FY2009 Mid-Year Review


FY 2009 Mid-Year Report

July 1 - December 31, 2008

Goal 1 - Provide Leadership in Natural Resource Conservation.

  • Directors and Associates serve on several county boards, including the Tree Commission and the Engineering Standards Review Committee.
  • Directors and Associates provide leadership at the federal, regional and state level by helping to develop legislative agendas and through their work with the Potomac Council and Potomac Watershed Roundtable, the VASWCD (executive and urban committees), and the Virginia SWCBoard.
  • Staff serve on a number county committees.
  • The Environmental Coordinating Committee (ECC) meets monthly. It coordinated input for EQAC’s Annual Report on the Environment, and responses to the Report’s recommendations.
  • A subcommittee develops the annual Environmental Improvement Program to carry out the Board of Supervisor’s Environmental Plan.
  • The Natural Landscaping committee is developing plans for natural landscaping on county lands.
  • The District is invited to a monthly meeting, hosted by the director of DPWES, to discuss stormwater and PFM-related issues.
  • Another committee with both public and private interests represented is studying the problem of how to dispose of dredged spoils; it is exploring economic opportunities for recycling the spoils along with two other natural resources, composted waste from horse operations and yard debris.
  • The District is a sponsor of the Fairfax County chapter of the Master Naturalist Program, and provides instructors and volunteer opportunities for participants.
  • The District is making presentations to audiences in both the public and private sectors about the use of the new soil survey.
  • The District demonstrates leadership in innovation through initiatives such as the Falls Hill Residential LID Demonstration project, which demonstrated to a community ways to solve drainage problems, and provided two workshops, technical assistance and mini-grants.
  • The Gunnell’s Run composting facility demonstrates to the horse-keeping community a better way to manage manure and recycle nutrients.
  • The District continues to facilitate the Kingstowne II stream restoration project and to encourage the use of LID technicques in the design for the new Lorton Road.
  • The District assisted with solving a flooding problem at Williams Lane, which included the design of a bioretention facility that will be installed in the spring.
  • Rain gardens that have been designed and installed by the District are monitored, maintained and improved, as warranted.
  • During rezoning reviews and site plan reviews, and when advising the development community, staff often suggest better site design and stormwater management techniques.
  • The District is spearheading public involvement through presentations at the bi-monthly Green Breakfasts that bring environmental issues and current initiatives to the community. Topics included trees, E&S recommendations from the Infill Study, and protecting headwater streams.
  • The District encourages community involvement through workshops associated with demonstration projects, by publishing Conservation Currents, by developing a Residential Low Impact Landscaping pamphlet, and through programs such as storm drain marking, stream monitoring, rain barrels, stream cleanups, and the conservation landscaping tour.

Goal 2 - Provide High Quality Technical Assistance.

  • Provide high quality technical assistance to constituents, including the agricultural community, the development and business community, government agencies and officials, special interest groups, homeowner and civic associations, schools, youth groups, and the general public.
  • For lands in agricultural use, mainly horse operations, nine soil and water quality conservation plans, addressing erosion, nutrient management and pest management, were developed for 643 acres and include 43,942 linear feet of vegetated buffers to protect streams, wetlands and other water bodies (RPAs).
  • These plans meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation ordinance and the Agricultural and Forestal District ordinance. Also, assistance was provided to resolve two Agricultural Stewardship Act complaints, and a complaint received by the County that involved an RPA violation and a significant runoff pollution problem.In all cases plans and advice were provided to remedy the problems.
  • A demonstration composting facility was built at Gunnell’s Run horse farm, with the help of a WQIF grant, which will be used for educational seminars for horse owners.
  • A third stream crossing was designed for equestrian use at the Park Authority’s Turner Farm.
  • Comprehensive environmental evaluations were made for 69 rezoning and development-related applications and comments were provided to the Department of Planning and Zoning. Comments included properties of soils, erosion potential, drainage, storm water management, the impact on the surrounding environment, and suggestions for better site design.
  • The erosion and sediment controls and stormwater management aspects of 8 site development plans were reviewed with comments provided to Land Development Services. For one of the plans, the district worked with the developer of a site in the Centreville area to implement a better solution for dealing with stormwater.
  • Technical assistance is provided to agencies. One example of assistance to the Park Authority was helping to solve a standing water problem at Ft. Willard historic park. Originally, the Park Authority had been advised to excavate and add gravel at a cost of $70,000. The district suggested and then installed infiltration columns, at a cost of less than $1,000.
  • Technical assistance was provided to 65 homeowners and homeowner associations, during site visits to solve poor drainage, erosion, and other environmental problems. Assistance was provided to the Walden Homeowners Association to solve a flooding problem, which subsequently included reviewing a contractor’s bid for the project.
  • District staff consulted on 36 stream-related problems and responded to 21 requests for assistance with pond problems.
  • They responded by email or phone to 75 other requests for technical assistance from homeowners, agency staff and consultants.
  • Soils information was provided to 69 consultants, developers, realtors, and citizens.
  • The District participated in the annual inspection of the Pohick Creek watershed PL-566 structures.
  • The District is a sponsor of the Pohick Projects to rehabilitate Royal Lake, Woodglen Lake and Lake Barton, which are being carried out by the County and NRCS.
  • Staff participated in GIS Day with a display showing several ways the District uses GIS to support its work.
  • Eight sites were judged in the fall for the County’s Land Conservation Awards program, bringing to 17 the number of sites judged in 2008.
  • A powerpoint presentation was developed for the awards ceremony held in January.

Goal 3 – Increase Environmental Stewardship Through Outreach and Education.

