NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes November 25, 2008



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
November 25, 2008


(As approved by the Board of Directors on January 29, 2009)

Mrs. Packard called the meeting to order at 9:40 a.m.   Those present were:

  • Jean Packard, Chairman, NVSWCD
  • John Peterson, Treasurer, NVSWCD
  • Johna Gagnon, Secretary, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, NVSWCD Associate Director
  • Bob Kohnke, NVSWCD Associate Director
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Michelle Brickner, Deputy Director, Land Development Services, DPWES
  • Jim McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Christin Jolicoeur, Watershed Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Nick Kokales, Administrative and Technical Assistant, NVSWCD
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz. Soil Scientist, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, Agricultural Water Quality Specialist
  • Joanna Cornell, Watershed Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Erick Sanchez
  • George Lamb
  • Bob Jordan
  • Jerry Peters

Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.  Ms. Brickner gave a brief overview of the DPWES presentation to the Board of Supervisors with regard to agency strategies to meet reduced funding levels.  By increasing fees (as part of a regular review of fees), putting a hold on certain contracts (e.g. building protection services), and not filling vacancies, DPWES has identified $9 million in funding reductions without cutting additional staff.  Ms. Brickner said that on December 10, DPWES will provide the Planning Commission with more detailed information about identifying drainage areas for requiring buffers and buffer widths; anyone who is interested may attend the meeting.      

Falls Hill Residential LID Demonstration Project.  Ms. Jolicoeur and Mr. Rouhi described the education, demonstration and technical assistance project in the Falls Hill Community, which has been implemented during the past year.  Ms. Jolicoeur explained that the Falls Hill-Poplar Heights neighborhood in the Providence District and Cameron Run Watershed has been experiencing increased drainage and flooding problems.  Prior to the project, there had been a series of professionally facilitated neighborhood meetings, in which county and district staff participated.  The implementation of low impact development measures was one of the identified needs.  Working with Northern Virginia Regional Commission and DPWES, the District developed a project to educate the community, demonstrate LID practices, and assist homeowners who wanted to implement these practices on their properties.  The District applied for and received a $12,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund.  The grant was used to construct the practices, to publish a Low Impact Development Handbook for homeowners that was distributed at two workshops, and to fund several mini-grants to help homeowners implement projects.  Mr. Rouhi and Ms. Jolicoeur described the demonstration site, the drainage problems and the solutions, which include a series of practices installed by Angler Environmental, assisted by District and DPWES staff.  An infiltration trench in the back yard collects runoff via a yard inlet and carries it to an infiltration facility four feet square and four feet deep, which is covered with sod.  Two rain barrels were installed at the downspouts, one of which is piped to the infiltration facility.  The slope on the side yard was terraced, covered with a compost blanket, and native trees and shrubs were planted.  A French drain was constructed under a path of stepping stones at the base of the slope.  The French drain leads to a rain garden in the front yard.  The neighborhood was invited to visit the site several weeks after construction was completed.  District staff is providing technical assistance to homeowners who attended the workshops.  Seventeen sites having been visited so far.  For some problems, LID measures are warranted, but in many cases homeowners just need to know better ways to direct runoff, how to establish vegetation, and general environmental advice.  Mini-grants, accompanied by an additional eight hours of technical assistance, will be awarded in January.

Outstanding Service Award – Asad Rouhi.   The Board recognized Mr. Rouhi for ten years of outstanding service and exceptional performance, noting his passion for excellence, his intellectual curiosity and his commitment to environmental protection and public service.  Mrs. Packard said his work included initiating and managing stream restoration and rain garden projects, carrying out special projects such as the rain garden study, reviewing site plans, assisting homeowners in solving drainage and other environmental problems, and sharing his considerable experience and knowledge in workshops, classes, presentations and in the development of technical materials. 

