Fall 2020 Updates - Detailed information regarding protocols and scheduling for the Fall semester is now available. More

Workshops

2020 Breakout Sessions Matrix

FOR REFERENCE ONLY: View, Download, or Print the 2020 Environment Virginia Symposium Breakout Sessions Matrix which lists all of the breakout sessions by day/time and location. The 2021 conference schedule will be posted in January 2021.

Descriptions of each session will be provided below.

Environmental Updates from Virginia Tribes

Presenters:

  • Brian Hamilton, US EPA Region III, Tribal Coordinator
  • Beth Roach, Tribal Councilwoman, Nottoway Indian Tribe, Co-founder, Alliance of Native Seedkeepers
  • Stephen Adkins, Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chief
  • Dana Adkins, Chickahominy Indian Tribe, EPA Director
Abstract: This panel will feature presentations from three Virginia tribes, the Chickahominy, Pamunkey and Nottway. Tribal representatives will discuss their natural resource and environmental protection priorities and concerns. 

 Building Coastal Resilience in the Context of Social Equity

Presenters:

  • Tanya Denckla Cobb, Director, Institute for Engagement & Negotiation
  • Elizabeth Andrews, Director, Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School
Abstract: Building coastal resilience is fraught with conflict and hidden minefields of beliefs, equity, and power; and recurring flooding undermines property values, impacts low-income populations disproportionately, and also threatens economic stability. We are faced with the need to develop strategies to cross the divide surrounding climate change to support and facilitate timely action at the locality level, so that all voices are heard, to prevent perpetration of systemic environmental injustices, and to increase equitable resilience. The Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (RAFT) process raises these issues and supports localities in creating paths to build social equity in coastal resilience. The RAFT is a collaborative process developed to help Virginia's coastal localities improve resilience to flooding and other coastal storm hazards while remaining economically and socially viable. The RAFT was developed by an academic interdisciplinary collaborative: the Institute for Engagement & Negotiation at the University of Virginia, the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School, and the Old Dominion University/Virginia Sea Grant Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program. Participants will hear from The RAFT core team, as well as additional panelists invited from The RAFT communities of the Eastern Shore region. Participants will learn about The RAFT's three-part process, and how social equity is integrated through the scorecard, development of a one-year action checklist, and implementation. Through a lens of social equity, panelists will share challenges and lessons learned, and engage with participants on questions relating to equity and justice in coastal resilience.

 

Resiliency's Response to Climate Change

Presenter:

Chris Stone, Senior Principal, Clark Nexsen

Presentation Title: Sustainability vs. Resilience: Why We Should Design for Both

Abstract: During the presentation, attendees will be shown the benefits of including both sustainable and resilient design concepts in the design of a project. We will compare and contrast the similarities and differences, and what makes a project both sustainable and resilient.

Presenter:

Claire Still, Sustainability Specialist, AECOM

Presentation Title: How to Conduct Desktop Climate Vulnerability Assessments

Abstract: Climate change is the issue of this century and the prevailing determinant of our future environment, health, and society. It is essential for organizations to be proactive about climate change in order to prepare and respond to its impacts effectively. The first step in this process to understand the organization's vulnerability to climate change. This can be quite daunting between the amount of scientific data available and the varying projection across states and regions. This presentation will provide a step by step example of conducting a climate change vulnerability assessment for a large confidential manufacturing client. This will highlight resources and tools available online that can review climate change factors and how those can impact an organization's operations, infrastructure, and people. The presentation will focus on the impacts related to average temperature change, average precipitation change, sea level rise, and extreme weather events (i.e., heat waves, extreme precipitation, hurricanes). Information on these impacts will be pulled from several resources/tools including the National Climate Assessment, NOAA's Sea Level Rise Viewer, World Resources Institute's Aqueduct, FEMA's Floodplain Maps, CDC's Social Vulnerability Index, and more. After reviewing the historical and project impacts to the area of interest, the presentation will walk through a basic review of potential vulnerabilities related to operations, infrastructure, and personnel's health and safety. The presentation will conclude with some example adaptation measures that an organization can consider to begin to address or adapt to the project impacts found during the vulnerability assessment.

Presenter:

Ross Weaver, Program Assistant Director, Wetlands Watch

Presentation Title: Tools to Advance Virginia's Resiliency Agenda

Abstract: Virginia has taken a proactive stance on addressing its resiliency needs. Executive Order 24 seeks to increase the state's resiliency to sea level rise and natural hazards, chiefly through the development of our first coastal master plan. This action underscores the need to inventory existing priority projects at the local level, as well as the need to develop new tools to prioritize and target areas for the creation of natural and nature-based features (NNBF). Wetlands Watch, in coordination with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has helped to develop two resources that can aid in this work. A newly developed tool, created by VIMS, can aid local staff and decision- makers as they plan for the implementation of natural infrastructure. This tool assesses the value of NNBFs for flood resiliency and determines the number of buildings protected by specific features. Further, it identifies areas that would benefit for the creation of new NNBFs. Additionally, Wetlands Watch has created a database of resiliency project proposals within the state's coastal zone. This database includes an inventory of grant RFPs to help match projects with eligible funding opportunities. Work is ongoing to enhance the value of this database by identifying opportunities for the beneficial use of dredged material for natural infrastructure. These resources can help increase coordination between a range of stakeholders, while promoting the state's emerging resilience agenda. This presentation will provide an overview of that work, and describe the lessons learned in their development.

 


 

 Waters of The United States (WOTUS)

Presenters:

  • Tom Walker, Chief, Regulatory Branch, US Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District
  • David Davis, Director, Office of Wetlands & Stream Protection, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Justin Curtis, Vice President, AquaLaw
  • Own McDonough, Senior Science Advisor for the Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Abstract: The Definition of WOTUS was codified in 1986 and then revised by several circuit court and Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Decisions over the ensuing decades. In 2015 the Obama Administration issued a new definition of WOTUS which was challenged by many lawsuits and thus was only implemented in a portion of the US. In September 2019 the Trump Administration announced the revocation of this definition - reverting back to the 1986 WOTUS definition as amended by various guidance documents issued pursuant to SCOTUS decisions. In late 2019 or early 2020 a new definition of WOTUS is expected to be published. This presentation will explain how this may affect land owners, public works agencies and builders in the Commonwealth of Virginia - and what the latest definition of WOTUS is in effect - and will explain what it means on the ground to land owners and entities wishing to construct in a landscape that may contain WOTUS.
 

Young Professionals 

 
 
 

Health of Virginia's Rivers and Watersheds

Presenter:

Shawn Ralston, Director of Programs, James River Association

Presentation Title: Sustainability vs. Resilience: Why We Should Design for Both

Abstract: When the JRA was founded 40 years ago, the health of the James River had reached a low point. In 1975, the Governor of Virginia closed the entire tidal James to any type of fishing due to kepone contamination, which exacerbated the existing issues of regular raw sewage discharges and widespread industrial pollution due to inadequate wastewater treatment. However, the James River has been a story of success over the last 40 years. Over the the last four decades, the measured health of the James River has increased remarkably, making the river arguably the most improved in the nation. To track progress over time, every other year since 2007 JRA has produced the State of the James, a report card on the ongoing effort to bring the James River back to full health. The Report is designed to examine the status and trends of indicators in four categories - Fish and Wildlife, Habitat, Pollution Reductions, and Protection and Restoration Actions - that are interconnected and build on one another to achieve a healthy James River. For each State of the James Report, JRA gathers primary data from authoritative sources. Once complete, the Report is shared with policy makers, decision makers, and the general public.
 
Presenter: Mark Frondorf, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper Network
 
Presentation Title: Sustainability vs. Resilience: Why We Should Design for Both
 
Abstract: For the past dozen years, the Shenandoah River has been suffering from excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous entering the waterway as a result of the overapplication of cattle manure and poultry litter on already saturated agricultural fields. Cattle herds directly entering the river, tear up the riverbank resulting in significant sediment loads entering the river and decreasing the biodiversity existing in the water while contributing to high E. coli levels that have the potential to harm livestock, pets, and humans. And then there is algae. Heavy algal loads hurt not just recreational activity (fishing, paddling), but it also has potential to put animals and people at risk when blue-green algae release toxins at high levels. Our efforts have been helping to reverse this trend, by employing options available through the Commonwealth's Agricultural Stewardship Act, associated cost-share programs to implement agricultural best management practices and advocating for stronger methods to reduce algal blooms in the river. The presentation will spell out specifically how we collect our information and data as well as our approach to leveraging our limited options to effect change and protect the river. We will present our findings on our successes as well as our failures and proffer possible courses of action to further protect the watershed. We will demonstrate that although we are achieving success in a number of different areas, more work needs to be done that requires systemic change in order to deal with agricultural practices that are harming the river.
 
