NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes March 23, 2010



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
March 23, 2010


(As approved by the Board of Directors on April 27, 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
  • George Lamb, Treasurer, NVSWCD
  • Adria Bordas, Director-Extension, NVSWCD
  • Bob Kohnke, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Jerry Peters, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Jack Weyant, Director, Environmental and Facilities Inspection Division, DPWES
  • 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

Approval of Minutes.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (5-0) to approve the Minutes of the January 26, 2010 Board Meeting. The February meeting was canceled. 

Treasurer's Report.  A motion (Lamb-Bordas) passed (5-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer=s Reports for January and February 2010.  Mr. Lamb noted that the District received its funding from Fairfax County for the second half of FY2010. 

Mid-Year Financial Review.  Mrs. Hoffman presented a financial status of the personnel and operating budget for the first half of FY 2010:  July through December 2009.  She noted that approximately 50% of the personnel budget has been expended.  More than 50% of the operating budget remains, due mainly to when invoices are received and the timing of payments, as well as a reduction in printing expenses.  She also provided an update on special grants and other non-recurring managed funds, including the funds being held for the rain barrel program and several other outreach programs, the Kingstowne II Stream Restoration Project, the Soil Survey, the Agricultural Cost-Share Program, and the Unemployment Insurance fund.  Interest earned throughout the year is placed in a managed fund and used to help fund the District’s portion of the following year’s budget. 

Mid-Year Review of the Annual Plan of Work.   The staff reported on accomplishments during the first half of FY 2010, from July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009.  Both ongoing and new activities were reported for five strategic goals, including: (1) Providing leadership in natural resource conservation by working collaboratively with the county and other stakeholders to strengthen policies and practices that encourage natural resource protection, by introducing innovative best management practices, and by spearheading citizen involvement;  (2) Providing high quality technical assistance to constituent groups, including government, agriculture, development, and the general public, and moving ahead with transitioning to the new Soil Survey; (3) Maintaining strong public education and outreach programs,  including the volunteer stream monitoring, storm drain marking and rain barrel programs, workshops, presentations, exhibits, the newsletter, and the website; (4) Continuing to strengthen cooperative relationships with a broad array of partners; and (5) Developing plans and implementing practices to ensure a strong organization.  These actions support the District’s Vision–Fairfax County with clean streams and protected natural resources– and Mission–to lessen the impact of urban/suburban activities on our land and water resources in Fairfax County.  Mrs. Hoffman noted that most programs and projects support several of the goals, e.g., the Akers stream stabilization project supports goals 1, 2, 4, and the storm drain marking program supports goals 1, 3, 4 and 5. (FY2010 Mid-Year Review)   

National Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (NACD).  Mr. Peterson said that Jeff Eisenberg, the new Executive Director of NACD, is interested in visiting and learning about the programs and activities of a District in an urban area.  Mr. Peterson suggested inviting him and his staff for a presentation and tour.   

Green Breakfast.   Mr. Glasgow reported on the March 13 Green Breakfast.  Vicky Monroe, the Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist, made an excellent presentation about wildlife management, which includes deer management.  Thenext Green Breakfast will be held on May 8 at Brion’s Grille.  Mr. Lamb suggested the next program be on land use, saying he and Mr. Glasgow plan to follow up with Jim Zook, Director of DPZ, about his suggestion for one or more programs on managing growth.  Mr. Glasgow said some other suggestions for future programs included presentations on:  how the northern Virginia region will look in the next ten to twenty years (Charlie Grymes, Chair of the Prince William Conservation Alliance); the flora of Virginia project, which would interest many who are interested in wildflowers; the effect of climate change on wetlands (a professor at Virginia Tech); the health of the forest (Jim McGlone); the Fairfax County Restoration Project; and living soils (Dan Schwartz).  Mrs. Hoffman mentioned that from the County government’s perspective, the Green Breakfasts also are a good way to outreach to and network with the community about County initiatives and programs. 

2010 Native Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale - Nature’s Palette.  Mr. Kokales said that orders have been placed for 30% of the tree seedling packages and 70% of the shrub seedling packages.   The tree seedling package has 2 each of northern red oak, black gum and yellow poplar for $10.95. The shrub seedling package has two each of arrowwood viburnum, gray dogwood, red chokeberry, eastern redbud, and smooth sumac for $15.95.  The packages will be assembled on April 14 and distributed on April 16 and 17.   Mr. Peters suggested ordering plants next year that are deer resistant.  Mrs. Hoffman said that this has been done in the past and can be done again. 

