NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes June 22, 2010



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
June 22, 2010


(As corrected and approved by the Board of Directors on July 27, 2010)

Mrs. Packard called the meeting to order at 9:45 a.m. Those present were:

  • Jean Packard, Chairman, NVSWCD
  • John Peterson, Vice Chairman, NVSWCD
  • George Lamb, Treasurer, NVSWCD
  • Adria Bordas, Director-Extension, NVSWCD
  • Johna Gagnon, Secretary, NVSWCD (arrived at 10:20)
  • Bob Kohnke, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Nick Kokales, Administrative and Technical Assistant, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz, Soil Scientist, NVSWCD

Approval of Minutes.  A motion (Peterson-Lamb) passed (4-0) to approve the Minutes of the May 25, 2010 Board Meeting.

Treasurer’s Report.  A motion (Lamb-Peterson) passed (4-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer’s Report for May 2010.  

DCR Operations Grant and Cost-Share Agreement.   A motion (Lamb-Bordas) passed (4-0) to approve the DCR Operations Grant Agreement for FY 2011 and the DCR Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program Agreement for FY 2011.

Approval of Project Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding for rehabilitation of Lake Barton.   A motion (Peterson-Lamb) passed (4-0) to approve the Project Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding for the rehabilitation of Lake Barton.  Mr. Peterson commended Mr. Kohnke for his excellent review and comments, which were forwarded to NRCS. 

Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program – Approval of Secondary Considerations for FY 2011. Mr. Woode reviewed the Priority Considerations required by DCR when determining cost-share beneficiaries, and presented his recommendation for NVSWCD’s Secondary Considerations:  1) BMPs with the lowest Conservation Efficiency Factor; 2) land with conservation plans that meet the Fairfax County Chesapeake Bay Preservation Program requirements; 3) operations with higher animal unit per acre (AU/Ac) density and closer proximity to an environmentally sensitive natural drainage; and 4) applicants with a history of successful participation in conservation programs, with new BMP installations receiving preference over existing BMPs to be maintained.  He noted that in the recent past, it has been difficult for the typical horse-keeping operations in Fairfax County to qualify as agriculture; however, this year, DCR has added forage to the definition of agriculture.  Hence if you maintain forage that has animals grazing on it, it becomes an agricultural practice, and this would include pasture.  Operators still will need to meet the qualification of $1,000 per year of income (other than boarding).  Mr. Woode reviewed the Agricultural Non-Point Source Assessment ranking by 6th order hydrologic units.  All those units that are within Fairfax County fall into a low agricultural pollution loading category. He noted those that are covered entirely or partially by TMDL’s for Bacteria and Nutrients.  He said that in the past, DCR gave priority to practices in those watersheds that were the most adversely impacted, but now DCR allows Districts to look at watersheds that are the least impacted, in order to help ensure that good conditions are maintained.  A motion (Peterson-Lamb) passed (4-0) to approve the Secondary Considerations, as presented, for the 2011 Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program, subject to any changes DCR may require after its review.  Should DCR require more than minor modifications, Mr. Woode will bring the Secondary Considerations back to the Board in July for approval.  He explained that since DCR has an obligation to assist if legal action becomes necessary, it reviews the Secondary Considerations to make sure they are well-worded and technically correct.  Mr. Woode recommended a $15,000 cap for cost-share for any one practice approved in the 2011 program year.  A motion (Lamb-Bordas) passed (4-0) to approve a cost-share cap of $15,000 for any one practice in program year 2011. 

NACD Small Acreage Paper.  Mr. Peterson distributed copies of Every Acre Counts – a National Association of Conservation Districts paper addressing the environmental impact of small acreage land use.  The paper was developed by the NACD Urban Committee in an effort to gain recognition of the need for programs that address natural resource problems on small acreages in urban areas.

VASWCD Area II Legislative Agenda.  Mr. Peterson said Area II held a conference call on June 9 to discuss legislative items to forward to VASWCD for its 2011 legislative package.  Mrs. Packard, Mrs. Gagnon, Mr. Peterson and Mrs. Hoffman participated.  He said that copies of the meeting minutes and the legislative items forwarded to VASWCD have been distributed to board members.  He noted there is continued support of an urban BMP cost-share and tax credit program, and that additional language proposed by NVSWCD was accepted:  SWCDs that have appropriate qualified staff, with the necessary training and experience, are well-positioned and capable of implementing and administering a voluntary urban BMP cost share and tax credit program for private commercial and residential landowners.  The program would be carried out in a manner similar to the way in which the Agricultural BMP program is implemented.  The program should include an array of BMPs, including low impact development practices.  Mr. Peterson said that the proposal to establish a fee on non-agricultural fertilizer, which would be used to help fund the agricultural BMP cost-share program, was referred back to the VASWCD Urban Committee, which had suggested the item.  Besides a concern about equity, by taxing just urban usage, the proposal was seen as an initiative that could cause a divide between the more rural and more urban areas. 

Green Breakfast.  Mr. Glasgow announced the next Green Breakfast will be on July 17, which is the third Saturday.  Jim Zook, Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning will talk about Managing Growth, including the many aspects of this complex subject, including growth and land use changes, transportation, the environment, green initiatives, the past, the present and the future.

