NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes May 26, 2009



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
May 26, 2009


(As approved by the Board of Directors on June 23, 2009)

Mrs. Packard called the meeting to order at 9:45 a.m.   Those present were:

  • Jean Packard, Chairman, NVSWCD
  • John Peterson, Vice Chairman, NVSWCD
  • Johna Gagnon, Secretary, NVSWCD
  • George Lamb, Treasurer, NVSWCD
  • Adria Bordas, Director, NVSWCD
  • Bob Kohnke, Associate Director, NVSWCD; representative to the ESRC
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD; representative to the Tree Commission
  • Jerry Peters, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Bob Jordan, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Dick Terwilliger, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, VA Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Wilkie Chaffin, President, VASWCD
  • Don Wells, Co-Chair, VASWCD Legislative Committee
  • Kendall Tyree, VASWCD Administrator
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz. Soil Scientist, NVSWCD
  • Nick Kokales, Administrative and Technical Assistant, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, Agricultural Water Quality Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Edward Kim, Regional Science Fair winner
  • Mrs. Kim, parent

Welcome.  Mrs. Packard welcomed Wilkie Chaffin, President of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Don Wells, Co-Chair, VASWCD Legislative Committee, and Kendall Tyree, VASWCD Administrator.  Mr. Chaffin said the Association is moving forward and is very pleased with its new administrator and new education coordinator.  He said the Association appreciates all the work Mr. Peterson does as its representative to the National Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and his attention to legislative issues, particularly at the national level.   Ms. Tyree said she enjoyed working with the NVSWCD Envirothon team, which placed fifth in the state competition.  Mr. Wells said the Association appreciates NVSWCD and Area II’s input for the VASWCD legislative agenda. 

The Suffocating Effect of Trees.  Edward Kim, a junior at McLean High School, received the District’s second place award at the Fairfax County Regional Science Fair for his project, The Suffocating Effect of Trees.  He explained that trees emit Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds (BVOC), which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone.  Some species, such as Ginko and Maple, emit small amounts, while others, such as Sycamores, emit larger amounts.  Other factors in conjunction with BVOC, such as temperature, leaf area and Photo synthetically Active Radiation, play a role in the formation of ozone.  He concluded that tree species with low BVOC should be chosen for planting in urban areas.  Mr. Lamb suggested that since BVOC reacts with car emissions, reducing the number of cars may be as important a strategy.  Several agreed that more research is needed with consideration given to other factors, including the benefits of the cooling affect of trees in urban areas.  Mrs. Packard congratulated Edward on his excellent project and presented him with a check and a copy of Aldo Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac.  He also was given an opportunity to apply for District sponsorship to the VASWCD Youth Conservation Camp in July. 

Approval of Minutes.  Mrs. Gagnon recommended approval of the minutes.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (5-0) to approve the minutes of the April 28, 2009 board meeting.   

Treasurer's Report.  Mr. Lamb said he had reviewed the Treasurer’s Report and found everything in order.  A motion (Lamb-Gagnon) passed (5-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer's Report for April 2009.   

Land Conservation Awards.  Mr. Rouhi said the spring judging session for the County’s annual Land Conservation Awards program was conducted the week of May 19.  The District’s judging team visited seven construction sites that had been nominated in five categories.  They evaluated the installation and maintenance of the erosion and sediment controls.  The next judging session will be in the fall. 

Falls Hill Residential LID Project.  Mr. Rouhi said the Falls Hill demonstration site, with several Low Impact Development practices to control stormwater and eliminate flooding problems, continues to perform well.  DPWES, the Supervisor’s office, and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission were the District’s partners in this project.  The District secured a grant to fund the project, managed the design and hired the contractor.  The partners held two workshops and a field day to explain the project and encourage the community to implement measures on their properties. A Residential LID Handbook was created and distributed to those who attended the Workshops.  Currently, District staff are providing technical assistance and mini-grants to help individual homeowners plan and install stormwater management practices on their properties.   

Agricultural BMPs.  Mr. Woode said approximately 6,700 acres of land is in agricultural use.  Most are horse operations, with some in hay production.  The District partners with the landowners to assist them to implement best management practices and manage their land in a way that will protect water quality and comply with the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Ordinance.  Education and demonstration always have been key components of successful District outreach programs.  With fewer opportunities available for horse operations to participate in Virginia’s Agricultural BMP Cost-Share program, the District used a WQIF grant to fund a demonstration horse waste composting facility at Gunnell’s Run Farm.  This site recently hosted the second in a series of seminars for managers of horse operations.  The first seminar focused on pasture management.