Presenter: 
 
Joe Wood, Scientist, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
 
Presentation Title: Freshwater Mussels from the Clinch to the Chesapeake: Biodiversity, Clean Water
 
Abstract: From the Clinch River to the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia hosts a tremendous biodiversity of freshwater water mussels (77 species). These organisms which are highly imperiled (25% endangered nationwide) have been substantially impacted by several anthropogenic pressures. Despite their status and biodiversity, these organisms have received limited attention and remain largely unknown to the public. Restoration efforts through state (DGIF) and federal government (USFWS) agencies, alongside NGOs (e.g. The Nature Conservancy), have greatly improved the prospects for restoration in the Commonwealth, yielding optimism for future efforts. Other bivalves, such as the Eastern Oyster have been widely recognized for the role they play in improving water quality through ecosystem services (e.g. filtration). Freshwater Mussels offer similar benefits documented by peer review literature and could be potentially utilized throughout the watershed to enhance local water quality. This panel will explore the history of freshwater mussel restoration in Virginia, water quality benefits of these organisms, and establish a dialogue regarding the role these organisms might play in engaging citizens about local water quality. Finally, the presentation will provide a summary of recommendations provided by a 2020 Scientific Technical Advisory Committee workshop focusing on how to utilize freshwater mussels in order to help restore estuaries.
 

 

Addressing Recent Changes in EH&S Regulations

Presenter: 

James Levin, Senior Project Engineer, EEC Environmental

Presentation Title: Revitalize Hazcom Programs to Protect Workers and Avoid OSHA Violations

Abstract: Hazard Communication (or HAZCOM) programs are intended to protect American workers by providing them with readily accessible and understandable information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) originally mandated HAZCOM requirements in the early 1980s and more recently refined the requirements in 2012, primarily to incorporate the Globally Harmonized System of Classifying and Labeling Chemicals (GHS). Unfortunately, many organizations have not developed adequate HAZCOM programs. In fact, OSHA finds roughly 4,000 HAZCOM program violations each year, one of the most common of all health and safety violations. Only fall protection in the construction industry is a more prevalent violation. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the specific areas of HAZCOM programs that are the principal sources of violations and to review the 2012 regulatory changes covering hazard classification, labeling, safety data sheets, and information and training. We also will review best practices for developing a formal hazard communication program, for maintaining an inventory of hazardous chemicals and for ensuring alignment with GHS. This information will help organizations revitalize their programs, where necessary, to ensure their effectiveness and to be fully in compliance with OSHA HAZCOM requirements.
 
 
Presenter: 
 
Ruth DeBrito, Corporate Environmental Specialist, Smithfield
 
Presentation Title:

Abstract: 

 

Presenter: 

Leslie Romanchik, Waste Program Manager, Virginia DEQ

Presentation Title: EPA Final Rule: Adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations

Abstract: This presentation will provide an overview of the requirements of a new EPA hazardous waste rule that adds aerosol cans to the list of universal wastes. The intent of the rule is to reduce regulatory burden and encourage recycling while providing a practical system for managing aerosol cans. Although this rule is not yet effective in Virginia, it is being considered for adoption later this year.

 


 

Broadening Partnerships and Building Capacity for Bay Restoration

Presenters:

  • David Blount, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Planning Distrct Commissions
  • Lis Koerner Perry, Director of Environmental Services for Rockingham County, County of Rockingham
  • James Martin, Chesapeake Bay Program Manager, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality 
  • Katherine Filippino, Senior Water Resources Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission 
Abstract: Panel members will share perspectives regarding the PDC provision of technical and administrative assistance to local governments in the planning and implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Phase III WIP.
 

 Progress of Recycling and Waste Reduction in our Region

Presenter:
 
Lois Fegan, Sustainability Administrator, Virginia Department of Corrections
 
Presentation Title: Navigating Waste Management Challenges in the Virginia Department of Corrections 
 
Abstract: This workshop will provide an overview of the challenges facing waste management in a prison system and how the Virginia Department of Corrections is navigating through changes in the market, security protocols, and staffing.  VADOC developed a strategic plan to manage its waste, primarily focusing on organics, recycling and other specialized waste streams. This workshop will largely focus on organic waste diversion, composting and developing a sustainable approach to waste management. Participants will learn the challenges and opportunities related to planning and implementing waste and composting operations in many different types of facilities. Data will be presented about the past 5 years of composting and waste operations in VADOC and the impact projections a full-scale food-waste diversion will have on the agency. Overall, participants will benefit from understanding the unique circumstances around correctional waste management and utilize lessons learned in their own challenging and unique organizations.
 
Presenter:
 
Bob Gardner, Senior Vice President, SCS Engineers
 
Presentation Title: Coastal Resources Of Maine Mixed Waste Processing Facility, Hampden, Maine
 
Abstract: The Coastal Resources of Maine mixed waste processing facility reached commercial operations in November 2019 after almost two years of construction.  The 150,000 ton per year capacity, 144,000 square foot  facility receives municipal solid waste and source separated recyclables from 85 communities that are part of the Municipal Review Committee of Maine (MRC), as well as commercial haulers.  The facility includes a state of the art material recovery process line manufactured by CP Group and a specially designed “wet-end” processing system to produce pulp from the separated fiber materials.  The end-system also includes an anaerobic digestion system to treat the organics that are solubilized during in the wastewater process water from the pulping operation.
 
Presenter:
 
Eric Forbes, Director of Engineering and Environmental Compliance, Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program   
 
Presentation Title: We’re Crushing It! Glass Recycling in Northern VA 
 
Abstract: 
 

 Solar Farms in Virginia  

Presenter: 
 
Richard Street, Deputy Director of Environmental Codes, Spotsylvania County
 
Presentation Title: Solar Farm update Working a large scale Land disturbance Site
 
Abstract: Through the 3 year process for a large scale land disturbance project in the County we have learned (in some case the hard way) that we need to warn our neighbors to be prepared. This presentations will provide the lessons learned from start through the first stages of construction. We will explain the ups and down through the process and where we started to find issues that needed to be corrected fast.
 
 
Presenter:
 
Carrie Hearne, Solar Program Manager, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals & Energy, Division of Energy 
 
Presentation Title: 
 
Abstract: 
 
 
Presenters:
 
Adam Wells, Regional Director of Community and Economic Development, Appalachian Voices
 
Christine Gyovai, Principle, Dialogue + Design Associates
 
Presentation Title: Solar Success (and frustration) in Great Southwest Virginia
 
Abstract: This engaging session will feature the efforts of the Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia to develop a locally-rooted solar industry in the coal-producing region of Virginia through a dynamic presentation. The Solar Workgroup is a collaborative effort comprised of nonprofit and community action agencies, colleges, schools, state agencies, planning district commissions and other interested citizens and businesses that are working toward four goals to develop a renewable energy industry cluster in the seven coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia. Started in 2016, the Workgroup is co-convened by the UVA-Wise Office of Economic Development & Engagement, People Inc. and Appalachian Voices, with facilitation from Dialogue + Design Associates. The Solar Workgroup has a specific focus on the initial successes to utilize previously mined lands for large-scale solar, while working to attract solar supply chain manufacturing to the region. The Workgroup has received support from Appalachian Regional Commission, GO Virginia, private foundations, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Session participants will learn about Workgroup strategies to identify and build support for solar, attract developers and grow jobs in the region, establish viable and highly visible projects, and address barriers that have kept the Southwest from enjoying the same benefits of solar already accessible throughout the Commonwealth. Session participants will learn tools to grow solar in their own communities, hear lessons learned, develop a deeper understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities around solar growth in Southwest Virginia, as well as how community members are using solar to grow economic resilience throughout the region.
 

The Rapidly Evolving PFAS Challenge

Presenter: 
 
Peter Fontaine, Esquire, Cozen O'Connor
 
Presentation Title: The Changing PFAS Landscape: Analytical Science, Regulation & Liability 

Abstract: The most significant emerging groundwater contaminant threat are those Per- and Poly-fluorinated carbon substances known as “PFAS.”  These compounds, including Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctylsulfonic Acid (PFOS), are used in a wide variety of commercial products due to their remarkable surfactant, water repellent, and flame retardant properties arising from their carbon-fluorine bond, one of the strongest known to science.  The carbon-fluorine bond makes these compounds extremely persistent, bioaccumulative and mobile in soil and water.  Emerging scientific research suggests exposure to PFAS contaminants, mainly through consumption of PFAS-contaminated drinking water, can be toxic.  PFAS exposure has been linked with reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Consistent health research findings include increased cholesterol levels in exposed populations, low infant birth weights, immune system effects, cancer (for PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS at 70 parts per trillion (PPT), while many states are moving forward with even more stringent groundwater standards as low as 13 ppt.  These extremely low levels make PFAS comparable to dioxins in terms of health-based action levels.  

Presenter: 

Paul Nyffeler, Senior Associate, AquaLaw PLC

Presentation Title: PFAS: Detection, Toxicity, Treatment, & Developments in Regulation

Abstract: The presence of unregulated contaminants in water, combined with growing public awareness and concern over per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), has caused unprecedented challenges for the water industry. From the nationwide discovery of PFOA/PFOS contamination originating from firefighting foam and other sources to the decades-long contamination of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina by GenX (a successor chemical to Dupont's Teflon/C8), the detection, tracing, and removal of PFAS compounds has proven difficult and expensive. This presentation will discuss the challenges presented by PFAS to the drinking industry, and the state of regulation attempts across the country.

