Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 12, 2018, Plus an Overview of Flooding Nationwide

Below are several items summarizing recent precipitation and stream flow:

  1. Images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending February 12, 2018 (information available as of February 13).
  2. Flooding overview maps for Virginia and nationwide, as of February 13.

The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images. For the current month’s other weekly reports on stream flow and precipitation, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Precipitation.

For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.

For more information on current and historical surface-water and groundwater conditions in Virginia, please see the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Virginia and West Virginia Science Center’s Web site, https://www.usgs.gov/centers/va-wv-water.

Feb2018 GAGE Goose Creek nr Leesburg along Watson Road off Evergreen Mill Rd Jan20 2018
February 2018 Gaging Station of the Month: Goose Creek near Leesburg (Loudoun County), January 20, 2018.  U.S. Geological Survey information from this gage is online at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/inventory/?site_no=01644000.  For the Virginia map of gaging sites, see https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/rt.

Precipitation

The following two color-coded maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation compared to normal for this period of the year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending February 12, 2018.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).  The maps were accessed from the High Plains Regional Climate Center, located at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, online at https://hprcc.unl.edu/maps.php?map=ACISClimateMaps.

Precip Feb12Precip perc Feb12 

Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/.  The site provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years.  The site also has the capability to show county boundaries, and other map layers available include river flood forecasts and current flood/severe weather warnings.  Shown below is the continental U.S. 7-day precipitation map as of 7 a.m. EST on February 12, 2018.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

Precip US FEb13

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average stream flows at Virginia gaging stations as of February 12, 2018, are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.  Note: Additional gaging stations (such as for reservoirs or for inactive sites) are shown on maps available at the USGS’ National Water Information System Mapper, online at https://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/index.html.

Streams Feb12

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

Flooding Overview

As of about 11:30 a.m. EST on February 13, 2018, 7 stream-gaging stations in Virginia or in nearby areas of adjacent states were either experiencing minor flooding or near flood stage, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of stream and river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) for Virginia and nearby areas.  The AHPS map for Virginia is shown below, along with the nationwide map as of the same time.  The maps are available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.
Flooding 01 Va Feb13
Flooding 02 US Feb13

On Virginia Water Radio for 2-12-18: Snow Chemistry and Physics

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of February 12, 2018, is “Snow Shows Chemistry and Physics at Work.”  The 4 min./08 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2018/02/episode-407-2-12-18-snow-shows.html, focuses on some chemical and physical properties of snow and snowmelt.  This episode, revising an episode originally done in February 2014, is designed especially for Virginia’s high school science students.  It’s the fourth in a series of episodes for Virginia students about freezing water.

SNOW Small stream channel SLV woods Feb4 2018 USED Grouper 2-12-18

Snow in a small stream channel in Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 4, 2018

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

A Virginia Solar Energy Update, as of February 21, 2017: Projects in the News since 2015 in 30 Localities, and Other Statewide Developments

This post presents brief descriptions of some developments in solar energy in Virginia since fall 2015.  The items are listed in chronological order of when they were first added this post.  All hyperlinks were functional as of the news articles’ publication date, but there’s no guarantee that they still will be at the time you may be reading this.

A useful reference for proposed solar projects is the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s “Renewable Energy Projects Notices of Intent” Web site, at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/RenewableEnergy/RenewableEnergyProjectsNoticesofIntent.aspx.

On the federal level, the U.S. Department of Energy’s “SunShot Initiative” is online at https://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/sunshot-initiative.  According to that Web site, SunShot is “a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption.  SunShot aims to make solar energy a low-cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners.”

Virginia electricity use for comparison to the megawatt (MW) capacities noted in the items below: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of 2014 Virginia’s total summer electricity capacity was 26,292 MW.  U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Virginia Electricity Profile 2014,” online at http://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/Virginia/.  As of early 2017, Virginia had about 400 MW of solar-electricity capacity installed, provided by 184 solar companies and accounting for about 3200 jobs, according to Paula Squires, New laws are expected to boost solar development in Virginia, Virginia Business, 3/31/17.

Alphabetical list of the localities mentioned in the items below, with the corresponding item number(s).
Accomack County – 1, 3
Albemarle County – 13, 29
Buckingham County – 8
Charlottesville City – 21
Chesapeake City – 5, 23
Chesterfield County – 2
Clarke County – 11
Danville City – 25
Essex – 14a
Gloucester County – 16, 27
Halifax County – 37
Hanover County – 17, 26, 30
Henrico County – 31
Isle of Wight County – 4
King George County – 35
King William County – 32
Lexington City – 30
Lynchburg City – 30
New Kent County – 12
Northampton County – 9
Orange County – 34
Powhatan County – 14b, 38
Richmond City – 30
Rockbridge County – 10
Spotsylvania County – 36
Southampton County – 6
Suffolk City – 24
Sussex County – 15
Unspecified location – 31 (as of 10/5/17)
Virginia Beach City – 7
Statewide items – 18, 19, 20, 22, 28

1) Accomack County: On September 28, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the Commonwealth has approved the final permit needed for construction by Community Energy Solar, Inc., of an 80-megawatt solar facility in Accomack County.  The power generated will be sold to Amazon Web Services; Amazon, headquartered in Seattle, Wash., operates several Web services facilities worldwide, including one in Fairfax County, Va.  The Accomack County solar-power facility, to be called Amazon Solar Farm US East, will cover about 900 acres and include an estimated 250,000 solar panels, making it the second-largest solar facility on the U.S. East Coast.  The Governor’s Office’s 9/28/16 news release on the project stated that the facility will “more than quadruple the amount of solar energy currently installed in the Commonwealth.”  In November 2015, Dominion Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc. in Richmond, announced that it had acquired the project from Community Energy Solar, Inc. Dominion expects to begin providing power from the facility in fall 2016.
Sources:
Dominion acquires Accomack solar power project, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11/16/15.
Governor McAuliffe Announces Permit for 80 Megawatt Solar Facility in Accomack County; Virginia will be home to the largest solar facility in the Mid-Atlantic and the second largest solar facility on the East Coast, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 9/28/15.
Final permit issued for Oak Hall solar plant, Delmarva Now, 9/28/15.
Amazon moving forward on Accomack solar farm, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/28/15.
Amazon Web Services to expand in Fairfax County, add 500 IT-focused jobs, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority News Release, 5/22/13.

