NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes September 28, 2010



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
September 28, 2010


(As approved by the Board of Directors on October 26, 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
  • 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
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, VA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (10:35)
  • Jim McGlone, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Michelle Brickner, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Nick Kokales, Administrative and Technical Assistant, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, Administrator, NVSWCD
  •    Lily Whitesell, Outreach and Watershed Programs Coordinator, NVSWCD

Sally B. Ormsby Environmental Stewardship Award.  The Board members congratulated Jean Packard for having been named by the Fairfax County Park Authority as the recipient of the 2010 Sally B. Ormsby Environmental Stewardship Award. 

Land Development Services (LDS), Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES).   Michelle Brickner, Acting Director of LDS, outlined the proposed reorganization of Land Development Services, an initiative from the agency’s strategic planning process in the spring of 2009.  Because of the time needed to transition to the new organization, the process will continue into 2011 with everything expected to be in place by July 1. She noted that the agency is down by one-third, or 90 people, many of whom have been loaned to other areas of DPWES.  The new organization achieves the goal of a project management approach to development, which provides a better structure for serving development and re-development projects such as the Tyson’s Corner and Springfield Mall.  It will achieve the goal of providing one location for the submission of all applications associated with a development.  This will be done through the new Customer Support Center.  Another goal is for a single building inspector to accomplish several types of inspections.  The position of Director of LDS should be filled by the end of October, and other positions are in the process of being filled.  LDS has streamlined seven divisions to three core divisions:  Building Plan Review and Inspections; Code Development and Compliance; and Site Plan Review and Inspections.  The latter will have three teams composed of reviewers and inspectors.  An Enterprise group will contract out staff to other areas of DPWES to perform tasks such as storm sewer inspections and private stormwater facility inspections.  Mr. Rouhi said there may be new partnership opportunities for DPWES and NVSWCD, such as in providing training to inspectors regarding rain garden design, inspection and maintenance.  

DPWES.   Ms. Brickner said DPWES continues to follow closely the development of the Accotink Creek TMDL and Chesapeake Bay TMDL.  DPWES will make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors Environment Committee in October about the 1,000 Canker Disease, which affects Black Walnut trees.  County work to deal with this infestation will be supported by Fund 116, a special tax for forest pest, which supports efforts such as the gypsy moth program. 

Approval of Minutes. A motion (Gagnon-Bordas) passed (5-0) to approve the Minutes of the July 27, 2010 Board Meeting.  A motion (Gagnon-Bordas) passed (4-0-1) (Gagnon abstained because she was not present at the meeting) to approve the Minutes of the September 11, 2010 special Board Meeting. 

Treasurer’s Report.  A motion (Lamb-Peterson) passed (5-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer’s Reports for the months of July and August 2010.  A motion (Lamb-Gagnon) passed (5-0) directing Mrs. Hoffman to prepare a budget and funding request to Fairfax County, using the guidelines provided by the Department of Management and Budget. 

Bank Accounts.  Mrs. Hoffman said that in the process of responding to a request from Sun Trust Bank to name an official custodian for three of the District’s five accounts, she needed to review the bank signature papers.  Since copies were not in the District file and they likely were out of date anyway, she asked that new signature documents be prepared that included all five current directors, as well as herself and Mr. Kokales.  The reason an official custodian (a person, not an entity) had to be named is because the accounts are designated as public funds, which means that they must be insured for the full amount in the accounts.  Mrs. Hoffman will look into why this action was not  required for the other two accounts.

Proposal for a TransUrban Fluor Grant.  Mrs. Hoffman relayed a request from Mr. Schwartz to approve development of a grant proposal to TransUrban Fluor, the company that is building the I-495 HOT Lanes.  The grant would be used to support a Fairfax County Restoration Project initiative to reach out to landowners outside the HOT Lanes sound walls about revegetating their properties in an environmentally friendly fashion.  Rosemary Ryan, with Supervisor Cook’s office, suggested the District develop an HOA Action List that will help guide interested landowners through the process of evaluating their land, improving their soil, if necessary, and choosing the appropriate plants for their locations.  The grant would cover the cost of designing, printing and disseminating the guidance.  The Supervisors’ offices representing areas along the HOT Lanes project would help connect landowners with this information.  The guide would include information about how HOAs could apply for TransUrban Fluor grants for purchasing plant materials and supplies.  Mr. Schwartz estimated the proposal would be for $2,000 to $3,000.  A motion (Lamb-Peterson) passed (5-0) to approve submitting a grant proposal to TransUrban Fluor to support a FCRP outreach initiative to homeowners along the HOT Lanes project, as well as future proposals to support this effort. 