 

Presenter: 

Emily Vavricka, Project Scientist, EEC Environmental

Presentation Title: PFAS Sampling Protocols Review

Abstract: This presentation will provide a general overview of PFAS and the current regulatory status, and focus on proper PFAS sampling procedures, including equipment selection and use, sample collection and storage, decontamination, and field quality control, in order to collect a representative and valid sample without the potential for cross-contamination. Analytical methods will also be discussed to ensure the collected sample is analyzed with the appropriate method to meet project objectives, which might include product fingerprinting and source attribution. Finally, implications for the admissibility of data evidence at trial (whether in administrative or judicial proceedings) will be discussed, including reliability of data from the standpoint of data quality objectives and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC).

 

Presenter: 

Matt Zenker, Senior Technial Leader, AECOM 

Presentation Title: PFAS Removal versus Destruction: Short-term and long-term solutions for long-chain and short-chain problems

Abstract: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of synthetic chemicals that have gained significant attention due to widespread use, suspected toxicity and resistance to many naturally occurring attenuation mechanisms.  Recent nationwide investigation activities for PFAS have observed extensive detections in both surface and subsurface sources of drinking water, causing concern for human exposure.  Although treatment technologies exist that can remove PFAS from drinking water, the most successful involve physical separation, and not destructive processes.  These separation technologies ultimately create a highly concentrated residual waste stream and must be appropriately managed to prevent re-introduction of PFAS into the environment (e.g., landfills).  This presentation will describe various treatment options (separation and destructive) for PFAS in drinking water, as well as provide a discussion on the pros/cons of each treatment methodology.

 


Community-Driven Climate Resilience Strategies

Presenters:

  • Alisa Hefner, Senior Designer and Facilitator, Skeo Solutions, Inc. 
  • Sarah Malpass, Associate Planner, Skeo Solutions
  • Jennifer Li, Staff Attorney, Harrison Institute for Public Law, Georgetown

Abstract: This panel will discuss lessons learned from two projects in climate change-impacted communities—one in Washington, D.C. and another in Mexico Beach, FL—that are implementing government plans for recovery, climate readiness and long-term resilience to flooding and storm surge events. In Washington, D.C., the formation of the Ward 7 Equity Advisory Group piloted an equitable community engagement process centered on the voices of diverse community leaders and demonstrates how community-driven recommendations for climate equity can align local government resources with community priorities. The panel will share ideas on how equity supports can increase participation, particularly with previously untapped leaders from low-income and marginalized communities that are also the most vulnerable to climate change risks. A discussion on the recovery efforts in Mexico Beach, Florida, which was the epicenter of Category 5 Hurricane Michael will demonstrate how recovery efforts can provide an opportunity to integrate community benefits into the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure from natural disaster. The panel will share lessons learned on building a partnership approach to foster collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies that can leverage resources and lead to on-the-ground improvements for long- term resiliency. The panel will reflect on how lessons learned from these climate change-impacted communities can apply to Virginia communities.


Introducing Equitable Collaboration for Environmental Justice

 

Presenters:

  • Tanya Denckla Cobb, Director, Institute for Engagement and Negotiation
  • Frank Dukes, Institute for Engagement & Negotiation
  • Chris Winestead, Lynchburg District Engineer, VDOT
  • Diane Brown Townes,
  • Nancy Gill  

Abstract: Throughout the nation, we are seeing insistent challenges to monuments, memorials, and other locations identified with histories of oppression. These histories and legacies of harm are present and exert influence throughout all forms of environmental work in Virginia. The influence of these legacies is sometimes subtle, as in the massive land loss in the 20th century by black farmers due to decades of discriminatory loan practices described in the successful class action lawsuits and settlements of Pigford I and Pigford II. The influence of these legacies can also be more overt, as witnessed by the inability of vulnerable populations to evacuate to safety, even in the face of warnings and threats of devastation. Sometimes the influence is recognized and discussed overtly by the community as in the disposition of historic resources such as statues, flags, and other visual tributes to the Civil War. Sometimes the influence remains just beneath the surface, as in the continuing but unspoken influence in local county decision-making of the historic removal of people from the Blue Ridge for the creation of the Shenandoah National park. The six elements of Equitable Collaboration insist that community engagement be 1) Trauma-informed; 2) Inclusive; 3) Responsive; 4) Truth- seeking 5) Deliberative and 6) Effectual. Participants will be guided through examples of why these are important components of equitable collaboration and engagement, and how they manifest in the context of specific cases.


 

Stormwater Best Management Practices

Presenters:
 
Seth Brown, Principal and Founder of Storm and Stream Solutions, LLC, Storm and Stream Solutions, LLC
 
Corey Simonpietri, ACF’s Director of Stormwater Management, ACF Environmental 
 
Presentation Title: Overview of the Stormwater Testing and Evaluation for Products and Practices
 
Abstract: Performance verification programs abound for water management technologies, with agencies like ASTM, UL and IAPMO establishing peer reviewed performance standards, and accredited laboratories independently verifying performance relative to those standards. Whether you're shopping for a new faucet, a pool filter or a household water softener, approval by a verification agency gives peace of mind that product will perform up to industry minimum standards. Once a threshold level of performance has been demonstrated, these products are typically marketed on the basis of exceeding those standards or on ancillary benefits like cost savings and aesthetics. Compared to other water industry sectors, acceptance of structural stormwater best management practices (BMPs) is an anomaly. Performance standards are unclear and inconsistent if they exist at all and there is no organization with the ability, interest and funding to act as a statewide verification organization. Fortunately there are successful stormwater BMP performance verification efforts underway throughout the country that MS4s could learn from. Through the Stormwater Institute, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) initiated the Stormwater Testing and Evaluation for Products and Practices (STEPP) project to fill the void created by the lack of a national stormwater BMP testing and verification program. This initiative draws from experiences in successful state and regional programs to develop a BMP evaluation framework that relies on regulatory agencies around the United States. A diverse group of stakeholders has pledged to support the STEPP initiative including EPA, the National Municipal Stormwater Alliance, the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council, ASTM International, and other organizations.
 
Presenters:
 
David Hirschman, Principal, Hirschman Water & Environment, LLC
 
Marcus Aguilar, Private Consultant
 
Presentation Title: Boosting Performance of Stormwater BMPs
 
Abstract: In 2008, the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) and the Chesapeake Stormwater Network (CSN) released the Runoff Reduction Method (RRM) Technical Memorandum. This paper summarized the existing research, including over 160 studies, on the annual runoff reduction benefits of various stormwater best management practices and proposed runoff reduction as a standard for stormwater development rules. This focus on runoff reduction was intended to incentivize the use of low-impact development and green infrastructure practices. A decade later, the original team that authored the RRM along with some new partners had the opportunity to revisit the research than underpins the performance values for specific BMPs. Through review of studies published between 2008 and 2018, the team assessed the validity of the original runoff reduction values and evaluated what BMP features or design strategies are most important for runoff reduction success. In addition, the sponsoring organizations, through various grants, conducted literature reviews of various performance enhancing devices (PEDs) for stormwater BMPs. These included soil media amendments (iron, aluminum, biochar), internal water storage, and enhanced vegetation design and management. Crediting of PEDs is currently be considered at the Chesapeake Bay Program level. This work was conducted in conjunction with Metro Nashville Water Services and the District (D.C.) Department of Energy and the Environment, with PEDs funding from the Chesapeake Bay Program and Chesapeake Bay Trust. The RRM update team included CWP, CSN, Hirschman Water & Environment, Dr. Jon Hathaway (University of Tennessee), CityScape Engineering (Kelly Lindow), and Dr. Marcus Aguilar.
 
Presenters:
 
Peter Cada, L&D Geospatial GIS Manager, VDOT
 
Chris Swanson, VDOT 
 
Presentation Title: MS4 Solutions using ArcGIS Applications - Keeping our Waterways Clean
 
Abstract: For the last few years VDOT's Location and Design Division has been engaged in the mapping of its many data types while making it publicly accessible in order to meet or exceed, its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit requirements. Leveraging both ArcGIS Enterprise Portal and ArcGIS Online (AGO) platforms and associated applications has heightened VDOT's compliance with its MS4 permit which helps protect downstream waterways from pollutants coming from areas managed by VDOT. Building off of VDOT's recent efforts in employing mobile technology (ArcGIS Collector) and web map applications with survey forms (Survey123) to collect and manage spatial data, VDOT has now compiled numerous data sets, stakeholder information and guidance, WebMaps, Dashboards, and other Portal and AGO applications that have been compiled into a one-stop, user-friendly and interactive website available for the general public to explore. Through the use of a complex Storymap application this presentation will provide a demonstration of the different ways in which VDOT has leveraged ESRI applications, and where the Location and Design division will be heading in the future. Example applications will include how the public can participate and engage with VDOT and its effort to prevent downstream water quality degradation (such as Stream Cleanup Events, reporting potential Illicit Discharges, or Adoption of a Highway), the mapping and analysis of storm water infrastructure such as outfalls from the stormwater system, location and maintenance of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to limit pollutant loading, and the management of active construction sites.
 
