NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes January 29, 2009



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
January 29, 2009


(As corrected and approved by the Board of Directors on February 24, 2009)

Mrs. Packard called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.   Those present were:

  • Jean Packard, Chairman, NVSWCD
  • John Peterson, Treasurer, NVSWCD
  • Johna Gagnon, Secretary, NVSWCD
  • Adria Bordas, Director-Extension, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, NVSWCD Associate Director
  • Charles deSeve, Chairman, LBWID Trustees
  • George McLennan, Treasurer, LBWID Trustees
  • Davis Grant, Director of Operations, LBWID
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, VA-DCR
  • Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS
  • Christin Jolicoeur, Watershed Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz. Soil Scientist, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, Agricultural Water Quality Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Bob Jordan, Potomac Greenways Coalition
  • Jerry Peters, Environmental Consultant

Approval of Minutes.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (4-0) to approve the minutes of the November 25, 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-Bordas) passed (4-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer’s Reports for November and December 2008 and the Second Quarter FY09 Report.   

Election of Officers.  Ms. Bordas nominated the following slate of officers for 2009:  Jean Packard as Chair, John Peterson as Vice Chair and Treasurer, and Johna Gagnon as Secretary.  The slate was approved 4-0. 

Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans.  Mr. Woode presented a soil and water quality conservation plan for approval.  He said the plan has been approved by the Technical Advisory Committee and is required for renewal of the Hampshire Agricultural and Forestal District. Mrs. Gagnon asked that the magisterial district be identified when reporting on conservation plans. A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to approve the conservation plan for Gifford Hampshire.  It is a horse operation in Fairfax on 2 parcels comprising 25 acres and with 2,090 linear feet of RPA.

Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District.  Charles deSeve, Chairman of the LBWID Board of Trustees, said the process for re-certification of the dam is underway and he expects a successful outcome.  He mentioned that Robert VanLeer, the DCR dam safety engineer, is exceptionally knowledgeable and has been very helpful.  In a new cooperation with the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County, LBWID has been able to provide continuous data regarding conditions at the lake, and in return, has acquired a complete backup generator for the compound.   He noted that a Corps of Engineers report confirmed that Lake Barcroft did not contribute to the flooding in the Huntington area.  The volume that flows into the lake, plus rainfall deposition, is what flows out.  He also noted that the capacity of the lake is maintained by removing approximately 11,000 cubic yard of silt every three to four years.  Also by trapping this silt, the lake is helping to prevent sediment from being deposited downstream where it would reduce capacity.  As part of the re-certification process, LBWID has produced a comprehensive inundation map, which is being used to develop the Emergency Action Plan.  Mr. Peterson noted that he was extremely impressed with the quality of the Plan.  Mr. deSeve expressed his appreciation for the assistance and support by Mr. Peterson and Mrs. Packard during the process.  The LBWID has embarked on the ten-year rehabilitation plan which includes dam components, such as the hydraulic system and refurbishing the concrete.  He noted that the LBWID is going to change from contracting for dredging on a three to four year basis to in-house dredging on an on-going basis. This will save $87,000 over the next four years, and an anticipated $500,000 over the next 13 years.  The WID acquired and restored used equipment, which gave it functionally new equipment at a much lower cost.  Fairfax County continues to assist with disposal of the dredged materials at Lorton.  Mr. Grant said that the county also is cooperating with the LBWID to help dispose of the debris that is collected; this provides a considerable cost savings to the WID.  Mr. deSeve commended Mr. Grant for his leadership and vision.  Mrs. Hoffman added that Mr. Grant is chairing a sub-committee, that includes Mr. Woode, which is looking into the county-wide problem of disposing of dredged materials.

Preview of LBWID Budget.  Mr. deSeve discussed the LBWID FY 2010 draft budget, which will be presented to the NVSWCD Board for approval in February.  The budget supports the ten-year rehabilitation plan, funded initially by an 11% increase in the amount of tax collected; however, in the coming year, the increase should drop to 5.6% and thereafter it is expected to coincide with the rate of inflation, or about 3.5%.  Mr. DeSeve said that he has not received any objections from the Lake Barcroft community.  He attributes this not only to maintaining the dam well but by being extremely aggressive in keeping the lake clean. This action lets the community know that the LBWID is serious about lake maintenance in every dimension.  Mr. deSeve reviewed the 2010 general fund statement and operating budget.  He noted that in lieu of a summer part-time employee, a full-time position will be added to conduct dredging and maintenance work.  The higher insurance costs are expected to continue; however the auditing costs are a one-time increase due to accounting changes.  Some of the engineering costs will decrease.  He also reviewed the reserve funds for dam renovation, dredging and silt disposal, and capital equipment; these funds receive annual transfers from the general fund.  The board commended the LBWID for a clear and excellent presentation of the proposed budget.

