NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes January 24, 2012


letterhead

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
January 24, 2012

MINUTES

(As approved by the Board of Directors on February 28, 2012)

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
  • Bob Kohnke, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Harry Glasgow, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  • Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, DCR
  • Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS
  • Davis Grant, Operations Director, Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District
  • Charles deSeve, Chairman, Lake Barcroft WID Trustees
  • Gerry Mendenhall, Treasurer, Lake Barcroft WID Trustees
  • Jim McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Nick Kokales, Administrative and Technical Assistant, NVSWCD
  • Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD
  • Dan Schwartz, Soil Scientist, NVSWCD
  • Lily Whitesell, Watershed Specialist, NVSWCD
  • Kristine Mosuela, Intern, NVSWCD

Approval of Minutes. A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (4-0) to approve the Minutes of the November 22, 2011 Board Meeting.

Treasurers Report. Mr. Lamb reviewed the monthly and quarterly Treasurer’s Reports. A motion (Lamb-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer=s Reports for November and December 2011 and the FY 2012 Second Quarter Report.

Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District (LBWID). Charles deSeve, Chairman of the LBWID Board of Trustees, said the WID continues to implement its ten year plan major capital improvement plan. He noted the build-up of reserve funds that are needed to implement the ten year plan has been accomplished, initially with three years of 11.5% increases in tax collections that began in 2006. That tapered down to a 3.5% increase in 2010, as promised to the community. The LBWID 2013 budget continues that promise with a lower rate of increase (3.4%), as needed to keep pace with inflation and to fund sufficient reserves to complete major capital projects. The community is very supportive. There have not been any complaints regarding the work or the cost. The WID’s previous strategy to hire a company to dredge 12,000 cubic yards of sediment every three to four years at a cost of $600,000 to $700,000, has been replaced with an in-house dredging program, which is less expensive and which annually removes sediment in targeted areas, identified with the help of a bathymetric survey. Following tropical storm Lee, approximately 150 tons of floating debris (800 cubic yards of natural and man-made material) was removed from the lake in a few days, using in-house equipment. The County cooperated by picking up the debris. In return, the County uses the lake as an environmental credit. Also after Lee, a major effort was made to quickly restore the lake depth to pre-storm levels, made possible with the in-house dredging capability. The County also helps with disposing of dredged spoils at a site in Lorton. In November, the Emergency Action Plan was reviewed with representatives from Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria. After updates and minor changes were made, a revised plan was published. A new state law that limits the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizer obviates the need for the WID program to promote and distribute no-phosphorus fertilizer to the community; hence, the program has been eliminated. The WID cooperated in a grant from Fairfax Water to implement a watershed education program led by Betsy Washington, a resident and professor of landscape architect with an expertise in native plants. The LBWID is upgrading its computer network infrastructure to provide improved operations and more security.

Lake Barcroft WID Budget. Jerry Mendenhall, Treasurer of the LBWID, reviewed the details of the proposed 2013 budget. The LBWID expects to start FY 2013 with a reserve balance of $962,379 and to collect property taxes of $972,900. This will provide $1,939,799 in available funds. Anticipated expenditures for 2013 are $1,259,700. The planned ending fund balance of $680,079 is in keeping with the ten-year plan. The concrete restoration of the downstream face of the dam is projected to cost $970,000, which will be spread over FY 2012 and FY 2013. Another planned dam renovation project in FY 2013 is painting of the bascule gates ($90,000) which control the water flow over the dam. The WID has purchased a used truck which will reduce risk of delays and improve the efficiency of the dredging operation. Also, a clam shell bucket will be purchased. A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to approve the LBWID FY 2013 Budget as presented. The approved budget will be forward to the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board for its approval.

Mid-Year Financial Review. Mrs. Hoffman presented the financial status of the personnel and operating budget for the first half of FY 2012 (July through December 2011). She noted that approximately 50% of the personnel budget has been expended. More than 50% of the operating budget remains, due mainly to timing of invoices and payments throughout the fiscal year. Also, she 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, special projects, work related to the Soil Survey, the Agricultural Cost-Share Program, and the Unemployment Insurance fund. Interest and other income earned throughout the year are placed in a managed fund and used to help fund the District’s portion of the following year’s budget.

Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans. Mr.Woode presented a soil and water quality conservation plan prepared for Thomas Markham who would like to establish a three-horse operation on his property in Reston. The plan will put the proposed operation in compliance with Fairfax County’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance. There is not an RPA on the property.

A motion (Peterson-Lamb) passed (4-0) to approve the soil and water quality conservation plan for Thomas Markham in the Hunter Mill District (2.3 acres on 1 parcel).

Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program. Mr. Woode reported that construction for the cost-share project on the McCormick property is targeted to begin in March.

Approval to Support Two Grant Proposals. Mr. Schwartz said the District has been asked to participate in two EPA Small Watershed grants. One proposal, led by Chris Jones at George Mason University, is a request for a Watershed Remediation and Outreach Program in the Rabbit Branch Watershed, which is a sub-shed of Pohick Creek. The watershed drains about 90% of the GMU Fairfax campus. Staff from Fairfax County’s Stormwater Planning Division and GMU’s facilities management also are participating. The grant proposal is for approximately $200,000, which will fund the installation of several structures. NVSWCD is being asked to assist with outreach efforts, both on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods. This would include a variety of educational efforts, from demonstration of the watershed model to a workshop on constructing a rain garden. It also could include rain barrel workshops and storm drain marking in the nearby communities. The second proposal is by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to establish several chemical monitoring sites on streams in the County. NVSWCD would assist with identifying volunteer monitors. Members of the Friends of Accotink Creek and the Izaak Walton League have indicated an interest already. The NVSWCD contribution for both grants would be staff time. A motion (Peterson-Gagnon) passed (4-0) to support the grant proposals by George Mason University and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for EPA Small Watershed grants. Mr. Schwartz will draft the letters of support.

Conservation Currents. Mrs. Packard congratulated Ms. Whitesell on the recent issue of Conservation Currents, saying she especially liked the article on Bluebirds. Ms. Whitesell said that Sarah Vincent, a District Intern during the summer and fall, was the author of the article.

Inauguration. Ms. Whitesell showed photos taken at the County’s inauguration ceremony in December, which included the District’s three elected directors. She gave each director a CD with the photos.

VASWCD Award – 2011 Education District of the Year. Ms. Whitesell reported that the District received the VASWCD 2011 Education District of the Year award at the VASWCD Annual Meeting in December. Mr. Woode added that Ms. Whitesell made an excellent presentation about District education efforts during the District Showcase session at the meeting.

2012 Seedling Sale – Incredible Edibles. Mr. Kokales said the theme of the 2012 seedling sale is Incredible Ediblesfor humans and wildlife. There are two packages for sale. One package of ten small shrub and tree seedlings sells for $15.95 and includes four American Hazelnuts, two Elderberry, two Serviceberry and two Cranberrybush Viburnum. One package of seven tree seedlings sells for $11.95 and consists of two American Plum, two Persimmon, two Chokecherry, and one Allegheny Chinkapin. The packages are ordered and paid for ahead of time. Then, they are distributed on April 20 and 21.

VASWCD Annual Meeting. Mr. Peterson reported on the VASWCD Annual Meeting, which was held Dec 4-6 in Richmond. He said the Potomac Council meeting and the Social that followed (held in conjunction with the VASWCD’s reception) went well. Ms. Hoffman added that Ms. Whitesell did an excellent job of taking care of the details for the Potomac Council annual meeting and Social. She also created the District’s contribution for the VASWCD Educational Foundation auction. Mr. Peterson said that during the Annual Meeting the question was raised about what constitutes a quorum. While VASWCD is an association of the 47 districts, the members of the association are all of the district directors. It was decided that 70% of the 47 districts with a voting member present constitutes a quorum. The subsequent issue of who is entitled to vote – one vote for each director or one vote for each district – was not addressed. The Articles of Incorporation were passed, with some language modifications still to be worked out. There were several side issues, including registering the organization’s name and the fact that there is not a provision in the bylaws to allow the VASWCD Board to conduct business electronically (e.g. via conference call). Mrs. Cross said the latter may have been an oversight, but still needs to be addressed. Mr. Peterson said that the meeting had one of the largest attendances in recent years. Those who attended agreed that the meeting program was very good.