Presenters:
 
Catey Lavagnino, PWS, Natural Resource Planner, AECOM
 
Chris Whiteside, MEng, PE, AECOM 
 
Presentation Title: Automating inputs for the Virginia Runoff Reduction Method using VRRMSpeed
 
Abstract: The Virginia DEQ encourages water quality environmental site design to avoid and minimize land disturbance, preserve open space, and avoid sensitive areas. Determining runoff reduction at the preliminary site selection level is arduous and often left until after a preferred site is selected. To streamline this process, AECOM has developed an automated approach to use public data to assist in site or route selection: land cover from the Virginia Geospatial Information Network, Hydrologic Soil Group classification from the Soil Survey Geographic Database, and hydrologic unit codes from USGS. Downloaded or field-corrected land cover data are converted to forest/open space, managed turf, and impervious categories. Now, separate LODs can be exported from the same GIS database into Microsoft Access ®. The VRRMSpeed tool organizes information from the Microsoft Access ® export and creates unique site/project identifiers and populates the landcover/soils table in the worksheet, which then generate the nutrient reduction per the standard DEQ VRRM worksheet. The VRRMSpeed tool also generates an area check, project/site list, excluded polygons list, and highlights reduction requirements. A project geodatabase only needs to be set up once for VRRM export despite multiple revisions to the LOD. Subsequent exploration of route or site options from a runoff reduction perspective is significantly less time consuming than manual calculations in GIS or CAD. Using publicly available data, the VRRMSpeed tool could allow VSMP authorities, developers, linear utilities/transportation to quickly evaluate parcels or routes in the project concept phase and encourage environmental site design principles.

Career Opportunities

Presenter:

Sheeren Hughes, Director, Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification

 

 

Dam Removal and River Restoration

Presenters:
 
Lauren Henry-Stone, University of Lynchburg 
 
Erin Hawkins, Water Quality Manager, City of Lynchburg 
 
Presentation Title: The Case of College Lake Dam
 
Abstract: On Aug 2, 2018, a significant flood in the City of Lynchburg caused College Lake to overtop its dam, substantially damaging this 80-year old, high-hazard dam and putting downstream properties and infrastructure at risk. This event stimulated the City and the University of Lynchburg to recommit to collaborating on a solution to resolve this dangerous situation. While the City owns the dam, the University owns the lake. Together, the City and the University are pursuing dam removal to achieve the following: meeting dam safety requirements, long-range transportation planning, environmental mitigation and restoration, and creation of opportunities for education, research, and recreation for the University and broader community. Situated in the heart of the City, with a 22mi2 watershed, College Lake was created in 1934 when Blackwater Creek was impounded with an earthen dam. The dam also serves as the roadbed for Lakeside Drive, a major commuter artery. For decades, sediment has accumulated in the lake and reduced its storage capacity by more than fifty percent. Decommissioning the dam will therefore require constructing a new bridge to replace the road currently over the dam, then removing the dam and restoring the Blackwater Stream channel, and managing the approximated 200,000 yds3 of impounded sediment, all of which drains to the James River, part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Blackwater Creek is listed as an impaired waterway requiring TMDL implementation. Our presentation will include an overview of the proposed project, progress made and/or planned towards meeting these objectives.
 
Presenters:
 
Richard Roth, Professor, Radford University Geospatial Science Department
 
Bill Tanger, Chairman, Friends of the Rivers of Virginia 
 
Presentation Title: Collaborative River Restoration:  Removing a Dam from the Pigg River
 
Abstract: On February 2, 2014, a coal ash lagoon near Eden, NC failed, spilling into the Dan River just upstream of where the river re-enters Virginia. Federal and state natural resource trustees initiated a Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) process. This project was proposed by the nonprofit organization, Friends of the Rivers of Virginia (FORVA) and eventually accepted by the Trustees. The proposed project met several of the objectives identified by the Trustees for NRDAR projects, including restoring fish passage, restoring instream habitats, and restoring rare and nongame species including the federal endangered Roanoke Logperch (Percina Rex). Other purposes were to improve recreation, protect critical infrastructure downstream, and preserve historic structures FORVA managed the dam removal process in close coordination with the Trustees and other stakeholders. By Summer of 2016, work was underway cutting a v-notch through the concrete dam. This process is now complete, and construction of access amenities (parking, kiosk and signage, and catwalk) as well as continued removal of the massive logjam in the former reservoir continue. Also continuing are monitoring of adjacent perched wetlands and sediment movement. The project provides insights into how river managers can work cooperatively with competent nongovernmental organizations and those responsible for major spills to bring about a successful restoration project.
 
Presenter:
 
Margaret Walls, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
 
Presentation Title: Dam Removal and River Restoration in Virginia
 
Abstract: Virginia has over 3,000 dams, many of them built decades ago and no longer providing the services for which they were originally built. Many of the dams are also in poor condition and are a safety risk in terms of potential downstream flooding if the dam breaches. Some are run of the river lowhead dams that can cause accidental drownings by boaters and swimmers. Removing dams can eliminate these hazards and at the same time support populations of diadramous fish species such as shad and eel, provide habitat for resident fish, improve water quality, and enhance whitewater recreational opportunities. Only 37 documented dam removals have occurred in Virginia as of 2018. In this paper, we analyze the factors that spurred those removals and the institutional, regulatory, and funding barriers that prevent more dams from being removed in the Commonwealth, especially compared with some other states. We also report on a workshop on dams and dam removals led by the authors, with participation by Virginia dam safety experts, representatives from the Department of Game and Inland Fishers, state environmental and conservation organizations, and academic experts.
 

Innovative Solutions for Waterways

Presenter:
 
Sadie Drescher, Director, Restoration Programs, Chesapeake Bay Trust
 
Presentation Title: Pooled Monitoring Initiative - A novel approach that pools funding to support restoration
 
Abstract: Efforts to restore waterways call for an increase in the number of watershed restoration projects intended to improve both water quality and habitat. Questions about the performance and function of these practices persist in the regulatory and practitioner community that prevent more rapid implementation. As a result, a new initiative called the Pooled Monitoring Program has been designed to connect key stormwater and stream restoration questions posed by the regulatory and practitioner communities with the scientific community. Pressing questions about the practices have been articulated over the last several years with input from the regulators and practitioners. Examples include questions about cumulative impacts of restoration practices at a watershed scale, differences in efficacy of different stream restoration techniques, trade- offs among different resources impacted positively and negatively by restoration activities, and how to predict or model structural stability of stream restoration. The Initiative articulates the "burning" restoration questions that regulators and practitioners need to make decisions. The novelty of the initiative is derived from identifying funds used for other types of monitoring that have more power in a pool. Results of the research are communicated back to the regulators and practitioners in a way that maximizes their ability to inform work in those realms. The Pooled Monitoring Program aims to answer these questions to ultimately increase confidence in proposed restoration project outcomes, clarify optimal site conditions in which to apply particular restoration techniques, provide information useful to regulatory agencies in project permitting, and provide information that will help guide monitoring programs.
 
Presenter:
 
Karen Pallansch, Chief Executive Officer, Alexandria Renew Enterprises
 
Presentation Title: Healthy Waterways, Healthy Communities:  Engaging Residents for Project Success
 
Abstract: Alexandria, Virginia is known for its engaged citizenry, rich history, and well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings situated along Old Town's quiet, tree-lined streets. It is a cultural hub — home to many museums, art galleries, landmarks, shops, and restaurants. Over the next six years, Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) will construct a massive infrastructure program called "RiverRenew" to address the discharge of combined sewage to Alexandria's waterways. RiverRenew is estimated between $370 and $555 million and includes a storage and conveyance tunnel system and upgrades to AlexRenew's wastewater treatment plant. Every Alexandrian will be affected by RiverRenew, through construction activities in Old Town and along the Eisenhower Corridor or via city-wide rate increases necessary for funding the planning, design, and construction work. Given these wide-ranging impacts, AlexRenew has been executing a multi-dimensional community outreach plan since RiverRenew's inception. This paper will focus on the goals, strategies, and tactics for three of RiverRenew's outreach campaigns. It will begin by examining the use of a stakeholder advisory group to disseminate complex information before reviewing the implementation, including messaging and collateral, of a city-wide rate campaign. Finally, it will analyze the public forum techniques used to summarize construction approaches, their impacts, and potential mitigation strategies. With primary objectives of transparency and community education, the outreach plan will communicate the significant health and environmental benefits that RiverRenew will bring to Alexandria. Upon completion, the citizens of Alexandria will recognize the significant improvement RiverRenew will bring to local waterways and Alexandrians overall quality of life.
 
