Category Archives: Land Use

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

Lawsuit Filed by Chesapeake Bay Foundation over Cattle Fencing in Virginia — Arguments to be Heard July 2, 2015, in Circuit Court in Richmond

Arguments are scheduled for July 2, 2015, in circuit court in Richmond in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia over regulation of cattle access to streams.  CBF’s suit argues that a 10-year permit approved by the Commonwealth in 2014 should have required cattle operations of over 200 head to keep livestock from streams.  Currently Virginia requires stream exclusion for cattle in confined feeding operations (of CAFOs) but not for pastured cattle.

The regulation at issue is “Virginia Pollution Abatement (VPA) General Permit Regulation for Animal Feeding Operations,” Sec. 9 VAC 25-192 in the Virginia Administrative Code; available online at http://register.dls.virginia.gov/details.aspx?id=4388.

Sources:
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Sues Va. Over Livestock Rules, Associated Press, as published by Baltimore Sun, 6/29/15.
CBF sues Virginia for not making livestock stream exclusion mandatory, Bay Journal, 6/29/15.
Is livestock dung in streams threatening the Chesapeake?, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/29/15.

Water As A Crop® Initiative Aims to Add Market Value to Water Stewardship

The Sand County Foundation of Madison, Wisconsin, sponsors the Water As A Crop® initiative, which seeks to increase collaboration among water users, funders, and owners of private lands who can implement practices to conserve water or improve water quality.  In Texas, for example, the program worked with the MillerCoors company to help fund agricultural land-management practices that reduce pollution and as a result can reduce water-treatment costs for the company.

The program’s Web site is http://waterasacrop.org/.

An introduction to the program is also available in “Can We Start Thinking of Water as a Crop?” in the Winter 2014 issue of txH20, the newsletter of the Texas Water Resources Institute at Texas A&M University, available online at http://twri.tamu.edu/publications/txh2o/winter-2014/.

Landscape Sustainability Rating and Certification is Focus of SITES, Announced June 10, 2015, by Green Business Certification, Inc.

On June 10, 2015, Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI) released the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) system for rating the sustainability of landscape-development designs and landscape-managment practices.  The SITES Web site defines a “sustainable site” as “a healthy functioning landscape that provides ecosystem services to a diverse group of site users,” and “ecosystem services” are defined as “goods and services of direct or indirect benefit to humans that are produced by ecosystem processes that involve the interactions of living elements, such as vegetation and soil organisms, and non-living elements such as bedrock, water, and air.”  More information about SITES is available online at http://www.sustainablesites.org/, and in the June 10 news release on the launch of SITES, available online at http://www.sustainablesites.org/node/236.

For the role of Virginia Tech Associate Professor Susan Day (Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation) in helping develop SITES guidelines for soil management, see “Virginia Tech professor helps develop new landscape sustainability ratings,” by Tonia Moxley, Roanoke Times, 6/19/15, online at http://www.roanoke.com/news/education/higher_education/virginia_tech/virginia-tech-professor-helps-develop-new-landscape-sustainability-ratings/article_45c2ee02-f508-5bdb-a35c-0ead4b5cfef7.html.

Gypsy Moth Aerial Spraying in mid-June 2015 in Several Southwestern Virginia Counties

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) 6/5/15 news release on aerial spraying for Gypsy Moth in several southwestern Virginia counties from June 15-18, 2015.  This and other news releases from VDACS are available online at http://vdacs.virginia.gov/news/press.shtml.

Gypsy Moth Aerial Treatments Begin June 15 in Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Grayson, Russell, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, and Wythe Counties, 6/5/15.

Excerpt: “The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the United States Department of Agriculture/Forest Service are cooperating in an aerial insecticide application project to suppress and/or eradicate small isolated infestations of the gypsy moth. The treatments [were] scheduled for June 15-18 in the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Grayson, Russell, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, and Wythe.  Treatment areas in these counties [included the following]:

Bland County – Brushy Mountain and Lynn Camp Mountain near the community of Ceres;
Buchanan County – Jewell Ridge area;
Carroll County – Near the communities of Fries, Iron Mountain and Farmers Mountain;
Grayson County – Near the communities of Fries and Iron Mountain;
Russell County – Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area;
Smyth County – Near the town of Saltville in the Poore Valley area and the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area;
Tazewell County – Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Stony Ridge in North Tazewell and the Jewell Ridge area;
Washington County – Near the town of Saltville in the Poore Valley area and the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area;
Wythe County – Near the community of Ivanhoe around Ewing Mountain.

“The treatments are part of the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread program. Treatment is necessary because the leaf-eating gypsy moth caterpillar can cause dramatic devastation in Virginia’s forests.  These invasive pests are voracious eaters and can completely defoliate entire trees. …The applications [were] conducted using airplanes during daylight hours, weather permitting. …The treatment [consisted] of one application of the gypsy moth mating disruption pheromone Hercon Disrupt II®.  The pheromone hampers the ability of the male gypsy moth to find and mate a female gypsy moth. Information on the Hercon Disrupt II can be found on the manufacturer’s Web site [http://www.herconenviron.com/].

“Information on the gypsy moth and the mating disruption treatments can be found on the [Slow the Spread Web site, at http://www.gmsts.org/index.html], or by contacting the VDACS Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Office at (540) 394-2507.”

What to Do If You Find a Fawn or Other Young Wildlife, According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ May 1, 2015, News Release

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ (VDGIF) May 1, 2015, news release on what they recommend for citizen who find young deer or other wildlife.  Other news releases from VDGIF are available online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/.

If You Find a Fawn, Leave it Alone, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries News Release, 5/1/15.