Cooperator of the Year Award – Jim McGlone.   The Board recognized Jim McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist, Virginia Department of Forestry, as the NVSWCD 2008 Cooperator of the Year.  Mrs. Packard presented him with a plaque and thanked him for the many ways he works with the District, including cooperating to provide technical assistance to landowners, participating on the County’s Natural Landscaping committee, supporting the Master Naturalist program, helping to plan and conduct the annual seedling program, serving on the District’s High School Science Fair judging team, coaching the Envirothon team, and writing articles for Conservation Currents. 

Farewell – Joanna Cornell.  Mrs. Packard said it was with both sadness and good wishes that the District was bidding farewell to Mrs. Cornell.  She noted that her enthusiasm and initiative have inspired many and that she will be missed not only by her colleagues but by a large following of youth and adults who have learned a great deal and expanded their horizons under her guidance.  Over the past eight years, Ms. Cornell built an outstanding stream monitoring program with a solid cadre of volunteer stream monitors.  She spearheaded the very successful Neighborhood Ecological Stewardship Training (NEST) program which connected people to their environment through hands-on experiences on land and water.  She has led countless programs in schools, helped individual students, mentored interns, and co-sponsored the Envirothon program.  Mrs. Cornell thanked the board and said she has loved her work with the District and that it has been gratifying on many levels.  Mr. Schwartz narrated a presentation that highlighted Mrs. Cornell’s career with the District. 

NVSWCD Director Vacancy.  Mrs. Packard noted that several individuals were present who have expressed an interest in filling the vacancy caused by the loss of Mrs. Ormsby.  She invited them to say a few words. Jerry Peters, Bob Jordan, George Lamb and Erick Sanchez each made brief remarks about themselves and their interest in serving on the District Board.

Approval of Minutes.  A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (3-0) to approve the minutes of the October 28, 2008 board meeting.   

Treasurer’s Report.  Mr. Peterson said he had reviewed the Treasurer’s Reports and the found everything in order.  A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (3-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer’s Report for October 2008.   

Appointment of PotomacCouncil Representative.   A motion (Gagnon-Packard) passed (3-0) to appoint John Peterson as the NVSWCD Representative to the Potomac Council for 2009.

Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.  Mrs. Packard said the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board (VSWCB) met on November 21.  Gary Hornbaker has been appointed by the Governor as the member from Area II.  The Board approved the procedure for nominating Lake Barcroft WID trustees for five-year terms and the appointment of George McLennan as a trustee.  DCR provided the Board with an update on the status of several actions associated with the stormwater management regulations.  DCR also provided the annual assessment of SWCDs compliance with their grant deliverables.  NVSWCD was fully compliant.  The VSWCB adopted a resolution to Governor Kaine requesting his support for amendments to the budget to include sufficient funds in the Agricultural BMP Cost Share Program for the second year of the biennium.  The Board received a list of changes that have been suggested to improve the Chesapeake Bay regulations, including suggestions from Fairfax County and a recommendation for an alternate method of trenching from Angler Environmental.  Mr. Peterson asked about the status of the Dam Safety Regulations.  Mrs. Cross said she would find out. 

Green Breakfast.  Mrs. Packard said the next Green Breakfast will be January 10.  Mrs. Hoffman said she has added to the list of potential programs several suggestions that have been received recently:  reducing one’s carbon footprint; the Reston stream restoration bank; and an update at the conclusion of the 2009 General Assembly session.  For the January breakfast, it was decided that Mr. Glasgow would invite Kevin Monroe to talk about the restoration of the wetland at Huntley Meadows Park.  Mr. Peterson will moderate the program.  Mrs. Gagnon will contact Delegate Vanderhye about a presentation at the March breakfast.

Engineering Standards Review Committee.  Mr. Kohnke said the ESRC did not meet in November. It was his understanding that the next item for the ESRC would be the changes needed to incorporate the updated soils information.