Pohick Creek Watershed PL-566 Project.  Mrs. Hoffman said the Woodglen rehabilitation project has been awarded to EQR and is expected to go to construction in April.  She suggested a ground-breaking ceremony that would include several dignitaries and an opportunity to highlight the federal funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  A committee composed of representatives from the Chairman’s office, Supervisor Cook’s office, the PIO office, DPWES, NRCS, the Park Authority and NVSWCD is planning the event.  The Lake Barton rehabilitation project is expected to go to construction in September; it will include dredging by the County in order to ensure the required sediment holding capacity in the lake.  The federal contribution also will be ARRA funds.  The fourth rehabilitation project will be Huntsman Lake.  A meeting will take place on March 25 to brief Supervisor Herrity and his staff on the project.  

Engineering Standards Review Committee (ESRC).  Mr. Kohnke said that at its March meeting, the ESRC reviewed and approved the revised wording for two chapters of the Public Facilities Manual (PFM), made necessary because of changes in state guidelines.  Chapter 4 deals with geotechnical guidelines.  The ESRC recommended allowing a 90-day grace period before implementing the changes.  Chapter 12 deals with urban forest management.  The ESRC also is reviewing the alignment of designs for new street designs.  Designs need to be compatible with both the Virginia Department of Transportation requirements and the County’s road design manual. 

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said that the annual Earth Day-Arbor Day Celebration will be held on April 24 at Northern Virginia Community College from 11:00 to 3:00.  The lead planner for the event, the executive director of Clean Fairfax Council, has restructured the event to make it more environmental and less carnival.  There will not be the entertainment as in the past and there will be an emphasis on the value of trees, the importance of planting and preserving the urban forest, and the environmental well-being of the County.  The Tree Commission, Urban Forest Management, Fairfax ReLeaf, Northern Virginia Audubon and the Virginia Department of Forestry will have a major presence.  The program at 2:00 p.m. will include Jeff Kirwin, a professor at Virginia Tech who co-authored the Remarkable Trees of Virginia, and the presentation of the Friends of Trees Awards.  Mrs. Hoffman said she welcomed help with manning the District exhibit, which will include a rain barrel that will be raffled.

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD).  Mr. Peterson said he attended the NACD annual meeting in Orlando and made a presentation about the Falls Hill Residential LID Project.  There also was a presentation by a conservation district in the Seattle area about its LID work.  He said there was tremendous interest in low impact development and several participants, including Jeff Lape, the Director of the Chesapeake Bay Program, requested copies of three District publications on LID.  He attended the VASWCD Board Meeting on March 17.  He distributed copies of several handouts he received at the meeting, which were from DCR, the Virginia Department of Forestry, the VASWCD Education Committee and the VASWCD Urban Committee.  He said that all SWCDs have received an invitation from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association to partner in conducting conservation workshops.  The IECA offers financial support, planning assistance, a network of potential attendees, technical expertise and continuing education credits.  He also provided a copy of the VASWCD Legislative Tracking Report.  Mr. Peterson noted how many members of the Northern Virginia Delegation were sponsoring legislation of interest to SWCDs.  He also noted that Don Wells does an exceptional job of providing the tracking reports throughout the General Assemblysession. 

Virginia Cooperative Extension.  Mr. Peterson said that a topic of discussion at the VASWCD Board Meeting was a concern about state legislative action that would cause the closing of Virginia Cooperative Extension offices in urban areas.  Instead of specifically closing and consolidating offices and eliminating programs, which had been suggested, the Virginia House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committees have said that the cuts will be made at the direction of VCE.  Ms. Bordas said that HB 30 had directed the closing of 8 offices and consolidating 13 others, as well as the state-wide elimination of lawn and garden programs and family and consumer sciences programs, which include nutritional, family stability and community viability programs.  She said the Director of Extension is in an interim position until April 10, after which the Dean will assume the position until a national search is completed and a new director is named.  VCE is in the process of developing a strategic plan for the next five years, which will affect reorganization.  It is not known how the $1.1 million cuts in FY 2011 and the $5.5 million cuts in FY 2012 (8.7% of the total budget) will be made by VCE.  Mr. Peterson suggested the board or individuals may want to write letters to Dean Allen Grant; Mrs. Packard suggested copying others widely.  Mrs. Cross said because planning is underway, it would be important to act soon.  A motion (Lamb-Peterson) passed (4-0) (Ms. Bordas abstained) approving a letter on behalf of the District in support of urban Extension offices and programs.  Mr. Peterson and Mr. Glasgow will develop a first draft. 

