NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes January 26, 2010



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
January 26, 2010


(As approved by the Board of Directors on March 23, 2010)

Mrs. Packard called the meeting to order at 9:40 a.m.   Those present were:

  • Jean Packard, Chairman, NVSWCD
  • John Peterson, Vice Chairman, NVSWCD
  • Johna Gagnon, Secretary, NVSWCD
  • Adria Bordas, Director-Extension, NVSWCD
  • Bob Kohnke, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Jerry Peters, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Bob Jordan, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Jack Weyant, Director, Environmental and Facilities Inspection Division, DPWES
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, VA Department of Conservation & Recreation
  • Jim McGlone, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Charles deSeve, Chair, Board of Trustees, Lake Barcroft WID
  • George McLennan, Treasurer, Board of Trustees, Lake Barcroft WID
  • Davis Grant, Operations Director, Lake Barcroft WID
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Nick Kokales, Administrative and Technical Assistant, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz, Soil Scientist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Lily Whitesell, Outreach and Watershed Programs Coordinator, NVSWCD
  • General Al Akers, Lakewood Estates Homeowners Association
  • Lee Goodwin, Principal, Angler Environmental
  • Michael Peny, Manager, Construction Administration Division, Angler Environmental
  • Lucy Masemer, Gunnell’s Run Farm

Welcome Lily Whitesell.  Mrs. Hoffman introduced Lily Whitesell, who will begin in February as the District’s Outreach and Watershed Programs Coordinator.  Ms. Whitesell graduated from the University of Virginia in 2004 with a degree in Environmental Science and Anthropology and currently is working at Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment.  She has experience with outreach, writing, publishing and web work.  She also is fluent in Spanish.  Ms. Whitesell said she looks forward to working with the District.   

Akers’ Streambank Stabilization Project – Clifton.  Mr. Rouhi described the streambank stabilization project recently completed on General Akers’ property.  The project also benefited the community, ten homeowners downstream and a 3.5 acre lake, which is maintained by the homeowners association.  Mr. Rouhi said that it was a partnership that made the project possible.  NVSWCD designed the project and oversaw construction.  Angler Environmental installed the project. General Akers purchased the materials with the help of a grant from Fairfax Water.  Vulcan was very cooperative in providing the stone that was used.  Congressman Connolly, when he was chairman of the Board of Supervisors, introduced NVSWCD to the project and DPWES-MSMD is a stakeholder because it maintains drainage easements.  Runoff from above Mr. Akers’ property had caused significant damage to his property as well as erosion and instability within the channel.  A series of grade control structures and step pools were installed throughout the project to help stabilize the 7% slope at upper end of the project, where runoff entered the stream at a high velocity, as well as to arrest a number of headcuts and stabilize the lower end of the project.  Strategically placed rock also helped to stop erosion and stabilize the channel.  The work was completed in two days.  Mr. Rouhi noted that while Angler is a large company, it is willing to partner on small projects as well, making it possible for these projects to be successful.  Also, Angler had the appropriate size machinery for the site, so that cutting trees was avoided.  Because of the nature of the project, using in-house design, less expensive materials, and disturbing only a small area, the cost was much lower than typical stabilization projects.  Mr. Rouhi noted that the District monitors all the projects it completes and pursues any maintenance that might be needed. 