Presenter:
 
Corey Simonpietri, Director of Stormwater Management, ACF Environmental
 
Presentation Title: Stormwater on the Down-Low: Innovative Ideas for Managing Stormwater in a Shallow
 
Abstract: The presentation will cover a variety of topics, potentially including: - Maximizing storage in bioretention - Shallow bioretention options - Low-profile VDOT culverts - Making Permeable Pavement a practical alternative - Benefits of horizontal infiltration

 Achieving The Chesapeake Bay Program Goals: A Federal Commitment

Presenters:
 
Kevin DuBois, DoD Chesapeake Bay Program Coordinator, Department of Defense/Department of the Navy
 
Alicia Logalbo, 
 
Presentation Title: A Cooperative Approach to Achieve DoD Chesapeake Bay Program and Natural Resource Goals
 
Abstract: The presentation will identify the various regulatory drivers for natural resource management and others specific to Chesapeake Bay restoration and will promote cooperation among environmental staff to implement a "co-benefit" approach to identify projects that meet multiple programmatic objects.
 

Managing Virginia's Lands

Presenter:
 
Jason Bulluck, Director, Virginia DCR-Natural Heritage Program
 
Presentation Title: Governor Northam's ConserveVirginia Land Conservation Initiative Update
 
Abstract: Launched in April 2018, ConserveVirginia provides a data driven approach to prioritizing land conservation efforts in Virginia, building on data developed and provided by an array of state and federal agencies, universities and conservation non-profits in Virginia. This strategy meets the Governor's directive to prioritize the most important lands from a statewide perspective, focus limited resources toward those areas, and measure the progress we make toward achieving multiple conservation goals. Developed to identify how and where to achieve the best conservation outcomes, ConserveVirginia has already shown success in steering land conservation actions, and has been refined since its first release. This presentation will provide an overview of ConserveVirginia implementation; successes to date; access to current maps; as well as revisions and updates.
 
 
Presenter:
 
Brad Kreps, Clinch Valley Program Director, The Nature Conservancy
 
Presentation Title: Cumberland Forest -- Establishing Virginia's Largest Open Space Easement
 
Abstract: The presentation will discuss how The Nature Conservancy worked with two state agencies (DEQ and DOF) to implement a public-private partnership to support the Conservancy's recent acquisition of more than 153,000 acres in Southwest Virginia; and the establishment of Virginia's largest open space easement on 22,000 acres of forested headwaters on the property. Key words: Open Space Easement, Virginia Clean Water Financing and Assistance Program, Clinch Valley and Central Appalachians. 
 
Presenter:
 
Jospeh Weber, Natural Heritage Information Manager, Department of Conservation and Recreation
 
Presentation Title: Virginia Natural Landscape Assessment Updates
 
Abstract: The Virginia Natural Landscape Assessment (VaNLA), a module of Virginia ConservationVision, is a landscape-scale, spatial analysis for identifying, prioritizing, and connecting natural lands in Virginia. Originally based upon land cover data derived from satellite imagery, the VaNLA was piloted in 2004, expanded to a statewide model in 2007, and updated in 2017. Another update has recently been completed using high-resolution land cover developed by the Virginia Geographic Information Network from 4-band orthophotography of the Virginia Base Mapping Program. The VaNLA uses land cover data to identify unbroken natural habitats called Ecological Cores, which are large patches of natural land with at least 100 contiguous acres of interior, beginning 100 meters inward from the nearest edges with unsuitable land covers. The predominant cover in Ecological Cores statewide is forest, but marshes, beaches, and dunes are significant components where they meet minimum size requirements, particularly in the coastal plain. Ecological Cores are ranked by integrity to reflect the wide range of important benefits and ecosystem services they provide, including biodiversity conservation, wildlife habitat, aesthetic values, recreational opportunities, and protections for air and water quality. Ecological Cores are connected by corridors to create a statewide network of the highest priority lands, called the Natural Lands Network, and are aggregated along with contiguous natural cover into larger planning units called Natural Landscape Blocks. Also identified are resilience corridors connecting every ecoregion of the Commonwealth intended to facilitate species distribution shifts as the climate changes and the landscape becomes more developed.
 
Presenter:
 
Julia Hillegass, Agricultural Reserve Coordinator, City of Virginia Beach
 
Presentation Title: Preserving Rural Character in the World's Largest Resort City
 
Abstract: The Agricultural Reserve Program is designed to maintain agriculture as a viable industry in Virginia Beach by preserving the resource base for farming. City of Virginia Beach enacted the Agricultural Lands Preservation Ordinance and the Virginia Beach Agricultural Reserve Program on May 9, 1995. The program was designed and promoted by a coalition of farm, Conservation, business, and civic interests. There was common concern for resource and growth management, as well as preservation of agri-business and a balanced tax base. The City of Virginia Beach Agricultural Advisory Commission determines the eligibility of properties offered to the Program, helps set purchase priorities, and advises the City Council about easement acquisitions.
 

Watershed Restoration and Healing

Presenter:
 
Bryan David, County Administrator, Orange County, Virginia
 
Presentation Title: Healthy Watersheds_Orange County Pilot Project
 
Abstract:
 
Presenters:
 
Denise Nelson, Environmental Engineer, The Berkley Group
 
Terrance Laser, 
 
Presentation Title: "How To" Support Forest Conservation for Healthy Watersheds
 
Abstract: The Healthy Watershed Forest Project's goal is to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by encouraging forest conservation. Forest cover has long been recognized as one of the best land uses for protecting water quality; however, there have been few programs or incentives effective at encouraging landowners to retain forests. This project provides localities conservation policy options to support landowners in maintaining forestlands and mitigate conversion for development. The project team evaluated land conservation policies for our two pilot counties, Essex and Orange, interviewed landowners, and recommended policy changes with input from public meetings, and appointed and elected officials. In addition to incorporating conservation policies in comprehensive plans and land use ordinances, the final project product is a Best Practices "How-To" Manual to aid other localities in replicating the process. Session attendees will be able to use the manual to navigate locality issues and concerns and identify conservation policies that are appropriate for their local context. As a partnership between the Secretariat of Agriculture and Forestry, Virginia Department of Forestry, Rappahannock River Basin Commission, local consultants, and the pilot localities, with involvement from numerous landowners, this project is valuable to landowners, localities, conservation organizations, state agencies, and anyone dedicated to conserving forests and protecting water quality. Forest conservation will have a significant impact in reaching local and Chesapeake Bay watershed nutrient reduction targets as well as reducing localized flooding from stormwater runoff thus supporting a more vibrant and resilient Virginia.
 
Presenters:
 
Daniel Spethmann, Working Lands Investment Partners, LLC
 
Chandler Van Voorhis, Managing Partner, ACRE
 
Presentation Title: Healthy Watershed Phase III - Forests/AG lands/TMDL - P3 Financing
 
Abstract: The HW Forests/AG lands/TMDL phase III project team's objective in Task 2 is to harness the power of the economy to drive conservation of HQ Forest and HQ AG lands, as opposed to relying on philanthropic motives. Trees help settle a carbon deficiency - carbon provides tree permanency and provide economic water quality benefits. Consequently, forests are becoming valued as intact, standing forests. Achieving scale is the issue to stimulating successful HQ Forest and HQ AG Land conservation. Transactions need to occur at a scale and speed several orders of magnitude greater than is occurring now if the level of private capital investment needed to sustain conservation on a long-term basis is to move into the financing role for future forestland conservation and reforestation.
 

Chesapeake Bay Restoration: The Past is Prologue 

Presenters:
 
  • Jay Ford, Chesapeake Bay Foundation 
  • Trieste Lockwood, Senior Policy Advisor, Department of Environmental Quality 
  • Nathan Burrell, Deputy Director, Department of Conservation and Recreation
 
Abstract: The restoration of the Chesapeake Bay is an international model of intergovernmental cooperation towards the mutual goal of ecosystem recovery. Restoration efforts include reducing pollution, restoring habitats, managing fisheries, protecting watersheds, and fostering stewardship through communication, connectivity, and diversity initiatives.  Despite a growing population, the partnership is halfway to achieving its pollution reduction goals.  With the 2019 release of jurisdictions’ final Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans and the 2025 target date for clean water, we must make progress at an accelerated pace. This session brings together Virginians covering a broad array of disciplines who are all focused on achieving our watershed restoration goals. Starting with a reflection of the successes and lessons learned after four decades of collaborative problem solving, the panelists will explore what must be done now to ensure we reach our shared goal of a restored Chesapeake Bay.
 

Pollinator-Friendly Landscapes for Solar Facilities and Beyond 

Presenters:
 
  • Rob Davis, Director, Center for Pollinators in Energy, Fresh Energy
  • Doug DeBerry, Senior Environmental Scientist, VHB
  • Mary Major, Renewable Energy Permitting, Virginia DEQ
  • Rene Hypes, Project Review Coordinator, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
 
Abstract: As solar energy development has rapidly bloomed over the past decade, so has an opportunity to develop acres of diverse plant communities to meaningfully benefit water, soil, and wildlife. How are conservationists, solar developers, and state and regional officials addressing the growing trend of solar farms in agricultural areas? Should solar development be restricted to industrial zones area or encouraged on arable land?
 

