New Faces in Agriculture
Jerry Ours, Nutrient Management Coordinator- WV Department of Agriculture
Meet two of the newest faces of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture: Natasha Teter and Ashley Kisamore. Natasha and Ashley started working for the WVDA on January of 2013 as Nutrient Management Specialists. Both have passed the West Virginia Certified Nutrient Management Planner exam and are providing plan writing services to agricultural producers throughout the Bay drainage area.
Nutrient management plans are tools that are developed jointly by the plan writer and the farmer to obtain the maximum return from nutrient resources in a manner that protects water quality.
Natasha is a native of Beverly, WV and graduated from WVU with a major in Animal Science in 2012. Ashley is from Seneca Rocks, WV and is also a graduate of WVU (2010) with a major in Agribusiness Management and Rural Development. If you are interested in obtaining or updating a nutrient management plan, contact Natasha or Ashley at the Moorefield Regional Field Office at 304.538.2397.
The Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum: Sept. 27-29, 2013!
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
The annual Chespeake Watershed Forum, held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV, will be held on September 27-29, 2013, with the headline: Beyond BMP's: Strategies for a Restored and Sustainable Chesapeake Watershed".
Registration for the 8th Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum will open in late July. Please check the Alliance Forum website for information and updates on this event.
The networking poster session will return Saturday evening, September 28, 2013 at the 8th annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum. The goal of the poster session is for individual presenters to share their work in a visual format with conference attendees. Registration for the poster session during the Forum will be open through August 2, 2013. Click here to register.
Sign up for CommuniTree Fall 2013 Planting Season by July 31!
West Virginia Project CommuniTree and its partners invite groups and agencies to apply for CommuniTree Kits to implement urban tree plantings on public lands. Twice annually groups can apply for CommuniTree Kits for spring and fall plantings. CommuniTree Kits include:
- Trees in a variety of species and stock sizes
- Tree tubes or cages to protect from deer; and
- Mulch to foster good root growth
Successful CommuniTree applicants will receive technical assistance from CommuniTree partners. Any interested group that is dedicated to increasing urban canopy cover in the Potomac Basin is eligible to apply (with or without prior experience planting trees). Click here
to download an application, you can contact Tanner Haid, Urban Forestry Coordinator, at email@example.com.
I-81 Rain Garden Dedication
Samantha Cronk, Staff Writer of The Martinsburg Journal
On Wednesday, June 5th, 2013, local and state agencies held a dedication ceremony to commemorate the installation of the rain garden, which was a collaborative project by the West Virginia Conservation Agency, the West Virginia Division of Highways and the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District.
"The site before the rain garden had a considerable amount of runoff from the parking lot, grass area and the buildings that was discharged right here. It drains a little over five acres of that, and 1.25 acres is pavement and buildings. We had a good location to capture and treat all the water at one spot," said Steve Sites, WVDOH environmental coordinator for District 5.
In addition to filtering area run-off, the rain garden also benefits the Chesapeake Bay project by contributing to the state's efforts to reduce the nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment that flows into the Chesapeake Bay. To read full article, click here.
Stay Tuned for Upcoming Stormwater Retrofit Training!
Suzy Lucas, WV Conservation Agency, EPCD
On September 12-13th, 2013, there will be Stormwater Retrofit Training held in Berkeley Springs, WV.Given by the Center for Watershed Protection, this training will focus on identifying and prioritizing practices that can be installed in developed areas to allow for improvement in stormwater infiltration.
This workshop is for practitioners with an interest in learning more about the nuts and bolts of stormwater retrofitting. The two-day program will include a mix of lecture, discussion, small group exercises, and field activities.
This workshop will discuss the use of urban stormwater retrofits as part of an overall strategy to meet nutrient and sediment load reduction targets for existing urban development under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.
For more information, contact Suzy Lucas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-539-2682.
