Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper Program
March 8th, 2017
As recorded by John Bunch, acting Secretary
The monthly BNRP meeting, held at The Paul D. Camp Community College Workforce Center, had 8 people attending. Board Members were Jeff Turner, Anne Parker, Nancy Turner, Sherri Woodard, and Curtis Newsome. Bobby Turner, Scott Thomson, and John Bunch (acting Secretary) were also in attendance. John stood in as secretary as Felice was in Florida visiting her sister.
Curtis Newsome opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and then asking that the February meeting minutes be read and that was done by John. It was noted that the membership count had been recorded incorrectly. It read 144 and should have been 146. Additionally, Sherri Woodard spoke up saying that she did not make the motion to pass those minutes. After discussion, it was realized that Jeff Turner had made that motion, not Sherri. At this point Curtis asked that following these changes that someone make the motion to adopt the corrected minutes. Anne Parker made that motion and it was seconded by Sherri. The changed minutes version was passed by a verbal vote and adopted.
Curtis then asked for the Treasurer’s Report which, given by Nancy, showed expenses for the month of February to be $1608.85, revenue being $1541.77. The large amount of revenue that came in was due to membership fees in addition to extra contributions.
Bobby then gave the membership report saying that the member count is currently at 148. He mentioned that keep in mind that this is the time of year when there is carryover from the previous year. So far there have been 67 people that have membership dues paid for 2017 and that April 1st will be the cutoff date for carry-overs.
Jeff asked for any reports that anyone had. Scott spoke up saying that there are no issues at Solenis and all is running well. He said that their Groundwater Withdrawal Permit is now out for public comment and therefore almost complete.
Sherri commented that there is a lot of construction going on in the county (Greensville) and the city of Emporia. She was asked about the fish ladder at the dam and she said that it’s in place.
John Bunch then showed some 300 million year old animal tracks in shale that he had found in West VA. They were tracks of some scurrying type of crab-like animal and also that of a small reptile.
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.