of resources for further reading.

The publication is available online at, or contact the CSU Water Center at 1033 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, Colo. 80523-1033; phone (970) 491-2695; e-mail:


Cover of the March/April 2016 issue of Colorado Water, from the Colorado State University Water Center and the Colorado Water Institute.

Virginia Outdoors Plan Under Review in 2016-17; Public Meetings Held August-December 2016

In 2016-17, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is working with Virginia’s planning district commissions and regional councils to review outdoor recreation and land conservation initiatives related to the Virginia Outdoors Plan.  The Outdoors Plan is  a comprehensive blueprint for acquisition, development, and management of outdoor recreation and open space resources.  The first plan was developed in 1966; the most recent update, the 11th, was done in 2013.  From August to December 2016, the DCR held a series of 21 public meetings on the plan, in each region of the Commonwealth.  More information on the Outdoors Plan is available online at

For a previous News Grouper item on the 2013 Virginia Outdoors Plan, please see Virginia Outdoors Plan 2013 Edition Released April 4, 2014 (posted 5/8/14)