2009 Cooperator of the Year Award – Angler Environmental.  Mr. Rouhi narrated a presentation showing three more ways Angler Environmental has been an outstanding District partner.  In addition to the Akers streambank stabilization project, Angler Environmental installed the Little Pimmit Run stream restoration project.  Angler’s partnership began even before a contract was signed, participating in a meeting with the homeowners adjacent to the parkland and stream.  The homeowners contributed a significant amount of funding for the project.  Other partners included the Dranesville District Supervisor’s office, the Waste Water Collection Division of DPWES, the Park Authority and VHB, an engineering firm.  During construction, Angler collaborated with the District and VHB engineers to make necessary adjustments and deal with unforeseen problems.  Angler also went more than an extra mile to ensure the project stayed within budget.  Mrs. Hoffman noted that after the project was completed and Angler had fulfilled all of its contractual obligations, it was decided that additional work would help to ensure the long term success of the project and reduce the need for maintenance.  Angler did not hesitate to bring back equipment and do the work, charging only for the materials, while donating its labor and equipment costs.  The cooperation and support Angler demonstrated on this project went well beyond what anyone would expect.  In the Falls Hill Project, Angler Environmental installed a series of Low Impact Development techniques on a homeowner’s property.  This included a rain garden, infiltration basin and trench, a French drain, terracing and a compost blanket.  The purpose of the project, which also included two workshops, was to demonstrate to the neighborhood techniques homeowners can use to help manage stormwater and drainage on their properties.  The Angler crew did an excellent job, working cooperatively with several stakeholders during construction, including NVSWCD staff and staff from DPWES.  This project will continue to educate and benefit the community for many years.  NVSWCD and Fairfax County are co-sponsors of the federally assisted Pohick Creek Watershed Project, which recently included the Royal Lake dam rehabilitation.  Fairfax County’s DPWES contracted with Angler Environmental to realign the auxiliary spillway, raise the training dikes, and armor it with articulated concrete block, which then was covered with soil and vegetated.  Just as construction was getting underway, when a major storm overwhelmed the area, the Angler crew performed admirably, getting on site immediately, moving earth and staving off damage to the dam, the site, and the stream below the dam.  Mrs. Packard thanked Angler Environmental for its outstanding partnership and presented the 2009 Cooperator of the Year Award to Lee Goodwin and Michael Peny.  General Akers added his praise for the extraordinary skill and professionalism demonstrated by both Angler Environmental and Michael Peny.  Mr. Peny thanked the District for the award and noted that it takes the efforts of all the partners to make projects successful. 

2009 Clean Water Farm Award – Gunnell’s Run Farm, Great Falls.  The District named Gunnell’s Run Farm in Great Falls as the local winner of the 2009 Clean Water Farm Award.  Mr. Woode said that the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Bay-Friendly Clean Water Farm Award recognizes agricultural land users who are doing an outstanding job in reducing nonpoint source pollution.  Gunnell’s Run Farm is a 21 acre horse-keeping operation with a large pond and an average of 17 horses.  It is owned and operated by Mrs. Lucy Masemer, who follows a soil and water quality conservation plan and uses best management practices for her pastures that include a nutrient management plan and a rotational grazing system.  Last year, she partnered with the District to apply for a grant from the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund to build a five-cell composting facility.  She applies the composted nutrients to her pastures and does not use any commercial fertilizer.   The horses are kept in a heavy use area when the pastures are very wet, as well as during periods of drought.  Ms. Masemer encourages wildlife, plants native trees, and maintains vegetated buffers.  Gunnell’s Run Farm hosted an on-site workshop for area horse-keepers, which was sponsored by the District and a local Saddlery.  Those attending toured the composting facility and learned about other best management practices.  Mrs. Packard thanked Mrs. Masemer for her environmental stewardship and presented Mrs. Masemer with a certificate and a DCR Clean Water Farm Award sign, which can be displayed on her property.