  • The District posted 22 announcements on its website, developed 5 new web pages, and maintained 16 others regularly.
  • The site receives an average of 717 hits per day, and over the six month period had 43,970 unique visitors and a total of 64,404 visitors.
  • The fall issue of Conservation Currents included articles about the green roof on the Herrity Building, Monarch butterfly waystations, the state of the Potomac River, the passing of Sally Ormsby, no-till agriculture, drinking water protection, and the emerald ash borer infestations. Several articles were re-printed in other publications and many are posted on the District’s website.
  • There were 15 projects completed in the Storm Drain Marking education program. A total of 7,233 households were educated about not dumping in storm drains and about the proper disposal of potential pollutants. A total of 1,116 storm drains were labeled by approximately 166 volunteers who contributed 530 hours.
  • The Rain Barrel program distributed 342 rain barrels. Six workshops were attended by 164 people, one workshop was held for 29 teachers, and 74 people received their rain barrels from a distribution site.
  • The volunteer stream monitoring program includes approximately 20 sites and 100 volunteers. There were 15 workshops and trainings with 5 to 15 people each.
  • The County’s ecologists and the Audubon Naturalist Society assisted with several watershed walks, designed to raise awareness and bring people closer to their environment.
  • During the International Coastal Cleanup, 864 people removed 19,360 pounds of trash from 33 sites throughout the county, cleaning up 37 miles of streams. This program is done in partnership with the Park Authority, which sponsors 8 large clean ups involving several hundred volunteers.
  • The Reston Association and the Mason Neck Lions Club also work closely with the District in this program.
  • The Conservation Landscaping Tour included 5 sites and 40 participants.  
  • The watershed model, Enviroscape, was demonstrated 14 times to 331 people.
  • Planning is underway for the Envirothon competitions in the spring, a program for teams of high school students to demonstrate their knowledge in natural resource topics and issues. Two staff presented materials and assisted with field trips for the Master Naturalist Program.  
  • A Watershed Calendar is sent monthly to approximately 800 people.
  • The Green Breakfast email distribution goes to approximately 400 recipients, with information about events and programs in the county. During July-December, 598 inquiries were received for information.
  • 491 publications, brochures, pamphlets and other information items were distributed via mail and email and at meetings and exhibits.
  • District staff made 12 presentations to community organizations, schools and county staff. They covered a broad spectrum of topics, including low impact development techniques, watersheds, the rain garden study, the soil survey, soil art, and district programs

Goal 4 – Strengthen and Facilitate Partnerships.

  • The District works with many partners to carry out programs.
  • The District is working with thirteen Fairfax County offices, collaborating on projects, participating on committees and teams, and providing assistance as requested. Subjects include county programs, policies and regulations, stream stabilization, stream monitoring, ponds, E&S, better site design, stormwater management, storm drain marking and NPS education, outreach and education, soils, GIS, LID demonstration projects, improving habitat, and solving natural resource problems.
  • NRCS is a partner on the Soil Survey, the Pohick Project, and with conservation planning.
  • The District works with scouting groups, service organizations, and homeowner and civic associations to implement the storm drain marking program.
  • On stream cleanups, the District works with scouting groups, DPWES, the Park Authority, Clean Virginia Waterways and many stream/watershed groups.
  • The stream monitoring program works with Reston Association, citizen groups and schools throughout the county.
  • The rain barrel program partners include Fairfax County Public Schools, Arlington County, and Falls Church.
  • The District and the Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District maintain a close working relationship.
  • The District cooperates with Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Master Gardener Program on the seedling program and technical assistance.
  • Regionally, the District cooperated with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission on the Falls Hill project.
  • The District participates in, and provides support for, the Potomac Council and the Potomac Watershed Roundtable.
  • The district collaborates with the Virginia Department of Forestry on seedling programs, homeowner assistance, and the Master Naturalist program.
  • The District works with the Department of Conservation and Recreation on issues of common concern, including the Cost-Share Program.
  • The District participates in the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, with board members serving as officers and members of committees at state and national levels.
  • The District maintains communication and relationships with state officials, legislators,.and other organizations. The District strives to maintain communication links with all of its partners through programs, meetings, letters, Board minutes, newsletters, and reports

Goal 5 – Ensure a Strong Organization to Fully Meet Responsibilities and Goals.

  • The District’s five major Strategic Plan goals were used to develop an Annual Plan of Workfor FY 2009.
  • A budget for FY 2010 was prepared, approved, and submitted to Fairfax County, which is the primary funding source for the District’s operating budget.
  • The District also receives an operating grant from DCR.
  • The District leverages funding for projects such as the Kingstowne II stream restoration and Little Pimmit Run projects.
  • The District requested and received other grants and funding assistance for special projects, such as the Falls Hill Residential LID demonstration, the stream monitoring program, the storm drain marking program, the Gunnell’s Run composting facility, and the Agricultural Cost-Share Program.
  • The District derives a small income from the annual seedling program and interest on its bank deposits.
  • Interns assist with the stream monitoring and outreach programs.
  • The rain barrel program will fund a part-time intern to help carryout the program.
  • Periodic financial reports and program reviews and reports are prepared for the board, County, DCR and for inclusion in reports by other agencies.
  • On-going communication is maintained with funders and partners, helping to ensure they are aware of the District, its capabilities, and its work.
  • The District has the technological capacity to carry out its activities effectively, with access to the internet and a web presence, both of which are provided by Fairfax County.
  • Email communication allows the District to conduct business faster and more efficiently.
  • The use of GIS enhances technical assistance provided to customers. It also is the platform for the Soil Survey maps.
  • Staff and Directors attend conferences and trainings.
  • Volunteers are recruited for many District programs, including awards judging, stream monitoring, storm drain education, Envirothon, manning exhibits, and seedling programs.
  • By strengthening its capacity, the District strengthens its ability to provide technical and educational services that protect natural resources and promote environmental stewardship.

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