Misty Mountain Farm Featured in Chesapeake Bay Website Video
Elwood and Hunter Williams, who own Misty Mountain Farm in Hardy County, were interviewed by Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay videographer, Steve Droter. Their successful efforts to conserve soil and water quality on their operation were nicely captured in a short video that can be viewed by clicking the image below.
|Restoration Spotlight: Farm's conservation practices cut pollution at its source|
This is the third video produced by Droter in the past year, highlighing West Virginia's implementation successes in the Chesapeake Bay clean-up process. Please view the others, and share with your friends and colleagues:
WV Chesapeake Bay Update- Effective Stormwater Solutions for Developed Lands
Sebastian Donner, Stormwater Specialist- WV Dept. of Environmental Protection
2013 turns out to be a very productive year for implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs). Reduction of nutrients and sediments improve the condition of not only the Chesapeake Bay, but also our creeks, streams, ponds, and lakes right here in West Virginia. In addition to improving our water quality, many BMPs also reduce the peak flow volume by retaining the first inch of rain close to where it falls. This lowers the cresting level of flooding steams after storms thus reducing the damage caused by heavy rainfalls.
My quest as Stormwater Specialist in WV started about six months ago. As a newcomer I have been most impressed by the collaborative effort between numerous state agencies, local governments and authorities, non-profit organizations, watershed groups, schools, businesses, and dedicated citizens of West Virginia. This collaboration has many benefits for our environment and people. Implementation of BMPs on developed lands is one of them. They provide hands-on experience and educational opportunities besides the primary objectives of runoff reduction and water quality improvement.
The examples are numerous and the number of people involved is even greater. To name a few, Matthew Pennington, Chesapeake Bay Program Coordinator for Region 9, has been working diligently with communities across Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan counties to implement projects and regulations ranging from rain barrels through local ordinances that enable effective stormwater management practices. Efforts by Herb Peddicord, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Forester with the WV Division of Forestry, and Tanner Haid, Urban Forestry Coordinator with the Cacapon Institute, have added many trees through riparian buffer plantings and Project CommuniTree to enhance our Urban Tree Canopy (UTC). WV DOH had a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new raingarden at the I-81 WV Welcome Center in southern Berkeley County in June. Melissa Merritt, Conservation Specialist with the WVCA, is putting the final touches on a raingarden at the WV School of the Deaf and Blind in Romney with the help of WVCA Conservation Specialist Suzy Lucas and WV DEP intern Kelly Cochran. The City of Romney has obtained site specific designs for several BMPs to address existing stormwater runoff issues. While one organization or individual may be taking the lead on a specific project, it is often the collaboration between different teams and community members that make each project a success.
Numerous BMPs are also being implemented in the private sector during new construction, retrofitting of problematic sites, and by homeowners simply wanting to do the right thing by reducing the impact of impervious areas created for our benefit. You too can make a difference. The WV Stormwater Management Design and Guidance Manual provides detailed information on how to select, design, and implement BMPs.
Throughout this newsletter you will find useful links, resources and information that can help you stay informed and learn about the issues and solutions as they relate to our WV waters and the Chesapeake Bay. For example, the article by Alana Hartman below provides you with info and links to quantitative and qualitative assessments of the progress WV has already made.
Spring Watershed Group Gathering
Heather Ishman, Eastern Panhandle Conservation District
|Matthew Pennington was one of the presenters to the Spring 2013 Watershed Group Gathering held in Martinsburg, WV.|
May 22nd was a proud day for the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District, as they learned about all of the hard work that watershed groups are doing to clean up our streams and rivers. The EPCD sponsors a watershed group gathering twice a year at the WVU Health Sciences Center in Martinsburg, WV. The gathering allows agencies and local watershed groups to come together and learn about each other's programs; what's working and what's not, and how they can help each other. This event is intended to put everyone on the same page so that we all may be more efficient in working towards the same goals. Facilitated by Jim Michael, EPCD Morgan County Supervisor, this gathering began with "EPCD and WVCA: What we do." by Heather Ishman, EPCD and Suzy Lucas, WVCA, followed by "Education and Outreach Strategies" presented by Bill Howard, Downstream Solutions, and then "Stormwater 201" by Matt Penningion, Region 9. For full article, click here.