Support for Grant proposals by Lands and Waters for a stormwater project at Unity of Fairfax.  Mrs. Packard gave preliminary approval to send letters of support for grant proposals by Lands and Waters to the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund for a stormwater management project it is implementing at the Unity of Fairfax Church.  The project includes a green roof, infiltration measures, pollinator and meditation gardens, and a kiosk with information for the nearby community and others about the elements of the project.  The District’s role would be to provide technical advice on the stormwater facilities and assistance with the educational materials.  Mrs. Bordas said that she has visited the site and it provides a good opportunity for outreach and education.  A motion (Bordas-Gagnon) passed (5-0) to approve letters of support for Lands and Waters’ grant proposals to support a stormwater demonstration project at Unity of Fairfax.

Local and VASWCD Urban Forestry Award.  A motion (Gagnon-Lamb) passed (5-0) to approve the staff recommendation to recognize Fairfax ReLeaf with the District’s Urban Forestry Award.  The award highlights Fairfax ReLeaf’s accomplishments during FY 2010, including working with a broad array of volunteers to plant more than 8,000 trees.  Since its inception eighteen years ago, Fairfax Releaf has planted more than 100,000 trees.  Fairfax ReLeaf includes a strong educational component in its projects and participates in other community outreach efforts.  As the District winner, Fairfax ReLeaf will be the District’s nominee for the 2010 VASWCD Urban Forestry Award.  

Proposal for a Water Quality Improvement Fund grant.   Mrs. Hoffman said the staff would like to explore the feasibility of a WQIF grant to develop a pilot project that could be a precursor to an urban BMP cost-share program (for residential, commercial and horse-keeping operations) or to partner on a County initiative in the Patton Terrace community to implement stormwater management strategies.  Patton Terrace is an older neighborhood in McLean that was build before current stormwater management requirements.  Recently it has been experiencing re-development and the placement of larger homes on many of the lots, which has resulted in flooding, drainage and erosion problems.  The County has hired a consultant to identify problems and possible solutions to the problems.  There are some things the County can accomplish, especially along the VDOT right of ways.  NVSWCD participation would be similar to its role in the Falls Hill Project.  The District would secure a grant and work with interested homeowners, providing technical and financial assistance to implement projects.  The Board encouraged staff to pursue these possibilities.

Proposal for Bureau of Land Management Challenge Cost-Share Grant.  Mrs. Hoffman said the District received a $100,000 grant last year to help BLM, over a five year period, develop and implement a stormwater management plan for the Lower Potomac Field Station on Mason Neck.  A BLM Challenge Cost-Share Grant provides an opportunity to add $25,000 to the project.  The 50:50 matching grant would be matched with funding from another source to install a project, as well as District staff time and volunteer time.  A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (5-0) to approve a proposal for a Challenge Cost-Share grant to add $25,000 to the existing project with BLM.

Pohick Creek PL-566 Project – Amendment to Lake Barton Rehabilitation Plan.  Mrs. Packard said the lowest bid for the Lake Barton rehabilitation project was $700,000 higher than the engineer estimate.  The estimate was made during the time when construction costs were considerably lower, at the beginning of the economic downturn.  Hence, an amendment to the Lake Barton rehabilitation plan is needed in order to increase the amount of money obligated by NRCS and the County for this project.  While the funds obligated so far by NRCS are provided by ARRA (stimulus) funding, the additional NRCS funding will be provided by rehabilitation funds.  A motion (Peterson-Lamb) passed (5-0) to approve the amendment to the Lake Barton rehabilitation plan.

