July 14, 2010 Meeting Minutes

16 Jul
July 16, 2010

As recorded by John Bunch, Secretary Curtis Newsome opened the meeting by asking that John Bunch read the minutes from the previous monthly meeting. The minutes were read, motion made by Jeff Turner to adopt, seconded by Nancy Turner, and the minutes were adopted with no changes. Curtis asked Nancy for the treasurer’s report for June. She reported that revenues were $50 (dues for memberships and T-shirts sales income), expenses were $1305.98 (main expense being for monthly meeting room rent at PDCCC Workforce Center). Bobby Turner then gave the membership report. The group now stands at 137, an addition of 7 from the previous month – 6 new memberships and one renewal. The meeting had 12 in attendance and the BOD members present were Nancy Turner, Sherri Woodard, Curtis Newsome, and Jeff Turner. The Riverkeeper Report As presented by Jeff Turner On 6/1 – Was informed that the new USGS River Level Gage is operational on the Blackwater River and is located on the new Franklin Bridge. On 6/12 – Tidewater News ran a commentary on Personal Floatation Devices. Letters to the Editor concerning the PFD issue were printed by the Va. Pilot, Richmond Times Dispatch, and the Caroline Press. I sent letters to other publications, but am not sure if they were printed. The Va. Safe Boating Alliance and Safe Kids Virginia contacted me as a result of seeing the printings and are interested in a combined effort on the next go-around concerning the issue. On 6/18 – Wrote a letter to DEQ concerning the Atlantic Wood Industries permit re-up. This concerns their stormwater release to Darden Mill Run located in the Newsomes vicinity. Part of that response follows below: The permittee shall prepare and submit for Department approval, a treated lumber management plan that will serve to prevent or reduce, to the extent practicable, the contact of exposed treated lumber with precipitation and/or runoff from precipitation events (See Part I.C.5.c.(1)(b)). This report should consider the storage of treated lumber under cover of sheds, buildings or other permanent structures, and/or the covering of exposed treated lumber with temporary canvas covers, tarps or other similar means of preventing contact by precipitation and runoff. If it is determined that construction and/or other site improvements are necessary to achieve the goals of this condition, submit a detailed listing of those improvements and a schedule by which all site improvements and a schedule by which all site improvements will be initiated and completed. Once approved, this treated lumber management plan shall be incorporated into the Operations and Maintenance Manual (I.B.6.b.) and become an enforceable condition of this permit. Pollutant Specific Screening – The goal shall place emphasis on reducing, to the maximum extent practicable, the following screening criteria parameters in the outfalls noted below: OUTFALL POLLUTANT(S) SCREENING CRITERIA 002 Total Suspended Solids 100 mg/l Arsenic 50 ug/l Chromium 16 ug/l Copper 18 ug/l b. Toxicity Screening The permittee shall conduct annual acute toxicity tests at outfall 002 using grab samples of final effluent. The acute screening test shall be 48-hour static tests using Ceriodaphnia dubia, conducted in such a manner and at sufficient dilutions for calculation of a valid LC50. So in conclusion, and based on the application, available effluent data, past inspection reports, and other relevant information, the permit is a bit more stringent with respect to monitoring and reporting, than the current permit. On 6/24 – Contacted VDGIF Director Bob Duncan concerning inconsistencies in the Dept. Regs book concerning sport-fishing rules and other methods such as limb-lines and trot-lines. The fisheries part of the VDGIF has contacted and invited me to sit on the regulation committee next year. On 7/8 – USACE Chowan Basis Study Update – as of July 1, 2010 our team concluded the initial round of site visits with the three (3) independent cities and sixteen (16) localities in the watershed. The next step in our study is to complete the Section 905(b) report. This report will include a discussion of prior studies/projects, problem identification, and development of alternative plans. Ultimately, we will be determining whether or not a “Federal Interest” exists in order to move on to the next phase of the study-feasibility, which will involve signing a cost-sharing agreement(s) with localities prior to initiation of those detailed studies. A draft of the reconnaissance report will be coordinated with you prior to publication. On 7/12 – Received a question from VDGIF Eric Brittle concerning log removal from the Blackwater River at Joyner’s Bridge and Steele Bridge. Dept of Forestry had contacted him asking about it, not knowing who was doing the tree removal. Checked out and could see where removal activity had taken place. This concluded the Riverkeeper Report Other Items: – Clean Rivers Day 2011 – Concerning avoiding Easter weekend and scheduling this event early enough out to get on area groups calendars. Following discussion, it was decided to hold the cleanup event on 4/2/11. In the past the group had set the date to interact with Earth Day, but as this didn’t seem to do anything for the group, that weekend was tossed out. – Localities that contribute to the Riverkeeper salary have lowered their budgeted money for that purpose. It is now appearing that there will be a drop of $1800 for the upcoming year. – Felice Hancock reported out on the oral history workshop sponsored by the Va. Foundation for the Humanities that is concerning local area gristmills. Dr. Lynn Rainville took ~45 minute interviews from three area people who had firsthand knowledge of local gristmills while still in operation. She showed us examples of what the Chap Book will look like once it is completed and that it will pertain only to gristmills that were on the Nottoway and Blackwater watersheds. Rather that trying to capture information on a lot of mills, the focus will be on only four of them. It appears that in the past that there was approximately one gristmill for every 300-600 people. – Sean Maconaghy reported for Ashland concerning their remediation project, that they are doing the final grading of the lagoon and had removed 7200 tons of material in 5 areas. Sean passed out a sheet to the group laying out the commitment of Responsible Care that Ashland takes toward the environment and the health and safety of it’s employees and in security. – Sherri Woodard spoke on attending the meeting for Bacterial (E. coli) TMDL Development for Fontaine Creek (aka Fountains Creek). The bacterial source seems to be resulting from either dog kennels or cows and work in underway to try and locate the source. This creek runs under I-95 and 301 between Emporia and the NC state line. Sherri also mentioned seeing a possible rare type of mussel in the Meherrin River and further information will be gathered on that towards potential protection. – Jay Randolf mentioned that the current Southampton adopted budget will continue to fund the BNRP although at a lesser amount than last year. Working to get the State Legislature to extend the Scenic Rivers amount of the Nottoway extended down to the confluence with the Blackwater.

2 replies
  1. elaineherring says:

    Is there any way you can keep me informed on the Chowan River study? I am very much interested in the project. Also I have a few pictures of Hare’s Grist Mill on the Chowan if you are interested.
    Citizens Against OLF are still opposing the OLF and have conducted some studies over the last 1 1/2 on the Chowan. We completed a mussel study last spring/summer on the Chowan and found some good information on endangered species. If you would like a copy of our mussel study let me know, as I see in the monthly report a mention of possible rare mussel on the Meherrin. Alderman Environmental Services, Inc. conducted our mussel study and it has been distributed to NC DENR. Since our rivers are joined some of the same species may be present in the BW& N. Hope you will soon be active again on the river, and more people should appreciate all your hard work and effort to keep our rivers clean.
    Elaine Herring
    Gates, NC
    Liked your picture of Gatlington Beach in the Tidewater News. It is now property of the State of NC and managed by NC Wildlife Resource Commission. Gates County officials are trying to get access paths to the river opened to the public, and working to get a boating access added in the future.

  2. Riverkeeper says:

    Thank you Elaine. I will post all updates I get on this web-site concerning the study. That is good I guess that Gatlington is managed by NC now. That would be great if it could be used by the public. I have been helping Va. with mussel studies in the Nottoway. They will be releasing baby mussels this week into the river that they have raised at a hatchery. Good to hear from you again.

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