NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes October 26, 2010



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


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

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

  • Jean Packard, 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
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, VA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (10:20)
  • Jim McGlone, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • 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, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz, Soil Scientist, NVSWCD

Approval of Minutes. A motion (Gagnon-Bordas) passed (4-0) to approve the Minutes of the September 28, 2010 Board Meeting, as presented. 

Soil and Water Conservation Plans.  Mr. Woode presented two plans comprising 73.9 acres with 3,640 linear feet of Resource Protection Area.  The Nichols property has 7 of its 34 acres in pasture.  A major portion of the remaining property is managed to attract wildlife.  There are several stands of trees and a large natural area. Warm season grasses are planted to attract quail; sorghum is planted to attract birds and deer.  The Armstrong property has approximately 13 acres in hay production.  Much of the rest of the property is wooded.  A motion (Gagnon-Lamb) passed (4-0) to approve the Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans for Laura and Charles Nichols (33.9 acres on 5 parcels in Great Falls in the Dranesville District with a horse, goats, sheep and chickens and 2,140 linear feet of RPA) and for Charles and Katherine Armstrong (40 acres on 1 parcel in Clifton in the Springfield District in hay production and with 1,500 linear feet of RPA).

Clean Water Farm Award.  Mr. Woode presented Sunshire Stables as the staff recommendation for the NVSWCD 2010 Clean Water Farm Award.  It is an 11 acre property owned and operated by Debra and Dean Merrill.  The Merrills have been working with the District since 2000 and do an excellent job of managing the property, much of which is in Resource Protection Areas, which include two streams and a pond.  They have established vegetated buffers for the RPAs and access is restricted.  They maintain an effective rotational grazing system on their property.  They also lease three additional fields, which improves their rotational grazing system.  In 2007 the District facilitated the construction of a 4-cell manure composting structure through the Virginia Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program.  A motion (Lamb-Bordas) passed (4-0) to name Sunshire Stables as the NVSWCD 2010 Clean Water Farm. 

Support for Grant Proposal by Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax.  Mr. Schwartz said that he and Mr. Rouhi have been assisting with a stormwater management project for the church property.  The plan includes retrofitting a 1 ½ acre gravel parking lot with vegetated swales, rain gardens and permeable pavement.  The church is contributing $250,000 for the project and is seeking a Water Quality Improvement Fund grant for an additional $250,000 in order to implement the entire project.  The permeable pavers are the most expensive component of the project.  A motion (Bordas-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to approve a letter of support for the WQIF grant proposal by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax. 

Support for Grant proposal by Marymount University.  As part of the District’s technical assistance to Arlington County, Mr. Rouhi is assisting with a rain garden project at Marymount University.  The rain garden will receive runoff from a parking lot, a slope and a roof, and will cost $25,000.  Since it will be used as a research facility, an additional $12,000 in matching funds will be used to install water quantity and water quality sampling equipment.  Arlington County and District staff time will be used as part of the required match.  A motion (Lamb-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to approve a letter of support for a Water Quality Improvement Fund grant proposal to build a rain garden at Marymount University. 

Clifton Betterment Association.  Mrs. Packard thanked Mr. Rouhi for the assistance he has provided to the Clifton Betterment Association.  Mr. Rouhi said that he recently reviewed and provided comments on the Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc. report, which he said was very good.  

Engineering Standards Review Committee (ESRC).  Mr. Kohnke said the ESRC did not meet in October and will not meet in November.   

Pohick Creek PL-566 Watershed Annual O&M Inspection.  Mr. Kohnke participated in the annual Operation and Maintenance Inspection of the six Pohick Creek dams.  Only very minor work is needed, such as brush removal and reseeding.  Mr. Kohnke said that new safety regulations did not allow them to look under the lid of the concrete structure over the spillway outlet pipes, in order to inspect the pipes. 

Huntsman Lake Rehabilitation.  Mr. Kohnke said that he and Mr. Wilkinson were invited by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) planning staff from Richmond to attend an on-site meeting at Hunstsman Lake.  Huntsman is the fourth Pohick Creek Watershed PL-566 structure to be rehabilitated with federal assistance provided by the USDA-NRCS. 

Land Conservation Awards.  Mr. Kohnke, Mr. Rouhi and Mr. Woode are conducting the fall judging of the County’s Land Conservation Awards.  They will visit several sites over the course of two or three days to evaluate the installation and maintenance of erosion and sediment controls on construction sites that have been nominated by DPWES staff.

Treasurer’s Report.  A motion (Lamb-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer’s Reports for the months of September 2010 and for the First Quarter of FY 2011.

Proposal for a Water Quality Improvement Fund grant.   Mrs. Hoffman said the staff had been  exploring the feasibility of a WQIF grant to develop a pilot project that could become a prototype for an urban BMP cost-share program (for residential, commercial and horse-keeping operations).  They also had been exploring the possibility of partnering with the County and the Patton Terrace community to implement such a project.  She explained, however, that the specific BMPs needed in the community have not been determined and just as important, the extent of homeowner commitment to partner in such a program has not been determined.   Hence, the staff recommends not applying for a grant for this project at this time.  Instead, staff will offer to work with the Patton Terrace Community to advise on solutions individual homeowners can implement to improve stormwater management.   This may include exploring grant funding to help put practices in place.  Also, staff will work to develop specifications and other components that are needed for an urban BMP program, which would be carried out in a manner similar to the agricultural BMP cost-share program. 

