FY2011 Mid-Year Review


letterhead

FY 2011 Mid-Year Review

July – December 2010

1. Vision

2. Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives

  • Our annual plan of work relates directly to the Goals and Objectives of our Strategic Plan.

3. Goal 1 – Provide Leadership in Natural Resource Conservation.

Under this goal we have four objectives:

  1. to collaborate with the county to strengthen its policies, regulations and practices
  2. to demonstrate and promote the best techniques
  3. to advocate for state and federal policies and regulations
  4. to spearhead citizen involvement in natural resource protection

4. Collaborating with the County -- Commissions and Committees. (Objective 1)

Some of the ways we work with the County is to serve on county commissions and committees and to contribute to policy development – for example:

  • Harry serves on the Tree Commission (meets monthly)
  • Bob serves on the Engineering Standards Review Committee (meets monthly)
  • Diane serves on the Environmental Coordinating Committee and the Environmental Improvement Program Committee. She also meets once a month with the DPWES Stormwater-PFM Committee.
  • The District contributes to the EQAC Annual Report on the Environment, the Environmental Improvement Program annual report, the MS-4 report and the Stormwater Status Report.
  • Willie served on the Dredged Spoils committee, which finished up its work this fall with a report to the BOS.

5. Demonstration Projects & Promoting Best Practices (Objective 2)

  • We monitor and maintain our demonstration projects we install, so they can continue to be good examples of best practices, such as the rain gardens installed at Audrey Moore Rec Center and Marie Butler Levin Preserve, the Center Lane stormwater bioretention retrofit, the Falls Hill project, and the stream restorations at Little Pimmit Run and Kingstowne.
  • We promote best techniques with workshops (rain gardens), tours (NACD), and making presentations at conferences (Mid-Atlantic IECA – Falls Hill)

6. Advocate for State and Federal Policies and Legislation (Objective 3)

  • With VASWCD, lobby General Assembly and Congress
  • With Potomac Watershed Roundtable, lobby General Assembly
  • Comment directly on state and federal regulations (e.g. Accotink Creek TMDL)

7. Spearhead citizen involvement in natural resource protection. (Objective 4)

  • Examples are the Rain Barrel Program, the International Coastal Cleanup, the Storm Drain Marking Program, the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program and events such as the Conservation Landscaping Tour.
  • The Green Breakfasts inform, educate and promote citizen involvement. The District sponsored 3 Green Breakfasts at Brion’s Grille, with between 35 to 50 attending.
    • In July, Jim Zook spoke about “Managing Growth – where we were, where we are now, where we are going, and how important is this to becoming green?
    • In Sept., Cliff Fairweather spoke about “Bringing Native Plants and Wildlife into the Managed Landscape
    • In Nov., Charlie Grymes spoke about “In the Year 2030 . . . What Will Northern Virginia Look Like?
  • The Green Breakfast also is a time for community leaders with an interest in the environment to network and make announcements

8. Goal 2 – Provide High Quality Technical Assistance

  • High quality technical assistance is provided to all segments of our community – including agriculture, government agencies, the development community, homeowners and HOAs, and the general public.

9. Technical Assistance to Agriculture

  • Soil and Water Conservation Plans were developed for 8 parcels. One was a new plan and 7 were revised plans. They covered 142 acres and included 4,440 linear feet of Resource Protection Area.
  • 3 of the plans were in response to County Code violations (Jasper, Libit and Price) They correct illegal clearing and illegal fill and inappropriate use of an RPA.
  • 3 plans were for the renewal of Agricultural and Forestal Districts (Newcomb, Nichols, Armstrong)
  • Assistance was provided to operators of horse-keeping operations, helping them to maintain good pastures, prevent erosion, practice good nutrient management, including managing manure, and using pesticides responsibly.

10. Creating Horse Heaven and Earth-Friendly Suburban Horse Farming

  • In August, the District partnered with the Clifton Horse Society to present a seminar on Creating a Horse Heaven by using sound management practices.
  • The District continues to distribute its new publication that encourages and provides practical help and encourages Earth Friendly Suburban Horse Farming.
  • The Clean Water Farm Award was presented to Sunshire Stables, which is owned and operated by Dean and Debra Merrill.

11. Technical Assistance to the County – Rezonings

  • All rezonings are reviewed and comments are sent to the Dept. of Planning and Zoning. At mid-year, 51 rezoning applications were reviewed, with particular attention to soils, erosion potential, stormwater management, and the impact on the surrounding environment. Recommendations are made for better site design techniques.

12. Technical Assistance to the County – Site Plan Review

  • Site plans in the Pohick Creek Watershed, within 3 miles of the Potomac, all public projects, and plans with potential soil or slope problems are sent to the District for review and comment. During the first half of this fiscal year, 16 site plans were received and reviewed for adequacy of E&S controls and for stormwater management.
  • 3 more plans were reviewed for County plan reviewers (e.g., special problem, stream restoration, et.al.)