2) Chesterfield County: In March 2016, Dominion Virginia Power opened a 2-megawatt solar facility on 12 acres on land leased from the Philip Morris Company in Chesterfield County.  The facility cost $4.9 million and includes some 8,000 solar panels.  Source:  Solar array in Chesterfield is Virginia’s largest, for the moment, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/16/16

3) Accomack County: On April 20, 2016, Onancock, Va., citizen John VanKesteren told the Accomack County board of supervisors that he and his siblings plan to propose an 80-megawatt, $100 million solar energy project on 600 acres that the family owns near the county town of Tasley.  The Tasley project was the second large solar project proposed in Accomack County in the past year.  Previously, in June 2015, Community Energy, Inc., and Amazon, Inc., announced plans for an 80-megawatt solar project near the Accomack County community of Oak Hall; the project is known as Amazon Solar Farm US East.  In November 2015, Dominion Energy, Inc., bought the Community Energy-Amazon project.  Sources:
Another large solar project proposed in Accomack County, Delmarva Now, 4/25/16.  Dominion acquires Accomack solar farm, Delmarva Now, 11/17/15.

4) Isle of Wight County: In December 2016, Dominion Virginia Power’s Woodland Solar project in Isle of Wight County began operation.  The 100-acre, 19-megawatt-capacity facility cost $44 million.  The project is owned by Dominion but is being managed by Amec Foster Wheeler (online at http://www.amecfw.com/).
Sources:
200 jobs could be opening for potential solar farm in Isle of Wight, Daily Press, 5/16/16.
Dominion’s 100-acre solar site powers up in Isle of Wight, Daily Press, 1/11/17.

5) City of Chesapeake: As of June 2016, Dominion also was a partner with SunEnergy1 of North Carolina on a proposed 241-acre solar facility near Chesapeake.  For more on SunEnergy1 projects, see http://www.sunenergy1.com/#!solar-project-map/u38rs.
Source:
Petition to relocate solar farm in southern Chesapeake draws more than 100 signatures, Virginian-Pilot, 6/23/16.

6) Southampton County: Community Energy Solar (headquartered in Penn.; online at https://communityenergysolar.com/) proposing a 100 megawatt-capacity, 1200-acre facility.  This would be the largest solar-energy facility in Virginia.  Community Energy Solar is also the developer of the 80 megawatt-capacity Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East in Accomack County (see item #1 above in this post).  Amazon Web Services plans to purchase power from both facilities.  Sources: Governor McAuliffe Announces Construction of Virginia’s Largest Solar Farm; New 100MW solar facility to be built in Southampton County, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 1/25/17.  Solar farm proposed near Boykins, Tidewater News, 6/16/16; and Planning commission holds workshop session on solar farm, Tidewater News, 7/22/16.

7) City of Virginia Beach: On August 2, 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that the first solar-energy project to be used for Virginia state operations will be built by Dominion Virginia Power at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.  As of September 2017, construction of the 18-megawatt capacity project on about 100 acres was on schedule with operations expected to begin in late 2017.  The Commonwealth has pledged to purchase 100 percent of the power that the facility will generate.  (In December 2014, Gov. McAuliffe announced a goal for Virginia state government to acquire eight percent of its electricity (about 110 megawatts) from renewable sources by 2017.  Sources:
Governor McAuliffe Announces Solar Project to Power Government Operations with Renewable Energy; The Commonwealth is partnering with Dominion and the Department of the Navy to build solar project at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 8/2/16.
Solar farm nearing completion at Oceana Naval Air Station, Virginian-Pilot, 9/29/17.

8) Buckingham County: On August 11, 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had issued a “permit by rule” for a proposed 19.8-megawatt-capacity solar facility on about 200 acres in Buckingham County.  The facility is planned by Firestone Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Virginia Solar.  According to the Governor’s Office news release on the project, construction of the facility is expected cost $30-35 million and begin in early 2017, with completion expected later that year.  Sources: Governor McAuliffe Announces Utility-Scale Solar Project in Buckingham County, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 8/11/16.  State approves permit for $35 million solar project in Buckingham County, Virginia Business, 8/11/16.  Buckingham County solar project gets go-ahead, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/11/16.

9) Northampton County: On August 17, 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had issued a “permit by rule” for a proposed 20-megawatt-capacity solar facility on about 185 acres in Cape Charles.  The “Cherrydale Project” is being proposed by Hecate Energy LLC, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. (online at http://www.hecateenergy.com/).  The electricity produced would be distributed by Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and A&N Electric Cooperative system.  Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces Utility-Scale Solar Project in Northampton County; 20-megawatt facility to provide enough power to supply over 3,000 households, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 8/17/16.

10) Rockbridge County: On August 29, 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that he had commissioned the Commonwealth’s first community solar project at the BARC Electric Cooperative facility in Rockbridge County, serving member-owners Alleghany, August, Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge counties.  According to the governor’s office’s news release on the project, “Community solar allows customers in different locations to join together to get electricity from solar power generated at a single facility, rather than each customer having to install solar on their rooftops.  BARC builds and maintains the system, allowing customers to avoid the upfront cost of installations and continued maintenance.  …The project was funded with a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant through the state, and additional funding was provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development.”  Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia’s First Community Solar Project; Governor commissions BARC Electric’s solar facility for community member-owners in the region, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 8/29/16.

11) Clarke County: On September 26, 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that Hecate Energy LLC (headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.; online at http://www.hecateenergy.com/) had received a “permit by rule” for the Clarke Solar Farm, 20-megawatt-capacity solar facility in Clarke County.  Source:  Governor McAuliffe Announces Utility-Scale Solar Project in Clarke County, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 9/26/16.

12) New Kent County: On October 19, 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that Correctional Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Virginia Solar, LLC (headquartered in Richmond; online at http://www.vasolarllc.com/), plans to build a 20-megawatt-capacity solar facility in New Kent County.  The facility received a “permit by rule” from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.  Construction is expected to begin in early 2017.  Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces New Solar Facility Project in New Kent County; 20-megawatt facility to provide enough electricity to cleanly power roughly 3,400 households, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 10/19/16.

13) Albemarle County: On October 20, 2016, solar-energy equipment was installed as six public schools in Albemarle County, totaling 1.1 megawatts of capacity.  According to a news release from the Virginia Governor’s Office, this project is “Virginia’s first public facility power purchase agreement, a partnership between the public schools and Secure Futures, a Staunton-based solar developer. …The project was partially funded by a rural development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The school [system] has entered into a power purchase agreement with Secure Futures that allows the school system to avoid paying upfront capital costs in return for paying a defined price for the energy generated over a set contract period.”  Source:  Governor McAuliffe Unveils Energy Plan Update Highlighting Achievements in Virginia Energy Economy; Announcement coincides with installation of solar panels at six Albemarle County Public Schools, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 10/20/16.