Martinsburg Street Tree Planting A Success
Tanner Haid, Urban Forestry Coordinator
Cacapon Institute successfully planted 15 native trees in Martinsburg, West Virginia with generous support from the Ecolab Foundation. The tree planting took place under beautiful weather on June 28th at Old Mill Subdivision.
Twenty-five volunteers came together to plant the trees. Additional assistance came from Cacapon Institute staff, Herb Peddicord with WV Division of Forestry, four Martinsburg DPW employees, Heather Ishman with Eastern Panhandle Conservation District, Mark Thompson with Martinsburg Shade Tree Commission, and 15 girl scouts. Fifteen Red Maples were planted and were supplied by Moore & Dorsery nursery in Berryville, VA.
This project is part of a larger effort by Cacapon Institute and WV Division of Forestry to assess and enhance urban tree canopy in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Street trees in urban areas help to lower energy costs, reduce stormwater runoff pollution, increase property value, and create healthier and more vibrant communities.
For more information, visit http://www.cacaponinstitute.org/Forestry/utc.htm
WV's Progress towards Chesapeake Bay's Pollution Reduction Goals Available
Alana Hartman, WV Department of Environmental Protection
|Graphs of WV's Progress for the Chesapeake Bay Reduction Goals 2013|
Good news! Based on 2012 progress reporting, West Virginia has already achieved the 2013 milestone targets for nitrogen and phosphorus load reductions. West Virginia will need to reduce its sediment in waters reaching the Bay by 10% to reach our 2013 milestone target, but we are on track to meet that goal based on significant sediment reductions between 2011 and 2012. Our Chesapeake Bay Tributary Team partners have developed charts to show our progress and goals both in reducing loads from various sectors, and in increasing implementation of key practices. This set of charts is more complete than, and builds upon, the lead article in the last newsletter. You can view them here. If you would like one of us to present this information to your organization or local government meeting, please use the "contact us" feature on our website, www.wvca.us/bay to make the request. We hope to share this information with the residents of WV's eight-county Potomac Basin. For another perspective, EPA's recent assessment of West Virginia's progress is also posted on our website.
PVCD Chooses Hott's Farming as Conservation Farm Winner
Doris Brackenrich, USDA NRCS
|Members of the Hott Family|
The Potomac Valley Conservation District (PVCD) has selected Hott's Farming, Inc. of Fort Seybert to represent them in the statewide Conservation Farm Contest. The contest is an annual event sponsored by the Conservation Districts of West Virginia. PVCD includes the counties of Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral and Pendleton.
Pendleton County Supervisors Charlotte Hoover and Dale Walker chose Hott's on the basis of their farming practices and contribution to the agriculture industry in the county. "They set an example to the community by being conservation minded and good representatives of conservation agriculture," said Hoover, who also serves as the Chairperson for the ten-member District Board.
Hott's Farming owns 1500 acres of farmland and rents an additional 560 acres in Pendleton County. Approximately 250 acres of cropland is in a rotation of corn, wheat, and soybeans, plus about 100 acres of permanent hay fields. They use conservation practices such as cover crops to reduce runoff and erosion, proper forage harvest management to extend the life of the hay stand, and buffer strips to protect the water resources on the farm. To read full article, click here.
Eastern Panhandle Conservation District and Jefferson County Conservation Farmer Announced
Barbie Elliott, West Virginia Conservation Agency
|Mr. and Mrs. Bill White Grantham and nephew Andrew Upwright operate Meadow Green Farm, LLC. |
EPCD is proud to announce Meadow Green Farm, LLC. as the 2013 District Conservation Farm and Jefferson County Conservation Farm Winner.
Bill White and Kerry Grantham own and operate Meadow Green Farm, LLC. in Jefferson County, WV. They operate 198 acres of hay and pasture land. The farm has 3 components that fill their time: the cattle operation, hay business and rainbow trout operation. Bill White took over the family farm in 1990 after spending 12 years on the Eastern Shore managing a 10,000 acre poultry farm.
