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Watershed Committee

TMDL updates:

  • Buffalo/Colliers/Cedar (Mar 1, 2016)
    – NBSWCD’s TMDL committee has met with DEQ and will recommend that the District board approve applying for a $250,000 NPS grant to address the sediment and E.coli problems in this area.
    – The deadline for applying for the 2-year grant: August 31, 2016.
    – RACC’s watershed committee is observing this process and will participate in the plan once it is approved.
  • Hays/Walker/Otts/Moffat (Mar 1, 2016)
    – This TMDL has been implemented as of 2010 and NBSWCD’s grant will end June 30, 2016. Evaluation for the effectiveness of the various BMPs that have been adopted will continue. A 10-year evaluation ends in 2020.
    – All grant funds for cattle exclusion have been spent. Funds to address septic problems have not been spent and efforts continue. There are likely pipes that should be eliminated and septic fields that need to be upgraded; however, the program is voluntary and, it appears, many of those in need are not able to participate in the program.
  • Woods Creek (Mar 1, 2016)
    – DEQ is scheduled to begin planning this project this month.
    – RACC’s watershed committee has been collecting information to submit to DEQ
  • Little Calfpasture (August, 2016)
    – The first public meeting was held at the Goshen Volunteer Fire Department on August 2. A summary of the meeting was prepared by Nesha McRae of the VA DEQ.
    A 30-day public comment period on the content shared at the meeting started the day of the meeting. Send your comments to: Nesha McRae, Non Point Source TMDL Coordinator, Valley Regional Office, VA Dept. of Environmental Quality, 4411 Early Road, Harrisonburg VA. Mailing address: P.O. Box 3000, Harrisonburg VA 22801
    – This river is impaired by sediment and bacteria and has never recovered since the building of Goshen Dam.
    – NBSWCD requested from the DEQ state director that this TMDL be implemented as soon as possible. The plan was approved by EPA in 2010, but the implementation was then put on the priority list for 2026. The director moved the implementation up to the summer of 2016.
    – RACC will assist the District by collecting and presenting as much information as possible
    during the implementation phase of the TMDL.
    – See also the Goshen Scout Reservation information below.

Little Calfpasture/Goshen Scout Reservation/Lake Merriweather (updated March 1, 2016)

  • In addition to the data being gathered for the Little Calfpasture TMDL, members continue to seek
    information from the various agencies involved with oversight of the camp.
    • VDH is responsible for wells and septic on the property
    • USACE is responsible for protection of the wetlands below the dam.
    • DEQ is responsible for protection of the water.
    • DCR is responsible for oversight of the dam operation.
    • Goshen Pass is a Natural Heritage Preserve and a division of DCR is responsible for protecting
      rare and endangered species and to provide rehabilitation projects as needed.
    • Another DCR division protects the three caves that are located along the western bank of the river.
    • DGIF is responsible for the Wildlife Management Area that surrounds the Natural Heritage Preserve and for investigation of any fish kills that occur.
  • The committee recently wrote to and received incomprehensible replies from VA Natural Heritage and Governors' Office about E. Coli in Maury River through Goshen Pass
  • Chronology of activities related to the lake and Dam
  • March 2015 letter to the EPA about Lake Merriweather and Goshen Dam

Maury Watershed Monitors (Mar 1, 2016)

  • RACC has received two grants from DEQ’s Upper James Recreation, Conservation and Development Committee to revitalize and reorganize the SOS program that has been in place since the 1990s.
  • Training and certification is ongoing and due to begin again as the weather allows.
    – A website for entering monitoring data is included on RACC’s website and will also be sent to the Izaak Walton League/SOS program in Maryland and the DEQ citizen monitoring program in Harrisonburg.

Jordan’s Point (updated Mar 1, 2016)

  • A whitewater break in the dam is being considered
  • The American Rivers program has been contacted for information.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline (Mar 1, 2016) (more informaiton here)

  • Committee members have attended the recent meeting of organizations opposing the pipeline.
  • The new route does not come into Rockbridge County but it does cross the headwaters of the Calfpasture and Little Calfpasture rivers which join to form the Maury River (see watershed/pipeline map)
  • A baseline monitoring of the two rivers was begun in November 2014 and that data is entered at www.CitSci.org.
  • The next meeting of the opposition group is scheduled for April 16, 2016.
  • An interactive map of the most recent route is located at http://pipelineupdate.org

Rocky Forge Wind Project (APEX) (Mar 1, 2016)

  • Members are concerned about the soil & erosion problems that occur in the construction and maintenance of the turbines and the affects of those problems on the water.
  • The turbines will be 550 feet high and will be lit day and night.
  • Although none of the turbines will be in Rockbridge County, they are being built very close to the shared county line, and they will be visible from every district in the county.
  • Information being collected and disseminated by those concerned is available from Lee Merrill

Wellhead Protection and Karst Overlay (Mar 1, 2016)

  • The Land Use and Watershed committees are working toward ordinances that will protect our groundwater.
  • This process begins with the county’s comprehensive plan which is being drafted now for
    2018.
  • Members of the committees will review and make suggestions on a draft of the Land Use
    chapter when it is available.

Other Activities

  • Members regularly attend MSA, PSA, and NBSWCD meetings, as well as any governmental meetings concerning water issues.
  • Check updates on RACC’s weekly calendar for water-related events.

Acronyms
ACP: Atlantic Coast Pipeline
DCR: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
DEQ: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
DGIF: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
LUC: RACC’s Land Use Committee
MWM: Maury Watershed Monitors
NBSWCD: Natural Bridge Soil and Water Conservation District
MSA: Maury Service Authority
PSA: Rockbridge County Public Service Authority
SOS: Save Our Streams
TMDL: Total Maximum Daily Load
USACE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
VDH: Virginia Department of Health

contact Daphne Raz or Sandra Stuart, co-chairs, with questions or to volunteer to get involved.