2013 Annual Report .pdf

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New River-Highlands
Resource Conservation and Development Council’s
FY2103 Annual Report

RC&D

Teamwork

Successful
Projects

Partnerships

Educational
Programs

Bolling Izard Streambank
Stabilization Project
p
325 East Main St; Suite E-2
Wytheville VA 24382
276-227-0536
276-233-6503-Mobile

A prosperous modern rural community living in harmony with the environment

2011 Protecting
Woodland Homes

Conservation Education
Grant IV

#478

#480

Completed
Projects
Growing Healthy Foods,
Minds and Bodies in the
Garden #475

2012 Farmers Market
#471

2014 Active Projects


















Forest Landowner Program at Matthews State Forest #443
New River Grazing Management Initiative #442
Community Scale Renewable Energy in the Twin County Region #466
WQIA Streambank Restoration #468
TMDL & IP Development to Support VA's 2012 Submittal to EPA #473
Hillsville Elementary School Trail #474
DCR TMDL Watershed Coordinators #479
TMDL Development of Pamunkey River Watershed #481
2013 Farmers Market #482
2012 Protecting Woodland Homes #486
Upper Middle Fork Holston TMDL #487
Summer Day Garden Camp/Conservation Education Grant V #485
Wildland Urban Interface #488
Develop A Proposal for DEQ To Complete A TMDL Project In 2014 #489
Wytheville Farmers’ Market Support For 2014 #490
2014 Protecting Woodland Homes From Wildfire #491
ROCKY GAP GREENWAY #492

2

Protecting Woodland Homes from Wildfire
Virginia homeowners who live in woodland homes may be at a high risk of wildfire if there are
heavy fuel loads on the forest floor, steep slopes, south-facing aspects, or ladder fuels. Reducing
fuel loads and creating “defensible space” around woodland homes is one option that woodland
homeowners have to reduce their risk of wildfire.
The New River-Highlands RC&D Council and the Virginia Department of Forestry have been
collaborating for nearly a decade to
demonstrate the benefit of Firewise fuel
reduction activities. The Firewise
demonstration projects have been
demonstrations of mechanical fuel
reduction—using chippers and hand crews
to manually remove fuel and transport it
offsite.
Before and after photographs of a typical Firewise fuel reduction project completed by New RiverHighlands RC&D Council staff and contractors as part of the 2012 Protecting Woodland Homes from
Wildfire Project.

In 2012, the New River-Highlands RC&D Council completed a total of 153 acres of Firewise
fuel reduction activities reducing the risk of wildland fire for 84 woodland homes in the Counties
of Grayson, Montgomery, Scott, Washington, Wise, and Wythe.
For one fuel reduction project, the New River-Highlands RC&D Council conducted a controlled
burn to reduce fuel loads, using a local wildfire mitigation company to carry out the burn.
Woodland home after adjacent woodlands were burned in
May 2013.
Private woodland
(background) adjacent to
National Forest land
(foreground) was burned
in May 2013. National
Forest land in foreground
shows no fuel loads—the
result of a wildfire in
December 2012.

Results of a controlled fuel reduction
burn adjacent to National Forest land.
Results of controlled burn in foreground—
National Forest land in background.

3

Private Woodland

National Forest land

New River Grazing Management Initiative
25 Producers — Received 1 Million dollars for Management and Structural
Improvements over a 3 year period. Contracts awarded in Washington, Smith,
Tazewell, Carroll, Grayson, Wythe and Pulaski Counties. Participants participate in
Grazing Schools held quarterly. Grazing schools are held at participant’s farms.

4

Water Quality
New River Streambank Stabilization Project

Bolling Izard

Before

After

Bolling Izard site on Little River in Floyd County.
The project included streambarbs, rock ripprap
and sloping and vegetating the bank.
We are working on 3 additional sites. Therese Muse
site in Montgomery County, Steve Vaughan site in
Carroll County, and Robert Kohl site in Floyd County.

Stream Barb

All three sites are experiencing severe bank erosion that impacts water quality and land use. Permits
have been secured for the Kohl site and environmental evaluations are nearing completion for the Muse
and Vaughan sites.

Therese Muse

Steve Vaughan

Robert Kohl

5

DEQ Watershed Field Coordinators
Grant Support
 Administered grant agreements funding the following:
o Projects addressing sediment from abandoned mine lands and sediment and bacteria from
residential, urban, and agricultural sources in the Clinch-Powell River watershed
o Projects addressing sediment from abandoned mine land/ landslide/culvert failure and
bacteria from agriculture and residential sources in the Big Sandy River watershed
o Support grants for the Upper Tennessee and Upper Roanoke River Roundtables
 Assisted eight stakeholder groups in SW Virginia with developing 319 grant proposals.
 Served on DCR FY2013 319 grant review committee: assisted with development of RFP and
proposals; reviewed and commented on 16 pre-proposals, 8 full proposals.
TMDL Program Support
 Served as DCR contacts on eight DEQ-led projects:
Reed Creek TMDL and Implementation Plan (IP); North Fork
Holston River TMDL IP; Middle Clinch TMDL IP; Beaver-Little
TMDL re-model; Powell/Pound/Levisa watersheds TMDL
revisions; Otter River and Buffalo Creek TMDL; and Upper
Roanoke River TMDL IP
 Led development of Implementation Plans in Smith,
Mayo, Middle Fork Holston, and Wolf Creek.
 Currently working to develop a TMDL IP for Cripple
Creek and Elk Creek
Communications and Networking
 Participated in Clinch-Powell Healthy Waters Assessment, sponsored by EPA
 Provided recommendations on strategic plans for Big Sandy River Basin Coalition, Upper
Tennessee River Roundtable, Holston River SWCD, and Blue Ridge SWCD
 Attended monthly meetings of the Upper Roanoke River Roundtable and Glade Creek
Restoration Committee as a technical advisor and served on the URRR Advisory Committee
Education and Outreach
 Conducted educational sessions on aquatic macro invertebrates and water quality at the
Groundwater Festival station at the Breaks State Park, Washington County Farm Field Day , and
for Honaker High School students
 Manned table at Celebrate Catawba festival and the Roanoke Fall Waterways Clean-up

