NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes June 26, 2012


letterhead

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

Fairfax County Community Development Center (Herrity Building), Room 941
12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035
June 26, 2012

MINUTES

(As approved by the Board of Directors on July 24, 2012)

Regional Science Fair Project – Land Use Classification System Using NAIP Imagery.  Gina Li, a junior at Langley High School, received the NVSWCD first place award at the Regional Science Fair.  She explained her project, which uses the National Agricultural Imagery Program’s (NAIP) high resolution photography to derive algorithms that accurately detect and calculate the area of different land surface types, including trees, grass, and water.  Algorithms were derived by establishing the quantitative relationship between the surface types and the properties of the bands used to create the imagery and then using the standard deviation of the ranges of the typical ratios for each surface type.  She created an inter-active web-based application that displays a map of Fairfax County with the capability to zoom in and out of resolutions and calculate the area of each of the different land surfaces. She said the environmental information is useful to land-use planners and can be accessed by anyone.  Mrs. Packard congratulated Ms. Li on her project and presented her with a check for $100, a certificate and a copy of Aldo Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac

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
  •    Adria Bordas, Director-Extension, NVSWCD
  •    Jerry Peters, Associate Director, NVSWCD
  •    Debbie Cross, Conservation District Coordinator, DCR (10:40)
  •    Jim McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist, Virginia Department of Forestry
  •    Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS
  •    Willie Woode, Senior Conservation Specialist, NVSWCD
  •    Diane Hoffman, District Administrator, NVSWCD
  •    Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, NVSWCD
  •    Lily Whitesell, Watershed Specialist, NVSWCD
  •    Emily McVearry, Intern, NVSWCD
  •    Kristine Mosuela, Intern, NVSWCD
  •    Don Waye, Conservation Consultant, NVSWCD
  •    Gina Li, student, Langley High School

Regional Science Fair Project – Land Use Classification System Using NAIP Imagery.  Gina Li, a junior at Langley High School, received the NVSWCD first place award at the Regional Science Fair.  She explained her project, which uses the National Agricultural Imagery Program’s (NAIP) high resolution photography to derive algorithms that accurately detect and calculate the area of different land surface types, including trees, grass, and water.  Algorithms were derived by establishing the quantitative relationship between the surface types and the properties of the bands used to create the imagery and then using the standard deviation of the ranges of the typical ratios for each surface type.  She created an inter-active web-based application that displays a map of Fairfax County with the capability to zoom in and out of resolutions and calculate the area of each of the different land surfaces. She said the environmental information is useful to land-use planners and can be accessed by anyone.  Mrs. Packard congratulated Ms. Li on her project and presented her with a check for $100, a certificate and a copy of Aldo Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac

Approval of Minutes.  A motion (Gagnon-Peterson) passed (5-0) to approve the Minutes of the May 22, 2012 Board Meeting.  

Treasurer's Report.  Mr. Lamb reviewed the monthly Treasurer’s Report. A motion (Lamb-Gagnon) passed (5-0) to accept and file for audit the Treasurer=s Report for May 2012. 

Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans.  Mr. Woode presented two soil and water quality conservation plans for approval.  One was for a Therapeutic riding Operation in Loudoun County.  The District’s help was requested because of its experience with planning for horse operations with intensive land use.  The operation is situated on land owned by a church and the operator especially needed help with manure management.  The plan recommends reducing the number of horses or increasing the amount of land allotted for the operation, stabilizing the area near a stream, stabilizing the heavy-use area, and installing a composting facility.  The second plan was for a three horse operation in Great Falls.  The plan includes creating a heavy-use area and building a manure composting facility.  A motion (Peterson-Lamb) passed (5-0) to approve soil and water quality conservation plans for Mychelle DeWoolfson’s Therapeutic Riding Program in Ashburn (2.5 acres on 1 parcel with 9 horses) and for Suzanne Horn in Great Falls (2 acres on 1 parcel with 3 horses and 150 linear feet of RPA). 

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) Legislative Agenda.    Mrs. Gagnon reported she participated in the Area II legislative conference call on June 1.  She said there was disagreement about whether or not previously approved items were continued and whether or not items could be considered during the conference call unless they were first sent to all Area II directors.  The board agreed that both the District and Area II needed to establish a process for developing their annual legislative agendas.  Mrs. Gagnon recommended the District begin consideration of legislative items in March, develop a draft to discuss in April and approve a legislative agenda in May.  Mrs. Hoffman said in the past, NVSWCD has had a legislative committee that met once or twice between regular board meetings, which helped to move the process along.  The board agreed that the Area II process should begin with a continuation of the items approved in the previous year unless a SWCD recommended that an item be eliminated or modified.  Districts and Area II should decide if items submitted should be prioritized.  If Districts were given a date to forward their new or modified items to the Area II chair, or to the DCR CDC, the information then could be disseminated to all Area II directors and offices prior to the legislative conference call.  Mrs. Packard suggested that something be drafted for consideration at the July board meeting, which could be approved and forwarded to Area II.  Mrs. Gagnon agreed to do this.  Mrs. Gagnon referenced the timeline for developing the VASWCD legislative agenda, which was outlined in a memo from VASWCD in 2010.  If this process is still current, it will help the District and Area II to define their processes. 