14a) Essex County: On January 4, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had issued a “permit by rule” for a 20 megawatt-capacity facility by Coronal Development Services on 275 acres in Dunnsville in Essex County; the facility opened in February 2018.  Sources: Essex County solar farm sediment runoff is “an enforcement case”, WTVR TV-Richmond, 2/11/18; Green solar farm is turning an Essex County watershed brown, WTVR TV-Richmond, 2/8/18; Governor McAuliffe Announces 40MW of New Solar Capacity in Virginia; Permits issued for two new solar facilities in Essex County and Powhatan County, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 1/4/17.

14b) Powhatan County: On January 4, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had issued a “permit by rule” for a 20 megawatt-capacity facility by Virginia Solar on 720 acres in Powhatan County.   Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces 40MW of New Solar Capacity in Virginia; Permits issued for two new solar facilities in Essex County and Powhatan County, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 1/4/17.

15) Sussex County: On January 12, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had issued a permit to Sappony Solar for a planned a 20 megawatt (MW)-capacity facility in Sussex County.  Sappony Solar is a subsidiary of Dominion Energy, Inc., which in turn is a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, based in Richmond.  More information about the project is available online at http://www.vasolarllc.com/project/sappony-solar/Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces New Solar Project in Sussex County; 20 MW project capable of powering about 3,500 homes, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 1/12/17.

16) Gloucester County: In 2017, Strata Solar LLC (headquartered in Chapel Hill, N.C.; online at http://www.stratasolar.com/) began proposing a 20-megawatt-capacity, $30-million facility on 202 acres.  In April 2017, the county’s board of supervisors approved a conditional-use permit for the facility, with construction expected to begin sometime in 2017.  On February 12, 2018, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had issued a permit to Strata Solar Development for construction and operation of the facility, Gloucester Solar, LLC, in Gloucester County. The 19.8 megawatt (MW) project will supply enough electricity to power more than 4,000 homes.  Sources: Governor Northam Announces New Solar Project in Gloucester County; the 19.8 MW project will supply enough electricity to power more than 4,000 houses, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 2/12/18.  200-acre solar farm proposed in Gloucester County, Daily Press [Newport News], 1/21/17.  Could second solar farm be built in Gloucester County?, Daily Press [Newport News], 6/5/17.

17) Hanover County: SunEnergy1 (headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.; online at https://www.sunenergy1.com/) proposing a 20-megawatt-capacity facility on 222 acres; the power would be sold to Dominion Virginia Power.  In February 2017, Hanover County approved the company’s request for a conditional-use permit.  Sources: Hanover Planning Commission approves permit for solar panels on historic Newcastle Farm, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/19/17; Hanover attracts second solar farm proposal, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/16/17.

18) Statewide: The 2017 Virginia General Assembly passed SB 1393 and SB 1395, both sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach.  The bills do the following, according to the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS) summaries:
SB 1393: Requires Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power to conduct a community solar pilot program for retail customers. A pilot program will authorize the participating utility to sell electric power to subscribing customers under a voluntary companion rate schedule, and the utility will generate or purchase the electric power from eligible generation facilities selected for inclusion in the pilot program.  An eligible generation facility is an electrical generation facility that (i) exclusively uses energy derived from sunlight; (ii) is placed in service on or after July 1, 2017; (iii) is not constructed by an investor-owned utility but is acquired by an investor-owned utility through an asset purchase agreement or is subject to a power purchase agreement under which the utility purchases the facility’s output from a third party; and (iv) has a generating capacity not exceeding two megawatts, subject to an exception.  Pilot programs will have a three-year duration unless renewed or made permanent by appropriate legislation.

SB 1395: Provides that certain small renewable energy projects proposed, developed, constructed, or purchased by either by a public utility (if the project’s costs are not recovered from Virginia jurisdictional customers under base rates, a fuel factor charge, or a rate adjustment clause) or by a utility aggregation cooperative are eligible for a permit by rule and are exempt from environmental review and permitting by the State Corporation Commission;
Specifies that a small renewable energy project shall be eligible for permit by rule if it is proposed, developed, constructed, or purchased by a person that is not a regulated utility;
Exempts any small renewable energy project for which the Department of Environmental Quality has issued a permit by rule from the requirement that it obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity; and
Increases from 100 megawatts to 150 megawatts the maximum rated capacity of solar and wind facilities that qualify as small renewable energy projects.
Related News Media Items
New utility solar program called a small step forward for Virginia renewable energy, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/26/17 [regarding SB 1395].

19) Statewide: In February 2017, the Solar Foundation released the 2016 National Solar Jobs Census, an annual report on U.S. employment in the solar-energy industry.  According to a March 28, 2017, news release from the Virginia Governor’s Office, Virginia ranked second in the Southeast and ninth in the nation (tied with Utah) for “year-over-year” growth in the number of solar-related jobs; and ranked 20th in the country in total number solar employment at 3,236 jobs, a 65-percent increase over 2015.  The National Solar Jobs Census is available online at http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/national/Sources: Solar Accounts for 1 in 50 New U.S. Jobs in 2016, The Solar Foundation News Release, 2/7/17.  Governor McAuliffe Announces 65% Growth in Solar Industry-related Jobs in Virginia in 2016, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 3/28/17.

20) Statewide: In February 2017, Dominion Virginia Power reported that its investments in solar energy had reached $800 million, and that about 398 megawatts (MW) of solar-generation capacity had either been installed or were under development.  In 2015, Dominion committed to placing 400 MW of capacity in service in Virginia by 2020.  Source: Dominion says solar investment reaches $800 million, Virginia Business, 2/14/17.

21) City of Charlottesville: On April 18, 2017, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that the University of Virginia plans to install its first large solar project, an array of 324 panels with a 126 kilowatt capacity (0.126 megawatt) on the university’s Clemmons Library  of Governor McAuliffe Announces Solar Array Installation on UVA’s Clemons Library; Array will cover more than 7,500 square feet and is estimated to produce almost 200,000 kWh annually, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 4/18/17; and McAuliffe celebrates UVa solar project — and faces protesters, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 4/18/17.

