NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes June 28, 2011



Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
June 28, 2011


(As approved by the Board of Directors on July 26, 2011)

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
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Bob Kohnke, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, DCR
  • Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS
  • Jim McGlone, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Diane Hoffman, Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Lily Whitesell, Outreach and Watershed Programs Coordinator, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz, Soil Scientist, NVSWCD
  • Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Sara Vincent, Intern, NVSWCD
  • Tom Cranmer, Visitor

Introduction – Sara Vincent.   Ms. Whitesell introduced Sara Vincent, a student at George Mason University who is completing her degree in Earth Science.  She also is one of two students who are interning with the Conservation District for the summer.  She has helped with the Artistic Rain Barrel program and the Watershed Friendly Home, Garden and Horse Farm Tour.  Ms. Vincent showed the new mural she created for a District outreach activity.  It is the Chesapeake Bay with a large crab in the middle and a recycling bin and trash can on each side.  Children color cutouts of things found in the Bay, such as fish, plastic bottles, and oil cans.  The finished artwork is placed in the appropriate place on the mural.  The activity was enjoyed by children at the Artistic Rain Barrel Reception.

Approval of Minutes. Mrs. Gagnon said she reviewed the Minutes and recommended approval.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (4-0) to approve the Minutes of the May 24, 2011 Board Meeting.

Treasurer’s Report.  Mr. Lamb reviewed the Treasurer’s Report.  A motion (Lamb-Peterson) passed (4-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer’s Report for May 2011. 

Approval of DCR FY 2012 Operations and Cost Share Grants.  A motion (Lamb-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to approve the FY 2012 Operations Grant from DCR and the FY 2012 Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Grant.  Mr. Peterson said the increase in the Operations Grant over last year was due in part to the efforts of the VASWCD and the 47 conservation districts in Virginia, who worked with the General Assembly to help bring about an increase in funding.

Approval of Secondary Considerations and Cap for FY 2012 Virginia Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program.   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) new BMP installations over existing BMPs to be maintained; additionally, applicants with history of successful participation in past conservation programs will be given preference.  A motion (Gagnon-Lamb) passed (4-0) to approve the Secondary Considerations, as presented, for the 2012 Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program, and to approve a $15,000 cap for cost-share for any one practice approved during the 2012 program year. 

Approve Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans.  Mr. Woode presented five conservation plans prepared during the 4th Quarter.  Three of the plans are for new cooperators and two plans (Eagle and Jarvis) will help the landowners meet the requirements for renewing their Agricultural and Forestal Districts.  Additional land is being added to the Eagle A&F District.  The property is mainly forested, and is under a conservation easement held by the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust.  The Jarvis plan includes a pasture management plan, based on a soil analysis, protection of a heavy-use area, a stream crossing, a storage structure for manure and protection of the RPA.  The McCormick property has two horses and a donkey.  The plan includes installing cross fencing in order to accommodate rotational grazing, a stream crossing, protecting the RPA, and establishing a heavy-use area.  The McCormicks are interested in participating in the agricultural BMP cost-share program.  Mr. Woode noted that cooperators are given options and also ways to phase in practices.  A motion (Gagnon-Lamb) passed (4-0) to approve the Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans for Martin Jarvis in the Mt. Vernon District (36.4 acres on 2 parcels with 38 horses and 1,305 linear feet of RPA), Mitch Falk in the Springfield District (7 acres on 1 parcel with 5 horses and 380 linear feet of RPA), John Herrity in the Springfield District (5 acres on 1 parcel with 3 horses and no RPA), Cara McCormick in the Dranesville District (5 acres on 1 parcel with 3 horses and 700 linear feet of RPA) and the Eagle Family in the Dranesville District (86 acres on 7 parcels with 2,500 linear feet of RPA).  