Meadow Green Farm, LLC. enrolled 6.48 acres of riparian & wetland area into the CREP Program. Over the years, either by themselves or through state and federal programs, they have installed over 7.5 miles of high tensile fence, 7 watering troughs, 225 ft of walkways, 900 feet of pipeline and 0.1 acres of heavy use protection. The farm has many plans to better the operation by installing more animal trails and walkways with a heavy use protection area and more pipeline and troughs. For full article, click here.
Eastern Panhandle Conservation District
Second Annual Earth Day 5K and Fun Walk
Heather Ishman, Eastern Panhandle Conservation District
|Runners in the 5K held by the EPCD|
The weather was a perfect 70 degree day at Cacapon State Park on April 27, 2013. Forty-three runners and walkers participated in the second annual EPCD Earth Day 5K and 1 Mile Fun Walk. From the State Park entrance to the finish line near the Nature Center, runners were able to follow the paved drive that meandered through the Park's picturesque scenery and, at times, daunting hills.
After the race, participants had the option of learning about the tiny critters that live in our local waters with a demonstration by Cacapon Institute's Molly Barkman or learning how to ID trees with Division of Forestry's Ben Kunze.
Event coordinators Heather Ishman, Education and Outreach Specialist and Suzy Lucas, Conservation Field Specialist, were thrilled with the event's success and are already planning for next year's race. All proceeds from the event benefit the high school students of the area to participate in the WV Envirothon Contest. To read full article, click here.
Trout Unlimited and Partners Celebrate One Million Feet of Agricultural Fencing Built in WV
Sara Litzau-Trout Unlimited
|Trout Unlimited and Partners celebrating 1 Million feet of Fence in West Virginia|
Fences protect streams from livestock and other agricultural pressure. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Trout Unlimited (TU) have installed more than one million feet of agricultural fencing throughout West Virginia to help farmers keep livestock out of streams, greatly improving habitat for fish and wildlife. Partners gathered on May 17th to celebrate the milestone at the Hoover Farm in Mathias, WV, where the million-foot mark of the fencing project was completed late last year.
This ongoing project is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program, which is supported under the federal Farm Bill. Other partners include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA), West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA) programs and over 200 West Virginia landowners.
"We strive to match landowners with conservation needs with a partnership of federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations whose missions are to conserve our natural resources. It's a beautiful thing that we can work together on this," said John Schmidt, State Coordinator for the USFWS PFW program. For full article, click here.
Elks Run Restoration Funding Announced
Suzy Lucas, West Virginia Conservation Agency
|The Elks Run Watershed, located in Jefferson County. Click here for larger map.|
The Elks Run watershed is located in Jefferson County, WV and covers approximately 18 square miles, which drain directly to the Potomac River. Elks run and its major tributary, Elk Branch are impaired for fecal coliform bacteria and sediment. The Elks Run Watershed Based Plan, which addresses these impairments, was approved by EPA in June of 2013. Upon EPA's approval, a grant from Section 319 of the Clean Water Act was made available to begin addressing these impairments through septic upgrades/repairs and a stream bank stabilization project. The West Virginia Conservation Agency has received $55,000 in federal funds, which they are matching with $45,700 for a total project cost of $100,700. With these funds, 12 septic systems will be repaired or replaced and a small stream bank stabilization project will take place to reduce fecal coliform levels and sediment loads in the watershed. Anyone who lives in the Elks Run Watershed may be eligible to receive cost-share assistance with these funds. We offer a 50% cost-share on septic upgrades and repairs up to $3,000 for Class I systems and up to $4,000 for Class II systems. We are also offering a 100% cost share on a small streambank stabilization project up to $12,000. For more information or to apply for cost-share assistance, contact Suzy Lucas, WVCA Conservation Specialist at email@example.com or (304) 539-2682.