22) Statewide: On May 1, 2017, Virginia Electric and Power Company—the Virginia subsidiary of Dominion—filed its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) and the North Carolina Utilities Commission.  According to the company’s news May 1, 2017, news release on the plan, “[t]he IRP is a planning document based on current information and projections regarding energy markets, regulatory requirements and other major factors.  While the document represents the company’s current plan for meeting the future energy needs of its customers, it is not a commitment to build or to request regulatory approval for any particular project.  The document examines options to meet the electricity needs of customers over a 15-year ‘planning period,’ while also considering a longer 25-year study period.”  The 2017 IRP outlines eight alternatives based on different assumptions about regulations and other factors.  In each alternative, the company expects to add at least 5,200 megawatts of new solar generation during the 25-year study period, with solar energy “eventually [being able to] generate electricity at maximum output to serve more than 1.3 million homes when there is sufficient sunlight.”  By 2032, the IRP states, over one-third of Dominion’s Virginia service territory could be served by solar energy combined with electricity from the company’s two Virginia nuclear facilities (North Anna and Surry), with most of the rest coming from natural gas.  Source: Dominion news release: Dominion Virginia Power Plan Sees More Clean Energy, 5/1/17; a link to the 2017 Integrated Resource Plan is available within the text.  News media articles on the 2017 IRP: Dominion Virginia Power Plans Major Solar Boost, Solar Industry, 5/2/17.  Dominion Sings New Tune, Embraces Solar, Bacon’s Rebellion, 5/1/17.  Dominion touts bigger commitment to solar in long-term power plan, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/1/17.  Dominion Virginia Power could increase solar capacity by 5,200 megawatts over 25 years, Virginia Business, 5/1/17.

23) City of Chesapeake: On May 9, 2017, three solar-energy proposals came before the Chesapeake City Planning Commission: In the Centerville Turnpike Project, Tradewind Energy of Kansas (online at http://tradewindenergy.com/ (was seeking approval a 15-megawatt (MW)-capacity facility on about 146 acres on Old Centerville Turnpike.  Tradewind was also seeking approval for a 20 MW-capacity facility on 176 acres between Beaver Dan and Head of River roads.  New Energy Ventures, now Caden Energy (offices in California, Florida, and Minnesota; online at https://www.cadenenergy.com/) was seeking approval for 32 MW-capacity project on 154 acres on Ballentine Road (a property known locally as Newbern Farms).  On December 19, 2017, the Chesapeake City Council denied a conditional-use permit for Tradewind Energy’s proposed 15-megawatt-capacity facility planned on Old Centerville Turnpike, and the Council delayed action on Caden Energy’s proposed 32-megawatt-capacity Hickory Solar Farm.  Sources:  3 proposals for solar farms take the spotlight in Chesapeake, Virginian-Pilot, 5/9/17; Chesapeake City Council rejects one solar farm, delays decision on another, Virginian-Pilot, 12/20/17.

24) City of Suffolk: As of May 2017, Tradewind Energy of Kansas (online at http://tradewindenergy.com/) was seeking approval for 15 megawatt capacity project on 184 acres in Suffolk.  Sources: 3 proposals for solar farms take the spotlight in Chesapeake, Virginian-Pilot, 5/9/17; Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’, “Renewable Energy Projects Notices of Intent,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/RenewableEnergy/RenewableEnergyProjectsNoticesofIntent.aspx.

25) City of Danville: On May 30, 2017, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced construction is to begin in August 2017 on the Kentuck Solar Project, a 6-megawatt (MW)-capacity facility for the Danville Municipal Utility.  The approximately $10 million project is to be located in Pittsylvania County.  The project is being developed by TurningPoint Energy (headquartered in Denver, Colo.; online at http://turningpoint-energy.com/) and will be constructed by Sol Systems (headquartered in Washington, D.C.; online at https://www.solsystems.com/).  Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia’s Largest Municipal Utility Solar Farm to Begin Construction in August; Kentuck Solar Project to power more than 900 homes in the City of Danville, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 5/30/17.

26) Hanover County:  As of May 2017, OneEnergy Renewables (headquartered in Seattle, Wash.; online at http://www.oneenergyrenewables.com/) has submitted a notice of intent to seek a permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for a 20-megawatt-capacity solar project (known as the OneEnergy Sweetspire, LLC Project) on 165 acres in Hanover County (near Old Church along U.S. 360).  Sources: Virginia DEQ General Notice, “OneEnergy Renewables Small Renewable Energy Project Notice of Intent – Sweetspire Project,” online at https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewNotice.cfm?gnid=701; Hanover attracts second solar farm proposal, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/16/17.

27) Gloucester County: As of early June 2017, Hexagon Energy LLC (headquartered in Charlottesville, Va.; online at http://hexagon-energy.com/) had submitted to Gloucester County a pre-application for the so-called Farin and Pearfield solar project, which would be a 100-megawatt (MW)-capacity project on 900 acres.  The 100 MW capacity would equal the largest-capacity solar projects proposed so far in Virginia; one 100 MW project has been proposed in Southampton County (see item #6 above) and two such projects have been proposed in Surry County, according to this news report the June 12, 2017, Daily Press.    Proposed solar farm in Gloucester could be largest in Virginia, Daily Press [Newport News], 6/12/17; and Could second solar farm be built in Gloucester County?, Daily Press, 6/5/17.

28) Statewide: In a June 3, 2017, commentary, Pamela F. Faggert, the chief environmental officer and senior vice president of sustainability for Dominion Energy (formerly Dominion Resources), provided the following information regarding Dominion’s current and planned solar activity: 1) Dominion could add “at least 5200 megawatts [MW] of solar generation to its portfolio…during the next 25 years…enough to power more than 1.3 million homes; 2) since 2013, Dominion has put about 1200 MW of capacity into operation in nine states; 3) by 2018, the company expects to have 700 MW of solar capacity in its own operations in Virginia and North Carolina, plus 500 MW contracted from other providers.  Sources: Column: Dominion forging ahead with cleaner, renewable energy, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 6/3/17; Dominion Resources plans to change name to Dominion Energy, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/6/17.

29) Albemarle County: As of June 2017, Community Power Group (headquartered in Bethesda, Md.; online at http://www.communitypowergroup.com/) was seeking negotiations with the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority to lease about 10 acres of land in Ivy for a solar project that could provide power to about 1000 homes.  The project would apparently be done as a consequence of  Senate Bill 1393 in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly, which requires Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power to conduct a community solar pilot program for retail customers.  Sources: RSWA to seek deal for former landfill that could become solar array, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 6/27/17; Virginia Legislative Information System, 2017 Senate Bill 1393 summary, online at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=171&typ=bil&val=sb1393.