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said the Tree Commission continues its efforts with the Celebrated Trees of Fairfax County and the Tree Stewards Programs. 

2010 Pesticide Disposal Program.  Ms. Bordas announced that Extension will help host the 2010 Pesticide Disposal Program for Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax.  It will be held on September 15 from 9:00 to 1:00.  The location will be announced; however, it usually is held at Merrifield Gardens.  Farmers, pesticide dealers, pesticide applicators and homeowners are encouraged to bring unwanted, outdated or banned pesticides, which will be disposed of in a safe manner.  There is no cost to participate, but a form must be filled out in advance, listing what will be brought and how much, so that the program can be prepared to accept the items.  The program will not be accepting motor oil, paint, fuel and fertilizer or other chemicals – just pesticides.  It is funded through the pesticide product registration fees collected by VDACS.  Ms. Bordas will send fliers to everyone, which they can pass on to those who may be interested.  Besides publicizing the event through the District’s Conservation Currents newsletter and the Green Group and Watershed Calendar email lists, other suggestions were the League of Women Voters, Northern Virginia Audubon, watershed groups, and the County’s Solid Waste Management Division.

Composters.  Ms. Bordas said that Clean Fairfax Council is taking orders for composters. 

Energy Conservation.  Mr. Lamb said the County is conducting an energy audit, as part of its Cool Counties initiative, and has created a good template that other localities could use.  He asked if the District participates in the energy savings program.  Mrs. Hoffman said that the County’s Environmental Improvement Program links all current and proposed activities to energy conservation, including stewardship activities in which the District participates, such as promoting tree planting, native plants, habitat improvement, reuse and recycling, and the Livable Neighborhoods program.  Also there have been articles in Conservation Currents that relate to energy savings.  Mr. Woode said that while the District may not have the technical expertise to implement energy conservation practices, it still can promote the concept.  When commenting on development proposals, the District may make recommendations, such as for green roofs or tree preservation areas, which have an energy conservation component.  Mr. Peterson added that nationally, districts are addressing energy conservation through choices in farming practices and equipment, as well as with carbon sequestration initiatives.  Mr. Glasgow said the Park Authority’s energy manager has initiated significant energy savings in its facilities.  Mrs. Hoffman said the District has offered to cooperate with the County’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Coordinating Committee on outreach efforts. 

Speakers’ Bureau.  Mr. Lamb suggested instituting a speakers bureau with speakers who can offer to speak to civic associations about the District’s mission and services.  There was general agreement that this would be a good idea.  Mrs. Hoffman said that the office receives requests for speakers from civic associations and groups.  She noted that often they want specific information about a subject, such as streams, lawn care, native plants, managing horse-keeping operations or a specific environmental problem in the community, and sometimes they are interested in a particular program such as storm drain marking or rain barrels.  When possible, the District supplies a speaker or may connect the person making the request to other experts, such as Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, as well as to other organizations.  She said it is good to let groups know about the District, but cautioned that care needs to be taken so as not to publicize and commit the District to more technical assistance than it has the capacity to handle.  At present, three members of the staff each spend approximately one day a week responding to homeowner requests for technical assistance.

Pohick Creek Watershed PL-566 Project – Huntsman Lake.  Mr. Peterson said representatives from NRCS, the County and NVSWCD participated in a meeting of representatives from the communities in the vicinity of Huntsman Lake.  The meeting was sponsored by the Springfield Supervisor’s office to introduce and discuss the rehabilitation of Huntsman Lake.  A public meeting for all interested residents in the surrounding communities will be held in September.  

Brochure on Operation and Maintenance of Watershed Dams.  Mr. Peterson distributed copies of Operation and Maintenance of Watershed Dams, recently published by the National Watershed Coalition.  It discusses the O&M needs and some of the problems, as well as how states are meeting the growing challenge of O&M.   In 2009, NRCS inspected all 140 NRCS assisted dams in Virginia.  NRCS also sponsored training for NRCS employees and project sponsors. 

Dan Schwartz.  The Board commended Dan Schwartz for his work with students and teachers while managing the Envirothon Program, the volunteer Stream Monitoring Program, and when helping schools and students in general.  The District received a letter from Erin Sikes-Thurston, a teacher at West Potomac High School, praising Mr. Schwartz for being an extremely valuable resource and for the excellent way in which he provided assistance and connected with the students.    

Engineering Standards Review Committee.  Mr. Kohnke said that ESRC members received an advance copy of the new Public Facilities Manual, which will need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.  Mike Knapp, Urban Forest Management, discussed proposed amendments to the Tree Conservation Ordinance, incorporating suggestions that had been made by the ESRC, primarily with regard to diagrams.  

2009 Stormwater Status Report.  Mrs. Hoffman said DPWES has published the 2009 Stormwater Status Report.  The SWPD staff did an excellent job of compiling and writing the report, which provides a good summary of stormwater-realted programs and activities in the county.  It is available on line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/stormwater/stormwater_status.htm

Workshop on Construction and Maintenance of Rain Gardens.  Mr Rouhi announced he will be presenting at a one-day workshop for landscape architects and professionals and landscaping companies on the construction and maintenance of rain gardens.  It will be held at Green Springs Park on June 23.

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 11:00 a.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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