NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes September 22, 2009


letterhead

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
September 22, 2009

MINUTES

(As corrected and approved by the Board of Directors on October 27, 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
  • Adria Bordas, Director-Extension, NVSWCD
  • Jerry Peters, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Bob Jordan, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Michelle Brickner, Deputy Director, Land Development Services, DPWES
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, VA Department of Conservation & Recreation
  • Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, 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.  A motion (Peterson-Bordas) passed (3-0) to approve the minutes of the July 28, 2009 board meeting.   

Treasurer’s Report.  A motion (Peterson-Bordas) passed (3-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer’s Report for July 2009.  The Board also approved the August Treasurer’s Report.

2011 Budget and Funding Request to Fairfax County.  A motion (Peterson-Bordas) passed (3-0) to submit a Budget and Funding Request to Fairfax County for the same amount as that received in 2010, with an additional $1200 for an anticipated 3.5% increase in health benefit costs for the second half of the fiscal year, beginning in January 2011.  The District participates in the Fairfax County health benefits program.  It did not request funding for a similar increase which will occur in FY 2010.  As in 2010, the budget will be based on cutting one position and continuing with no salary increases for staff. 

Approval of Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans.  Mr. Woode presented two Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans prepared for cooperators during the first quarter.  The plans comprise 7 parcels on 34.7 acres and include 1,900 linear feet of Resource Protection Area. The Potomac Vegetable Farm plan meets a requirement for renewal of an Agricultural and Forestal District, and the Barranda Ridge Equestrian Center plan is needed to meet the operation’s special use permit application requirement.  A motion (Peterson-Bordas) passed (3-0) to approve soil and water quality conservation plans for the Newcomb property (Potomac Vegetable Farm – an ecoganic production of vegetables, fruits and flowers in the Dranesville District: 26.4 acres on 6 parcels in Vienna, with 1,900 linear feet of RPA); and Jolanda Janczewski (Barranda Ridge Equestrian Center in the Springfield District:  11 acres on 1 parcel in Fairfax Station with 20 horses).

Self-Assessment of FY 2009 Cost-Share Compliance.  Mr. Woode presented the draft self-assessment of the NVSWCD compliance with the FY 2009 Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program, which is required each year by DCR.  The District fully satisfies all program components, except for two that are ‘not applicable’ because there were no cost-share practices installed during FY 2009.  They are #2 (Issue no less than 90% of available cost share funds) and #3 (Approve BMPs that achieve the greatest reductions of nutrients and sediments).  A motion (Bordas-Peterson) passed (3-0) to approve the self-assessment of NVSWCD compliance with the FY 2009 Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program, as presented.

Agreement to provide stormwater management technical assistance to the Bureau of Land Management.  Mrs. Hoffman said that Mr. Rouhi has designed a rain garden to help control stormwater runoff at a wayside kiosk that BLM plans to build on Gunston Road.  BLM has asked the District to assist with the installation of the rain garden, and also to provide technical assistance with stormwater management and stream restoration on its property on Mason Neck over the next five years.  The mechanism for providing this assistance and receiving funding is a Cooperative Agreement.  BLM developed an RFP specific to this project and asked NVSWCD to submit a grant proposal, which it did, and which BLM has approved.  In addition to installing the rain garden, the District will develop an overall stormwater management plan for the BLM property and assist with installation of several practices.  BLM will incorporate the terms of the grant into a Cooperative Agreement between the District and BLM.  A motion (Peterson-Bordas) passed (3-0) to authorize the District Administrator to proceed with a Cooperative Agreement to allow the project to move forward.

2010 Annual Plan of Work.  Mrs. Hoffman said the staff engaged in a visioning and strategic thinking session, looking at what Fairfax County would be like in 5 to 10 years, the opportunities for the District’s technical and educational knowledge and skills, and the role it might play.  Among the many things to take into consideration is the growing diversity of residents in the County.  Also, many of the innovative ideas the District has helped to introduce and demonstrate over the years are now more commonly accepted and are being incorporated into current practices.  The staff also looked ahead at the coming year and proposed programs and projects for FY 2010 that include both the District’s on-going responsibilities and new initiatives.  Mrs. Hoffman will provide a draft to the board for approval at the next meeting. 

Fairfax County Restoration Project (FCRP).  Mrs. Hoffman said that Mr. Schwartz is participating in the Fairfax County Restoration Project, a public-private partnership spearheaded byAmy Gould and other groups and individuals who are interested in restoring areas, such as along the current I-495 HOT Lanes project.  A letter about FCRP and its efforts, along with a copy of the latest issue of Conservation Currents was sent to properties adjacent to the new HOT Lanes construction.  On October 13, FCRP is sponsoring a workshop for homeowners and HOAs, Greening Fairfax County – Restoring Land Restoring Water, at the Government Center from 9:30 to 4:30.  Topics include Green Communities, Low Impact Development, Benefits of Reforestation, Native Plants, How Your Property Affects the Watershed, Low Impact Landscaping, and Sustainable Stormwater Management (the Falls Hill project).  The cost is $25 and includes lunch.

Potomac Watershed Roundtable – October 2.  Mrs. Hoffman said the October 2 meeting of the Potomac Watershed Roundtable will focus on Green Buildings and Energy Conservation.  It will be held at the Arlington County Park Operations Building – a LEED certified Silver building.  The agenda will include Arlington County’s programs that encourage both homeowners and commercial development to use green technology, and initiatives to reduce energy consumption and to track progress on the County’s website. 