30) Hanover County, City of Lexington, City of Lynchburg, and City of Richmond:  In August 2017, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that the Tesla-owned firm Solar City had signed contracts with four Virginia colleges to install and operate solar-power arrays on the college campuses.  The colleges are Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland (Hanover County), and Virginia Union University in Richmond.  Solar City will own the arrays, and the colleges have an agreement to purchase the solar-generated electricity.  The four schools, along with 12 others in Virginia, used an $807,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy that funded studies of solar-power options on the campuses.  The other 12 schools were still in the planning stage, as of September 2017.  Source: LC partnering with energy firm to bring solar energy to campus, Lynchburg News & Advance, as published by Roanoke Times, 9/9/17.

31) Unspecified locations serving Henrico County: On October 5, 2017, a news release from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that Facebook is planning to invest $$750 million to establish a data center in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County, and that the company will also invest “hundreds of millions of additional dollars” in construction of “multiple” solar facilities in Virginia that will “provide…the Henrico data center with 100 percent renewable energy.”  According to the news release, “the project was also made possible through a new renewable energy tariff called Schedule RF, designed by Dominion Energy Virginia and Facebook.  The tariff will allow large energy users, such as Facebook, to meet their needs through the addition of renewable energy sources.  This new product offering will ultimately lead to new business opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.  As a secondary economic benefit, the renewable energy projects served under this tariff must be built in Virginia.”  Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces Facebook to Invest $1 Billion in Virginia, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 10/5/17.

32) King William County: On October 6, 2017, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had issued a permit to Hollyfield Solar for 17-megawatt-capacity solar facility in King William County.  Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces New Solar Project in King William County, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 10/6/17.

33) Statewide – On November 13, 2017, Southeast Energy News published an assessment of the work by the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority since its creation in 2015.  The article asserts that the Authority has made relatively little progress in promoting small-scale solar systems.  The November 18, 2016, annual report of the Authority is online at https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/de/LinkDocuments/VSEDA/VSEDA_2016_Annual_Report.pdfVirginia Code sections concerning the Authority are online at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/authorities/solar-energy-development-authority-virginia/Source: Two years after its creation, Virginia solar authority shows little progress, Southeast Energy News, 11/13/17.

34) Orange County: In December 2017, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a special-use permit for a 60-megawatt-capacity, 400-acre solar farm along U.S. Route 20 near the community of Locust Grove.  The applicant is SolUnesco, based in Reston, Va. (online at http://www.solunesco.com/).  SourceSupervisors approve large-scale solar farm in Locust Grove, Orange County Review, 12/14/17.

35) King George County: On December 19, 2017, the King George County Board of Supervisors approved a proposed 20-megawatt-capacity solar facility along Port Conway Road by Port Conway Solar LLC, a Community Energy in Radnor, Penn. (online at https://www.communityenergyinc.com/).  This is the second solar facility approved by the county, following approval in May 2016 of a facility in the county’s industrial park.  Source: King George approves second solar farm amid mixed reviews from residents, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 12/21/17.

36) Spotsylvania County – In late December 2017, Sustainable Power Group, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah (online at http://www.spower.com/), announced in letters to residents that it will propose a 500-megawatt-capacity, 3500-acre solar facility near the community of Fawn Lake (West Catharpin Road).  SourceMassive solar farm proposed in Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 1/8/18.

37) Halifax County – As of January 2018, nine solar projects were in planning stages in Halifax County:
1 – Urban Grid’s (headquartered in Stevensville, Md.; online at http://www.urbangridco.com/) Crystal Hill Solar project, 65 megawatt (MW) capacity on 629 acres off Crystal Hill Road;
2 – Urban Grid project, 80 MW capacity on 600 acres on Alton Post Office Road;
3 – Carolina Solar Energy (headquartered in Durham, N.C.; online at http://carolinasolarenergy.com/) Sunnybrooke Farm project, 51 MW capacity on 340 acres near Scottsburg;
4 – Carolina Solar Powells Creek Farm project, 50 to 70 MW capacity on 397 acres on Alton Post Office Road in Nathalie;
5 – Water Strider Solar, LLC, affiliate of Cypress Creek Renewables, LLC (several locations; online at https://ccrenew.com/) project, 80 MW capacity on 1134 acres on Stage Coach Road near Nathalie;
6 – SB Solar, LLC, affiliate of Cypress Creek Renewables, project, 10 MW capacity on 140 acres on U.S. 501 south near Nathalie;
7 – Stage Coach Solar, LLC, affiliate of Hexagon Energy (headquartered in Charlottesville, Va.; online at http://hexagon-energy.com/) project, 15 MW capacity on 140 acres south of Stage Coach Road in Nathalie;
8 – Piney Creek Solar, LLC, affiliate of Hexagon Energy project, 80 MW capacity on 775 acres on Rodgers Chapel Road near Clover;
9 – Halifax Solar, LLC, affiliate New Energy Ventures (headquartered in Houston, Tex.; online at http://www.neventures.com/) project, 15 MW capacity on 90 acres off Dryburg Road in Clover.
Sources: Planners: Spread out solar projects, South Boston Gazette Virginian, 1/21/18; Solar projects planned for Halifax County up to nine, SoVaNow.com, 12/18/17.

38) Powhatan County – As of February 2018, Sun Energy 1 LLC (headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.; online at https://www.sunenergy1.com/) was proposing the 224 megawatt-capacity Fort Powhatan project in the Burrowsville area of Powhatan County.  Sources: Community meeting to look at proposed solar farm, The Progress Index, 2/16/18; and https://www.sunenergy1.com/copy-of-nc.

Land Loss on Tangier Island and a Local Teen’s Documentation Through Photography are Featured in December 2017 Bay Journal Article

Issues of loss of land on Tangier Island, Va., through current coastal erosion and the threat of rising sea level are the topic of “‘I’ll never leave this place, and I hope this place will never leave me’,” by Rona Kobell in the December 2017 issue of Bay Journal.

The article focuses specifically on Cameron Evans, a 17-year-old (at the time of the article) native of the island who uses photography to document land areas being lost.

The article is available online at https://www.bayjournal.com/article/ill_never_leave_this_place_and_i_hope_this_place_will_never_leave_me, or contact Bay Journal at P.O. Box 222, Jacobus, PA 17407-022; phone (717) 428-2819.

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of January 2018, Plus a Look at Drought Nationally

Here is the Virginia Water Central News Grouper’s monthly water-status report on precipitation, stream flow, and drought, as of the end of January 2018.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing the data and maps used in this post.  Icons for precipitation, stream flow, and drought are by George Wills of Blacksburg, Va. (https://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt).  For previous monthly water status reports, please see this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Water+Status.