13. Other Special Assistance to the County

  • The District provided special assistance to the county, such as monitoring stream channels at Huntley Meadows, Vienna Estates, and Laurel Hill.
  • Two soil infiltration tests were performed for the County.
  • Staff responded to 16 requests by county staff to help solve problems with drainage or erosion. Often, this included a site visit.
  • A wetland delineation was performed for a county project in McLean Hamlet Park.

14. Technical Assistance to the County – Land Conservation Awards

  • The second judging session took place in September. The District panel judged 6 sites. The scores from this and the earlier session (7 sites) were compiled and awards were made at a ceremony in January.

15. Technical Assistance to the County – Soil Survey

  • Dan helped BJ with graphics for the new hard copy of the soil survey. He also helped BJ with erosion susceptibility ratings for Urban Land soils, which will be used by EFID (inspections)
  • Soil Morphology Class and certification earlier in the year.

16. Soils Information

  • Soils information was provided to 56 consultants, developers, realtors and homeowners.
  • The Web Soil Survey and County GIS make soils information more easily accessible to professionals and the general public.

17. Pohick Creek Watershed Project

  • The District and County are co-sponsors of the Pohick Creek Watershed Project. The rehabilitation work on 4 of the structures is federally assisted, with NRCS funding 65% and the County 35%.
  • The Royal Lake and Woodglen projects have been completed. Site #2, Lake Barton, is now underway. Work includes the rehabilitation of the auxiliary spillway and dredging of a portion of the lake.
  • The annual Operation and Maintenance inspection of the six Pohick Creek Watershed structures took place in the fall.

18. Special Projects

  • The Kingstowne II stream restoration project is under construction. It will bring another 2,500 feet of severely degraded stream channel into stability, using natural channel design techniques. District staff has been working with the HOA, The Nature Conservancy, DPWES, the local Supervisor, and the US Army Corps of Engineers to bring about this project The cost will be about $1.2 million, toward which the County has contributed $200,000.
  • Special assistance to the No VA Regional Park Authority at Meadowlark Park: evaluated an existing erosion and drainage problem long a trail and provided a solution that included a design with illustrations, materials list and cost estimates.
  • Evaluated the existing stormwater system in an area of Lake Braddock Secondary School and provided a plan with several elements. One is to convert an existing dry pond into a bioretention facility. This project should move forward with the FCPSchools and MSMD as partners. The Friends of Accotink Creek also are interested in this project.

19. Bureau of Land Management

  • Special assistance is being provided to the BLM Lower Potomac Field Station. A grant will provide $100,000 over 5 years for the District and BLM to develop a stormwater management plan and implement several stormwater management and habitat improvement projects.
  • Several projects have been implemented: stream crossing improvements, culvert removal and restoration of the stream banks, creation of a detention pond/wetland area with several habitats that also improves stormwater control.

20. Technical Assistance to Homeowners and HOAs

  • Technical Assistance that included a site visit was provided to 45 homowners and HOAs to solve drainage, erosion and other land management problems.
  • 109 additional requests for technical assistance were handled via phone and email.
  • Also, technical assistance was provided to 18 pond managers.

21. General information

  • 663 inquiries for general information were received via phone or email. This covered a broad array of topics – questions about geese and other wildlife, plants, ordinances, nonpoint source pollution, swimming pool discharges, and sources of educational information, programs and materials.

22. Goal 3 – Increase Environmental Stewardship through Outreach and Education

  • Information is provided via the website, newsletter and publications.

23. Web Site – Improvements in appearance and ease of use have been made.

24. Email distributions

  • 6 notices and announcements were sent to 505 recipients on the Green Breakfast email list.
  • The Watershed Calendar is a monthly email publication that is sent to 970 recipients, including stream monitors and others who are interested in watershed issues.

25. Publications

  • 2 issues of Conservation Currents were published.
    • The Summer issue included articles on Audubon Wildlife Habitat, Oil Spill & Conservation, Floodplains, Science Fair & Youth Conservation Camp
    • The Fall issue included articles on Rain Gardens at Home, Fall Color of Trees, Composter Workshop, Artistic Rain Barrel program
    • Often articles are re-printed in other publications,(the original intent of Conservation Currents) such as the Community Appearance Alliance, Kingstownian, and HOA and Civic association newsletters.
  • 3 fliers were created and distributed (volunteer opportunities, publications available on website, rain barrel art program)
  • An article on Horse Waste Management was printed in the Powhatan Today newspaper.
  • 1,323 brochures, and other publications and information items were distributed.