Excerpt
It’s that time of year again when white-tailed deer fawns are showing up in yards and hayfields, and concerned citizens want to know how to help. In almost all cases, the best way to help is to simply give the fawn space and leave it alone. Concerned people sometimes pick up animals that they think are orphaned.

… Most wild animals will not abandon their young, but they do leave them alone for long periods of time while looking for food. Fawns, born from April through July, are purposely left alone by their mothers. Female deer, called does, stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators such as dogs or coyotes to their location.  The white-spotted coat camouflages a fawn as it lies motionless in vegetation.  Does will return several times each day to move and/or feed their young.  You probably will not see the doe at all since she only stays to feed the fawn for just a very few minutes before leaving it alone again.  If less than 24 hours have passed since a fawn has been “rescued,” the fawn should be taken back and released at the exact same location where it was found.  If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, do not take matters into your own hands. You may locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ (VDGIF) toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003, 8:00AM-4:30PM, Monday through Friday or visit the VDGIF website at: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/problems/.

Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a state permit, which is available only to zoos and wildlife rehabilitators. Each animal’s nutritional, housing, and handling requirements are very specific and must be met if they have any chance of survival.

…Wildlife managers have additional concerns about fawn rehabilitation. The process requires deer to be moved, treated (often in contact with other deer), and then released back into the wild.  Often, rehabilitated deer must be released into areas with already high deer populations.  Movement and commingling of deer increase the risks that contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease (CWD), will be introduced into Virginia’s wild deer population. In fact, detections of CWD in Frederick and Shenandoah Counties have prompted the prohibition of deer rehabilitation in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties. See: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/.

The best advice for someone who wants to help wildlife is to keep it wild. …More information [on deer] can be obtained on the agency’s website: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/.
[End excerpt]

More information on dealing with found wildlife generally is available from the DGIF’s “Injured and Orphaned Wildlife” page, online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/injured/.

Nutrient-management School Offered by Va. DCR in Staunton, June 23-24 and June 29-July 1, 2015.

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s May 12, 2015, news release on nutrient management training in summer 2015.

Nutrient management training to be offered in Staunton, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation News Release, 5/12/15.

Excerpt:
A two-part nutrient management training school will be offered in late June at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton.  The training is open to anyone interested in learning more about the development of agricultural nutrient management plans or how to become a certified plan writer. …

The first session, June 23-24, will cover soil science, soil fertility and crop production.  The second session, June 29-July 1, will cover nutrient management plan writing using a case-study farm.  Both sessions will run 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each day.  The fee for each session is $130 per person.  Registration by June 12 is recommended.

Nutrient management plans are guides for applying manure, fertilizers, biosolids, and other soil amendments so that crop yields are maximized, and ground and surface waters are protected from nutrient pollution. Application rates are determined by a process using yield records (or soil productivity when yield records aren’t available).

The training is open to everyone and will give participants an understanding of the process required to develop a nutrient management plan. Exercises will be hands-on and based on real scenarios.

…For more information about training and certification, go to www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/nmtrain.shtml.  To register, contact Susan Jones at 804-443-3803 or susan.jones@dcr.virginia.gov[End excerpt]

Mapping Virginia’s Wine Industry and Measuring Coastal Agricultural Water Use are Subjects of NASA DEVELOP Program Research Projects Completed in 2015

Following are the hyperlinked headline and an excerpt from the Virginia governor’s office’s May 14, 2015, news release on recently completed Virginia agricultural research projects by the DEVELOP Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Completion of Spring 2015 Research Collaborations with NASA Langley Research Center, 5/14/15.

Excerpt: …[T]he National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Langley Research Center…DEVELOP Program has completed two projects in Virginia designed to support the Commonwealth’s wine industry and improve the efficiency of water consumption for agricultural purposes. … As part of the NASA Applied Sciences Program, DEVELOP supports activities that discover and demonstrate innovative uses and practical benefits of NASA Earth science data, scientific knowledge, and technology.   The DEVELOP National Program fosters an interdisciplinary research environment in which applied science research projects are conducted under the guidance of NASA and partner science advisors.  DEVELOP participants also work directly with Commonwealth professionals on research projects that focus on using NASA Earth observations to address community concerns and public policy issues.

“The first research project, ‘Virginia Agriculture II,’ is a partnership between the Virginia Wine Board and DEVELOP that maps the acreage of Virginia vineyards using NASA Earth observations.  The results of this project were presented to the Virginia Wine Board in order to explore the future of viticulture – the science, production, and study of grapes.  DEVELOP teams in Richmond and Wise County collaborated on the project.

“The second research project, ‘Coastal Mid-Atlantic Water Resources III,’ partners the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Digital Harvest, a Virginia-based company using unmanned aerial vehicle technology in the agriculture sector, to use NASA Earth observations to gain a better understanding of how often farmers need to irrigate their fields, with a goal to decrease water waste and lower economic costs.   This project offers the Commonwealth a greater understanding of water consumption behavior in a region, as well as a useful proxy for drought monitoring throughout Virginia.  DEVELOP teams in Richmond and Hampton collaborated on this research.   Project results will also be shared with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to explore potential use by the agency.

“… NASA DEVELOP is helping to promote workforce development throughout the Commonwealth by engaging Virginia in innovative applied research projects that address environmental concerns in areas such as agriculture, ecological forecasting, water resources, and air quality.  DEVELOP offers research opportunities for participants during three 10-week terms per year.   In Virginia, DEVELOP has been active in Wise County and Hampton, in addition to the new partnership with the Governor’s office in Richmond.

“For more information on the NASA DEVELOP program, please visit http://develop.larc.nasa.gov/.”  [End excerpt]