NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes April 27, 2010



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
April 27, 2010


(As approved by the Board of Directors on May 25, 2010)

75th Anniversary of Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Prior to the meeting a brief ceremony was held to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of NRCS.  Former SCS employees, John Peterson and Bob Kohnke, and current NRCS employee Larry Wilkinson, recalled the history, accomplishments and evolution of the soil conservation movement in the United States, the formation of the Soil Conservation Service in 1935, and the work of the Natural Resources Conservation Service today. 

Mrs. Packard called the meeting to order at 9:55 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-Extension, NVSWCD
  • Bob Kohnke, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Bob Jordan, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, VA Department of Conservation & Recreation
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Nick Kokales, Administrative and Technical Assistant, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Lily Whitesell, Outreach and Watershed Programs Coordinator, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz, Soil Scientist, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Amanda Harbison, Science Fair Winner, Falls Church High School
  • Mr. Harbison

Regional Science Fair 2nd Place Winner, Amanda Harbison – Accotink Creek Study – Year 3. Amanda Harbison described her on-going study of the Accotink Creek Watershed, beginning with a habitat assessment of a four mile section in 2007.  In 2008, she conducted biological monitoring and recorded pH and air temperatures to assess habitat at twelve sites.  She also looked at land uses, bank erosion and the presence of garbage.  In 2009, she continued assessments at six sites near major inflows from smaller creeks or major runoff pipes.  The number and types of benthic macroinvertebrates were down from the previous year, but pH was within an acceptable range and water chemistry did not indicate problems.  The new contributing land use was the HOT lanes construction on the I-495 Beltway.  Channel erosion, contributing to stream instability, remained the major problem.  Mrs. Packard congratulated Ms. Harbison on her excellent project and presented her with a check and a copy of Aldo Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac.  She also was given an opportunity to apply for District sponsorship to the VASWCD Youth Conservation Camp in July. 

Regional Science Fair.  The Board thanked those who participated as the NVSWCD panel of judges for the Regional Science Fair:  Harry Glasgow, Jim McGlone, Jerry Peters, Judy Okay, John Okay and Diane Hoffman.  The judges evaluated approximately 36 projects, which were chosen because they were relevant to the work of the district. 

Approval of Minutes.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (5-0) to approve the Minutes of the March 23, 2010 Board Meeting.   

Treasurer’s Report.  A motion (Lamb-Bordas) passed (5-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer’s Reports for March and for the third quarter of FY 2010.  Mr. Lamb noted that the District received its quarterly funding from DCR, which is a reduction because of the funding cut that was made after the FY 2010 grant was signed.  

Potomac River Cleanup.   Mr. Schwartz reported on the Potomac River clean up, which is sponsored annually in the spring by the Alice Ferguson Foundation.  There were 101 sites in Fairfax County registered for the event, making Fairfax County the highest participating jurisdiction in the watershed, by a factor of three.  Mr. Schwartz led a clean up in Holmes Run Stream Valley Park with volunteers from REI.  The site was an old automotive dump site near Bailey’s Crossroads.  Along with many tires and trash, the volunteers removed a 750 pound car chassis. 

Envirothon.   Mr. Schwartz reported that five teams participated in the local Envirothon, which was held at the Government Center on April 7.  They were from James Madison, Centreville, West Potomac, Langley and George Marshall High Schools.  Initially, Centreville High School had 16 teams with 80 students participating.  Also James Madison and West Potomac had more than one team.  Hence, in-school competitions were held earlier to decide which team would represent each school in the local competition.  The top two finishers in the local Envirothon (James Madison and West Potomac) advanced to the regional Envirothon.  Scheduling problems prevented West Potomac from participating; however, Centreville, the third place winner, was able to participate in the regional Envirothon.  The Northern Virginia and Prince William SWCDs co-hosted the regional competition this year, which was held at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park on April 21.  The team from James Madison High School, along with Eastern View High School, sponsored by the Culpeper SWCD, and Albemarle High School, sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson SWCD, will advance to the state competition, which will be held in May.  Mr. Schwartz thanked the many volunteers who helped as judges at the local and regional Envirothon, including Harry Glasgow, Lily Whitesell, Jean Packard, Diane Hoffman, Debbie Cross and Larry Wilkinson.  He noted that as of this year, Fairfax County Public Schools recognizes Envirothon as an official program. 

Seedling Sale.  Mr. Kokales reported the seedling sale was very successful.  The theme was Nature’s Palette and included two colorful packages – one of shrubs and one of trees.  The net profit was approximately $6,400.  Mrs. Hoffman said the bundling and distribution teams included the seven staff, Jim McGlone, Deanna Crumbling, Harry Glasgow, Bob Kohnke, and Bob Jordan.

Pohick Creek Watershed PL-566 Project.  Mrs. Hoffman said the ceremony to recognize the rehabilitation work at Woodglen Lake will take place on May 15 at 1:00 p.m.  Dignitaries include Chairman Bulova, Supervisor Cook, Congressman Connolly, John Peterson, NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker and NRCS Regional Conservationist (East) Leonard Jordan.  It provides an opportunity to highlight the federal funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Mr. Peterson said that NRCS, NVSWCD and County staff met with Supervisor Herrity to brief him and his staff on the rehabilitation of the structure at Huntsman Lake.  On June 16, Supervisor Herrity will host a meeting with members of the community surrounding the lake. 