01 Icon Precip

Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary (still needing verification) precipitation totals for January 2018 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, along with the “normal” (three-decade average) for this month of the year at each location.  Also shown are the precipitation totals at each location for the previous 12 months and the annual precipitation normals for each location.  The values are in inches.

Location January 2018 Observed Monthly Normal February 2017-January 2018 Observed Annual Normal
Blacksburg 1.60 3.08 38.10 40.89
Bluefield1 1.49 2.90 37.53 39.63
Bristol2 1.57 3.37 42.13 41.01
Charlottesville3 1.51 2.77 33.39 42.71
Danville 2.83* 3.42 41.38* 44.41
Lynchburg 2.94 3.14 32.08 41.57
Norfolk 3.51 3.40 48.26 46.53
Richmond 3.41 3.04 37.08 43.60
Roanoke 2.14 2.92 35.02 41.25
Wallops Island4 3.67 3.04 47.44 40.84
Washington-Dulles Airport5 1.79 2.68 39.72 41.54

*NWS reported nine days of data missing at Danville in January 2018.

Location notes
1 – The Bluefield location is the Mercer County, W. Va., airport, near the Va.-W.Va. state line.
2- The Bristol location Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va./Tenn.
3 – The Charlottesville location is the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.
4 – Wallops Island is in Accomack County.
5 – Washington-Dulles Airport is in Loudoun County.

Precipitation sources:  Climate pages of the following National Weather Service Forecast Offices:
Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=rnk);
Morristown, Tenn. (http://www.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=mrx;
Baltimore-Washington (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=lwx); and
Wakefield, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=akq).

The normal values used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in these provisional reports are based on the period from 1981 to 2010.  The National Climatic Data Center released these normal values in July 2011.  For information on the normal values, see the National Climatic Data Center Web page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/land-based-station-data/land-based-datasets/climate-normals.

For graphs of precipitation, visit the High Plains Regional Climate Center at https://hprcc.unl.edu/maps.php?map=ACISClimateMaps), where you can find maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days for all U.S. regions; or the NWS’ Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at http://water.weather.gov/precip/ for a map of precipitation nationwide or by state, with capability to show county boundaries, and archives available for specific days, months, or years.  Shown below are the preliminary maps of the percent-of-normal precipitation for the southeastern United States for the previous 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, through January 31, 2018.  Please note that the scale is different for the 30-day map.

Precip 30 JanPrecip 60 JanPrecip 90 Jan 

02 Icon Streamflow

According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=mv01d&r=va&w=map), monthly average stream flow values for January 2018 at ??? stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were as follows, compared to the historical range for each given gage:
within the normal historical range – about 12% of gages;
below normal – about 46%;
much below normal – about 41%;
above normal – about 1%.

Shown below is the color-coded, flow-percentile map for this period, accessed on February 6, 2018, at the site given in the paragraph aboe.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compared flows to historical records for the month are shown in the chart below the map.

streams Feb 2018 KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graph

An overall look at Virginia streamflow conditions is provided in the USGS WaterWatch summary plot of daily average streamflow conditions, compared to historical records for any given date.  Below is the summary plot for 88 Virginia sites during the 45-day period ending January 31, 2018, accessed on February 1, 2018, at https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=pa01d&sid=w__plot&r=va.

Streams plot Jan
03 Icon Groundwater
Information on current groundwater levels in Virginia monitoring wells is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System, online at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/current/?type=gw; and from the USGS Climate Response Network, online at http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/net/ogwnetwork.asp?ncd=crn (at that page, you can find a national map showing the status of groundwater monitoring wells compared to historical values).

04 Icon Drought

DROUGHT IN VIRGINIA

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) for January 30, 2018, categorized 97.9% of Virginia as “abnormally dry” or worse (covering all of the Commonwealth except for parts of three far southwestern counties); 48.6% in “moderate drought” or worse (covering essentially all of the Piedmont region); and 2.9% in “severe drought” (covering all or part of several northern Virginia counties).  The occurrence of severe drought in Virginia began in the Drought Monitor for January 23, 2018, for the first time since the report for March 28, 2017.

Drought Monitor categories are as follows:
D0 = abnormally dry;
D1 = moderate drought;
D2 = severe drought;
D3 = extreme drought;
D4 = exceptional drought.

The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions [and] local conditions may vary.”

For comparison, here are Virginia ratings from previous Drought Monitors from about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:
12/26/17 – 97.4% abnormally dry or worse; 42.9% moderate drought;
11/28/17 – 44.1% abnormally dry or worse; 3.9% moderate drought;
10/31/17 – 41.5% abnormally dry or worse; 3.8% moderate drought;
1/31/17 – 30.0% abnormally dry or worse; 0.5% moderate drought.

Here are some comments from the January 30 Drought Monitor on conditions in or near Virginia:

“…As summarized by the National Drought Mitigation Center, fall crops (such as wheat and barley) were stunted in southern Virginia, and wells were going dry, groundwater levels dropping, and streams and ponds running dry in northern Virginia….”

“…The Bristol Tri-Cities Airport station in Tennessee has received only 3.73 inches of precipitation since November 11, 2017, which is the driest November 11-January 30 period on record.”

In early February 2018, the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent report (as of 2/6/18).  A link to the report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.  The DMTF’s reports typically include information from some or all of the following agencies: University of Virginia Climatology Office, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality.  The Task Force is next scheduled to meet on March 8, 2018.

The following four paragraphs are excerpted from the DMTF’s February 2018 report:
“Recorded precipitation during January was variable across the Commonwealth, with generally above normal amounts in eastern Virginia and continued below normal amounts across most of the central and western regions.  The majority of stream flow gaging stations continue to report below-normal seven-day average flows.  Wells in the Virginia Climate Response network of groundwater level observation wells located in central Virginia also continued to report below normal to much-below-normal levels….

“The National Weather Service Monthly Drought Outlook released on January 31, 2018, indicated a likelihood of continuing drought across central Virginia through February.  The current U. S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for the period through April 30, 2018 [see below in this post] also indicated drought persistence across the same region.

“The DMTF discussed the continuing drought conditions throughout the central half of the state, as well as the abnormally dry conditions in the southwest.  The Task Force decided to recommend that a Drought Watch Advisory should be issued for the Upper James drought evaluation region based upon below normal groundwater levels, stream flows and subsequent below-normal reservoir levels.  [See below for a map of the drought evaluation regions used by the DMTF.]  The group also agreed that the existing Drought Watch Advisories in six regions (Chowan, Middle James, Northern Piedmont, Northern Virginia, Roanoke River and Shenandoah) should continue.  If the pattern of below-normal precipitation during the winter ‘leaf-off’ period continues through February, most of the state will have experienced a second consecutive winter season with low recharge to the groundwater system.  These conditions may have serious impacts upon water availability during the next growing season due to low water table levels and subsequent low base flow in streams.