20 Year Anniversary – Willie Woode.  Mr. Schwartz gave a presentation showing the many ways Mr. Woode has contributed to the accomplishments of NVSWCD during the past twenty years.  He has helped the agricultural and horse-keeping community plan and manage their lands in an environmentally-friendly way that both meets their needs and protects water quality.  The soil and water quality conservation plans he prepares also help land managers meet the requirements of the County’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance and Agricultural and Forestal District Ordinance.  Mr. Woode prepares nutrient management plans for nurseries and golf courses, designs practices for Park Authority land, such as equestrian stream crossings, and administers the Virginia Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program.  He is the go-to expert on pond management and solving pond-related problems.  In addition to his work in the agricultural community, Mr. Wood has provided technical assistance to thousands of suburban homeowners and homeowner associations to help them solve drainage and erosion problems and to better manage their land and waters while protecting natural resources.  He also has designed and implemented several LID demonstration projects, including a rain garden at the Lorton Arts Foundation and another at Marie Butler Leven Preserve in McLean, which was done in partnership with the Park Authority and Earth Sangha.  Mr. Woode reviews all rezoning and special exception applications submitted to the County, visiting each site and advising both the County Department of Planning and Zoning and the development community on better site design and stormwater management techniques.  He also advises on implementing stream protection strategies and participates in judging for the County’s annual Land Conservation Awards program.  He shares his considerable experience and knowledge in workshops and presentations, and when developing technical materials.  In 2005, Mr. Woode was recognized at the state level when he received the Chaffin Conservation District Employee of the Year Award.  The Board presented Mr. Woode with crystal decanter and a plaque, and expressed its sincere appreciation for his exceptional performance and dedication, for bringing the highest standard of quality and utmost professionalism to all of his work, and for his commitment to natural resource protection and public service.  

Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District (LBWID).   Mr. deSeve gave an update on LBWID activities.  The LBWID maintains the dam and uses a sophisticated computer-operated system to maintain the water level in the lake, including during storm events. The LBWID also maintains the water quality in the lake, which includes removal of debris and the annual dredging of sediment.  A three-member board of trustees and staff of five manage the operations.  The LBWID is beginning to implement a ten-year capital improvement program, which this year will include resurfacing the downstream face of the dam.  The LBWID continues to implement its annual dredging program, instead of the large dredging operation that had been conducted every four or five years.  Using the completely refurbished equipment it purchased last year has proven more effective, keeping up with the sediment deposition and making it possible to dredge in the coves.  In compliance with the new dam safety regulations, LBWID has received a six-year certificate to operate the dam.  Mr. deSeve noted that LBWID has a good working relationship with DPWES and has implemented an Emergency Action Plan with Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria.  There is sophisticated monitoring equipment in place to support this plan.  Other initiatives include a tree planting program and an expansion of the LBWID no-phosphorus fertilizer program, including educating homeowners and working with the companies who provide lawn care services. 

LBWID Budget 2011.  Mr. McLennan reviewed the current budget and the proposed 2011 budget, which included revenue, expenditures (operating, administration, overhead, environmental, maintenance and equipment) and the three reserve accounts (dredging and silt disposal, capital program, and dam renovation). After three years of an 11% tax increase in order to fund the capital improvement program, the WID proposes a 3.5 % increase in 2011 in order to keep pace with inflation.  The LBWID income for FY 2011 is estimated at $913,500, with $912,000 anticipated from tax receipts.  $502,600 is budgeted for operating expenditures and $415,000 for transfer to the three reserve funds, leaving an ending balance of $48,157, which will be carried over to FY 2012.  Expenditures for dredging, capital improvements and dam renovation during FY 2011 will leave a balance of $281.313 in the reserve funds.  A motion (Peterson-Bordas) passed (4-0) to approve the LBWID 2011 Budget as presented.  The budget will be forwarded to the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board for approval at its meeting in March. The board thanked Mr. McLennan and Mr. deSeve for their excellent presentations. 

Election of Officers.  Ms. Bordas reported that she had spoken to the current officers about continuing to serve.  She presented a slate of officers for calendar year 2010, which was the same as those serving in 2009.  A motion (Bordas-Peterson) passed (4-0) to elect Jean Packard as Chair, John Peterson as Vice Chair, Johna Gagnon as Secretary and George Lamb as Treasurer.

(Ms. Bordas left at 10:30)

Approval of Minutes.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (3-0) to approve the Minutes of the November 24, 2009 Board Meeting.   

Treasurer=s Report.  A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (3-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer=s Reports for November 2009, December 2009, and the 2nd Quarter of FY 2010. 

