Category Archives: Land Use

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

On Virginia Water Radio for the Week of 10-29-18: A Musically Inspired Take on Barns and Water

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of October 298, 2018, is “Water in the Barn.”  The 3 min./59 sec. episode, available online at this link, focuses on barns in the rural landscape, the economics of agriculture in Virginia, and some connections between barns and water.  The episode features part of “The Barns” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg.

Barn along State Route 18 in Alleghany County, Va., south of Covington, October 27, 2018.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is  Have a listen or two!

On Virginia Water Radio for 4-9-18: Spotted Lanternfly

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of April 9, 2018, is “Spotting the Spotted Lanternfly in 2018 Means a New Invasive Insect on Virginia Trees.”  The 4 min./27 sec. episode, available online at, is an introduction to a non-native insect pest of fruit trees and other trees which was first detected in Virginia in January 2018.  The episode features an interview with Eric Day of the Virginia Tech Insect ID Lab.

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Spotted Lanternfly immature stages. Photo courtesy of Eric Day, Virginia Tech Insect ID Lab, Blacksburg, Va., accessed online

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is  Have a listen or two!

Virginia Toxics Release Inventory Report for 2016 Data Released March 29, 2018, by Va. DEQ

On March 29, 2018, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced publication of the latest annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), covering data reported for 2016.  The report for 2016 data, along with reports for data years back to 2007, is available online at

According to the 2016 data report’s Executive Summary, this year’s report lists types and amounts of chemicals released and reported by 434 industrial operations in the Commonwealth having 10 or more employees and reaching specific minimum amounts of toxic chemicals used.  (See p. 2 in the report’s Introduction for the list of criteria determining which operations must report.)  Virginia industries reported on 153 chemical and chemical categories, out of over 650 chemicals and chemical categories currently on the TRI list of reportable substances.

Virginia industries reported 909.07 million pounds of chemicals managed released to the environment, transferred off-site, or managed on-site in 2016, a 5.9-percent increase from the previous year’s 858.60 million pounds.  This included 35.82 million pounds of chemicals released on-site to the air, water and land (10.3-percent increase from 2015 data); 64.40 million pounds transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (1.6-percent decrease from 2015); and 808.94 million pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (6.3-percent increase from 2015).  The total amount of TRI chemicals released to water increased by 2.03 million pounds (17.6 percent) over 2015, the total amount released to air increased by 986,275 pounds (5.5 percent), and the total released to land increased by 310,127 pounds (10.6 percent).

Released amounts of persistent bioaccumulative toxics (chemicals that remain in the environment for a long time, are not easily destroyed, and can build up in body tissue)—were 190,961 pounds released on site (compared to 223,108 pounds in 2015); 747,944 pounds transferred off-site from reporting Virginia facilities for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal (compared to 804,856 pounds in 2015); and 159,916 pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (compared to 247,934 pounds in 2015).

The report’s Executive Summary states the following about how to interpret the release information: “The Virginia TRI Report provides the public with information concerning specified toxic chemicals and chemical compounds which are manufactured, processed, or otherwise used at Virginia facilities.  Responsible use of the information can help the public and industry identify potential concerns and develop effective strategies for reducing toxic chemical usage and release.  The TRI data do not, however, represent a measure of the public’s exposure to chemicals, nor do they assess risk.  The overwhelming majority of the releases are regulated and permitted under other state and federal programs that are designed to protect human health and the environment.  …Because of differences in report-generation schedules and receipt of reports, the information in the Virginia TRI Report will not precisely match the information in the national Toxics Release Inventory—Public Data Release, located at, as published by [the U.S.] EPA.”

Water Central News Grouper items on previous years’ TRI reports are available online at

Additional sources:
Virginia Issues Report on Chemical Releases for 2016, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/29/18.
Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2015, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/30/17.

Atlantic Coast Natural Gas Pipeline Construction under Virginia Bottomlands is Subject of Va. Marine Resources Commission Public Hearing on March 16, 2018

On March 16, 2018, 9:30 a.m., Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) will hold a public hearing to consider the application by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, to install a natural gas pipeline beneath state-owned bottomlands.  At Newport News City Council Chambers, 2400 Washington Avenue in Newport News.  (Click on the meeting date above to access the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice of the public hearing.)

The bottomlands include the bed of 48 non-tidal streams and/or rivers with drainage areas greater than 5 square miles, 3 tidal streams, and approximately 1.6 acres of tidal wetlands.  The waters are along the designated pipeline corridor in the counties (from west to east) of Highland, Bath, Augusta, Nelson, Buckingham, Prince Edward, Cumberland, Nottoway, Dinwiddie, Brunswick, Greensville, and Southampton and in the cities of Chesapeake and Suffolk.

Copies of the application may be examined at the VMRC Office, Habitat Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607.  Send comments or inquiries to that office.

For more information: Matt Hull, VMRC Secretary, (757) 247-2214,

For more information on natural gas developments more generally in Virginia since 2015, please see this News Grouper post.


Dan River Basin Interactive Map Under Development in 2018

As of early 2018, the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) was continuing work on an online, interactive map of the basin.  The map is available at  Ultimately it is envisioned to show river access points, trails, parks, cultural/historical attractions, visitor centers, and river clean-up locations.  For more information, visit DRBA’s main Web site at; or phone (315) 209-5055 for the Danville, Va., office or (336) 627-6261 for the Eden, N.C., office.