“VDACS [Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services] has received reports that cover crops have been affected and that in some areas, particularly in the upper Shenandoah region, livestock watering ponds have been affected. VDGIF [the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries] noted that due to low water levels, trout stocking has been delayed, and VDOF [Virginia Department of Forestry] reported that there is some concern regarding central Virginia for the spring wildfire season.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wilmington N.C., District described conditions affecting Philpott and J.H. Kerr reservoirs in the Roanoke drought evaluation region.  The Kerr project’s Drought Management Plan has been in effect for several weeks, and inflows have been well below normal.”

The DMTF also produces a map rating drought-status indicators, also online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought/DroughtMonitoring.aspx.  Shown below is the map for January 31, 2018, followed by a map identifying the Drought Evaluation Regions used by the DMTF.  The status-indicator abbreviations on that map are as follows: GW = groundwater levels, Prcp = precipitation deficits, Res – reservoir storage, and Flow = stream flow conditions.  For each region of Virginia, the indicators are color coded for “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.”  Note the widespread watch, warning, and emergency conditions as of the end of January.

Drought VA Jan31VA Drought Evaluation Regions map

Following are recent drought-related news headlines (hyperlinked to the online articles):
Despite rain, region approaching long-term drought, WTOP FM-Washington, D.C., 2/2/18.
Augusta County sets up water filling station in Verona, Waynesboro News Virginian, 2/3/18.

DROUGHT ELSEWHERE

The January 30, 2018, U.S. Drought Monitor categorized 61.9% of the United States (including all or parts of 47 states) as being abnormally dry or worse.  The Drought Monitor categorized 14.4% of the country (including parts of 22 states), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4).  (The highest percentage in the severe-or-worse categories reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000 was 38.5% of the country for the week of August 7, 2012.)

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (categories D0-D4) and severe or worse (categories D2-D4) in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
12/26/17 – 45.8% abnormally dry or worse; 4.1% severe drought or worse;
11/28/17 – 35.7% abnormally dry or worse; 4.1% severe drought or worse;
10/31/17 – 28.1% abnormally dry or worse; 2.3% severe drought or worse;
1/31/17 – 28.3% abnormally dry or worse; 3.2% severe drought or worse.

The following states had 50% or more categorized by the January 30 Drought Monitor in severe-or-worse drought:
Arizona – 64%;
New Mexico – 68%;
Oklahoma – 81%.

Following are some comments from the January 30 Drought Monitor on conditions in three regions:

South
“…This week was a continuation of very dry conditions in western Texas, western Oklahoma, and eastern New Mexico which have lasted for over three months….  In Texas, the Amarillo International Airport has had 109 consecutive days with no measurable precipitation as of January 30, edging out January 3, 1957, whose dry run lasted 75 consecutive days.  Canyon went 102 days without measurable rain through January 16, which was the second longest dry streak behind the 104 days ending on January 15, 1956.  Guymon, Oklahoma, has had only 0.04 inch of precipitation since October 11, 2017….”

Midwest
“…Most of the region has been very dry for the last three months, with dry conditions in the Mid-Mississippi Valley extending back 12 to 24 months in places….”

West
“…[D]ry weather [dominated] the West this week and [has for] much of the last six or more months….  As reported to the National Weather Service, in southern Arizona ranchers were already starting (or preparing) to haul water for livestock as ponds were drying up.  This is more typical of spring than mid-winter.  …Mountain snowpack was abysmally low, reaching record low levels for this time of year in parts of New Mexico and Colorado. …D2 was added to southern California to reflect long-term precipitation deficits in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties.”

90-DAY DROUGHT OUTLOOK

For a look ahead, the National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center’s “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” is available at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.php.  Shown below is the outlook map available on February 1, 2018.

Drought US Outlook Jan18

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 http://dof.virginia.gov/infopubs/index.htm#ForestHealth.  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 http://dof.virginia.gov/health/index.htm;  or contact Program Manager Lori Chamberlin at (434) 220-9026, lori.chamberlin@dof.virginia.gov; or Specialist Katlin Mooneyham at (434) 220-9060, katlin.mooneyham@dof.virginia.gov.  The VDOF main office is at 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events – February 5, 2018

Boats and crews 2 Batteau Fest Jun15 2013One of Virginia’s most distinctive water-related events: the annual James River Batteau Festival, launched every June in Lynchburg, Va.  Shown above is the launch on June 15, 2013.  The 33rd annual festival runs June 16-23, 2018.

This post lists conferences, meetings, and other events related to Virginia’s water resources and held in Virginia (in  most cases; nearby out-of-state events are occasionally included).  Except for online meetings or seminars, the events here typically are at least several hours long (for example, this site does not list the frequent one-hour water-related seminars held at Virginia colleges or universities).  This post is updated as information becomes available and is re-posted monthly.

This list does not include Virginia government meetings (except for a listing of the dates of the Virginia General Assembly, which starts each January).  The News Grouper blog has a post on those meetings each week, at  https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Water-related+Government.

For water-related meetings outside of Virginia, please see the Grouper post, “A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States and Elsewhere,” re-posted quarterly.

Thanks to the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC) for providing some of the information in this post.  More information about the VWMC is available online at http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/

For links to events lists from several other organizations, please see the bottom of this post.

Jan. 10-March 10, 2018 (subject to extension): Virginia General Assembly, Richmond.  The 2018 General Assembly convenes on January 10 and is scheduled for 60 days; this is a so-called “long session,” which is held in all even-numbered years.  General Assembly session information is available online at this link.  The Legislative Information System (LIS) Web site, http://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm, provides lists and summaries of all bills, searchable by topic, member, committee, etc.  Live video streams of floor sessions are available at http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3 for the House and http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3 for the Senate.  As of 2018, live streaming of committee meetings also is available.  Information on live streaming of House committee meetings is online at https://publications.virginiageneralassembly.gov/display_publication/209;  for Senate committee meetings, online at http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.  For more information on the General Assembly, visit http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php or contact your local member of the House of Delegates or State Senate.

Feb. 24, 2018, Germanna Community College, Culpeper: Annual Woods and Wildlife Conference.  Organized by the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program at Virginia Tech.  More information: http://forestupdate.frec.vt.edu/landownerprograms/workshops/woodsandwildlife.html; or contact Jen Gagnon at (540) 231-6391, or e-mail: jgagnon@vt.edu.