Pohick Creek Watershed PL-566 Project.  On November 7,Mr. Kohnke visited the Royal Lake rehabilitation construction site with the NRCS inspector, Jerry Wright.   He said NRCS, the County and the contractor are working to secure ACBs (articulated concrete blocks) that are certified to NRCS specifications. 

Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC).  Mrs. Gagnon said that EQAC will hold its annual public hearing on December 1 in the Government Center auditorium.  There will be remote access available at the South County Government Center and it will be carried live on Channel 16. 

Watershed Planning Meetings.  Mrs. Gagnon said the Accotink Creek Watershed Planning advisory group will meet on December 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Kings Park Library.  Also, meetings will be taking place for several other watershed planning initiatives.  There is more information on the DPWES website. 

Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District (LBWID).  Mr. Peterson said he will meet with the LBWID Trustees on November 26 to discuss its Emergency Action Plan for the dam.  He noted there is a problem emerging throughout the United States whereby emergency services are willing to work with dam owners to develop emergency action plans but are reluctant to sign formal approval because of liability concerns. 

National Association of Conservation Districts.  Mr. Peterson said an agreement has been reached with the Certified Professionals in Erosion and Sediment Control for it to provide training for SWCD employees. 

Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Mrs. Cross provided copies of the DCR Report provided to the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board at its meeting on November 21.   She reminded that the VASWCD annual meeting will be held in Roanoke on December 7 – 9.  The Potomac Council will hold its annual meeting on December 7 at 5:00 p.m.  Mr. Peterson encouraged everyone to attend, especially in light of reduced participation by NRCS due to travel restrictions.  Mrs. Cross said the VASWCD Area II meeting will take place on the afternoon of December 8.  The Area II agenda will include the election of officers and the legislative agenda.  Because of anticipated funding reductions, Prince William SWCD will suggest that in lieu of holding the annual Spring Meeting in 2009, alternatives might be considered, such as a conference call.

Virginia Department of Forestry.  Mr. McGlone’s report included:

  • Another outbreak of Emerald Ash Borer has been identified in the Bailey’s Crossroads area.  Federal and state quarantines are still in place.  Efforts are being made to alert Fluor, the company that is moving wood and wood chips from its construction areas along the Beltway.  It is estimated that one to two million trees will be lost in Fairfax County.
  • In September, Mr. McGlone was in Baton Rouge participating in the U.S. Forest Service’s hazard assessment, marking trees for removal or in need of pruning.  He noted that live oaks do well in hurricanes, but water oaks do not. 
  • The Urban Forest Roundtable has met twice this fall.  The September meeting at Reston Association included a discussion of ten invasive species and the challenge of communicating and working with civic associations.  The December meeting at WSSI included the stream restorations in Reston.  The next meeting will be February 12 at the Government Center and will include VDOT and utilities. 
  • This fall the acorn production from oak trees is way down.  Mr. McGlone said this is part of the natural cycle.
  • Fairfax ReLeaf will meet its goal of planting 2,500 trees this fall, due in large part to planting 1,200 trees on November 7.  SSI Printers provided trees, Fairfax Public Schools donated land, Level Three Communications provided workers, and DOF provided direction and technical assistance.
  • The third Fairfax Master Naturalists class will begin in December and graduate in the spring.  This will bring to seventy the number of trained Master Naturalists in the county. 
  • An effort is underway to make May 2 Invasive Removal Day in Virginia.  This is an all-volunteer effort to increase awareness of the problem.  Meghan Fellows, FCPA, is working on this initiative.  Mr. Peterson said if she would provide information, he would pass it on for dissemination at the VASWCD annual meeting.
  • Mr. McGlone has received new direction from the Department of Forestry for preparing Forest Management Plans for the CREP program

Community Appearance Alliance Award for Little Pimmit Run Project.  Mrs. Packard said that the Little Pimmit Run Stream Restoration Project will receive a Community Appearance Alliance award in January.

Cancelation of December Board Meeting.   A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (3-0) to cancel the December 23, 2008 Board of Directors meeting.

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 11:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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