Potomac Watershed Roundtable – January 9.  Mr. Peterson reported that the January Potomac Watershed Roundtable quarterly meeting was held at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton.  PWR Chair, Penny Gross discussed the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change.  Stuart Freudberg, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, talked about the National Capital Region Climate Change Report adopted by the MWCOG board.  Many of the recommendations are small common sense actions, but when practiced by many can have a big impact.  Joe Hoffman, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB), and Stephanie Flack, The Nature Conservancy, discussed their joint-effort, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, to study sustainable flow in the Middle Potomac River.  Cherie Schultz, also with ICPRB provided an update on the Potomac Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership.  The meeting concluded with a discussion of what the future may hold for environmental initiatives and programs, given recent state and federal elections.  The next Roundtable meeting with be held April 3 in Reston and will include a tour of the stream restoration site.

Land Conservation Awards – January 23.   Mr. Peterson said the 39th Fairfax County Land Conservation Awards ceremony went well.  He commended Mr. Woode for making an excellent presentation about the winning sites for erosion and sediment controls.  The NVSWCD judging team included Mr. Woode, Mr. Rouhi, Mr. Kohnke and Mr. Switzer.  Mr. Glasgow introduced the tree preservation awards.  Mr. Peterson said the award recipients appreciate the recognition and that it is a good program, reflecting well on the county and worthy of being continued.

Green Breakfast.   The board decided to invite someone from the Native Plant Society for the March 14 Green Breakfast.  Jerry Peters offered to ask Alan Ford, president of the Potomac Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.  It was decided that the May meeting would be a good time to discuss legislative initiatives from the 2009 General Assembly session.

Pohick Creek Watershed PL-566 Project.   Mrs. Hoffman said a letter from NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker gave a status report of the Watershed Dam Rehabilitation Program in Virginia.  Those in Fairfax County include four of the six Pohick Creek PL-566 Projects: #4 - Royal Lake (in construction); #3 – Woodglen Lake (in design); #2 – Lake Barton (in planning); and #8 – Huntsman Lake (application submitted).  Mr. Peterson noted that decisions for allocating stimulus funding likely will be made at the state level; hence it is time to make known that there is a need for funding for dam rehabilitation projects.  Mrs. Hoffman also reported that NRCS has asked Fairfax County and NVSWCD to approve an amendment to the project agreement for Royal Lake, to add an ending date of September 1, 2009.  This was inadvertently left out of the original agreement.  The County is scheduled to approve it first and then will forward three signed copies to NVSWCD for its approval.

Reston Stream Restoration Project.  Mr. Peterson said Mr. Rolband of Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. invited him to tour the stream restoration projects underway in Reston.  He looked at the projects in his capacity as a professional hydraulics engineer and wrote a note to WSSI commending the work.  Mr. Peterson said at the time, he was unaware of the controversy regarding the project, but that he had the same reaction as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, DCR and DEQ, all of whom are on record as saying a good job was being done.

General Assembly.  Mrs. Peterson said that he and Mrs. Gagnon traveled to Richmond on January 19 to visit with members of the General Assembly.  They were able to talk with 27 legislators or their staff.  In addition to items of interest to the VASWCD, they discussed local priority interests such as urban conservation and dam rehabilitation, and they provided copies of the NVSWCD biennial report.  Several legislators commented about the loss of Sally Ormsby.

Lee District Land Use Committee.  Mrs. Gagnon reported that the Lee District Land Use Committee approved two major rezoning proposals which will go before the Planning Commission within the next month.  One is rezoning for the renovation of Springfield Mall.   The other involved three rezoning and two special exception applications for development on land between Telegraph and Beulah Roads, which will include a stormwater wet pond with earthen dam and rain gardens.  At the suggestion of Bob McLaren, a condition for approving the project was that the applicants would work with NVSWCD on the design for the rain gardens.  She said that Lynn Stroble will contact the office. Mrs. Gagnon distributed copies of a flyer on how to dispose of unwanted medications.

