The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District Budget/Finance Committee will meet in the Conference Room of the USDA Service Center, 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, Virginia on Monday, January 28, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. The Nominating Committee will meet following the Budget Committee meeting at 4:45 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.
Streamside Trees in the Classroom (STIC) is an environmental education program that allows students to learn about water quality and the importance of streamside vegetation. The program was created in 2012 as a partnership between Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at Philpott Lake. The program serves Martinsville City, Franklin county, Henry County (Magna Vista High School), and Patrick County Public Schools, specifically targeting 4th grade students. This aligns with the Every Kid in a Park Initiative that USACE also works with.
The program has been funded through grants, but most recently supported through donations. The Army Corps of Engineers covers the cost of the trees. Therefore, no cost to the schools aside from mileage/bus costs to get to the planting location.
In the STIC program students root native Black Willow cuttings in the classroom for about three to four weeks and then take a field trip to Philpott Lake, or an approved location, and plant the trees along a creek or area that is in need of streamside restoration. Trees along streams help keep water clean by buffering out pollution like chemicals and litter, and help keep the streams at cooler temperatures during the summer. The trees also provide habitat for wildlife seeking food or water, and shelter.
The trees are delivered to the classrooms late August or early September and are typically planted in the fall on specific “Planting Days”. When the trees are delivered to the schools, USACE or DRBA typically provides a 20-30 minute presentation for the students. And, we usually have five Planting Days for the program – one for Patrick County schools, one for Martinsville City schools, and three for Franklin County schools.
Any materials needed for the program such as cost of trees, jars, and tubs to hold the trees will be covered through donations. Jars and tubs are used to transport the trees to the designated Planting Day locations and then returned to USACE to be used for the following school year.
Planting Days usually last from 9:45 am – 1:30 pm, but some schools may need to leave early in the afternoon to return to school for dismissal. We usually have partner organization that are natural resource focused like Reynolds Homestead, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency take part in providing activities and/or educational booths for the students during their Planting Days. During October 2018 Planting Days, 500 students participated by planting approximately 200 trees.
Reynolds Homestead – https://photos.app.goo.gl/VHs82gNhrLRXRCno9
Booker T Washington – https://photos.app.goo.gl/PtjvRsnAU49yA9Lu6
Martinsville Dick & Willie – https://photos.app.goo.gl/CJmGg4qm4r2Wsrdw7
Salthouse Branch – https://photos.app.goo.gl/2esV2u5yXRxmERF16
On behalf of the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Marketing Committee and the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District we would like to Congratulate Sarah Baumgardner on her photo “Springtime Snow Dance”as being chosen as Honorable Mentioned in the 2018 VASWCD photo contest. Over 180 photos were submitted for the 2018 contest. “Springtime Snow Dance” was photographed by Sarah Baumgardner within the Mountain Castle SWCD area.
At 8:00 AM Wednesday September 26, voting will begin on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Virginia-Association-of-Soil-Water-Conservation-Districts-VASWCD-184156224952486/, to choose the People’s Choice award. “Springtime Snow Dance” along with 9 others is in the running for this award so please ask all your friends and family to like our page and vote for your favorite photo!
We encourage you to submit your 2019 winning photo to the National Association of Conservation Districts Photo Contest. More information about the contest can be found here- /http://www.nacdnet.org/general-resources/stewardship-and-education-materials/contests/ The deadline for submitting photos is Dec. 1st, 2018.
We’ll pay 50% of your septic repair bill!
Pump outs, repairs, replacements
**Grant funding available for residents of the Upper Smith River and Blackberry Creek Watersheds in Henry County. **
Financial assistance available to all income levels.
How the program works:
- Contact us for an application and to determine if you qualify
- Wait to perform any work on your system until your application has been approved
Funding available until June 30, 2019
Contact Michael Tabor:
(276) 632-3164 ext. 122
Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District
1297 State St, Rocky Mount, VA 24151
Located in the USDA Service Center beside the Comfort Inn.
This project has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. EPA and the VA Dept. of Environmental Quality under a Section 319 grant agreement 16545 to Blue Ridge SWCD. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA or DEQ, nor does the EPA or DEQ endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.