Stormwater Information, Accotink Watershed Plan and Area Plan Review.  Mrs. Gagnon said that in January Delegate Mark Sickles sent a letter to all homeowner associations about stormwater and where stormwater goes, which she said was very positive and informative.  The Accotink Watershed Advisory Group continues to meet.  The Area Plan Review process is underway in south county.  During deliberation on the Richmond Highway corridor, there was a great deal of discussion about strengthening stormwater management.  She noted that in years past, the discussion often was about rain gardens, and more recently it has been about rain boxes. 

Board Meeting Dates.  Following up on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors change in meeting day to Tuesday, Mrs. Hoffman said the results of her research indicated that the only viable choices for the NVSWCD Board meeting were the first Thursday or keeping the fourth Tuesday.  DPWES has said that a representative will be able to attend the NVSWCD meeting on the fourth Tuesday.  Mrs. Packard said it was generally agreed to keep the fourth Tuesday.   

Congressional Schools.  Mr. Lamb noted that Congressional Schools has begun an outreach to make it a more green campus.  Mrs. Hoffman said that Mr. Woode is assisting Congressional Schools with making environmental improvements in its horse operation.  Mr. Peters mentioned that the National Wildlife Federation has developed environmental and energy audits and is seeking schools in this area to conduct prototypes of the audits.  Mrs. Hoffman and Ms. Bordas also suggested getting in touch with the group promoting outdoor environmental education efforts. 

Environmental Quality Advisory Council.  Mr. Lamb said EQAC meets on the second Wednesday. The April meeting will focus on “Blight in Fairfax County.”  Mrs. Hoffman reported that the District provided information to the science fair winners about applying for the student member position on EQAC.  Also publicity has been forwarded about nominations are being accepted for the Environmental Excellence Awards.

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Mr. Wilkinson said the Potomac Watershed Roundtable will be held on April 9 in Stafford County.  Engineering will be the topic of the Joint Employee Development Training on April 13.  Also, there will be information on the classifications of treated lumber.  The Area II Envirothon, hosted by the Prince William and Northern Virginia SWCDs, will be held at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly on April 21.  Loudoun County will hold an Arbor Day celebration at Morven Park in Leesburg on April 24.  He announced that April 27 will be the 75th anniversary of what is now the Natural Resources Conservation Service.   

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

  • Jack Frye, Director, DSWC, sent a memo to Districts regarding liability insurance.  The memo is a follow up to a presentation at the VASWCD annual meeting in December.
  • Quarterly reports to DCR are due on April 15.
  • The Area II Spring Meeting will be held on May 19 at Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. in Gainesville. 
  • The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board will meet on March 26.
  • Several bills have been introduced in the General Assembly to extend the date of compliance for the new stormwater management program for one or two years. 
  • The Agricultural Cost-Share Program will have $9.1 million in FY 2010.  Funding will be generated from an increase in the recordation fee.  $1.2 million of the funds will be used to support technical assistance to implement the cost-share program and will preserve the current staffing level. 

Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board.   Mr. Woode reported that the District sent comments to the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Division regarding proposed actions by the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board on agricultural priorities.  Mrs. Cross said that it is her understanding that a decision on these priorities has been delayed.  Mr. Woode said a primary concern of the District is the lack of guidance for making the assessments. 

Lake Barcroft  Watershed Improvement District.  Mrs. Hoffman said the District has received the LBWID audit for FY 2008.

Associate Director Mary Nightlinger.  Mrs. Hoffman said that former chair Mrs. Nightlinger remains interested in the District, but because of her inactivity in recent years, asked that she no longer be listed as an Associate Director.

Potomac Watershed Roundtable Biennial Report.  Mr. Peterson gave copies of the PWR Biennial Report for 2008-2009 to members of the board.

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 12:15 p.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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