Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper Program February 9, 2017
(Please note: January 2017 meeting was cancelled due to weather) As recorded by Felice Hancock, Secretary
The monthly meeting of the BNRP, held at the Paul D. Camp Community College Workforce Center, had nine people attending. Board Members present were: Jeff Turner, Sherri Woodard, Anne Parker, Nancy Turner, and Curtis Newsome. Also present were Bobby Turner, Felice Hancock, John Bunch, and Scott Thomson representing Solenis.
Curtis Newsome opened the meeting with a welcome and explained that there was no BNRP Meeting in January 2017 due to inclement weather. He then requested that the December 2016 be read by Felice Hancock. Following the reading, Jeff Turner motioned that the minutes be passed and this was seconded by Nancy Turner. Minutes adopted by a verbal vote.
Next Curtis Newsome requested the Treasurer’s report, given by Nancy Turner. Her information for January 1 through 31 of 2017 showed revenue as $8,209.48; expenses as $1,961.80. The proposed 2017 budget was presented with estimated $28,233.12 expenses and discussed. Jeff Turner motioned that the report be passed, it was seconded by Anne Parker.
Bobby Turner then provided membership report of 146 members, with new member being Barbara Prince of Franklin.
March 2017 Riverkeeper Report
2/13 Asked J.D. Kleopfer VDGIF Biologist to find out info about turtle trapper that killed a bunch of turtles at Joyners Br. in October 2016. I have asked twice for info, no answer yet.
2/13 Enviva’s Forest Conservation Fund will protect 220 acres of land on Nottoway below the Narrows. According to the Enviva web site: A matching-fund grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund is helping to permanently protect cypress-tupelo-dominated swamp forestland and reclaim previously forested land on 220 acres in Southampton, Va. Known as the Crowder and White Tract, the land is across the Nottoway River from another parcel already protected by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and ensures that “The Narrows,” an important transit point for river herring, shad and alewife and a well-known recreational fishing spot, will now be permanently protected.
The Crowder and White tract easement was made possible through combined support from the Fund, donated timber value from the owner, and a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant secured by Ducks Unlimited and supported by several partners, including the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.
The terms of the conservation easement will eliminate all timber harvesting in the wetlands, as well as any subdivision and development rights. The landowner, a Southampton County local who made this property available and provided a significant contribution toward the easement in the form of donated timber value in a desire to see this section of the Nottoway River permanently protected, will continue to hold hunting and fishing privileges. As the easement holder, Virginia DCR will conduct annual monitoring visits to document easement conditions.
2/14 Took Jamie Savedge on Blackwater below Franklin for tour. She told me “ I studied marine and environmental science at William and Mary and graduated with a degree last May. Before that I graduated with an associates in science from Richard Bland. My interests are broad in the marine and environmental science fields, but the Nottoway and Blackwater Rivers are of particular interest to me. I grew up on the Nottoway and during my tenth grade year of high school I conducted a study on the mercury levels of the top and bottom feeding fish (particularly around the Peters bridge landing site). I also authored a lengthy paper about prehistoric sharks after personally finding some sharks teeth in the Nottoway. I am currently trying to meet people that work in my fields of interest so that I may gain a better understanding of what exactly it is you do, possibly gain some experience, and make contacts that could hopefully help in my ongoing search for a career.
After that tour I took John Bunch downriver to look for rare in this area Sundew plant.
2/17 3-day patrol on BW below Franklin. Trash was bad, reported old Franklin dumpsite had trash over-spilling bank into river to Mayor Rabil.
In 2016 I did 93 two, 3, or 4 day river patrols. I removed 1513 pounds of trash from the rivers. 855 from the Nottoway and 658 from the Blackwater.
2/23 Three day patrol Nottoway below Bronco Club. Lots of trash. 56.34 blue cat.
2/28 Contacted Mike Johnson again about No Wake buoy at Bronco Club still being out of position and in a place that could likely cause boating accidents. Last contact about issue was November 2016.
3/3 Franklin City Mayor Frank Rabil contacted me stating “Jeff, I understand that the trash has been removed from the bank behind Public Works. Also, the dumpsters are being relocated; however, those dumpsters were and are for yard waste not household waste. I’m not sure where the trash originates, but I’m hopeful the source will be located and addressed.
3/4 Three day patrol Nottoway below Courtland. Lots of trash. Found eagles on nest at pump station site.
Enviva has a new web-site you can Track and Trace logging activity. Go to:
Possibly next week meeting with Jaime Savedge, a recent William and Mary graduate with a degree in marine biology from Sussex County. She is familiar with the Nottoway River and passionate about conservation. She had contacted Brian Van Eerden from The Nature Conservancy wanting to meet me.
Scott Thomson from Solenis reported that their toxicity test has been passed. He is confident that there is no longer any issue.
Sherri Woodard noted that Greensville County purchased land near Nottoway Drainage.
BNRP Member John Bunch brought a “show and tell” of several prehistoric “elephant” fossils he found on the Nottoway River. There was a portion of a mastodon molar he discovered 10 years ago. However, two years ago he found another molar, but smaller. He just recently learned that the smaller belonged to a predecessor of the mastodon, a gomphothere.
Anne Parker attended the Virginia Conservation Lobby Day in Richmond on January 23. None of the conservations concerns were passed. Also of note was the passage that the VA Legislator stated that it is not public information to know what chemicals can be pumped for “fracking” since this is a “trade secret”.
Lastly, as there was no further business, Curtis Newsome closed the public meeting.
In a closed meeting, Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner read a statement regarding reasons to end the BNRP. Following the reading, the BNRP Board Members took a vote and unanimously voted “yes” to dissolve the Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper Program by the end of 2017.
With the statement and vote preformed, Curtis Newsome dismissed the meeting.