Three Area V Dominion Envirothon (natural resources competition) teams will advance to the state competition May 20-21 at Ferrum College. The Area V Dominion Envirothon competition was held on April 24, 2018 at Waid Recreation Area & Sports Complex in Rocky Mount and hosted by Blue Ride and Patrick Soil & Water Conservation Districts.
Overall first place at the Area V Envirothon competition went to Fuqua School (sponsored by Piedmont SWCD), placing second overall was Franklin County High School (sponsored by Blue Ridge SWCD) and overall third place went to Buckingham County High School (sponsored by Peter Francisco SWCD). Cumberland County High School also participating in the Area V Envirothon (sponsored by Peter Francisco SWCD).
Envirothon features five “in-the-field” test stations – soils, wildlife, aquatics, forestry and a current environmental issue – where teams answer questions in both written and hands-on formats. During an oral presentation each team proposes a management solution related to the current environmental issue to a panel of
Judges consisting of industry and natural resource professionals. This year’s issue is “Pastureland Management”. Franklin County High School and Fuqua School’s Dominion Envirothon Teams tied for 1st place overall in Soils. Franklin County High School placed 2nd in Oral Presentation and placed 2nd Overall in the top three teams to advance to Virginia’s Dominion Envirothon State Competition at Ferrum College. Fuqua School placed 1st overall to advance to the state competition.
“The intense study required for this contest helps prepare students for college entrance exams, as well as possible careers in field associated with natural resources,” said Steven Meeks, President of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Fueled by Dominion Energy’s generous sponsorship, the Envirothon program will undoubtedly continue to grow. Cindy Balderson, Philanthropy Manager for Dominion Energy and The Dominion Foundation shared the excitement of the new partnership stating, “We believe the students’ participation in Envirothon activities will prepare them for college and beyond, as they study environmental issues and become advocates and stewards of our natural resources.
The team that earns 1st place at the state level competition will travel to Pocatello, Idaho to battle it out at the North American competition (July 22-July 26, 2018).
Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District (serving Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke) needs help sponsoring students for next year’s Envirothon. If you can help, or would like to know more about starting an Envirothon team at your high school through 4-H, FFA, Ecology Club or home school group, contact Kathy Smith at (540) 483-5341 ext. 117 or (276) 632-3164 ext. 117 or contact the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts at (800) 727-6354.
Have you thought about your septic system lately? For most people septic systems are “out of sight and out of mind.” They may go years without worrying about the system until there is a problem. Although septic systems can be easy to overlook, maintaining it is an important part of being a homeowner. Routine maintenance can prevent problems before they occur, avoiding future repairs or system replacements that can be very costly. However, no septic system is designed to last forever and signs of a failing septic system can include sewage backups into a home, and lush green vegetation over areas of the drain field or other buried system components that may have a bad smell and be mushy. In Henry County there are many older homes not connected to a public sewer that may be in need of septic repair or complete replacement.
Funding is available through the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District to reimburse homeowners for 50% of the costs of septic system pump-outs, public sewer hook-ups (where available), repairs, and replacements. In addition, the program also educates residents about proper septic system care and about the environmental and health impacts of failing septic systems. Applicants must live in the portion of the Smith River watershed northwest of Martinsville and the Blackberry Creek watershed in Henry County to be eligible. Funding rates may also be eligible to be increased in lower income situations.
To learn more about our septic program, determine if you live in an eligible watershed, or request an application, please contact Michael Tabor at (276) 632-3164 ext. 122 or Allen Jackson at ext.118. Inquiries can also be submitted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and also during regular office hours (8-4:30 p.m M-F) at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA 24151.
This project has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. EPA and the VA Dept. of Environmental Quality under a Section 319 grant agreement 16545 to Blue Ridge SWCD.
The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA or DEQ, nor does the EPA or DEQ endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.
The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District is offering scholarship(s) to a limited number of qualified applicant(s) within Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke to attend an expense paid, week-long conservation camp at Virginia Tech. Camp dates are Sunday, July 7 through Saturday, July 13, 2019. Soil and Water Conservation officials from the local, state and federal levels and Virginia Tech faculty members work together to conduct the camp.
Applicants must be in grades 9 through 12 of the 2019-2020 academic school year. Twelfth graders who graduate from high school in May, June, July or August 2019 are eligible to attend. Previous youth conservation campers cannot attend. Please contact Kathy Smith, Program Manager/Education Coordinator at Ksmith@brswcd.org or (540) 483-5341 ext. 117.