Green Breakfast.  Mrs. Packard said Mrs. Hui Newcomb made an excellent presentation at the September 12 Green Breakfast on A Case Study from Potomac Vegetable Farms – Preserving Agriculture in Urbanizing Communities.  Mrs. Hoffman sent the directors, associates and staff a compilation of the suggestions the office received in response to a request for suggestions for future Green Breakfast topics.  This group, in turn, selected several priority topics.  Among them was the issue of development and redevelopment, such as at Ft. Belvoir and Tyson’s Corner, and the environmental and transportation implications.  It was agreed that this broad topic could not be covered in one meeting, and both the policy and practical elements needed to be defined and appropriate speakers identified.  Rather than tackle this at the next Green Breakfast on November 14, it will be explored early next year.  Possible topics for November are the new stormwater regulations or the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and their implications for Fairfax County.

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said that plans are for Jim McGlone to take over as Chair of the Tree Commission; Mr. Glasgow will stay on as Vice Chair.  There are three vacancies that need to be filled – representatives from the Sully, Springfield and Providence Districts. 

Rain Garden at Merrimac Farm.  Mr. Glasgow said he led a bird walk at Merrimac Farm in Prince William County and had an opportunity to see the rain garden that Mr. Rouhi designed and helped install with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  He said it was a very impressive facility.

Sally Ormsby Park.  Mr. Glasgow said the Park Authority plans to dedicate a section of the Accotink stream valley park in Mantua to Sally Ormsby.  Mrs. Hoffman said the District has been invited to help with the dedication, which should take place in mid-November.

Urban Forestry Roundtable.  Mr. Glasgow said the recent Urban Forestry Roundtable meeting, held in Arlington, included interesting information and discussions about urban forestry practices, including the challenges of street trees and trees located close to urban infrastructure. 

DPWES Land Development Services.  Ms. Brickner said there will be a public meeting about the Accotink Creek TMDL, hosted by the EPA and DEQ at the Government Center on September 29.   She also reported that fewer plans are being submitted for permits; hence, Land Development Services plans to reduce staff by another 20 through transfers within DPWES.

Teaming with Wildlife.  The board will consider an invitation to join Teaming with Wildlife and signing on to support dedicated funding for fish and wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation and conservation education in every state.  

Virginia Cooperative Extension.  Ms. Bordas said that Virginia Cooperative Extension is conducting strategic planning state-wide.  During its external listening sessions, public and private partners will be invited to provide input.  A session is planned for October 27 from 7:00 to 9:00 in the second floor meeting room in the Pennino Building. 

International Erosion Control Association (IECA).  Mr. Peterson said that Mr. Rouhi and Mr. Schwartz will present their findings and recommendations from the Rain Garden Study at the annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the IECA on September 22 in Baltimore, Maryland.  Mr. Rouhi said he will prepare a one-page summary for a handout and will list the link to the entire study, which will be posted on the District’s webpage. 

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD).  Mr. Peterson said he is chairing the VASWCD’s Strategic Planning Committee.  A survey is being developed, which will be sent to all SWCD directors, associates and staff, requesting a response by early November.  The Committee will submit a report to the VASWCD board prior to its December meeting.    

National Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (NACD).  Mr. Peterson said he attended the NACD Southeast Regional Meeting on Aug 23-26 and was appointed to a committee to recommend a position on cap and trade.  Rather than take a position for or against cap and trade, the committee will look at what conservation districts can do to benefit should a cap and trade program be approved.  Mr. Peterson also reported that the NACD Finance Committee has authorized NACD to secure a line of credit to address shortfalls due to timing gaps between payments and anticipated revenue.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Mr. Wilkinson reported he will participate in the annual Operation and Maintenance inspection of the six Pohick Creek Watershed PL-566 structures on October 8.  He will give the District copies of the pictures he has taken during the past year of Pohick sites during inspections and the Royal Lake rehabilitation.  He said that Blaine Delaney will assume responsibility for watershed projects; however, Wade Biddix will continue to be involved with the Pohick rehabilitation projects.  He announced that the Joint Employee Development Training will be October 13.  The Virginia Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society will hold its annual meeting at Stratford Hall on October 15.  The program will cover the new Virginia Stormwater Management Program.  He asked the board to approve an amendment to extend for one year the Joint Agreement between NRCS and NVSWCD, regarding using the common computing environment.  A motion (Peterson-Bordas) passed (3-0) to approve extension of the Joint Agreement between NRCS and NVSWCD to June 2010.  Mr. Wilkinson said he was looking into the missing payments to Fairfax County for the monthly phone bill. 

Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Mrs. Cross reported that SWCDs will experience 10% funding cuts as a result of the Governor’s budget reduction plan.  She said that DCR will lay off three field staff on January 1 in order to meet budget reductions (one admin, one CDC, one nutrient management specialist).  $15.2 million of the $20 million for agricultural cost-share will come from federal stimulus money.  It has not yet been received, but is expected soon.  Still this poses a calculated risk for farmers who need to proceed with practices.  A nutrient management plan is no longer a minimum requirement for the Clean Water Farm Awards.  The deadline to nominate local winners for the basin Clean Water Farm Awards is November 2.   The Conservation Warehouse on DCR’s website is a source of information about conservation practices.  Turf and Landscape Nutrient Management Training will take place September 23-24 in Richmond.  The course is for those preparing to take the exam for the Turf and Landscape Nutrient Management Certification.  Mrs. Cross provided copies of DCR’s report to the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.  Mrs. Cross reviewed DCR’s annual evaluation of how well NVSWCD met the goals of the operations grant agreement.  She said the District fully satisfied all components of the agreement. 

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 11:45 a.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman


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