Sleepy Creek Restoration Efforts Result in Success- Additional Funding Available
Suzy Lucas, West Virginia Conservation Agency
|The Elks Run Watershed, located in Jefferson County. Click here for larger map.|
The Sleepy Creek watershed is located in Frederick County, VA and Morgan County, WV. The watershed drains 13,000 acres in VA and 69,440 acres in WV, flowing directly to the Potomac River. Sleepy Creek is impaired for fecal coliform bacteria. There have been ongoing efforts to address this impairment since 2008. The Sleepy Creek Project Team, which consists of many local partners including Sleepy Creek Watershed Association, WVCA, WV DOF, Cacapon Institute, WV DEP, and the Morgan County Health Department, completed their first successful 319 project in 2011. This project resulted in the delisting of Indian Run, an impaired tributary of Sleepy Creek. The grant funded urban tree plantings, septic pumping/upgrades/repairs, and permeable paving. Since then, they have received their 2nd Section 319 grant, and will soon be accepting applications for 100% cost-share on urban and riparian tree plantings and stormwater management practices. WVCA is receiving $70,200, which will be matched with $113,200 for a total project cost of $113,200. For more information on this project, contact Suzy Lucas, WVCA Conservation Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or (304) 539-2682.
Student Climate and Conservation Congress learns about the Chesapeake Bay
Herb Peddicord, WV Division of Forestry
|Student Climate and Conservation Congress learned about the Chesapeake Bay Issues|
Twenty high school students from around the nation attending the Student Climate and Conservation Congress (SC3) received a mini-lesson about Chesapeake Bay issues. SC3, the annual environmental leadership conference of the national Green Schools Alliance of 1,500 schools, has been hosted by NCTC since 2009. Service learning projects in six Shepherdstown parks and green spaces provided over 100 students with land management ideas they will bring back to improve parklands and school grounds in their home communities. The students at Morgan Grove Park in Shepherdstown, WV,
planted 20 trees to replace dead trees from a buffer planting done in 2008. They also pulled a trailer full of invasive Parrot Feather from the springhouse run in the Park. Parrot Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) originates from South America and is commonly used in aquariums and ponds. It can form dense mats and compete with native aquatic plants. The students were supervised by Jim Siegel and Werner Barz (on the tractor) from the Fish and Wildlife Service - National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), Herb Peddicord, West Virginia Division of Forestry and Tanner Haid from the Cacapon Institute. For full article, click here.
Cover Crop Workshops in the Eastern Panhandle
Heather Ishman, Eastern Panhandle Conservation District
|The Roller/Crimper showcased at the EPCD Cover Crop workshop|
The second portion of the EPCD/NRCS Cover Crop Workshop was held on May 9, 2013 on Payne's Ford Road at the Lyle Tabb farm. Ten participants braved the impeding storm to join Steve Ritz, USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Specialist, to talk about the health of the cover crop and how the roller/crimper will function. While the ground was too wet to demonstrate the roller/crimper and no till planter that day, on May 15 Mr. Tabb was able to complete the project. The roller/crimper was used first, mounted on the back of the tractor and was filled with water to add weight for necessary down pressure. Mr. Tabb was then able to follow with his no till corn planter and the corn seed was able to go through the newly rolled material at a planted depth of 1.5". Heather Ishman, Education and Outreach Specialist and Amy Henry, WVDA Agriculture Technician, have complied videos and photographs to show the progression of this project from start to finish. This is available for viewing and is also available at the EPCD's Facebook page. For any questions please contact Steve Ritz, 304 284 7597, Heather Ishman, 304 263 4376 x 4, or Amy Henry, 304 263 7547 x 122.
|About WV's Potomac Tributary Strategy Team
Fourteen percent (14%) of West Virginia drains into the Potomac River and on to the Chesapeake Bay. In June of 2002, Governor Bob Wise signed the Chesapeake Bay Program Water Quality Initiative Memorandum of Understanding. By signing this memo, West Virginia agreed to develop goals and objectives to reduce nutrient and sediment loading to the Chesapeake Bay.
To help WV accomplish these goals, Project Teams began working in targeted watersheds. These groups build partnerships, gather funding, and identify priority projects that are most important to their local communities.
Reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in local creeks and rivers will mean healthier water resources that are better able to sustain tourism, fishing, drinking water supplies, wildlife habitat, and other uses. Each one of us can act locally to help achieve these goals.
WV's Potomac Tributary Strategy Team