26. More Publications

  • Three District publications continue to be distributed:
    • The Residential Low Impact Landscaping Guide – developed for homeowners during the Falls Hill Project.
    • The Rain Garden Design and Construction Guide for Homeowners in Northern Virginia, done in partnership with the Park Authority.
    • o The Rain Garden Study report

27. Presentations and Exhibits

  • 23 presentations were made to audiences of 809 people. These included 2 rain garden workshops, 7 soils-related presentations, 1 for Master Gardeners and the Horse Heaven seminar.
  • 9 exhibits were provided for an estimated 965 visitors.
  • 993 publications were distributed during presentations and at exhibits.

28. Storm Drain Education

  • From July to December there were 31 projects. 13,919 households were educated and 3,589 storm drains were labeled.
  • The projects involved 439 volunteers and 1,404 hours of volunteer work.
  • There were 19 training sessions (for 32 people) and 2 special events (for 60 people).

29. Rain Barrel Program

  • 225 rain barrels were distributed through the Rain Barrel Program during July-December. There were four build-your-own events for 82 participants and one distribution event where 98 people picked up rain barrels and listened to a brief presentation about water conservation and controlling and reusing rooftop runoff.
  • The partners in the Rain Barrel program include NVSWCD, Arlington County, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, the City of Alexandria, the City of Falls Church.
  • Taylor Beach works as the program’s part-time Environmental Educator and helps to carry out the program. Proceeds from the rain barrels cover her salary.

30. Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program and Stream Cleanup

  • The Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program has 33 active sites and 40 active monitors who conduct biological monitoring. Biological monitoring samples the type and number of macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects) living at a site in a stream channel. This provides a reliable assessment of the general health of the stream segment.
  • 2 monitoring sessions occurred in summer and fall
  • 15 training sessions were held for 165 attending. Also, there were 3 special monitoring events.
  • 2 schools are involved in the monitoring program
  • 1 intern helps with the stream monitoring program
  • Monitors provided 633 volunteer hours
  • The International Coastal Cleanup is held in the fall of each year
  • This year there were 32 sites.

31. Fairfax County Restoration Project

  • Dan is vice chair of the Fairfax County Restoration Project. Led by Any Gould and spearheaded by a concern about the environmental degradation caused by the HOT Lane construction, the group has expanded its focus to helping homeowners engage in environmentally friendly practices, including using native plants and installing rain gardens. This fall secured $5,000 grant from Fluor Lanes for outreach to homeowners and HOAs adjacent to the HOT lane project.
  • 32. Other Meetings, Enviroscape and Envirothon
  • The District planned and coordinated 5 meetings (e.g., Potomac Watershed Roundtable, dam rehabilitation)
  • The watershed model – Enviroscape – was demonstrated 2 times. There were a total of 50 people in the audiences.
  • 6 teams are training for the Envirothon competition, with 50 coaches and students participating. There has been one regional training event (98 participants) at Montpelier and one local training for the Hidden Pond team (4 participants)
  • Preparations were made for the first composter workshop (held in January)

33. Goal 4 – Strengthen and Facilitate Partnerships

  • We accomplish a great deal of our work through partnerships. Partnerships are a great source of strength and effectiveness. (“Partners R Us”)
  • In October we hosted a tour for officials from NACD. Following a presentation about NVSWCD and about the LBWID, we visited 6 sites that demonstrated some of the District’s technical assistance and types of projects we do.
  • Besides the opportunities that all of our projects give us to strengthen relationships with our usual partners, this fall we made a special presentation about Who We Are to Supervisor Cook’s office and participated in 2 TV shows – one with Supervisor Cook and one with Supervisor Gross.

34. Goal 5 - Ensure a Strong Organization

  • Annual Plan of Work was developed for FY 2011, which relates directly to the Strategic Plan.
  • A budget and funding request package was submitted to the County.
  • Good financial management and financial control practices are in place.
  • A grant request for an additional $25 was approved for developing and implementing a stormwater management plan for the BLM property on Mason Neck. (This is in addition to the $100,000 awarded in 2009 – to be spent over 5 years).
  • The District provides on-going administrative support for the Potomac Council and Potomac Watershed Roundtable, for which it is compensated approximately $7,000 per year. Two meetings were planned and carried out in July and October. The July meeting included tours of rain gardens and LID facilities and the October program focused on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.
  • All periodic reports for internal use, the board, the county and the state, are prepared accurately and in a timely manner.
  • On-going communication is maintained with funders, partners and the community, which helps ensure an awareness of the District, its capabilities and its work.
  • The District has the technological capacity to carry out its activities effectively. This includes computers, email communication, web access, use of GIS, laptops and a projector.
  • Staff attended workshops, trainings and conferences.
  • 2 Directors and 1 Staff attended the VASWCD annual meeting.
  • Volunteers are recruited for District programs, such as awards judging, stream monitoring, storm drain education, Envirothon, manning exhibits and the seedling program.

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