Green Breakfast.   Mrs. Hoffman said that Susan Hafeli will discuss the County’s energy outreach program, Energy Action Fairfax, at the July 14 Green Breakfast The September 8 Green Breakfastwill feature a presentation byConrad Mehan on the concept of a Green Energy Corridor in Fairfax County.

Planning Commission – Green Building Policy.  Mrs. Hoffman said the Planning Commission’s Environment Committee will meet on June 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Conference Room to discuss the green building policy review.  A further meeting has been scheduled for July 12 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the implementation of the green building policy.

Tree Commission.  Mr. McGlone said thatCharles Smith, with the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Natural Resources Management Division, attended the Commission’s June meeting.  He talked about managing natural resources in an urban environment, including the inclusion of forest management in natural resource planning.  He also discussed current plans for several park properties.

Virginia Association and National Association of Conservation Districts.  Mr. Peterson said the NACD Legislative Conference will be held in Washington DC on July 16 and 17.  The VASWCD Board Meeting and director training will be hosted by the Hanover-Caroline SWCD on July 18 and 19. The NACD Southeast Regional Meeting will be held July 28-31 in Destin, Florida.  He said the Farm Bill passed the Senate (64-35-1).  The Bill has eleven different titles.  The issue that received the most attention was the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), an $80 billion /year program that accounts for 80% of the funding in the Farm Bill.  On July 11, the House begins consideration of the Farm Bill. 

Potomac Watershed Roundtable (PWR).  Mr. Peterson provided board members with copies of the PWR Biennial Report for 2010-2011.  NVSWCD Intern, Kristine Mosuela, used meeting summaries and other materials, solicited pictures from several sources, and chose colors and a layout, to assemble the six-page report.  

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Mr. Wilkinson said the Joint Employee Development training on July 10 will cover advanced training on RUSLE 2, which is an erosion prediction software used to calculate cropland erosion.  He said, in the near future, it is hoped that RUSLE 2 also can be used to predict erosion on grassland and pasture.  The August JED training will focus on wetlands.  Mr. Wilkinson reported that he has responded to three or four requests from VDOT for soils information on proposed projects in Fairfax County.  This is a standard request that is made for all VDOT projects.  In addition to soils information, the form asks for any impact on prime and unique farmlands. 

Conservation Planning Certification.  Mr. Wilkinson announced that Mr. Woode has passed the certification for RUSLE 2.   Mr. Woode brought up a difficulty in the DCR requirement that he be certified as a conservation planner, which is a certification defined by NRCS.  He noted that he has been preparing conservation plans for 20 years, attending trainings, and maintaining current certifications in nutrient management and pesticide management.  Hence, he believes he fully meets the requirements of a conservation planner.  He noted that an NRCS area engineer recently remarked about the outstanding quality of his plans.  However not having certain software to use on a routine basis, as well as questions about the continued use of that software, make it difficult to check-off all requirements.  Mr. Wilkinson said he will work on providing official documentation of Mr. Woode’s qualifications for the conservation planner certification. 

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

  • The Secretary of Natural Resources has named the members of the stakeholder group that will examine funding needs for the administration and operations of soil and water conservation districts and the technical assistance they provide.  Several VASWCD officers, SWCD directors and SWCD staff are among the 23 members.  They will meet throughout the summer.  Their review will include a study of historical and potential funding distribution methods.  They will develop any recommendations for changes in district boundaries.  Recommendations must be made to the Governor and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee by October 1. 
  • End of fiscal year tasks and reports should be completed.
  • The first of several DCR Stormwater Rollout Workshops was held in Fairfax on June 22.  Mrs. Cross thanked the District for its help with arrangements. 
  • The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board will meet June 28. 
  • The VASWCD Board meeting and director training will take place July 18 and 19.
  • The annual SWCD employee training will be held on August 21-23 at Graves Mountain Lodge. 
  • Currently Jeb Wilkinson is the acting director of DCR’s Stormwater Management Division. 

Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF).  Mr. McGlone reported that the Emerald Ash Borer has been found in south central Virginia; the quarantine will be extended to include this area.  

NVSWCD Intern.  Ms. Whitesell introduced Emily McVearry, a recent graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in Fisheries Science, who is an intern in the NVSWCD office.  Ms. McVearry is also interning with the John Marshall SWCD. 

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

Respectfully submitted,

Diane Hoffman signature


Diane Hoffman


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