How’s the Health of Virginia’s Forests? Find Some Answers in the January 2018 Issue of Forest Health Review, from the Virginia Department of Forestry

The January 2018 issue of Forest Health Review, from the Virginia Department of Forestry’s (VDOF) Forest Health Program, is available online at  Previous issues of the newsletter are also accessible at that link.

The January 2018 issue includes updates on the following forest health topics:
Pine Bark Beetle Prevention Program;
Emerald Ash Borer (confirmed in 8 more Virginia counties in 2017);
Variable Oakleaf Caterpillar;
Work by DOF’s Forest Health Liaison Staff;
Gypsy Moth Impacts in 2017;
White Pine Update;
Coneworm Trapping;
Early Detection Rapid Response Survey.

The publication also includes a “Forest Health Calendar” to call attention to the timing of specific concerns throughout the year, and a forest health crossword puzzle.

More information about the VDOF Forest Health Program is available online at;  or contact Program Manager Lori Chamberlin at (434) 220-9026,; or Specialist Katlin Mooneyham at (434) 220-9060,  The VDOF main office is at 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

Road Salt Management Strategy for Northern Virginia the Focus of Dept. of Environmental Quality Meeting in Arlington Jan. 17, 2018, and Formation of Stakeholder Advisory Group

On January 17, 2018, in Arlington the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Interstate Commission for the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) held a meeting on the development of a Salt Management Strategy (SaMS) for the Northern Virginia region.  Subsequently, the DEQ formed a Stakeholder Advisory Group on this issue; that group met for the first time on February 27, 2018.

Following is background on the issue and the advisory group, according to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall’s notice for the February 27 meeting (online at

“This is a notice for the first meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) for development of the Salt Management Strategy (SaMS).  Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for chloride associated with salt application from snow and ice management have been developed for the Accotink Creek watershed, located in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.  These TMDLs are currently in the approval process.  The SaMS is intended to assist in the implementation of the Accotink Creek chloride TMDLs.  The SaMS aims to prepare a strategy that is capable of achieving the target chloride (salt) loads identified in the Accotink Creek TMDLs and that proactively addresses salt application in the broader surrounding region.  The project area for the SaMS includes Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties and the cities of Alexandria, Manassas, Manassas Park, Falls Church, and Fairfax.  For more information on the SaMS visit….  All meeting materials related to this project will be posted on the DEQ website at”


Fuel from Manure on Rockingham County, Va., Farm is Subject of 12/17/17 Bay Journal Article

VA farmer raising row crops, cattle, turkeys – and fuel, Bay Journal, 12/17/17, describes the manure-to-fuel operations on the Rodes family’s turkey farm near Port Republic, Va., in Rockingham County south of Harrisonburg.  According to the article, the farm uses a manure-heating system to produce methane, which in turn is used to heat the farm’s poultry houses (replacing purchased propane).  The article discusses the technological and financial issues and challenges of converting manure to energy, including the potential impacts on nutrients reaching waterways in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


Virginia Land Conservation Foundation Grants from Dominion Surry-Skiffes Creek Mitigation Agreement Announced in December 2017

On December 7, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced nine Fiscal Year 2018 grants, worth a total of about $12.5 million, from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation.  This set of grants was funded by Dominion Energy as part of the company’s $89.5 million mitigation agreement for impacts from the Surry-Skiffes Creek Transmission Line over the James River.  (For more on the Surry-Skiffes Creek line, please see this Water Central News Grouper item.)

This set of Foundation grants follows a set of 23 grants totaling $4.23 million, also for Fiscal Year 2018, announced in October 2017 in the Foundation’s regular annual funding round.

The Foundation was established in 1999 by the Virginia General Assembly for the purpose of helping “fund the purchase of permanent conservation easements, open spaces and parklands, lands of historic or cultural significance, farmlands and forests, and natural areas,” according to the Foundation’s Web site,

More information on the December 2017 grants is available in a 12/7/17 news release from the Governor’s Office, Governor McAuliffe Announces Nearly $12.5 Million in Land Conservation Grants; Projects will protect and interpret at-risk historic sites benefitting the James and York Rivers.

More information on the October 2017 grants is available in a 10/3/17 news release from the Governor’s Office, Governor McAuliffe Announces $4.23 Million in Virginia Land Conservation Grants.

Two Virginia Northern Neck Natural Area Preserves Featured in November 2017 Bay Journal Article

Explore lesser-known preserves on Virginia’s Northern Neck,” by Leslie Middleton for Bay Journal, 11/29/17, focuses on two natural preserve areas on the Northern Neck peninsula between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers: Bush Mill Stream Natural Preserve Area in Northumberland County and Hickory Hollow Natural Preserve Area in Lancaster County.  The article is available online at, or contact Bay Journal at (717) 428-2819.

More information about all of Virginia’s natural preserve areas, which are managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, is available online at, or by contacting the Department in Richmond at (804) 786-6124.  The online site for Bush Mill is; for Hickory Hollow,

Bush Mill Natural Area Preserve by Leslie Middleton

Bush Mill Stream Natural Preserve Area, Northumberland County, Va., February 2017. Photo courtesy of Leslie Middleton and Bay Journal.