Approve MOU between NVSWCD and DPWES for Little Pimmit Run Sanitary Sewer and Streambank Stabilization Project.   Mrs. Hoffman reported the County has approved the District as a sole source to undertake the project in partnership with two divisions in DPWES – Waste Water Collection Division and Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division.  The MOU is a template for the way the District can carry out projects for the County in an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound way.  Mrs. Packard recalled that at the May meeting, the board delegated to the chair authority to approve the MOU needed to move the Little Pimmit Run project forward.   She reported that she approved the MOU and provided a copy to board members.  A motion (Peterson-Lamb) passed (4-0) to confirm the action of the chair and to approve the MOU between NVSWCD and DPWES for the Little Pimmit Run Sanitary Sewer and Streambank Stabilization Project.

Letter to Members of Congress.   Mr. Peterson provided board members copies of a letter he drafted to Virginia’s two Senators and to Congressman Goodlatte, who is a member of the House Agriculture Committee.  A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to send letters signed by the Chair to three members of Congress in support of funding for conservation technical assistance and Farm Bill Conservation Programs. 

Report on Area II Conference Call.  Mr. Peterson reported on the Area II conference call on June 20 to discuss a legislative agenda to recommend to the VASWCD.  All six SWCDs participated.  Mrs. Packard, Mrs. Gagnon and Mr. Peterson participated from NVSWCD.  They commended Mrs. Cross for moving the meeting along and for her follow up minutes and draft legislative agenda.  The four recommendations adopted by NVSWCD at its May meeting and proposed for approval by Area II were approved as part of the ten proposals that were sent forward to the state association.  Mr. Glasgow noted, regarding the item having to do with uranium mining, that there are quite a few uranium leases in the Occoquan Watershed and the issue warrants watching.  Mr. Peterson said that it has been an issue with the VASWCD for some time. 

Green Breakfast.  Mr. Glasgow said the topic for the July 9 Green Breakfast will be Offshore Wind Energy.  For the September Green Breakfast, Mrs. Gagnon suggested choosing from among topics of environmental concern, one that would be of local interest for the November election. 

Conservation Currents.   Mrs. Gagnon complimented Mrs. Whitesell on the excellent issue of Conservation Currents, including the very well done lead article, Water, Water Everywhere, Where Does It Go?  Ms. Whitesell said the article was researched and written by NVSWCD Intern Devy Jagasia.  Other articles include the Artistic Rain Barrel Silent Auction and Reception, the Watershed Friendly Home, Garden and Horse Farm Tour, How Much Do We Benefit From Trees?, Envirothon and Science Fair Hot Shots, and Keeping Track of Turtles

(Mrs. Gagnon left at 10:25)

Tree Commission.  Mr. Glasgow said the list of Celebrated Trees is growing and that the Tree Stewards program has been very successful.  He said the Commission is talking with those interested in trails, exploring ways of working on common interests.  The by-laws are being revised and will be sent to the Board of Supervisors for approval.  All of the Commission positions are filled.

Pohick Creek PL-566.  Mr. Kohnke, NVSWCD liaison for the Pohick Creek PL-566 Watershed Project, said he visited the Lake Barton site.  It appeared nearly complete and the site stabilized.  Mr. Wilkinson said he talked with the NRCS inspector, Jerry Wright, who said the project was going well and should be completed on time.  Mr. Kohnke said the rehabilitation of site #8 (Huntsman) is in the planning stage and on track.  Mr. Peterson expressed a concern about the availability of the federal assistance portion of the project, given current uncertainties in federal funding. 

Engineering Standards Review Committee.  Mr. Kohnke, NVSWCD representative on the ESRC, said the ESRC met on June 2 and re-elected its officers:  Ted Britt, Chairman, Bruce Titan, Vice Chairman, and Jean Packard, Secretary.  The ESRC discussed guidelines for infiltration facilities, which includes rain gardens.  The technical committee that had worked on the guidelines will meet for a final review before the guidelines are approved by the ESRC.  Also, the ESRC discussed railing requirements for sidewalks, trails and other measures.  In coming months, the ESRC will take up revised street light installation procedures.