Green Breakfast.   Mr. Glasgow said the next Green Breakfast will be on May 8.  Several ideas were discussed for future Green Breakfast topics.  They included Managing Growth (Jim Zook), Audubon at Home (Cliff Fairweather), Controlled Burning (Jim McGlone and Charles Smith), and others on file that were suggested earlier.   

Engineering Standards Review Committee (ESRC).  Mr. Kohnke said that at its April 8 meeting, the ESRC approved the secondary street acceptance requirements.  Also, changes in Chapters 6 and 11 of the Public Facilities Manual (PFM), relating to the new soil survey information, were approved.

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said the Earth Day-Arbor Day celebration, held April 24 at Northern Virginia Community College, went very well.  Also, on the 24th, there were many other events taking place throughout the county, including tree plantings, a groundbreaking at a Lee District park for a spray park, the Eagle Fest at Mason Neck, and the opening of a nature center in Reston.  Mr. Glasgow said the Tree Commission has two new programs to highlight the importance of trees.  One is the Celebrated Trees of Fairfax County initiative, which was launchedat the Earth Day-Arbor Day celebration.  Everyone is encouraged to nominate trees, which may be large, historic, memorable or special in some way.  They will be posted on a website and commemorated in a book.  The other initiative is the Tree Stewards Program, sponsored by Trees Virginia.  Programs already are underway in Arlington County, Loudoun County and in other parts of the state.  The idea is to train people about trees and their importance so that they, in turn, can carry this message to the community. Mr. Glasgow said that the Tree Commission will make a report to the Board of Supervisors at the next meeting of the Environment Committee on the progress being made on implementing the Tree Action Plan – a 20 year plan for urban forests in Fairfax County.  

Harry Glasgow – Citation of Merit.  Mrs. Packard announced that the Federation of Citizens Associations will present Harry Glasgow with the 2009 Citation of Merit at its banquet on May 2.  Mr. Jordan said the citation is in recognition of fifteen years of cultivating increased public understanding and support of the County’s rich natural resources. 

Announcements.  Mrs. Gagnon announced Wetland Awareness Day at Huntley Meadows Park on May 1.  The Accotink Watershed Advisory Group will hold its final meeting in July, when the watershed plan should be completed and ready public comment.  The Washington Post Kid’s Post featured the genesis of the soil and water conservation movement.  Mr. Peterson said the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association will meet September 21-23 in Front Royal.  Also, next week, he and J.C. Berger will attend a meeting in Annapolis to discuss SWCD representation in the Chesapeake Bay Program office.  Mr. Jordan anticipates working in Boliva for six months.  There will be a public meeting on April 27 at 7:30 p.m. on planning to preserve and protect the natural wonders and ecological integrity of the George Washington National Forest.  On March 17, the VASWCD honored Joe Maroon with a distinguished service award. 

Partnership Opportunity.  Mrs. Hoffman said that Dr. Stu Schwartz, a professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education, has invited the District to partner in its urban stormwater research.  His current research is focused on pervious concrete and deep soil amendment practices.  The District’s role would be to help identify projects in Virginia and to assist with information and outreach efforts.  Mrs. Bordas said there may be an opportunity to partner with Extension’s new “Keep it Simple, Keep it Green” program for residential turf management.

VASWCD Scholarship.  Mrs. Hoffman said the scholarship judges evaluated and scored the applications that had been received and chose one to forward to the state competition.  The judges were Laura McNichol, Jean Packard, Judy Okay, George Lamb, Lily Whitesell, Dan Schwartz and Diane Hoffman. 

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Mr. Wilkinson said the Joint Employee Development Training in April was on engineering.  As promised, he brought information on the classifications of treated lumber.  For some treated lumber, special galvanized hardware must be used.  NRCS is exploring developing a conservation plan for Eight Oaks, the property in McLean where Hugh Hammond Bennett, the founder of the Soil Conservation Service, once lived.  The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust holds a conservation easement on the property.   

Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).  Mrs. Cross reported:

  • The DCR FY 2011 operations grant to NVSWCD will be $65,453.
  • The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board will meet May 14 in Charlottesville.
  • The Area II Spring Meeting will be held on May 19 at Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. in Gainesville. 
  • Changes in the Agricultural Cost-Share Program will be covered in training scheduled for June 8.  Also, in June, NVSWCD will need to adopt its Secondary Considerations for FY 2011.
  • Jack Frye, Director, DSWC, sent a memo to Districts regarding findings and recommendations by the auditors from Robinson Farmer and Cox.  Mrs. Hoffman said the NVSWCD Financial Controls Memo reflects that all of the auditors’ recommendations are being followed by NVSWCD. 
  • Mrs. Cross handed out new SWCD Directories.

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 11:25 a.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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