Clean Energy, Biophilic Design + Development

Presenter:
 
Vivek Shinde Patil, Co-Founder and Director, Ascent Virginia
  
Presentation Title: Building a Clean Technology Jobs & Economic Development Ecosystem
 
Abstract: The Commonwealth of Virginia, like our nation, faces a growing divide over values, environmental progress, and economics. These divisions exist across geography, income level, race, gender, and political beliefs. Through the Building Bridges ethos of persistent outreach, listening and engagement, Ascent Virginia (AVI), a social impact nonprofit is actively fostering strong, meaningful cross-cultural relationships with and between communities across Virginia. This statewide network serves as a foundation for its Clean Technology Jobs & Economic Development Initiative. Through a collaborative effort—one involving economic development officials, workforce agencies, technology companies and entrepreneurs, universities, local communities and elected leaders at all level, AVI believes we can make Virginia a center for clean technology jobs that pay and stay. In the past two years, AVI has traveled across Virginia, met with hundreds of stakeholders and is presently engaged in five pilots focused on building a manufacturing ecosystem, entrepreneurship, high school apprenticeships and job creation, financing and private sector engagement around clean tech and energy development. These pilots and stakeholder engagement have laid the foundation for future work to advance AVI's mission to create economic prosperity by linking environmental progress with sustainable job creation, and make Virginia a dominant cleantech and renewables energy hub. AVI looks forward to discussing its experiences and presenting its progress at this important environmental summit.
 
Presenter:
 
JD Brown, Program Director, Biophilic Cities
 
Presentation Title: Biophilic Cities: Connecting Cities and Nature
 
Abstract: Biophilic Cities partners with cities, scholars and advocates from across the globe to build an understanding of the value and contribution of nature in cities to the lives of urban residents. As a central element of its work, Biophilic Cities facilitates a global network of partner cities, organizations and individuals working collectively to pursue the vision of a natureful city within their unique and diverse environments and cultures. The network partners share insights about the unique projects and policies that they are pursuing and mutually spur commitment to and investment in innovation in these cities across the globe. The participants in the network are working in concert to conserve and celebrate nature in all its forms and the many important ways in which cities and their inhabitants benefit from the biodiversity and wild urban spaces present in cities. Highlighting programs and policies underway in three Virginia cities that partner in the network, JD Brown, Program Director for Biophilic Cities, will review the growing wealth of evidence that demonstrates the improvements to community and individual health derived from these efforts, which are in turn augmented by a spectrum of additional benefits arising from investing in nature-based solutions, including: improved air quality, storm water control, increased property values, and reduced crime.
 

Shaping the Future of the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice

 
 
 

Electrifying Virginia's Transportation Fleet

Presenters:
 
Mark Webb, Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Dominion Energy
 
Bob Perciasepe, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions 
 
Presentation Title: Reimagining Transportation in Virginia
 
Abstract: The next great opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and avoid the impacts of climate change can be found in the transportation industry. Further, we can decarbonize this sector in a way that doesn't disrupt the economy and our lives. Changing how we transport people and goods, as well as the fuel that propels our vehicles will bring environmental benefits to all income levels and all communities. Opportunities for carbon reduction also exist in transportation sectors where electrification is not currently feasible (aviation, marine shipping, etc.) Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., but the use of electricity can significantly reduce this carbon footprint. The challenge is, how do we accomplish this? Reimagining transportation in Virginia will include electrification, autonomy and shared mobility. All three of these will bring both immediate and long term benefits.
 
 
Presenter:
 
Chris Bast, Chief Deputy, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
 
 
Presentation Title: 
 
Abstract:

  Collaboration: A Story of Success

 
Presenters:
 
  • Mark Miller, Executive Director, Virginia Wilderness Committee
  • Wayne Thacker, Director, Virginia Wildlife Habitat Coalition
  • Al Bourgeois, Member, Ruffed Grouse Society
  • Blair Smythe, Director, Allegheny Highlands Project, The Nature Conservancy
  • John Hancock, Board Member, Virginia Forestry Association
 
Abstract: Vision We envision a well-connected network of core, relatively un-fragmented, forested areas embedded within a landscape of diverse age and structural character that supports a variety of wildlife species, builds ecological resilience, and provides essential ecological, social, economic, and recreational benefits for people. Goal Our goal is to preclude the typical conflicts that arise during project development and avoid project appeals and litigation. Each organization within the group would also determine what they could contribute (e.g., financially, in-kind, analysis, monitoring, congressional advocacy, or simply verbal support) and as a group, determine and help seek funding opportunities available and pertinent to the project concept. Tiers of Management Limited management intervention in core areas will serve to restore ecological processes, mimic natural disturbances, and maintain existing access through controlled burns, invasive species control, and trail construction and maintenance. Outside of core areas, management activities such as timber harvest, firewood harvest, wildlife openings, waterholes, controlled burns, and other applicable habitat management techniques will primarily serve to promote ecological restoration by: 1) promoting oak reproduction, 2) enhancing habitat conditions for declining early succession species and other Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia/West Virginia, and 3) restoring low diversity stands and systems severely altered from their historic range of variability (e.g., stands <40 years old, systems converted to white pine plantations, fire-dependent systems).

Groundwater Management

Presenters:
 
Katie Krueger, Water Resources Geologist, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
 
Whitney Katchmark, Department Head Wastewater and Drinking Water, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission 
 
Presentation Title: Groundwater Levels in the Virginia Coastal Plain Aquifer System
 
Abstract: Groundwater from the Virginia Coastal Plain Aquifer System serves as the drinking water source for over 175,000 people in the Hampton Roads region. In 2014, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) began a process to reduce groundwater permit withdrawals based on concerns that the Potomac Aquifer was over allocated. This session would be a workshop format to analyze changes in groundwater levels across the Coastal Plain from 1990-2019. The water level in each monitoring well is impacted by surrounding withdrawals and by the local geology. This workshop would provide attendees an opportunity to understand the trends in groundwater levels over time and to appreciate the variability in data. The analysis will also consider how effective the Virginia's Coastal Plain groundwater model can simulate the measured water levels.
 
Presenters:
 
Jason Early, Sr. Hydrogeologist & Regional Sr. Principal - Water Supply, Cardno
 
Bryant Mountjoy, Staff Hydrogeologist, Cardno
 
Presentation Title: Aquifer Recharge in the Coastal Plain: Considerations for Groundwater Trading
 
Abstract: The Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee was formed in 2014, in part, to identify alternate groundwater sources and to develop solutions making the Coastal Plain aquifers a sustainable water source for current and future uses in the region. The Committee identified aquifer recharge as a potentially viable method for replenishing the over-allocated aquifers. As an incentive to develop aquifer recharge projects, a subcommittee was formed to evaluate a Groundwater Credit Trading Program. The subcommittee recognized the concept of an extended recovery zone, which is defined as the geographic area where credits from the recharge project could be purchased. Delineating a recovery zone is complicated by the Coastal Plain hydrogeology, and visualizing and understanding the hydrogeologic process involved is critical for stakeholders to make informed decisions and financial investments in aquifer recharge projects. In this study, the authors utilized the DEQ groundwater model to simulate two hypothetical aquifer recharge projects operating at two different injection rates (1 MGD and 10 MGD) each. The model results were then processed to help stakeholders visualize how the recovery zone varies with location and injection rate and how it may take years or decades for the recovery zone to expand to its full geographic extent. The uncertainty and long timeframes associated with these recharge projects should be carefully considered as Virginia develops a formal groundwater credit trading program.

Communicating the Impact of Climate Change on our Health & Communities

Presenters:
 
Casey Washington, Pharmacotherapy Specialist, Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action
 
Muge Akpinar-Elci, Professor, ODU, 
 
Danielle Simms, Government Relations Manager, Virginia League of Conservation Voters
 
Presentation Title: Rethink what you know about Climate Change: Future of Health
 
Abstract: There are an increasing number of studies indicating that the effect of climate change on health is a growing public health issue. Many communities are more susceptible to climate change related with public health, food security, natural resources, and fragile economies of the developing world. The public health impacts of climate change are complex and comprehensive; the real health burden is rarely recognized. According to the estimation of the World Health Organization (WHO), 200,000 deaths happen each year in the world's low-income countries from a climate related health problem such as crop failure and malnutrition, diarrheal disease, malaria, heat stress and flooding. Data from Inova Fairfax Medical Campus Emergency Room and hospital admission rates for heat related illnesses from 2013-2018 will be presented to focus on the acute health risks in Virginia. Data regarding heat stress on outdoor workers including the journey to work on these concerns (build inclusive environmental movement that address needs of low-income and environmental justice concerns, build new allies -immigrants and labor) and larger concerns of environmental health for outdoor workers (heat exhaustion, housing, pesticides, etc.) contribute to the evolution of heat stress bill in 2020 session. We believe that during the conference, keeping the climate change discussion lively will help craft the best possible climate solutions. Therefore, it would be highly informative to discuss and to provide updated information regarding various health aspects of climate change in the conference attendees.
 