Tree Commission.   Mr. Glasgow said the Tree Commission is interested organizing a seminar to discuss stream restoration, perhaps with a professor from the University of Maryland moderating a panel discussion of the topic.

Public inquiries.   In response to Mrs. Gagnon’s question about the type of inquiries received by the District, staff said that requests include technical assistance with drainage problems, wet basements, erosion problems, pond problems, and rain gardens, as well as information about rain barrels, soils, lawn care, planting and a variety of general environmental information questions.

Website.  Ms. Jolicoeur said that the county has made changes in its website, which has required her to manually change each of the conservation district’s pages.  She said to let her know if anyone is experiencing any difficulties in viewing the pages.

Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Mr. Wilkinson said he gave several copies of the new hydrologic unit maps to Mr. Woode.  Revisions to the watershed numbering were made as a result of a nationwide mandate.  The Joint Employees Development training is scheduled for February 26.  The topic will be agronomy.  He said the Farm Bill includes a new Chesapeake Bay initiative that is part of the EQIP program.  It may be possible to apply this funding to projects also receiving funding through the state cost-share program.  He noted the specifications for the ACBs (articulated concrete blocks) for the Royal Lake project have been approved by NRCS and will be installed soon.  Mr. Peterson noted that the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that David White is the Acting Chief of NRCS.

Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Mrs. Cross reported on the following:

  • The Governor’s budget was released on December 17.  SWCDs will take another 5% cut beginning on July 1, 2009.  The Governor proposed $20 million for WQIF, which is remarkable since it is the only budget request from the Secretary of Natural Resources’ office.  The budget also includes funding for routine dam maintenance.
  • The Agricultural BMP program will include long term continuous no-till planting systems, a practice that has a five year life span.  This is notable as it supports maintenance of a practice.
  • Two cost-share practices will assist with implementation of TMDLs.  One provides 85% cost-share for 35 ft. buffers and the other 50% for a 10 ft. set back.
  • The state Agricultural BMP Technical Advisory Committee will soon finalize recommendations for modifications to the 2010 program, for consideration by the Director of DCR. 
  • The Corotoman Farm in Loudoun County won the Potomac Basin Clean Water Farm Award.
  • Instead of a traditional spring meeting, VASWCD Area II will hold a two-hour conference call that will include agency reports and a business session.
  • Don Wells is providing regular updates on legislative items of interest via the all district email distribution.
  • Copies of the “Conflict of Interest Act” presentation by Ryan Brown, DCR, at the VASWCD annual meeting were distributed.

Service Award – Jean Packard.  Mrs. Gagnon presented Mrs. Packard with a 20 year service pin from VASWCD.  Mrs. Gagnon said she was privileged to accept the award on Mrs. Packard’s behalf at the VASWCD annual meeting in December.  She noted that Mrs. Packard has contributed in countless ways over the past 20 years, in addition to her service at a conservation district director.

Closed Session.  At 11:55, a motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to go into Closed Session, as provided for in the Code of Virginia Section 2.2-3711 (A) (1) to consider the nomination of a candidate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sally Ormsby.  Mr. Glasgow, Mr. Jordan, and Mrs. Hoffman were asked to attend the Closed Session.   

Reconvene and Certification of Closed Session.  At 12:45, a motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to reconvene from Closed Session.   Mrs. Packard moved to certify that pursuant to the Code of  Virginia Section 2.2-3712 (D) and to the best of the Board’s knowledge, only matters lawfully exempted and as identified in the motion by which the Closed Meeting was convened were heard or discussed by the Board during the Closed Meeting.  Voting aye were Peterson, Gagnon, Bordas and Packard. 

Nomination of George Lamb.  A motion (Peterson-Bordas) passed (4-0) to nominate George Lamb to fill the unexpired term caused by the death of Sally Ormsby.   The nomination will be forwarded to the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board for appointment.

Associate Director Appointment.  A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to appoint Jerry Peters as an Associate Director. 

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 12:50 p.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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