Pohick PL-566 – Royal Lake Rehabilitation.  Mrs. Hoffman said the rehabilitation of Royal Lake included realignment and strengthening of the auxiliary spillway.  She showed pictures of the installation of the ACBs (articulated concrete blocks) in the auxiliary spillway.  She provided some history of the Pohick Creek PL-566 project in which six flood control structures were built by USDA-Soil Conservation Service in preparation for the watershed’s transformation from rural to urban land uses.  The County secured the land rights and owns and maintains the structures.  It has received national recognition as an outstanding example of excellence in maintaining the lakes and dams, which have performed as planned to control stormwater, as well as provide other benefits.  Woodglen Lake will be rehabilitated next, moving from the design stage to construction.  The third project will be the rehabilitation of Lake Barton, which is in the planning stage.  The District and the County are co-sponsors of the Pohick Creek Watershed Project.  The rehabilitation projects are funded 65% by federal funds and 35% by County funds.  Each project begins with a series of engineering, economic, social and cultural studies, which are required to justify the projects, to answer questions such as whether or not dredging is required to extend the life of the sediment trapping ability of the lake, and to provide engineering options.

Seedling Sale.   Mr. Kokales said approximately 13,000 native tree and shrub seedlings have been distributed over the past two years during the District’s annual seedling sales.  This year’s theme was For the Birds and featured species that provide food and shelter for birds.  Last year’s theme was A Butterfly Buffet, with species that provide support for both larva and butterflies.  A modest profit helps to support education programs. 

Watershed Friendly Garden Tour.  Mr. Schwartz said a Watershed Friendly Garden Tour will take place on June 14.  It will include fifteen sites in Fairfax County that feature ecologically-friendly sustainable management techniques, such as reducing lawn areas, creating bird-friendly habitats, implementing low impact development measures to retain and control stormwater, vegetating with native species that require less care and provide habitat for wildlife, green roofs, and many features that are both beautiful and innovative.  The tour is free and open to the public.

Rain Barrel Program.  Mr. Schwartz said the Rain Barrel Program is in its third year and has been very successful.  By the end of this year, 1,800 rain barrels will have been distributed.  Workshops are held where people can outfit used pickle barrels to create rain barrels.  Also there are distribution events where people can buy ready-made rain barrels.  Education about the benefits of rain barrels, in terms of water conservation, managing stormwater, and landscape watering, are an important part of every program. 

Storm Drain Marking Program.  Mr. Schwartz said 3,500 to 4,000 storm drains are marked throughout the county annually.  The District manages the program, which relies on volunteers such as boy scouts and girl scouts, to carry out the program.  Educating each household in the community about nonpoint source pollution and about how to properly dispose of materials such as used motor oil, pet waste, yard debris, fertilizer and anti-freeze, are key components of every project.  Each year, about 25,000 residences receive this information.  DPWES provides the markers and glue.  The District secures the VDOT permit and provides the volunteers with guidance, materials and supplies. 

Annual Potomac River Cleanup.  Mr. Schwartz reported the Potomac River Cleanup was very successful.  The Alice Ferguson Foundation coordinates this annual watershed-wide clean up in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  There were 548 clean up sites established in the entire region; 123 of these sites were in Fairfax County.  He said that 80% of the results are in, and so far, 273 tons of trash have been reported as removed from the Potomac River watershed.  Hence, it can be estimated that Fairfax County volunteers, having 22% of the sites, removed approximately 60 tons of trash.  He noted that Fairfax County is fortunate to have so many people – scout groups, watershed groups, homeowner associations, environmental groups, service organizations – that care and volunteer to conduct cleanups in streams throughout the county.

Williams Lane.  Mr. Rouhi said the Center Rd. (Williams Lane) project has been completed.  This 1600 square-foot bioretention facility is located at the intersection of Williams Lane and Center Road, near Baileys Crossroads in Mason District.  The objective of the facility is to deal with an existing flooding problem that has been causing damage to the nearby building for at least the last seventeen years.  The Bioretention facility was designed by NVSWCD with assistance from Fairfax County DPWES-Stormwater Planning Division and was built by DPWES-Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division.  NVSWCD provided oversight during construction.  The facility is designed to act as both a BMP and a detention facility capable of detaining up to a 10-yr storm.  Mr. Rouhi noted that during the recent rains the facility’s performance has been quite impressive.