Presenters:
 
Paula Jasinski, Green Fin Studio
 
Dave Jasinski, Green Fin Studio
 
Presentation Title: Documenting and Communicating a Century of Climate Change in the Chesapeake
 
Abstract: We analyzed the last century of climate data in the Chesapeake Bay region to document existing impacts and trends. This session will provide a model for science communication, particularly as it pertains to climate change in coastal regions. Working in coastal regions creates a more complex environment for messaging about water impacts, from sea level rise impacts to man-made infrastructure and natural ecosystems, to water borne pathogens, to water dependent industries. The communication model to be presented will include steps to consider all along the research timeline from project inception to delivery and evaluating broader impacts. The presentation will include case studies of two recent projects in the Chesapeake Bay region that summarized 115 years worth of climate data to cultivate broader appreciation for climate change impacts and the range of adaptive options. The case studies will include an emphasis on diverse collaboration, data visualization, storytelling, and connecting key messages to specific decision makers ranging from fisheries and other resource managers, tourism professionals, and educators. 
 

Forest Restoration for the 21st Century

Presenters:
 

Rob Farrell, State Forester of Virginia, Director of the Virginia Department of Forestry 

Brian Van Eerden, Director, Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Pinelands Program

Lauren stull, 

  
Abstract:
 

Addressing Nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay

Presenter:
 
Jill Sunderland, Water Resources Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
 
Presentation Title: Nitrogen: The Elephant in the Waterway
 
Abstract: The Commonwealth and its local government partners have made significant strides in reducing nutrient loads from developed lands. The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) provides matching grants to localities for the installation of water quality improvement projects. Through the SLAF program, DEQ has awarded approximately $93M over 5 funding cycles to localities implementing projects that treat stormwater runoff at a cost of no more than $50,000 per pound of phosphorous removed. In accordance with the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, for developed lands, Virginia has achieved 88% of the required total phosphorous reductions and only 40% of the total nitrogen reductions as of 2017. Nitrogen removal from developed lands is a priority for the Commonwealth for TMDL compliance; however, SLAF grants are awarded based on total phosphorous removed. By reviewing examples of stormwater retrofit projects in Hampton Roads, we will evaluate nitrogen reductions in relation to phosphorus reductions and consider whether the priority ranking criteria for SLAF should include total nitrogen removed.
 
Presenter:
 
Olivia Devereux, Senior Watershed Strategist, Devereux Consulting 
 
Presentation Title: Costs of BMPs and the Impact on Attaining TMDLs and Permit Requirements
 
Abstract: Stormwater engineers and local government authorities develop implementation plans based on a number of variables with cost being a key consideration in the decision- making process. Olivia Devereux, lead scientist for the development of CAST, will discuss best management practices (BMPs) costs and recently updated information. She will also use an analysis of the cost per pound of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reduced per BMP ($/Lb/BMP) to show how to more effectively develop an implementation plan.Presenter will use examples from the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase III Watershed. 
 
Presenter:
 
Kurt Stephenson, Professor, Virginia Tech 
 
Presentation Title: Addressing Legacy Nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Using Bioreactors
 
Abstract: Virginia and other Chesapeake Bay States are pushing to meet aggressive nutrient reduction goals of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL by 2025. Nitrogen (N) reduction goals are proving particularly difficult to meet, with an additional 45 million lbs of annual nitrogen (N) reductions needed by 2025. Unfortunately, many of the easily achievable and low-cost N source reductions have been realized. In many areas, long term land application of N has produced pools of stored N through the watershed, called legacy nitrogen. We assess the feasibility of employing woodchip denitrifying bioreactors to treat legacy N discharged from springs (emerging groundwater). We quantify N discharge from United States Geological Survey-identified springs in four Mid-Atlantic states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. For springs with data on both spring flow and N concentrations, mean annual discharge of N was nearly 12,000 lbs per year per spring. Strategic targeting of 20% of the highest N-yielding springs with bioreactors could result in between 5,400 to 9,800 lbs N removed annually per spring (assuming N removal efficiencies between 30-55%). A cost analysis indicates bioreactors can be a cost-effective N removal strategy, generally removing N for less than $3 lb/yr. Relative to nonpoint source pollution control practices, spring bioreactors also offer the ability to remove larger quantities of N per installation and the directly monitor and quantify N reductions.
 

 

Environmental Leadership and Change

Presenter:
 
Juleit Hall Harris, Juliet Hall INC 
 
Presentation Title: Leaders for A Better Tomorrow: The National Environmental Justice Academy
 
Abstract: The presentation will cover the successful implementation of the National Environmental Justice Academy and its ability to help lower income, marginalized communities across the country mitigate pollution and the environmental justice challenges and help transform challenged and degraded communities to ones that are thriving, equable and sustainable. The session will also discuss effective approaches to leadership for frontline environmental justice champions and advocates. Finally,plans for a Virginia based environmental justice academy will be discussed.
 
Presenter:
 
BeKura Shabazz, Owner, First Alliance Consulting LLC
 
Presentation Title: Being the Real Change the World Needs
 
Abstract: I plan to prove the effects of environmental racism and injustice can come from many places unexpected. By focusing on the actions rather than words we can become the change that many of us are pretending to be. This panel is about truth, it will be uncomfortable like the New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It is necessary to hear the raw truth about egregious environmental practices that many organizations, businesses and individuals play a part in daily whether voluntary or involuntary. We believe people want to do better and we are going to show them how to do just that!

 Improving Community Resilience 

Presenter:
 
Karen Firehock, Executive Director, Green Infrastructure Center Inc.
 
Presentation Title: Creating the Resilient Communities in Urban and Rural Landscapes
 
Abstract: Coastal communities are increasingly impacted by storm surges, temperature extremes, and development pressures, resulting in damage to critical coastal ecosystems. Rising water tables, increased exposure to flooding, and escalating temperatures increase environmental stress. Meanwhile, storm events continue to damage coastal forests, especially those in the urban interface, which are under additional stresses from the built environment. The Green Infrastructure Center has developed resiliency plans for both urban and rural landscapes. The Green Infrastructure Resiliency Plan for Norfolk evaluated both current green infrastructure (trees, water, wetlands and other habitats) and marsh- and forest-buffer migration as sea level rises. This strategy was created in conjunction with the city's Watershed Task Force and is the first of its kind plan to link current and future GI planning in the face of climate change. The plan was created using GIS- based mapping and analysis of the city's land cover, green resources, connectivity and habitats. Extensive public engagement informed the plan's priority goals. A similar process is now being implemented for a large coastal region of VA which includes both urban and rural landscapes. The methods for modeling and planning for a resilient environment will be shared and participation in the active Resilient Coastal Forests will be encouraged. 
 
Presenter:
 
Benjamin McFarlane, Senior Regional Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
 
Presentation Title: Improving Community Resilience through Research, Policy, and Education
 
Abstract: As one of the nation's most vulnerable regions to long-term sea level rise, localities in Hampton Roads are on the front lines of attempts to adapt to changing climatic conditions. Sea level rise, land subsidence, and more frequent and intense rainfall events are all posing challenges to communities, including impacts to public infrastructure, damage to private property, and financial and political difficulties in identifying and implementing solutions. A consensus has grown among the region's localities that a multiple-scales, multiple-stakeholders approach is necessary to improve community resilience. This approach often involves localities collaborating with each other through the Hampton Roads PDC. Research and technical work by the Hampton Roads PDC and its localities is now being applied to the development of new local and regional policies and the creation of new ways to communicate information to decision-makers, locality staff, and residents. This presentation will highlight new policies such as design flood elevations and design storm standards, which are being developed to address both current and future risks. It will also describe methods that the HRPDC is using to convey information to different audiences, including the Hampton Roads Resiliency Project Dashboard and getfloodfluent.org. This is a regional website designed to educate Hampton Roads residents about the risk of flooding, inform them about flood insurance costs and benefits, and encourage them to purchase flood insurance.
 
Presenter:
 
Abigail Supplee, Student, Roanoke College
 
Presentation Title: A Resilient Roanoke: The Path of a Resilience Assessment and Plan
 
Abstract: This project is an assessment of how resilient Roanoke College and the surrounding community are in the areas of infrastructure, economics, ecosystem services, social equity & governance, and health & wellness to the changing climate. Specifically, this study addresses the need for a concentrated and specialized Climate Action Plan for Roanoke College. This type of plan addresses opportunities for promoting environmental and institutional resilience. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, these plans often provide a myriad of community benefits such as emission reduction, community engagement, strengthened infrastructure, and future cost savings. The benefactors of this socio-ecological study are Roanoke College and Salem, Virginia, which are located in the Roanoke Valley along the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This study will begin with a risk assessment using existing data to synthesize projected impacts of climate change. This study also used various data gathering methods to determine how well Roanoke College addresses environmental problems like waste, pollution, and carbon emissions. A survey was administered to gather research on current opinions from the community and students, as well as to gauge knowledge based issues within the community. The project will culminate with a proposal to the administration of Roanoke College in support of a formal resilience plan. Following this presentation, conference attendees with be able to evaluate the challenges and opportunities associated with the creation of a resilience assessment and provide insight back to the researcher for future improvement.