Approval of Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plan.  Mr. Woode presented a plan prepared for the Fairfax County Humane Society’s 12-acre property in Centreville.  The facility is used for rescued domestic and wild animals.  A conservation plan is required for the non-residential use permit.  At the time the plan was prepared there were 8 horses and 4 dogs. There is not an RPA on the property.  The plan recommends composting the horse manure before spreading it.  It also recommends continuing to have the dog waste picked up, removed, and disposed of properly by a commercial company.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (3-0) to approve the soil and water quality conservation plan for the Fairfax County Humane Society (12 acres on 1 parcel in Centreville in the Sully District with horses and dogs).

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD).  Mr. Peterson reported on the VASWCD Annual Meeting, December 6-8 in Richmond.  In addition to the general business meetings, the concurrent sessions consisted of three educational tracks – director/ administrative, technical and education.  Among the legislative items discussed were the reinstatement of basic operating funds for SWCDs, the Agricultural BMP cost-share program, and the urban BMP cost-share and tax credit program.  At the Area II meeting, Jim Christian was elected Chair and Austin Haynes was elected Vice Chair. The goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan were approved.  An ad hoc committee will develop two or three Action Plans that then will be considered by the entire VASWCD membership.  One Action Plan will be to secure in the Chesapeake Bay Program office someone who will represent the five SWCDs in the four states and Washington DC.  Mr. Peterson also reported on the VASWCD Legislation Day in Richmond, which was held on January 15.  He said it was a challenge to visit the 26 offices of legislators who represent the Northern Virginia area.  Prior to Legislative Day, he sent letters to the Delegates and Senators, outlining the District priorities.  He spoke with 3 members, 10 legislative aides and left information in all the offices.  Since then he has received about 20 follow up phone calls.  He recommended that the Associate Directors be invited to participate in Legislative Day next year.  Mr. Peterson will attend the National Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting in Orlando on February 1-3, as the VASWCD representative.  Also, on behalf of the District, he will make a presentation on the Falls Hill Residential LID Demonstration Project during one of the concurrent sessions showcasing innovative LID programs. 

VASWCD Area II Spring Meeting.  Mrs. Hoffman said that the Area II Spring Meeting will be held on May 19 at Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. in Gainesville.  The Prince William and Northern Virginia SWCDs will co-host the meeting.  In the afternoon there will be two tours – one of the WSSI facility, which received a Gold certification in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System – and the other of the Prince William SWCD Model Horse Farm.

Potomac Watershed Roundtable.  Mrs. Hoffman reported on the January 8 Roundtable meeting, which was held at Loudoun Water in Ashburn.  Joe Hoffman, Executive Director of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, helped to plan to program.  The morning agenda included cooperative water supply strategies, including Loudon Water’s plan to withdraw water from the Potomac and store it in old quarries.  In the afternoon, Noel Kaplan discussed water-related opportunities in the redevelopment of Tyson’s Corner and a panel discussed issues related to drinking water, including the presence of emerging contaminants, such as endocrine disrupting compounds, in the Potomac River.  The presentations are available in the archives on the Roundtable’s website – www.potomacroundtable.org.  The PWR Report, covering 2008-2009 activities, has just been published and will be sent to members and alternates, as well as the members of the boards and councils who are represented on the Roundtable, other member and advisory agencies and organizations, and interested parties.

2010 Native Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale - Nature’s Palette.  Mrs. Hoffman said the 2010 seedling sale will feature two packages.  One will include 6 trees (two each of northern red oak, black gum and yellow poplar) for $10.95, and the other will include 10 shrubs (two each of arrowwood viburnum, gray dogwood, red chokeberry, eastern redbud, smooth sumac) for $15.95.  Pictures and an order form are available on the website, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd  Pre-ordered packages will be distributed on April 16 and 17.  Mrs. Packard encouraged everyone to help advertise the sale and distribute the order forms.