Rain Garden Design and Construction – A Northern Virginia Homeowners Guide.  Mr. Schwartz said the Fairfax County Park Authority and District both get requests from residents for guidance in planning, designing and building simple rain gardens.  Since the District has had quite a bit of experience designing, building and studying rain gardens, the Park Authority approached the District about collaborating on a guide for residents of Fairfax County.  NVSWCD staff provided the written information and outlines for illustrations.  The Park Authority provided editing and a graphic artist who created the layout and design and professional polish.  It is not a large publication, but contains all the important points, including sizing, soils, design, materials, site preparation, and construction steps.  A sizing calculation worksheet and table of appropriate native plants are included.  The Park Authority printed the Guides, which are now available for distribution.  It also is available on the web at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/raingardenbk.pdf

Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring.  Mrs. Hoffman said that Mr. Schwartz is coordinating the volunteer stream monitoring program, which continues to provide training, equipment, support and data management for the volunteers in Fairfax County who participate in the program. 

Green Breakfast.  Mr. Glasgow, reported that Steve Pyne, owner of the Wild Bird Center of Burke, gave an excellent presentation on Birds of Northern Virginia and Creating a Bird-friendly Home Habitat at the May 9 Green Breakfast.   The board asked that Paul Gilbert be invited to make a presentation at the July 11 Green Breakfast about “Reducing Your Carbon Footprint.”   In order to control the number of emails going to the Green Breakfast email list, the Board agreed that notices about relevant events sponsored by other organizations can be sent, but reminders should not be sent.

VASWCD Legislative Agenda for the 2010 Session.   Mrs. Packard said the VASWCD Area II Chair has asked for input for the legislative agenda for the 2010 session of the General Assembly.  There will be an Area II conference call on June 4.  The directors agreed that they did not have anything to suggest in addition to what was put forth last year.  Mrs. Packard and Mrs. Gagnon plan to participate in the conference call.

Engineering Standards Review Committee (ESRC).  Mr. Kohnke reported that at the May ESRC meeting, the Committee reviewed the rewriting of several chapters of the PFM.  It also reviewed VDOT’s secondary street acceptance requirements and approved the elimination of metric from the Public Facilities Manual. 

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said the Tree Commission continues to engage in strategic planning, defining its purpose and role as an advisor to the Board of Supervisors.  One topic discussed was expanding its title and role to include the more comprehensive concept of the urban forest.   

National Watershed Conference.  Mr. Peterson attended the 11th National Watershed Conference in Wichita where he received a copy of the USDA-NRCS Watershed Rehabilitation Report –2009.  The Report includes a picture and description of the rehabilitation project at Royal Lake.  He distributed several copies.

Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC).  Mr. Lamb said EQAC discussed at its last meeting the current county initiative to explore a regulatory approach to protecting headwater streams.  It is a complicated matter, including difficulties associated with the practical application of such a regulation.  EQAC also discussed the deliberations of the Tyson’s Task Force, which is looking at stormwater detention requirements for re-development, from forested conditions (100 year detention) at an estimated cost of $450,000 per acre to the 10-year detention at an estimated cost of $150,000 per acre. 

Hilltop Project.  Following up on last month’s comments, Mrs. Gagnon said it was unclear for which part of the project the Lee District Land Use Committee recommended the developer consult with NVSWCD.   She suggested that staff wait to be contacted either by the developer or by County staff. 

Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Mrs. Cross’ report included the following:

  • The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board will approve changes to the financial policy for distributing funding to SWCDs at it meeting on May 28.  Two recommendations by DCR are for greater District staff involvement in conservation planning certification and in attaining job approval authority.  Following the SWC Board meeting, DCR will draft the FY 2010 grant agreements.
  • DCR-DSWC has completed a two-year study of service areas for all of its programs.  This included an analysis of travel time and the efficient use of resources.  As a result, several changes have been made regarding which DCR offices are assigned to deliver various services.  The changes affect several districts and localities, but not NVSWCD, which will continue to be served by the Warrenton office. 
  • The Area II Spring Meeting, which was conducted by conference call on April 30, worked well as a communication tool.  The technical problem part way through the call was unfortunate, but most participants reconnected. 
  • Area II will conduct a conference call on June 4 at 8:00 a.m. to discuss legislative items to recommend to VASWCD.  Everyone may participate. 
  • Mrs. Cross will conduct an orientation/training at the NVSWCD office for new directors and associate directors on June 2 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Cost-Share training will be held on May 28 in Charlottesville.
  • Cost–Share Program Secondary Considerations should be developed after the training session.
  • There will not be any Cost-Share Program spot-checks in NVSWCD this year. 
  • Cultural Resources training will take place on June 9 at Montpelier.
  • It is time to make sure all end of year tasks are completed.

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 11:50 a.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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