Director of DCR’s Division of Stormwater.   Mr. Peterson said that he served on the interview panel for the Director of the Division of Stormwater (formerly the Division of Soil and Water Conservation) in the Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Eleven candidates were interviewed and DCR Director David Johnson selected Reese Peck as the new Stormwater Division Director.  He has experience in conservation-related work.  He served as Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources in South Dakota and worked in New York City watershed.  Also, he has experience working with districts.  Currently, among other things, he serves on the James City Planning Commission.

Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC).   Mr. Lamb said EQAC has taken a position in favor of streets narrower than what is being proposed for acceptance.  The wider street width (38’) is supported by the Fire Department and recommended in the staff report; however both the ESRC and EQAC support a narrower (28’-30’) street width.  Mr. Schwartz said he attended the Board of Supervisors meeting where it was considered for approval.  There was a great deal of discussion and the decision has been deferred.  EQAC also received a briefing on the new Alternative On-Site Sewer Systems (AOSS) state regulations, with which the County Health Department has concerns, but they can do nothing but comply.  Their concerns include implications for the Mason Neck area.  

4-H Fair.  Mr. Glasgow announced that the 4-H Fair is being held at Frying Pan Park on August 6-7.

Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Mr. Wilkinson said the Potomac Council and Potomac Watershed Roundtable will meet on July 8 in Prince William County.  There will be a tour of the landfill in the afternoon.  The July 12 Joint Employee Development (JED) training will be held in Fauquier County.  The topic will be on solar and gravity water systems.  The August 9 JED training will cover culvert design.  The Forage and Grasslands Council is co-sponsoring workshops on warm season grasses on August 10 at the Mare Center in Loudoun County and on August 11 in Front Royal.  Mr. Wilkinson said the Leesburg Field Office will undergo a program appraisal July 11—15.  He attended the Local Working Group meeting in Fauquier.  One of the recommendations to NRCS was to consider making the Potomac River a “priority” river.  Mr. Wilkinson provided a handout for the office to give those who inquire about any of three class action law suits that were brought against NRCS for discrimination.  Mr. Peterson noted that most of the discriminatory actions had their genesis in other agencies within USDA.  In Louisa, on July 15, the USDA-NRCS and Louisa County Historical Society will recognize Virginia as the birthplace of modern conservation by dedicating an historical marker honoring Hugh Hammond Bennett and the Virginia Soil Survey.

Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Mrs. Cross reported the following:

  • On June 1, the Division of Soil and Water Conservation will become the Division of Stormwater Management; Reese Peck will become the new director on July 11.
  • Any changes to suggest in the Agricultural BMP Cost-Share program should be sent to the Advisory Committee by July 31.
  • Staff level follow up meetings on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL are taking place with DCR and the regional planning district commissions.  Local jurisdictions and SWCDs are involved in the process.
  • The annual training sponsored by the Virginia Association of Conservation District Employees will take place August 23-25 at Graves Mountain. 
  • The VASWCD Board of Directors will hold its quarterly meeting on July 14 and 15 at Ayrshire Farm in Loudoun County. 
  • The SWCD Director election filing deadline is August 23, 2011.  Information and forms (Certificate of Candidate Qualification-Local Office, Declaration of Candidacy, and Petition of Qualified Voters) are at www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/Index.html  

Virginia Department of Forestry.  Mr. McGlone said the Lands for Tomorrow Conference is taking place June 28 and 29 at Longwood University in Farmville.  Sixty-five campers attended the Holiday Lake Forestry Camp, June 13-18 at Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest.  The Fairfax County Restoration Project is talking with DCR about helping support the Plant More Plants campaign. Mr. McGlone said the Northern Virginia Regional Commission is identifying priority areas for conservation for the Conservation Corridor Project; one of the criteria is water quality.

Model Horse Farm Tour.  Mr. Woode said the District partnered with the Prince William SWCD on June 21 for a tour of its Chesapeake Bay-Friendly Model Horse Farm in Prince William County. Approximately 50 people attended.  Twenty-five were from Fairfax County.

Mrs. Packard adjourned the meeting at 11:20 a.m.  

Respectfully submitted, Diane Hoffman's signature
Diane Hoffman

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