NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes July 28, 2009


letterhead

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
July 28, 2009

MINUTES

(As approved by the Board of Directors on July 28, 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
  • Bob Kohnke, Associate Director, NVSWCD; representative to the ESRC
  • Jerry Peters, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Bob Jordan, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • James Patteson, Director, Land Development Services, DPWES
  • Gary Switzer, Stormwater Compliance Specialist, VA Department of Conservation & Recreation
  • Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Jim McGlone, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Christin Jolicoeur, Watershed Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Nick Kokales, Administrative and Technical Assistant, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist; Agricultural Water Quality Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD

Approval of Minutes.  Mrs. Gagnon recommended approval of the minutes.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (4-0) to approve the minutes of the June 23, 2009 board meeting.   

Treasurer's Report.  Mr. Lamb said he reviewed the Treasurer’s Reports and found everything in order.  A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer=s Reports for June 2009 and the Fourth Quarter of FY 2009.  Mrs. Hoffman said that the Cooperative Agreement with NRCS will end on September 30; hence, beginning October 1, the District will be responsible for the phone bill, which averages about $5,000 per year.   

Rain Garden at Merrimac Farm Nature Preserve.  Mr. Rouhi said he provided assistance to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries by designing and overseeing construction of a bioretention facility near the old stone house on Merrimac Farm Nature Preserve, a 1,800 acre property in Prince William County.   Before agreeing to the project, the District discussed the proposal with the Prince William SWCD, which agreed it would be a good project for NVSWCD to do.  Mrs. Jolicoeur also participated, making recommendations for plantings and installing rain barrels that will enhance the project as a demonstration site and provide an opportunity to educate  visitors to the property.  Mrs. Packard noted that Merrimac Farm was the McDowell family farm, and, at one time, Ralph McDowell was a member of the Prince William SWCD.  Mrs. Hoffman said that Ralph McDowell helped NVSWCD with its Erosion and Sediment Control training program in the 1980’s by making presentations at its seminars, so it was fitting that now NVSWCD was able to help with a rain garden on his farm. 

Kingstowne II  Escrow Agreement.  Mrs. Hoffman provided a copy of the final version of the Escrow Agreement, which has the changes requested by the District and will be approved by the Kingstowne Residential Owners Corporation Board of Directors in August.  The District will hold the Deed of Restrictive Covenants in escrow until thirty days prior to construction, when it will be recorded.   

Cooperator of the Year.  A motion (Gagnon-Lamb) passed (4-0) to name Angler Environmental as the District’s 2009 Cooperator of the Year.  Angler was the District’s partner on the Little Pimmit Run project, where it helped to modify work as needed while not increasing costs.  Angler also provided other planning and administrative assistance with the project.  Also, after construction was completed, Angler donated $26,000 worth of time and equipment to assist with additional work. Angler partnered with NVSWCD and DPWES to install the Low Impact Landscaping techniques demonstration project in the Falls Hill neighborhood.  This was a collaborative effort that was accomplished on a weekend.  Also, of note, the County contracted with Angler for the rehabilitation of the dam at Royal Lake, a project sponsored by the County and the District, with assistance from NRCS.  The project is nearly complete, and reports indicate that Angler has done an excellent job.  Mrs. Packard noted that Angler Environmental has received two awards for its role in the Little Pimmit Run project, one from the Community Appearance Alliance and another from the Virginia Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. 

VASWCD Urban Forestry Award.   A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to approve the staff recommendation to recognize Fairfax ReLeaf with the District’s Urban Forestry Award.  The award highlights Fairfax ReLeaf’s accomplishments during FY 2009, including working with a broad array of volunteers to plant more than 9,000 trees.  Since its inception, Fairfax Releaf has planted more than 90,000 trees.  Fairfax ReLeaf includes a strong educational component in its projects and participates in other community outreach efforts.  Fairfax ReLeaf, as the District’s winner, will become the District nominee for the 2009 VASWCD Urban Forestry Award. 

State Guidelines for Rain Water Harvesting.  A motion (Peterson-Lamb) passed (4-0) to agree to a request by the Thomas Jefferson SWCD to become a signatory to a letter urging Governor Kaine to ask the Health Department to follow through on a 1998 General Assembly request to develop guidelines for Rainwater Harvesting.  Mrs. Hoffman said the Potomac Watershed Roundtable also signed-on to the letter.