6

Renewable Energy in the Twin County Region
Community scale renewable energy and energy efficiency may be a significant
opportunity for rural economies—with the potential to jumpstart rural revitalization
and energy security through clean, renewable, reliable, and local fuel sources. The
New River-Highlands RC&D Council and project partners are working Carroll
County, Grayson County, and the City of Galax—to develop a Community Energy
Plan that identifies and prioritizes community scale renewable energy and energy
efficiency opportunities. The Council and project partners are demonstrating
community scale renewable energy and energy efficiency at the Matthews State Forest
office facilities in Galax, VA.
Pellet burner and hot water boiler system being installed at the
Matthews State Forest Office in Galax, VA. This unit will provide heat
to both the shop and the office buildings. Langseth Engineering of
Lynchburg designed the project and is supervising project
construction.
As part of this project, the Council provided engineering feasibility
assessments for several Twin County facilities including the Career &
Technical Education Center, Independence, VA, Crossroads Institute,
Galax, VA, St. Paul Elementary School, Cana, VA, Hillsville
Elementary School, Hillsville, VA, Joy Ranch, Woodlawn, VA and
the Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home, Hillsville, VA.

Forest Makeover Project
A sustainably managed forest is an investment; the returns include income, clean air, clean water,
wildlife habitat and aesthetic benefits. The Council and project partners are working with forest
landowners in Carroll and Grayson Counties to develop and implement forest management plans,
using a combination of demonstrations, workshops, and one-on-one technical assistance.
The RC&D Council and project partners completed a portable timber bridge
demonstration (at Hillsville Elementary School in Carroll County), two
stream crossing demonstrations, a timber sale workshop, a timber harvest
demonstration, four timber stand improvement projects, two deer enclosure
projects, and provided additional one-on-one forest management technical
assistance.
This portable timber bridge was installed at the Hillsville Elementary School and
Carroll County FFA farm.
This stream crossing demonstration installed at the Matthews
State Forest shows the proper installation of a ford to prevent
erosion of streambanks even during high water (as pictured
here).

7

Conservation Education and Community Development
Growing Healthy Kids/ Kids Grow in the
Garden Project

Over 30% of students participating in the gardening
programs at Spiller and RRES had demonstrated
higher science test scores.
Students at Spiller and RRES improved their food
choices over 20% and results showed 27% of
overweight students improved or maintained their
BMI.

A total of 27 parents attended the library programs with
assurances they would serve more fresh options and new titles
were checked out 126 times between Jan 31 2012 and May
2013.
771 students were visited as a result of the grant programming
this year. In addition 27 parents were reached by the library
programs.

Wytheville Farmers Market
The WFM Board secured the services of Melanie Hanshew, to serve as the Market Manager.
In 2012, the average number of customer transactions per week was 402 and the average sales per
week were $2,538.
The WFM held 17 educational events at the
market, the activities included: making a
mini greenhouse and planting a seed, a
vermicomposting demonstration, Dairy
Day, Renewable Energy Day, Blueberry
Blast, making a nature journal, a health fair,
and tomato and apple tastings. There were
191 participants in these activities.

8

Chair’s Comments
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
The New River Highlands Resource, Conservation and Development Council continues to
function as a very active and valuable community oriented resource from Montgomery County to
Bristol City. It is the hub of the State of Virginia RC & D Councils.
Mr. Gary Boring, New River Highlands RC&D Director, has successfully relocated the office and
employed Joanna Corvin as a part-time secretary. In addition, David Richert continues as a part
time forester. The addition of Cassie Wilson, a summer Intern from Emory and Henry Colleges
is a bright candle.
The council identified 14 projects in their 2014 Annual Plan of Work. We face a big challenge;
but with the support of council members, volunteers, cooperating agencies, partners and our
staff, we will succeed in completing these projects.
Gary Boring is the critical element of our council. His strong leadership has made New River
Highlands RC&D the Council of the year! Nevertheless, the Congressional decision in FY2011
to zero out the RC&D Program in the Budget continues to be a massive ice berg that is near
impossible to avoid. Gary Boring’s wish to retire in the future will soon become TODAY.
The council continues to proceed on the road to self-sustainability. The agreement between the
Abingdon office of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and New River Highlands
RC&D has placed two full time employees under our office and provides funding for project
management.
We continue to meet goals and evolve in different directions. It will very soon become critical
that New River Highlands RC&D Council makes a critical tie in to other ‘Agencies, etc’ in order
to KEEP ON TRUCKING!
Best Wishes,

Bob Martin
Bob Martin, RC&D Chair 2013-2014

“The New River-Highlands RC&D Council prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color,
national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and martial of familial status.(Not all prohibited bases
apply to all programs).”

Goals:





Increase the awareness of the land management issues impacting the RC&D Area
Improve Water Quality in the RC&D Area
Increase the awareness and understanding of elected officials and land owners of issues
impacting land conservation
Promote community development

9


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