Wind Energy in Virginia

Presenters:
 
Eilleen Woll, Offshore Energy Program Director, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter
 
Al Christopher, Director, Energy Division, Dept of Mines, Minerals and Energy
 
Jennifer Palestrant, Director and Co-PI, The SMART Center for Maritime and Transportation Education, Tidewater Community College
 
Presentation Title: Offshore Wind and a 100% Clean Energy Economy
 
Abstract: With Dominion committed to developing 2500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind by 2026, Virginia is on its way to meeting the "100% clean energy by 2050" goal set by Governor Northam's Executive Order. However, Dominion indicates this 2500 MWs carries a price tag of almost $8 billion, as its 220 turbine project will largely be built with European parts and labor. The price plummets as parts are made in America, especially if made in Virginia, and as our workforce is readied for this exciting new industry. This presentation will explore offshore wind's role in meeting Virginia's 100% clean energy goals and securing a clean energy economy by 2050. It will also highlight the urgency of developing this energy resource to not only confront the climate crisis, meet carbon reduction standards and clean energy production goals, but also make Virginia competitive within the quickly emerging offshore wind industry. Both the installation of turbines and the creation of a regional supply chain will provide not only thousands of high-paying, career-length jobs but could also prompt essential job programs in low-income communities and communities of color throughout Hampton Roads especially. Attendees will walk away with strong talking points to take to decision makers in hopes of establishing policies and initiatives that support clean energy, Virginia workforce and economic development, and industry investment in Virginia.
 
Presenter:
 
Grant Hollett, Director of Generation Projects, Dominion Energy
 
Presentation Title: Dominion Energy Offshore Wind Update
 
Abstract: The company began construction in June on the 12-megawatt CVOW project, which is the first fully permitted wind project in U.S. federal waters. Dominion Energy will leverage key learnings from the permitting, design and development of that project as it goes through a similar process for commercial offshore wind development. Dominion Energy is proposing the largest commercial offshore wind development in the country. In September, the company filed an application with PJM, the regional transmission organization that coordinates the electrical grid in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia, to interconnect the proposed turbines to the transmission grid. If approved, the project would be located in the 112,800 acres Dominion Energy currently is leasing from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Following the key filing with PJM, ocean survey work is expected to begin in 2020 and a Construction and Operations Plan will be submitted in 2022. Dominion Energy plans to move forward with its commercial offshore wind project in three phases, each totaling 880 megawatts. The first phase of the buildout will support initial generation of wind energy by 2024. Additional phases will come online in 2025 and 2026, totaling more than 2,600 megawatts of energy, enough to power 650,000 homes during peak wind.
 

Federal Panel 

Presenters: 

Tom Walker


River Remediation and Restoration

Presenter:

 
Bill Reese, Senior Ecologist, AECOM
 
Presentation Title: South River Mercury Remediation Project: Integrating Restoration and Remediation
 
Abstract: Historically released mercury (Hg) from a textile manufacturing facility (Site) has accumulated on and adjacent to some bank areas of the South River, Virginia. Introduction of legacy Hg impacted soils to the South River through bank erosion is the most significant source of Hg loading to the system. The remediation strategy is to progress from upstream to downstream, addressing areas of highest loadings using an iterative framework. This phase of the program includes stabilization of several bank management areas (BMAs) with both public and private land ownership. To date, five BMAs have been completed as part of Phase 1, Each BMA's location and stakeholder preferences, required unique design features to achieve remedial action objectives and gain community acceptance. Open communication with multiple stakeholder groups during the remedial design process identified several factors that were considered and accommodated in the final designs. Lessons learned from previous Phase 1 Interim Measures were incorporated into each subsequent design and construction to expedite construction, thereby reducing disruption to local stakeholders. This presentation provides an update to the South River Program that was presented at the Environment Virginia Symposium presented two years ago, after the initial Phase 1 Interim Measure at the Constitution Park BMA was constructed. It will focus on how consecutive BMA construction provides an example of how integrated restoration and remediation can provide local benefits to the river and floodplain communities. Preliminary findings on mercury concentrations, impacts of major storm events and invasive species management will also be presented.
 

Presenter: 

Ravi Damera, Sr. Engineering Manager, AECOM
 
Presentation Title: Adaptive Management for Cleanup of Urban Rivers
 
Abstract:

 Soil Health – A Foundation for Improving our Environment

Presenter: 

Anne Coates, Consultant, New Dominion Solutions, LLC
 
Presentation Title: Adaptive Management for Cleanup of Urban Rivers
 
Abstract:

 

Presenter: 

Charles Hegberg, President, Infinite Solutions, L3C
 
Presentation Title: Biochar in Green Infrastructure (GI)
 
Abstract: To many, the use of GI is a new approach to managing urban stormwater runoff, volumes and quality. GI manages stormwater runoff by using natural ecosystems and/or engineered systems that mimic natural systems. While GI offers many benefits, retrofitting existing urban infrastructure is still a complex and expensive endeavour. Identifying approaches to squeeze more functionality out of existing approved GI practises has been the "Holy Grail" for the GI industry. Biochar, while relatively new to the GI space is rapidly gaining interest among researchers and engineers as way to enhance the performance of natural and engineered systems. Biochar, a highly porous, carbon-based by-product has captured the interest of the global scientific community, due to its tremendous promise for agriculture, soil regeneration, stormwater and green infrastructure enhancements for the NPDES impervious reduction and TMDL nutrient and sediment loadings; ecological restoration/remediation; and carbon sequestration. The presentation will discuss opportunities and benefits of integrating biochar into GI practices along with a number of project examples.
 

Presenter: 

Greg Evanylo, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
 
Presentation Title: Adaptive Management for Cleanup of Urban Rivers
 
Abstract: The remediation of anthropogenically-disturbed soils can be promoted by application variously processed, including composted, exceptional quality (EQ) biosolids at rates typically employed for the reclamation of mine land soils. While reclamation rates may improve the quality and ability of such soils to support vegetation, the risk of buildup of excessive concentrations of soluble P as a surface water contaminant risk must be addressed. Two clayey anthropogenic soils were amended with various formulations and rates of EQ biosolids, including those composted, for the production of turfgrass and garden vegetables. Amendments were applied to an acid soil annually for 4 of 5 years from 2013 to 2018 at rates designed to provide ample plant available N for tall fescue turfgrass. Biosolids were applied to a calcareous subsoil annually from 2016 to 2018 at rates designed to provide 1x and 5x the recommended plant available N rate for a variety of fall and spring vegetable crops. Organic C was increased from <1% in the acid turfgrass soil to >3.5% with the composted biosolids, and from <1% in the calcareous vegetable garden soil to 2.5% with the composted biosolids. Soil test P increased to high concentrations with the high biosolids P application rates to each soil; however, the initially low P concentrations typical of anthropogenically-disturbed soils prevented soil P levels from posing significant water impairment risks. Soil compaction was alleviated by the composted biosolids which reduced bulk density from 1.1 g/cm3 with the synthetic fertilizer to 0.73 g/cm3 with the composted biosolids in the top 5 cm of the turfgrass soil and from 1.34 g/cm3 to 1.16 g/cm3 in the top 15 cm of the vegetable garden soil. Composted biosolids provided the greatest improvements in soil physical and chemical properties.
 

Chesapeake Bay Report Card

Presenters: 

William Dennison, Vice President for Science Application, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science 
 
Caroline Donovan, Program Manager, Integration and Application Network
 
Abstract: For the past 13 years, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) has been producing the Chesapeake Bay report card. This annual assessment of ecological indicators for 15 regions in Chesapeake Bay does not include the watershed or any socio-economic indicators. So the UMCES team in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation is launching an effort to expand the report card both geographically and conceptually. A series of regional workshops are being initiated in 2020 in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia to solicit input on the appropriate data, indicators and thresholds for the Chesapeake Watershed report card. The target audience for the interactive workshop are resource managers, policy makers and scientists who are focused on Chesapeake watershed issues. Following a short video presentation, a series of engaging activities are planned, including SNAP to establish key values and major threats, a conceptual mapping exercise, and stakeholder mapping.  The session will be facilitated by Dr. Bill Dennison, assisted by Science Communicators from UMCES. The learning outcomes will include following: a) participants will understand the methodology and tenets of report card production, b) participants will co-produce a report card template for a Chesapeake Watershed report card and c) participants will gain an appreciation for tradeoffs implicit with an assessment.