Virginia’s Proposed Stormwater Regulations.  Mr. Patteson said he attended the public hearing on the new state stormwater regulations that had been held earlier in July in Manassas.  He said testimony reflected several perspectives and concerns.  The development community pointed out the burden of added costs on the development process and suggested seeking more solutions on agricultural land uses.  Residents pointed out the continued degradation of local streams and urged high standards for development and stormwater management.  Fairfax County expressed its support for the goals for the Chesapeake Bay, as well as sharing some of the same concerns that were voiced. The County wants to be sure the direction taken is the right one and that it is sustainable – that there is science to show the practices recommended will work and achieve the needed results, and that the strategy will be sustainable over time.  While it is expected that using the newer practices will improve over time, until more experience is gained in designing, building, inspecting and maintaining them, the County is concerned about relying on them now to achieve the requirements.  Ultimately the County will be held accountable through its MS-4 permit.  An alternative approach to the proposed standards for phosphorus reductions to .45 pounds/acre/year in some areas and .28 pounds/acre/year in others, such as Fairfax County, would be to establish a state-wide requirement of .45 pounds/acre/year and phase-in the standard of .28 pounds/acre/year gradually, as more experience with the newer practices allows.  A second alternative would be to require practices designed to achieve reductions to .28 pounds/acre/year, but not to require the same standard of enforcement as for traditional practices.  Outreach would be used to educate homeowners and homeowner associations about maintaining low impact development practices.  While the phosphorus reduction standards are achievable based on design standards, the County has a concern about assuming these results will be achieved based on performance measurements required in an MS-4 permit.  It was pointed out that the EPA is placing requirements on the states that are forcing the requirements of stormwater regulations and MS-4 permits.  In addition to concerns about the technical components of the proposed regulations, the County is concerned about establishing state-wide fees that will not be sufficient to cover the cost of administering the program in all localities, and recommends allowing for some flexibility.  The County does not support the inclusion of nutrient off-sets at other sites, because these do not help local streams.  On August 3, the Board of Supervisors will review and approve a letter to DCR that will transmit the County’s concerns.  Mrs. Packard said the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board will consider the final regulations on October 6.  If adopted, they will be filed for administrative review, after which they will be published for 30 days.  The regulations would not become effective until July 1, 2010.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (4-0) to approve a letter to DCR, stating that NVSWCD shares the concerns of the County and urges DCR and the VSWCB to take special notice and consideration.  The chair was delegated the authority to review and give final approval to a letter which will be drafted by Mrs. Hoffman. 

DPWES Land Development Services.  Mr. Patteson said that Land Development Services is reducing is staff from 340 to 280 positions.  Part of this is due to less workload.  Mrs. Hoffman noted that with fewer site plans sent to NVSWCD for review, the District has been able to redirect its resources to tasks such as the Williams Lane project, where it provided a design and helped to install a solution for a flooding problem in an industrial area near Seven Corners.  DPWES has expressed an interest in the District helping with getting more projects on the ground. 

Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans.   Mr. Woode presented three Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans prepared for cooperators during the fourth quarter.  The plans comprise 11 parcels on 70.9 acres and include 3,965 linear feet of Resource Protection Area.  The Faries plan (Dranesville District) is a requirement for renewal of an Agricultural and Forestal District, the Crawford plan (Springfield District) is a requirement for establishing an Agricultural District.  The Deepwood Veterinary Clinic (Centerville District) is part of a requirement for changing the use of an area from horse pasture to canine training.  A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to approve soil and water quality conservation plans for Durward and Tarry Faries (33.7 acres on 6 parcels in Great Falls, including a 12 acre hay production, with 2,060 linear feet of RPA); Teresa and Raymond Crawford (21.2 acres on 4 parcels in Clifton with 2 horses and 1,480 linear feet of RPA); and  Deepwood Veterinary Clinic (16 acres on 1 parcel in Centreville with 425 linear feet of RPA).

Secondary Considerations for the FY 2010 Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program.   Mr. Woode noted the four primary considerations, as required by the Agricultural BMP Cost-Share program, for prioritizing applications.  He presented for approval the District’s Secondary Considerations for prioritizing applications.  A motion (Gagnon-Lamb) passed (4-0) to adopt the following four Secondary Considerations for the 2010 Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program:  1) BMPs with lowest Conservation Efficiency Factor (CEF);  2) Lands with conservation plans that meet the Fairfax County Chesapeake Bay Preservation program requirements, 3)  Operations with higher animal unit per acre density and closer proximity to environmentally sensitive natural drainage, and 4) Applicants with a history of successful participation in conservation programs.

Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board (VSWCB).  Mrs. Packard reported on the meeting of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, which was held on July 23.  In addition to a discussion of the stormwater regulations, the Board approved guidelines for filling vacancies on SWCD boards.  Several processes may be used, however if interviews are part of the process, they must be done in compliance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act; hence, interviews are conducted in an open session.  The Virginia Association of SWCDs (VASWCD), which currently receives $25,000 in funding, asked for an annual increase of $7,000 over the next ten years.  The VSWCB approved a total of $32,200 for FY 2010.  Related to this, Mrs. Packard asked Mr. Peterson if the issue of SWCD dues had been discussed by the VASWCD board, since the state funding for SWCDs has been decreasing, yet VASWCD dues have not.  He said it is discussed regularly, but that he would mention it to the Area Chair who typically brings the matter to the board. 

