Rick Weeks Attends Board Meeting

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Rick Weeks,  Director of the Division of Nonpoint Pollution Prevention  for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) attended the Piedmont Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors meeting July 23, 2013 and is pictured here center, with directors Larkin Moyer, left, and Wilkie Chaffin, right.  Mr. Weeks was formerly Chief Deputy of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for 10 years and a 24 year veteran of DEQ, before moving to DCR after the 2013 session of the General Assembly consolidated many of DCR programs into the DEQ.

Autumn Olive, AN ALIEN INVASIVE HABITAT SNATCHER

Autumn Olive  is one of the plants listed on Virginia’s  list of invasive species.  Why?  Because, Autumn Olive, or Elaeagnus umbellata, threatens native ecosystems by out-competing and displacing native plant species, creating dense shade and interfering with natural plant succession and nutrient cycling.    It was widely planted in the past for wildlife habitat, as windbreaks and to restore deforested and degraded land, but herbivorous animals are not known to feed on it and few insects seem to utilize or bother it. The plant is drought tolerant and thrives in a variety of soil and moisture conditions allowing it to invade grasslands, fields, open woodlands and disturbed areas.  Because autumn olive is capable of fixing nitrogen in its roots, it can grow on bare mineral substrates.  There are ways to control this noxious plant, but first and foremost, do not plant autumn olive.  Plant native species like spice bush (Lindera benzoin), northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum), black haw (Viburnum prunifolium, or gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa).  TRhis is a good link for more info on Autumn Olive.

COngratulations! Water Quality Improved in Flat Creek

The Environmental Protect Agency recently released a success story on their website that features the Piedmont SWCD and  their   landowner partners in Amelia and Nottoway County. Congratulations to everyone who implemented conservation practices in the FAlt Creek subwatershed.  Your sacrafice of time and money has improved water quality for everyone in Flat Creek and all Virginians in the Chesapeake Bay watershed..  Click here to read the success story on EPA’s website..

EPA Recognizes Improved Water Quality in Flat Creek

Flat Creek flows into the Appomattox River, which empties into the James River.  This 90,752 acre watershed drains portions of Amelia and Nottoway Counties near Farmville, Virginia.  Flat Creek was recently featured in an Environmental Protection Agency Success Story found on their website that you can read by following this link.  Congratulations and thanks to all of the producers in the Flat Creek watershed who installed agricultural best management practices, making it possible to reduce the amount of nonpoint source pollution reaching the creek.

Pollinators and Root Systems Program

On Saturday April 27, 2013, Bear Creek Lake State Park will partner with the Virginia Master Naturalist Central Piedmont chapter and the Friends of Bear Creek Lake to present a program: Pollinators and Root Systems.

Two outstanding presenters will be sharing their knowledge with presentations to be followed by informal and self-guided walks. Grace Chapman, Director of Horticulture at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will present on “Creating a Pollinator Garden with Native Plants”.  She will discuss how pollinators are ecologically and economically important creatures especially today with so many native pollinators in decline due to disease, habitat loss and pesticide use.

Alexander Elton, Plant Health Care Manager at Arborscapes, LLC, will present the “Root Systems of Trees”. He will discuss how taking care of tree roots benefit the residential garden.

The program is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The cost is $5/person, payable at the door. Proceeds from the seminar will benefit the 2013 Virginia Master Naturalist youth nature camp.  Space is limited to 65 participants. To reserve a space, contact the Bear Creek Lake State Park Office at 804-492-4410. Immediately following the presentations, lunch will be available at the Hall at $4 to $5 per plate; proceeds from the lunch will benefit the Friends of Bear Creek Lake.

The park is located about 4.5 miles northwest of the town of Cumberland. From U.S. Route 60, go west on Route 622 and south on Route 629 to the park entrance.

Contact: Beverly Hines 434-392-3861 or bhines@hsc.edus

Piedmont SWCD Radio Spot on WFLOW

Listen to WFLOW radio station at twelve o’clock on Wednesday, April 10 to hear the “voice of conservation” discuss the sixth most annoying thing in modern life…unscooped dog poop.

Webinar for Beginning Farmers and Ag Entrepreneurs

“Politicians love small businesses; they also love farmers.  As a result, farmers and entrepreneurs in Ag-based businesses enjoy a bigger suite of government assistance programs than just about any other group.  However, there is also a lot of confusion about what really is available:  reasonable loans to beginning farmers (yes), grants to raise alpacas (no).  To help sort all this out, Stephen Versen, a Project Manager in the Agriculture and Forestry Development Services unit at VDACS (Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services), will be discussing some of the most useful state and federal programs and answering your questions about accessing them.  Major topics to be discussed are USDA loan and grant programs, as well as assistance available through the Commonwealth of Virginia, including:  the Virginia Grown/Virginia’s Finest programs and the new Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).

To participate in this webinar please call Cumberland Extension Agent David Smith at 804-492-4390

Check out the project website at www.vabeginningfarmer.org for recordings of past webinars and to see what other exciting initiatives are being developed!

Secrets of Soil Unlocked

A website was recently made available by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service for landowners, teachers, students and farmers.  The resources on the site are designed to help the visitor understand the basics and benefits of soil health – and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from farmers who are using those systems.  Click here to visit the website http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/soils/health/

New Email Address

Please make a note of our new email address:

District Manager- Deanna Fehrer: dfehrer@piedmontswcd.org

Communications – Robin Buckalew: rbuckalew@piedmontswcd.org

BMP & Ed Program Assistant -Amanda Braham: abraham@piedmontswcd.org

Senior TMDL Conservation Specialist – Charlie Wootton: two addresses cwootton@piedmontswcd.org

Charles.Wootton@va.nacdnet.net

BMP Conservation Technician  – Kevin Dunn: two addresses

kdunn@piedmontswcd.org

kevin.dunn@va.nacdnet.net

HOW ARE WE DOING?

The Piedmont SWCD is part of a conservation partnership that provides resources, education and leadership on the wise use of soil and water resources.  They accomplish this through a wide variety of programs, including the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Program, Equipment Rental Program, Watershed Dam Structure Maintenance, and an Environmental Education Program.  Every four years the Piedmont SWCD develops a Strategic Plan to help guide their operations and generate goals and objectives.  Please take this opportunity to let us know how you think we are going and how you think we can best assist you by taking the following Stakeholder Survey.  Click here to access Stakeholder Survey II.  THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT!

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