Feb. 27-28, 2018, Virginia Beach: Virginia Turfgrass Council’s Come to the Bay Conference.  More information: http://cometothebay.org/; (757) 464-1004  (Virginia Beach); e-mail: vaturf@verizon.net.

Mar. 4-6, 2018, Richmond: Virginia Water Conference 2018.  Organized by the Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association.  More information: http://www.vlwa.org/VirginiaWaterConference.aspx.

March 16-18, 2018, Holiday Lake 4-H Center in Appomattox (Appomattox County: Annual Landowner Weekend Retreat.  Other 2018 retreats will be Aug. 17-19, Southwest Virginia 4-H Center in Abingdon (Washington County);  and Sep. 28-30, New Kent Forestry Center in Providence Forge (New Kent County).  Organized by the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program (Virginia Cooperative Extension).  More information: http://www.forestupdate.frec.vt.edu/landownerprograms/retreats/index.html; Jennifer Gagnon at (540) 231-6391 or jgagnon@vt.edu.

Mar. 21, 2018, Henrico County Training Center, Henrico: Virginia Water Monitoring Council Conference.  More information: http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/conference/;  or contact Jane Walker, Virginia Water Resources Research Center, phone (540) 231-4159; e-mail: janewalk@vt.edu.

March 21-October 31, 2018, statewide: Virginia Household Water Quality Program drinking-water clinics.  People who rely on private wells, springs, or cisterns can get their water tested inexpensively for key constituents and receive a report interpreting the results.  The cost to participate in 2017 was $55.  A list of upcoming clinics in 2018 is available at http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu/events.php.  For more information, contact Erin James Ling, at (540) 231-9058 or wellwater@vt.edu.

Mar. 22, 2018 (recurs every year), everywhere: World Water Day. The annual worldwide event designated by the United Nations since 1993.  More information on the history of the event and the observances and activities for this year is available at the World Water Day Web site: http://www.worldwaterday.org/.  March 22 also starts the annual period for the EarthEcho Water Challenge (formerly World Water Monitoring Challenge), running through the officially observed day of September 18 and ending December 31.  More information on the EarthEcho Water Challenge is available at http://www.monitorwater.org/.

Mar. 26-30, 2018, Norfolk: North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. Organized by the Wildlife Management Institute.  More information: https://wildlifemanagement.institute/#/conference.

April 3-5, 2018, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington: 29th Annual Environment Virginia Symposium.  Organized by the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics.  More information: http://conferences.vmi.edu/eva/.

April 11, 2018, Roanoke: Annual “Water is Life” Conference.  Organized by the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP).  More information: http://www.sercap.org; or e-mail swatts@sercap.org.

Apr. 28, 2018: National Prescription Drug Take-back Day.  Coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and conducted by law-enforcement agencies nationwide.  The event is designed to help people properly dispose of unused drugs in order to help prevent improper drug use and to keep chemicals out of waterways.  To see if a take-back day is happening near you, call your local police or sheriff’s department, or visit the U.S. Department of Justice “National Take Back Initiative” Web site at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html, where you can search for the take-back location nearest you.

April 2018 (date TBD), Chesapeake and Suffolk: Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival.  More information: www.visitchesapeake.com/gds-birding-festival; phone (757) 986-3705.

April 2018 (date TBD), Wakefield (Sussex County): 70th Annual Shad Planking as part of the Shad, Grapes, and Grains Festival.  Organized by the Wakefield Ruritan Club.  More information: http://www.shadplanking.com/; info@shadplanking.com.

May 1-4, 2018, Richmond: Virginia Forestry Summit.  Organized by the Virginia Forestry Association.  More information: http://www.vaforestry.org/; (804) 278-8733; vfa@vaforestry.org.

May 8-9, 2018, Staunton:  Virginia Turfgrass Council’s Come to the Valley Conference.  More information: http://www.cometothevalley.org/; (757) 464-1004  (Virginia Beach); e-mail: vaturf@verizon.net.

May 11-13, 2018, Konnarock: Mount Rogers Spring Naturalist Rally.  Organized by the Blue Ridge Discovery Center.  Events include a featured speaker, field trips, and nighttime programs.  More information: http://blueridgediscoverycenter.org/mrnr/.

May 22-24, 2018, Longwood University, Farmville: 2018 Virginia Junior Academy of Science Research Symposium.  More information: http://www.vjas.org/.

May 23-25, 2018, Longwood University, Farmville: Spring Meeting of the Virginia Academy of Science.  More information: http://vacadsci.org/vas-meetings/annual-spring-meeting/; (804) 864-1450; e-mail: vasoffice@vacadsci.org.

Jun. 1-3, 2018, statewide: Free Fishing Days.  Organized by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  No state fishing license needed during this period, except when fishing on stocked trout waters.  More information: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/free-fishing-days/.

Jun. 1-3, 2018, Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, Appomattox: Women’s Outdoor Weekend (for ages 10 and up).  Organized by Virginia Cooperative Extension.  More information: http://holidaylake4h.com/wow.php; phone (434) 248-5444; e-mail: bgoin@vt.edu.

Jun. 2, 2018: Annual Potomac River Swim for the Environment.  Swimmers dive into the Potomac at Hull Neck in Northumberland County, Virginia, and swim 7.5 miles to Point Lookout State Park in Maryland.  Participants raise funds for the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, the Southern Maryland Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Potomac River Association, the Potomac River Conservancy, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and the St. Mary’s Watershed Association.  More information: http://www.potomacriverswim.com.

June 16-23, 2018, on the James River, starting at Percival’s Island in Lynchburg: 33rd Annual James River Batteau Festival.  Organized by the Virginia Canals and Navigation Society.  More information: http://www.vacanals.org/batteau/.

LINKS TO EVENTS LISTS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

Boating Safety Classes by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Nutrient Management Training

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/State Parks Events

Virginia Department of Emergency Management Training Events (including for floods, hazardous material, and other water-related emergencies)

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Training for Stormwater Management and Erosion/Sediment Control

Virginia Department of Health Listing of Training Resources for Onsite Sewage Professionals

Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program Events

Virginia Green (Virginia Tourism Corporation site for “green” vacations and activities)

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

Virginia Master Naturalists

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Sea Grant’s Links to Marine-education Opportunities for K-12 Teachers (click on “Professional Development”)

Virginia Water Environment Association

American Water Resources Association-National Capital Region Section

U.S. EPA Watershed Academy Webcast Seminars

Wetlands Education and Training Opportunities from Environmental Concern (non-profit in St. Michaels, Md.; opportunities for professionals and educators).