Virginia Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program – FY 2010 Self-Evaluation.  Mr. Woode reviewed the staff assessment of how well the District has carried out the Agricultural BMP Cost-Share program in FY 2010.  The District fully satisfied the requirements in all categories, except those where it was not applicable because there were no new practices installed during the time period.  The District continues to do conservation planning; Secondary Considerations were prepared and approved by DCR; the basis for prioritizing applications is appropriate; funds are managed properly; seminars are held for horse operation managers; staff responds to cooperator problems and concerns, as well as potential violations identified by local and state agencies; staff is fully trained and certified.  A motion (Gagnon-Bordas) passed (5-0) to accept the self-evaluation of the 2010 Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program.  The assessment will be forwarded to DCR.

Green Breakfast.  Mrs. Packard said unfortunately Brion’s Grille did not open for the September 11 Green Breakfast; however, with the help of Ms. Bordas and others, the event was moved to a nearby pub, which also was closed, but there was a good supply of chairs on the patio.  The 54 who attended purchased breakfast at nearby fast-food places and enjoyed the outdoor venue.  Cliff Fairweather, Environmental Education Coordinator and Naturalist with the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, gave an excellent presentation about Bringing Native Plants and Wildlife into the Managed Landscape.  Mr. Lamb said that after the meeting he spoke with Betsy Washington, a plant and habitat expert who is active in the Lake Barcroft community, regarding the problems with obtaining permission to enhance an RPA and to remove invasive plants in RPAs.  A legislative initiative may be needed to solve the invasive removal problem.  The next Green Breakfast will be held on November 13 from 8:30 to 10:00 at Brion’s Grille in Fairfax.  Mrs. Hoffman will email the program committee the suggestions that are on file.  

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said the Tree Commission’s annual report to the Board of Supervisors Environment Committee, originally scheduled for October, has been delayed.  The Celebrated Trees of Fairfax County initiative is moving forward.  The Tree Stewards Program, led by Jim McGlone, will have its first training in the spring.

Engineering Standards Review Committee (ESRC).  Mr. Kohnke said the ESRC met in September and approved the final wording of items previously approved.  The October meeting has been canceled. 

International Erosion Control Association.  Mr. Peterson said that Mr. Rouhi made an excellent presentation on the Falls Hill Residential LID Project at annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association in Front Royal on September 22. 

Virginia Association of Conservation Districts (VASWCD).  In August, Mr. Peterson represented VASWCD at the National Association of Conservation Districts Southeast Region meeting in Nashville, TN.  The meeting focused on Farm Bill issues.  He will attend the VASWCD Board meeting on September 30.  Mr. Peterson said the National Association of Conservation Districts Urban Working Group, on which he serves, is moving forward with a Community Conservation Act initiative.  This is an outgrowth of concerns from Districts in urban communities that their local conservation needs were not being recognized. 

Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC).  Mrs. Gagnon announced that EQAC’s Annual Public Hearing will be held on November 29. 

Pesticide Disposal Program.  Ms. Bordas said the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Virginia Cooperative Extension cooperate to hold Pesticide Disposal Programs.  This year, Fairfax hosted the program for Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax and facilitated the collection of 13,494 pounds of unused and unwanted pesticides.  When this is added to what was collected in 2005, it totals 19,176 pounds.  She noted that if a local business were to collect these pesticides and either pay locally or with a state program for their disposal, it would cost $38,352

Fairfax 4-H Fair.  Ms. Bordas said that more than 12,000 people attended the 4-H Fair, which was held at Frying Pan Park in August.

Potomac Watershed Roundtable – October 8.  Mrs. Hoffman said the Potomac Watershed Roundtable will meet on October 8 at Westmoreland State Park on Northern Neck.  The agenda will include presentations by DCR and the Farm Bureau on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL; the Westmoreland County Administrator will talk about the Colespoint Wastewater Treatment Plant that discharges its effluent solely via spray irrigation; Virginia Parks will talk about the impact and importance of Eco-tourism; there will be a tour of the new conference center, which has received a Gold LEED Certification; and a tour of the shoreline erosion control project. 

NVSWCD Website.  Ms. Whitesell encouraged everyone to visit the District’s website.  She said she has been working to make it more accessible to users and to increase the ease of navigation.  She also reported on its traffic.  Over the course of the last year, the site has received 100,000 unique visitors, 168,000 visits, 423,000 page views and 800,000 hits.  The top ten pages include the Home Page, an article by Dan Schwartz about Heavy Metal Pollution, an article by Willie Woode about Five Steps to a Great Horse Pasture, the Native Seedling Sale, an article about Understanding Tree Roots, Garter Snakes, Volunteer Stream Monitoring announcements, and The Living Soils.  The number one item downloaded was Rain Garden Design and Construction – A Northern Virginia Homeowner’s Guide, with more than 36,000 downloads.  