Engineering Standards Review Committee (ESRC).  Mr. Kohnke reported on the July ESRC meeting.  He said that since many of the concerns that have been voiced about VDOT’s secondary street acceptance requirements are associated with what is needed for fire vehicles, a member of the County’s Fire Department was asked to make a presentation.  Mr. Kohnke said it was very educational, explaining the need for the requirements, especially in the case of cul de sacs. 

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said he met with members of Fairfax ReLeaf’s board to discuss Fairfax ReLeaf and the Tree Commission working together to establish tree planting areas in each supervisory district. This supports the Tree Commission’s goal of encouraging involvement by the Supervisors and residents in each district, which will promote support and funding for tree planting activities.  The Tree Commission will not meet in August.  In September, it will continue to pursue legislation that addresses the valuation of trees, besides their value as timber. 

Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC).  Mrs. Gagnon said that EQAC’s annual  public hearing will be held on November 30. 

National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD).  Mr. Peterson said the NACD is considering staffing changes, including combining the NACD coordinators for the Southeast Region and the South Central region into one position.   Mr. Peterson will attend the Southeast Regional meeting in Charleston, SC on August 22-25. 

Development on Bill Page Honda Property.  Mr. Lamb said that a rezoning application has been submitted for development on the Bill Page Honda site.  At Mr. Lamb’s request, Mr. Woode, who had visited the site previously and provided comments on the rezoning application, conducted a tour for representatives of interested groups and individuals from the nearby community.  

Pohick Creek Watershed – Lake Barton.  Mrs. Packard said that the Supplemental Agreement to the Pohick Creek Work Plan, for the rehabilitation of Lake Barton, will be signed by the County, NVSWCD and NRCS on August 3 at 8:30 in the Board of Supervisors Conference Room.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Mr. Wilkinson reported he attended a meeting of the Local Working Group and the FSA (Food Security Act) Committee in Warrenton, which serves this area.  Attendees included representatives from NRCS, VDOF and DCR.  Also, he attended training on the operation and maintenance of PL-566 dams, which was conducted by the National Watershed Coalition on July 14-15.  He will respond to a request from VDOT for information needed for a bridge project.

Department of Conservation and Recreation.  DCR Stormwater Compliance Specialist Gary Switzer provided copies of Mrs. Cross’ July report.  It included reminders about upcoming meetings and training and information about tasks associated with the Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program.  Mr. Switzer said that controls on the I-495 HOT Lanes project are getting better.  The project was shut down for five days, while major work was done on the E&S controls.   Mr. Glasgow said the Park Authority views the project as a destruction of the $11 million Lake Accotink dredging project.

Virginia Department of Forestry.  Regarding the HOT Lanes Project, Mr. McGlone said that a newly formed group, the Fairfax County Restoration Project, is working to find ways to revegetate and restore the area denuded by the HOT Lanes Project.  Also, VDOT has hired a landscape architect for the project, and Fluor Lanes, the project contractor, has created a small grant program to provide funding to non-profits.  He also reported that the Fairfax County Urban Forest Management staff will conduct an inventory of the urban forest throughout the County.  The data will be analyzed using I-Tree software.  The Northern Virginia Urban Forest Roundtable will meet September 18.  It will discuss issues related to tree planting in urban areas.  He said he recently met with Hiu Newcomb of the Potomac Vegetable Farm and learned about Ecoganic farming. The Department of Forestry has been asked to develop plans for additional 5, 10 and 15% cuts in funding.  

Green Breakfast.   Mrs. Packard said those attending the July 11 Green Breakfast enjoyed Paul Gilbert’s presentation on Reducing Your Carbon Footprint.  The next Green Breakfast will be September 12.  Mrs. Hoffman said the office will send a list of past topics to the Green Breakfast email list and invite suggestions for the next two weeks.  She then will send the board, staff and interested associates a summary of the suggestions, plus those already on file.  A topic for September will be chosen after feedback from this email, along with practical considerations. 

Cancelation of August Board Meeting.  Mrs. Gagnon said that since the NVSWCD board is required to meet a minimum of ten times a year and usually does not hold meetings in August or December, she recommended canceling the August board meeting.  A motion (Gagnon-Lamb) passed (4-0) to cancel the August Board of Directors meeting. 

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 12:10 p.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman


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