The 2019 Youth Conservation Camp applications are to be received by the Blue Ridge District office no later than by the close of business on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.
The scholarship winner(s) will be notified by the district as soon as possible.
Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee. Upon notification, the winner(s) will be required to send $75.00 to the Blue Ridge SWCD. This $75 will be fully refunded upon completion of the camp and a brief report to the directors about their camp adventures. Travel to and from the camp is the responsibility of the student. Click on the link below to download the 2019 Youth Conservation Camp application:
High sediment loadings led to violations of the general standard for aquatic life use in Franklin County’s Blackwater River. As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added two segments of the Lower Blackwater River to the 2008 Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters. Landowners installed agricultural best management practices (BMPs); these decreased edge-of-field sediment loading and helped improve water quality. Because of this improvement, DEQ removed two segments of the Blackwater River from Virginia’s 2014 list of impaired waters for biological impairment. To read more click on this link 2014-delisted-blackwater
High bacteria loadings led to violations of Virginia’s Water Quality Standard (WQS) for designated recreation (swimming) use in Big Chestnut Creek. As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added the creek to its 2004 Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters. From 2007 through 2012, stakeholders installed various agricultural and residential practices in the Big Chestnut Creek watershed that decreased nonpoint source runoff. As a result, Virginia DEQ removed Big Chestnut Creek from its 2014 list of impaired waters based on attainment of the bacteria WQS. To read more click on this link 2014-delisted-bigchestnut
On Tuesday, August 9, 2016 the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District and Farm Service Agency welcomed three research scientists from China with their area guide Dr.Dave Johnson. The Institute of Hydroecology is under the Ministry of Water Resources (central government), but is also a graduate degree-granting institute of the Chinese Academy of Science. The Institute focuses on both basic and applied research related to ecological and environmental issues resulting from water construction projects with the aim of supporting a sustainable development strategy in China. Since its founding in 1987, the institute has assessed the environmental effects of large hydro-projects such as the Three Gorges Project and the South-to-North Water Diversion project and carried out research on fishery resources in Chinese reservoirs and restoration of the water environment in reservoirs and lakes. Address: 578 Xiongchu Avenue, Wuhan, Hubei, China
- Photo from left to right: Dr. Dave Johnson (Retired Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science at Ferrum College), Ms. Xiaojie Pan, Associate Professor and Research Scientist, Applied Ecology Department, Institute of Hydroecology (IHE, MWR & CAS) and she is an environmental biologist with a focus on ecological effects, distribution characteristics, occurrence mechanism, and control measurese for harmful algae,Tony Goff (Farm Service Agency Program Technician), Michael Tabor (Conservation Technician for Blue Ridge SWCD), Mr. Chengyan Wan; Professor, Research Scientist and Director of the Applied Ecology Department, Institute of Hydroecology (IHE, MWR & CAS) and is also Deputy Chief Engineer at IHE, and Mr. Zhiwei Zheng, Senior Engineer at IHE, Assistant Professor and Research Scientist, Applied Ecology Department, Institute of Hydroecology (IHE, MWR & CAS).
Goals of visit:
Support and enhance an on-going project in the Three Gorges region, Ecological restoration of Xiaojiang River, which includes:
- Evolution of the water environment and ecological mechanisms of algal blooms;
- Construction technology for ecological protection zones;
- Technology for improving riparian habitat;
- Pilot demonstration and key technology for fish enhancement and release to prevent and control algal blooms (bio-manipulation);
- Key technology research and demonstration for ecological restoration of the Hanfeng Lake wetland.
- American researchers have always paid attention to the study and application of algal bloom control and ecological restoration, and achieved good results.
- The objective of this visit is to exchange experiences and achievements on pollution control, eutrophication and algal bloom treatment, riparian zone and river corridor restoration, wetland protection and restoration, monitoring and evaluation of aquatic ecosystems with experts in order to learn additional techniques to support the project and lay the foundation for future research collaborations.
- To view abstract click on this link: Journal of Hydroecology abstract-Chinese visitors August 2016
The Envirothon is a program of the National Conservation Foundation (NCF), a 501(c)3 not-for profit organization. The Envirothon is established to provide a naturl resource encounter and environmental education program for high school students throughout North America. Contact Envirothon at www.vaswcd.org/envirothon.