Green Breakfast.   Mrs. Hoffman said that Jimmie Jenkins made an excellent presentation at the January 9 Green Breakfast, discussing the issues and challenges DPWES and the County have been addressing and will need to address in the future, particularly in the area of stormwater.  Thenext Green Breakfast will be held on March 13 at Brion’s Grille. 

Land Conservation Awards.  Mrs. Hoffman said the Fairfax County annual Land Conservation Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Government Center on January 22.  George Lamb made remarks on behalf of the District.  Mr. Woode narrated a presentation of the winning sites, which had been selected for excellence in installing and maintaining erosion and sediment controls.  On behalf of the Tree Commission, Mr. Glasgow introduced the awards for tree planting and tree preservation.

Engineering Standards Review Committee (ESRC).  Mr. Kohnke reported that secondary street acceptance requirements were approved at the January 7 meeting.  The proposed amendments for Chapter 4 of the PFM, dealing with geotechnical guidelines, were handed out. 

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow reported that all positions on the Tree Commission have been filled.  He has been elected as Chair and Jim McGlone as Vice Chair.  He said the Commission is exploring two new programs.  One is to compile a list of “Celebrated Trees of Fairfax County.”  Trees can be recommended because of size, age, heritage or memorial status.  The purpose is to bring to the attention of the public the value of urban trees.  Another program is to establish a “Tree Stewards Program,” which would be somewhat similar to the Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs.  Also, planning is underway for the annual Earth Day-Arbor Day Celebration, with a view to make it even more focused on trees and the urban forest.  The event will be held at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale on the last Saturday in April. 

2010 Green Industry Professional Seminar.  Mr. Woode said he make a presentation on “Controlling Algae and Aquatic Weeds in Ponds” at the 2010 Green Industry Professional Seminar and Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training, which was held at Northern Virginia Community College January 20-21.  Adria Bordas and Debbie Dillion led an inter-active discussion on pesticide safety. Approximately 300 attended the seminar. 

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

  • It is DCR’s understanding that funding for SWCDs will not be cut an additional amount in the budget for FY11 and FY12.  The 10% cut made in FY10 will be sustained.  The Governor’s budget includes $ 14.1 million for the Agricultural BMP Cost Share Program, which is a decrease from $ 20 million in the past two fiscal years. 
  • Doug Domenech has been appointed as Secretary of Natural Resources and Maureen Matsen as Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources.  Joe Maroon was not reappointed as Director of DCR; Russ Baxter has been named Acting DCR Director. Todd Haymore, former Commissioner of Agriculture, has been appointed as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.
  • The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board adopted and authorized the filing of the final stormwater regulations at its meeting on December 9; however, at its January 14 meeting, the Board suspended the final regulations in order to allow for an additional thirty day public comment period, beginning in mid-February and ending in mid-March.  Mrs. Packard said that several bills have been introduced in the General Assembly to extend the date of compliance for the new stormwater regulations for one or two years. 
  • The VASWCD Education Committee will sponsor two District Retreats for directors, associate directors, district managers and district staff on February 23-24 in Williamsburg and on March 9-10 in Rocky Mount.
  • Turf and Landscape Nutrient Management Training Schools will be offered twice a year.  The Soil Science Soil Fertility and Turf Production component will be held February 17-18.  The Nutrient Management Plan Writing School for Turf and Landscaping will be held on February 25-26. 

Department of Forestry (DOF).  Dr. McGlone said Governor Kaine had set a goal of preserving 400,000 acres of open space during his administration.  424,000 acres of open space have been preserved, 24,000 of which are now in easements with the Department of Forestry.  Owing to a donation by Vaughan-Bassett Furniture, the Department of Forestry will have free seedlings available for Arbor Day this year. 

Board Meeting Dates.  Mrs. Hoffman said the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has changed its meeting day from Monday to Tuesday, and generally will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month.  Often, this will conflict with the NVSWCD board meetings, which are held on the 4th Tuesday.  This may affect the ability of County staff to attend NVSWCD meetings.  It was decided to explore the possibility of other dates and to discuss the findings at the February board meeting.

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 12:50 a.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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