Earth Friendly Suburban Horse Farming Guide.  Mr. Woode distributed copies of the guide for horse farmers to encourage environmentally friendly management practices.  It was produced and 1,000 copies were printed as a part of the Virginia WQIF grant project that included construction of the demonstration horse waste management facility at Gunnell’s Run Farm.  Mr. Woode said he would be glad to provide copies to any organizations or individuals that would like to have them.      Mrs. Hoffman said that Ms. Whitesell provided information about the Earth-Friendly Suburban Horse Farming Guide for the Area II report for the upcoming VASWCD board meeting.  Also, copies were provided for distribution to board members.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Mr. Wilkinson said that approximately 230 attended the NRCS all-personnel meeting in Williamsburg on September 14-16.  He said it was a good meeting with interesting break-out sessions.  The NRCS initiative at the Hugh Hammond Bennett home in McLean is moving forward.  A public participation day is being planned to help with natural resource concerns.  Mr. Peterson said, if needed, the Virginia Association of Land Improvement Contractors would be willing to participate in the project.  Mr. Lamb thanked Mr. Wilkinson for leading an excellent tour of the Woodglen rehabilitation site. 

Soil and Water Conservation Society, Virginia Chapter.  Mr. Wilkinson announced the annual meeting of the Virginia Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society will be held on October 15 at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton.

Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Mrs. Cross reviewed DCR’s annual evaluation of how well NVSWCD met the goals of the DCR operations grant agreement for FY 2010.  She said the District fully satisfied all components of the agreement except for holding the required minimum number of board meetings.  NVSWCD had 9 instead of 10 board meetings; February’s meeting was canceled because of snow.  Other items in her report included:

  • The District nominee for the Basin Clean Water Farm Award is due November 1. 
  • The Virginia Agricultural BMP Technical Advisory Committee will meet on October 28.
  • At the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board meeting on September 16, Mrs. Packard’s reappointment as a NVSWCD Director was approved.  Frank Blake replaced Mrs. Packard on the Virginia SWC Board and Steve Lohr replaced Linda Campbell.  The next meeting will be on November 18.
  • Spot checks of Agricultural BMPs will be completed by the end of October.
  • Conservation Selling Skills training is scheduled for October 26 and 27 at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg.
  • The application deadline for a Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund grant is October 1.  Project awards will be announced in May 2011 and projects will be completed in FY 2012. 
  • WQIF grant proposals are due by November 1. 
  • Virginia’s draft Watershed Implementation Plan for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL was submitted to EPA in early September.  The public comment period ends November 8.  The EPA will host a public meeting at Northern Virginia Community College on October 5 at 6:00 p.m.

Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF).  Mr. McGlone said the 1,000 Canker Disease has been confirmed in Knoxville, TN and possibly in Waynesboro, VA.  It is expected to cause the total eradication of the Black Walnut.  It is carried by a very small beetle which first appeared in native walnut trees in Arizona.  It apparently is only fatal to Black Walnut trees.  It is a fungus that attacks the cambium tissue and causes death in about three years. At the recent Valuing Urban Trees workshop, Eric Wisener said he estimated that ash trees make up 1.4% of urban forests and black walnut are something less.  Hence, two pest infestations, the Emerald Ash Borer and the 1,000 Canker Disease, are targeting about 3% of urban forests.  Unfortunately, both trees are found in riparian areas.  Fairfax County’s Urban Forest Management Division has completed an I-Tree study, with preliminary findings indicating the greatest environmental value of the urban forest is stormwater management, valued at $38 to $40 million per year.  The Fairfax County Restoration Project is about to launch a gifting program called Reforest Fairfax. Donations can be made via the FCPR website.  A donation of $30 will fund five trees planted in someone’s honor.  The planting will be done by Fairfax ReLeaf.  Mrs. Packard recommended sending this information to the Green Breakfast email distribution list.

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 11:55 a.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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