June 10, 2009 Meeting Minutes

17 Jun
June 17, 2009

As recorded by John Bunch, Secretary
Curtis Newsome opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and then asking that John Bunch read the minutes from the previous monthly meeting. Minutes were read, motion made by Jeff Turner to adopt, seconded by Nancy Turner, and passed without any changes.

Curtis then asked Nancy for the treasurer’s report for May. She reported that revenues were $145.00, expenses were $1366.43. The main expense for the month was for paying for Boat and Truck insurance. (It should be noted that an additional $50.00 came in for the Lon Marks Memorial Fund bringing that total to $1153.83).
Curtis then asked Bobby to give the Membership report. He reported that the group added 6 members since the previous meeting bringing the total to 134.
The meeting had 8 in attendance and the BOD members present were Nancy Turner, Jeff Turner, and Curtis Newsome.

The Riverkeeper Report
As presented by Jeff Turner

On 5/17 – Was asked to be a judge at the 2009 Envirothon Event, a half day natural resources competition for high school students put on by the Va. Association of Soil & Water Conservation District. Sixteen teams of kids participated in the competition which teaches stewardship and management concepts and the students work to solve real and hypothetical environmental problems. The program is field oriented and community based and it gives students an opportunity to work with natural resource professionals. The Envirothon Challenge was that each team was a newly formed non-profit organization with the goal of helping VA set aside a Heritage Area Preserve of at least 100 acres in the Nature Conservancies Big Woods area in Sussex Co. Issues that were required to be addressed were: invasive species, conservation & management practices, public access, recreational impacts, water quality, OLF, landfills, logging, and the Theme of the Envirothon Maximizing Biodiversity in a changing world. Each of the 16 teams had to design a public outreach campaign, develop a management plan specific for our watershed, and a long term maintenance plan for the preserve, including a budget and implementation of all projects. The winning team was from Fort Defiance High School in Augusta Co.
On 5/18 – Spent 3 days on the BW River below Franklin seeing no water quality issues and only picking up one bag of trash. Checked out the new Franklin bridge construction and it’s coming along quite well.
On 5/19 – Received an email from Russ Pace, of Franklin Public Works, upset about my calling the Dept. Emergency Services concerning the 3/15 discharge from the City of Franklin’s WTP. This is the same incident where a citizen had witnessed an unusual discharge from the WTP outfall to the BW River. The citizen had talked to a VDGIF CPO at the Franklin boat ramp, but was told that there was nothing he could do. That led to a VDGIF investigation of that interaction between the citizen and the officer. It was at this point when I was called. I attempted to call every number that I had for such an incident, but on this Sunday I could get no one to answer, and these were numbers supplied by DEQ. The end result was that Franklin received an NOV letter for not reporting within 24 hours the overflow of 5 Mg/day when there permit limit is 2. Following some research, it was determined that Franklin WTP has only reported one other incident in three years and that was on 3/27/07 after I had called the WTP from my boat with a VA Pilot reporter on-board. So it’s possible that the WTP is not reporting these overflows as it should. It is hard to believe that in three years that there have been only two incidents, both of which I had stumbled onto. We will be monitoring the issue, and DEQ has asked that we send them that information. The city has revamped its contact system and made it easier to contact someone about an issue arising from the WTP. With any future incidents I will report to the city first, and DEQ second.
On 5/28 – Attended an OLF meeting at the Southampton Complex. OLF attorney Barry Steinberg was there to discuss new detailed maps being put together that will show endangered species, population densities, and the land geography.
On 5/29 – Was planning to attend the River Network Rally in Baltimore, but Moon-Pie passed away and I had to cancel the trip. Bill Barlow wrote a letter of condolences concerning the loss of Moon-Pie.
On 6/1 – Spent three days on the Nottoway above the Cypress Bridge, and as I had Moon-Pie cremated, I took her ashes with me to the different areas we had frequented in the past.
On 6/3 – Received a Certificate of Appreciation from the EPA for our Adopt-a-Watershed Program.
On 6/4 – DEQ Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Quality Assurance Specialist James Beckley visited and tested our water testing equipment. Stated the need to get John an electronic pH/Temp/Conductivity meter as the thermometer being used now is not accurate on the high end.
On 6/6 – Due to listing incorrectly on my calendar I missed the Albemarle-Chowan Watershed & Rivers Day.
On 6/10 – Conference call media meeting concerning the proposed Cypress Creek Power Plant construction in Dendron. People representing four different newspapers, (including Scott Harper from the Va. Pilot) attended (there was no representative, by the way, from the Tidewater News). Representatives form Wise Energy of Va., Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Southern Environmental Law Center, National Parks & Conservation Association, and myself were all interviewed by the reporters.
There is a public scoping meeting tomorrow night (6/11) at the Surry Co. High School where the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will attend to hear public comments on the need for an environmental impact study.
Late note: Kayti Wingfield from the Wise Energy for Va. And I will be meeting with Steve Stewart next week to discuss the issue since residents in this area will be negatively impacted if the plant is built and should be informed.

This concluded the Riverkeeper Report

Other Items:

– Pier project will be taking place at Barrett’s Landing on June 16th. This will be a step-down pier for boarding boats and financed by Dominion Power.

– Felice Hancock spoke on the Century Farms in Southampton Co which has ~80 of them. Asking to contact Randy Forbes to consider supporting the Tax incentive for Conservation Easement and to pass this along to any interested farmers.

– Felice also spoke on the Va. Foundation for the Humanities and to explore setting up a regional council. Wants to have Jeff participate with an Eco-Cruise and to get the Historical Society going on them.

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