National Association of Conservation Districts Tour – October 13.  Mrs. Hoffman said the District hosted the CEO and four members of the staff from the National Association of Conservation Districts office in Washington.  The tour began at the Lake Barcroft WID compound, which is located next to the dam.  LBWID provided refreshments and Charles deSeve, Chair of the LBWID Trustees, gave a brief overview of the WID and its work.  District staff narrated a presentation about the NVSWCD, highlighting its technical and outreach and education work in Fairfax County.  The group then visited six sites: 1) the Williams Lane-Center Road Project near Bailey’s crossroads, which solved a long-standing flooding problem in an industrial area; 2) Sunshire Sables in Clifton, a horse-keeping operation that demonstrates several agricultural BMPs; 3) Woodglen Lake, a PL-566 Pohick Creek Watershed structure that recently was rehabilitated with assistance from NRCS; 4) the parking lot retrofit at the Providence District office, which demonstrates several Low Impact Development practices that the County continues to monitor; 5) the Falls Hill Residential LID Landscaping Project, with several LID practices installed on one property as part of a community demonstration and education project that also included workshops, technical assistance from NVSWCD staff and mini-grants to homeowners; 6) the Little Pimmit Run Project, a successful natural channel design stream restoration project, located mostly on parkland, involving seven partners, with two-thirds of the funding contributed by nearby homeowners.  Handouts with pictures and descriptions of the projects were provided at each stop. 

Green Breakfast.  Mr. Glasgow said the next Green Breakfast will be held on November 13 from 8:30 to 10:00 at Brion’s Grille in Fairfax. It will feature Charlie Grymes who will talk about what the future will look like in Northern Virginia. 

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said the Celebrated Trees of Fairfax County initiative is moving forward and that the Commission is working on stabilizing its membership.  Jim McGlone, explained an initiative he is leading, based on the first core recommendation of the Tree Action Plan – outreach and education.  He suggested that in addition to educating citizens, one of the directions should be to educate the decision-makers about trees as infrastructure and how trees affect the urban environment.  He noted the lack of a mention of trees in the Tyson’s Corner plan and said a broader understanding is needed of the value of trees, including the economic development aspects and the social, cultural and health benefits of trees.  He said that Northern Virginia Outside plans to promote the concept in the school community.  Trees and the natural environment have a positive effect on the overall education of children, including those with challenges such as ADHD and autism.  As for funding tree initiatives, he cited Mayor Bloomberg’s statement that investing $1 million in trees in New York City is a ‘no-brainer’ investment in infrastructure and it would be appropriate to use bond money to pay for it. 

Virginia Association of Conservation Districts (VASWCD).  Mr. Peterson, Mr. Lamb and Mrs. Hoffman plan to attend the VASWCD Annual Meeting in Roanoke on December 6-8.  The Potomac Council’s Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, December 5 in Roanoke. 

Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC).  Mr. Lamb said that EQAC will present its Annual Report on the Environment to the Board of Supervisors on November 16.  It will hold its Annual Public Hearing on November 29 at the Government Center.  Mrs. Hoffman noted that the County recently announced its Environmental Excellence Awards, which are judged by EQAC.  The District’s nominee, Project Performance Corporation, received the award in the business category, and Meghan Fellows, of the Park Authority’s Resource Management Division, received the award in the County employee category.

Virginia Cooperative Extension.  Ms. Bordas said that Virginia Cooperative Extension’s restructuring plan has been released and is available on the main page of the VCE website.   Each locality will have a choice of which extension agent it will fund locally, with half of the funding coming from the locality and half of the funding coming from the state.  All county offices will remain open; however, each county office will not have an administrative assistant.  There will be 22 regional business centers that will have one administrative assistant and will serve three to six county areas.  Instead of a Unit Coordinator in each county, there will be a Unit Coordinator in each of the business centers.  Local experts on issues will help to deliver the education programs.  During the past year, VCE was reduced by 60 people because of retirements (32 field positions and 28 campus positions).  There will be a $5.5 million cut starting in FY 2012.  The restructuring plan will be in place by 2013.  There is support among members in the General Assembly for a budget amendment to ensure appropriate funding is used for Extension field personnel. 

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Mr. Wilkinson said the Joint Employee Development planning committee will meet on November 4 to discuss next year’s program and schedule.  The next training is engineering and will focus on installing watering systems.  On October 15, the National NRCS office gathered at the Hugh Hammond Bennett home in McLean to remove invasive plants and to plant trees.  The media was invited and it was an opportunity to highlight the 75th anniversary of NRCS.  The remaining work at Woodglen Lake includes installation of the new trash rack and resolving a concern about a grading issue where the temporary path had been routed.  The NRCS Area Engineer has granted job approval authority for Mr. Woode, which Mr. Wilkinson asked the Chair to sign.  Mr. Woode’s training over the past twenty years would qualify him for a higher level of job approval authority; however he has not had the design opportunities to gain the required experience.  Hence, Mr. Wilkinson said he will help to provide Mr. Woode with the needed experience.   

Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Mrs. Cross said Virginia’s Watershed Implementation Plan and EPA’s evaluation are available on the DCR website.  The public comment period ends November 8.  The VASWCD Annual Meeting will be December 5-7 in Roanoke.  Water Quality Improvement Fund grant proposals are due by November 1. 

Cancelation of December Meeting.  A motion (Bordas-Lamb) passed (4-0) to cancel the December 28 Board of Directors meeting. 

Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF).  Mr. McGlone made several announcements.  The fall planting season is underway.  About 2,000 pounds of acorns were collected and sent to the DOF nursery in Augusta. VDOT has released its vegetative management plan for the HOT Lanes project, which includes native grasses, wildflowers, transition areas and forested areas.  The Northern Virginia Urban Forest Roundtable will be held on November 19 in Reston.  The subject will be vegetation management for stream restoration projects.  Mr. McGlone provided copies of the 2011 VDOF Calendar, which features the value of trees.  He noted that in West Virginia, Japanese stilt grass is dying from a fungus.  This is being studied for a possible natural control for this invasive plant.   

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

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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