VASWCD Legislative Day. Mr. Lamb said that he, Mrs. Gagnon and Mr. Peterson attended the VASWCD Legislative Day in Richmond on January 16. They were able to visit the offices of 26 delegates and senators, in most cases meeting with the legislator or a legislative aide. They also provided the legislative offices with VASWCD and NVSWCD literature. Mrs. Gagnon said the letter that Mr. Peterson sends to the legislators ahead of time is well-timed and appreciated. All three directors agreed that the day went well and they found most legislators were supportive.

Land Conservation Awards. Mr. Peterson said the County’s Land Conservation Awards ceremony, held on January 20, went well. He made brief remarks on behalf of the District. The District’s panel of judges included Mr. Rouhi, Mr. Woode and Mr. Kohnke from the District and Ms. Switzer from DCR. Mr. Woode gave an excellent presentation about the sites that won awards for excellence in the installation and maintenance of Erosion and Sediment Controls. Eleven sites were nominated for awards in seven categories. Judging took place in the spring and the fall. Mr. Glasgow presented the Tree Preservation awards. Congressman Gerry Connolly and Supervisor John Foust also made remarks and helped to present the awards to each winner.

Green Breakfast. Mr. Glasgowreported that 56 attended theJanuary 14 Green Breakfast to hear a presentation by Dan Schwartz on Everything you always wanted to know about soils but were afraid to ask. At the March 10 Green Breakfast, Elaine Tholen, Environmental Education Coordinator with Fairfax County Public Schools, will talk about the Get2Green program. Ms. Tholen also is co-founder of Northern Virginia Outside, which is sponsoring a Green School Expo, on March 3 at the George Mason University Fairfax campus, in the Student Union II Ballroom.

Tree Commission. Mr. Glasgow said the Tree Commission is looking forward to welcoming a new member from the Braddock District. Also, it currently is recruiting students for the next Tree Stewards program. Mr. McGlone said that Randy Bartlett, DPWES Director of Stormwater and Wastewater, was the guest speaker at the last Tree Commission meeting. They discussed the relationship between trees and stormwater. Mr. McGlone said he was pleased to see that trees are considered an important element in managing stormwater. Mr. Glasgow noted that the recent DPWES re-organization included moving the Urban Forest Management Division from Land Development Services to Stormwater Management, and he felt this was a positive move.

Engineering Standards Review Committee (ESRC). Mr. Kohnke said the ESRC met on January 5. While he was not able to attend, he provided a summary of the meeting. The officers were re-elected. The committee considered again the testing guidelines for infiltration facilities.

Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC). Mrs. Gagnon reported that EQAC’s annual public hearing was held on January 17. EQAC reviewed the issue of uranium mining in its regular meeting prior to the public hearing and adopted a resolution opposing lifting the ban this year. The joint EQAC - Environmental Coordinating Committee (ECC) meeting will be held March 14.

Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Mrs. Cross congratulated the directors who were elected in November. She reported the following:

  • NRCS has implemented a new Conservation Planner Certification process.
  • Strategic plans should be reviewed once a year.
  • Paul Kugleman is the Office of Attorney General representative assigned to districts.
  • Electronic deposit is now available for DCR disbursements. DCR will pilot a program with several districts.
  • The next meeting of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board will be held on March 29.
  • The Area II Spring Meeting will be held on May 8 in Culpeper.

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Mr. Wilkinson said that January is the kick off month for sign-ups for several federal programs. He also noted that the VANTAGE (Virginia No Till Cropping) conference will be held sometime in the next month or two.

Virginia Department of Forestry. Mr. McGlone said DOF is gearing up for the Holiday Lake Forestry Camp. He announced an upcoming Got Woods and Wildlife conference at the George Mason University Prince William Campus. He said there is a bill in the Virginia General Assembly (HB 396) to expand the definition of noxious weeds. If passed, it should make the management of non-native invasive plants easier. It provides for two tiers of plants. Tier 1 plants would be banned and Tier 2 plants could be sold but would have to be labeled with information about their affect on the environment.

District Cooperation with Code Enforcement. Mr. Woode said that he has been working closely with County Code Enforcement staff to resolve problems on agricultural land uses.

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

Respectfully submitted,

Diane Hoffman signature

Diane Hoffman


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