Through education, monitoring, and hands-on stewardship assistance, NAPS brings together farmers, watermen, businesses, educators, and other concerned citizens to help protect and enhance our unique quality of life in Northumberland County. NAPS is a non-profit organization dedicated to:
The program, “Chesapeake Bay Fisheries: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” at the Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship (NAPS) annual meeting, February 23, featured a global environmental perspective and first-hand reports from a panel representing Bay fisheries. Climate change was a common theme from both global and local perspectives. In introducing the program, NAPS moderator Dr. Lynton Land noted that with all that has been written and implemented to reverse its decline, the Bay is not getting any better. He used the Blue Fish Derby as a barometer, tracing the drop in number of boats, size of the catch, and the weight of the winning catch. The winning catch declined from 19.2 lbs. in 1989 to 3.1 lb. In 2005, the last year the derby was held. Keynote speaker Dr. Roger L. Mann, Director of Research and Advisor Services for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), provided an overview of the Bay. “When talking about the future of the Bay, there are two things you can look at: the things that you can control and the things that you cannot control,” Mann said. He warned that the things that you cannot control make doing the things that you can control really difficult. One of the uncontrollable weather factors is the jet stream and it has been gradually moving over the last 50 years, he observed. “If you ask what’s going on in the Bay, you really have to think about the larger systems, because they are the ones that determine to a large extent what is going on in the Chesapeake water shed. And the watershed extends all the way to New York, through many jurisdictions. Another way to say it, is we sit at the southern end of 15 million flushing toilets. So when you look to the future of the Bay, you need to ask, how many things can we control,” Mann said. He pointed out that as sea temperature has been rising, distribution of species has changed. In addition migratory patterns have changed. The future of the wetlands is another issue raised by Mann. “Let me give you the worst case scenario. The sea level is rising and to make things worse in Tidewater, the land is sinking. If you look at the relative rate of sea level change – the land going down the water going up – in Norfolk the situation is serious,” he said, adding that the U.S. insurance industry is keeping a close eye on sea level change. Finally, Mann stated that controlling fishing is the easy way out, but restrictions only alienate every business sector that is involved and starts controversy. He pointed out that well managed fisheries such as clams and scallops, involve all business sectors from the watermen to the consumer. For example, rotation of crops works for common profits. “How do we get there? You get there not by pointing fingers. You get there by sitting down and saying how do we have a conversation to solve a problem. If you look at the problems of the Bay, you don’t micromanage. You do it through groups like this to target what can change and what cannot change,” he concluded. Panel Members Respond The program shifted to local viewpoints with the introduction of a panel representing a range of fisheries. Dudley Biddlecomb, representing oyster harvesting, said that water quality is everybody’s concern, watermen, farmers, businesses, and home owners. For every bucket of refuse dumped into the Bay, there’s something that happens to mollusks, he added. Biddlecomb later said that most of his time today is spent dealing with oyster disease. Representing finfish, Cathy Davenport focused on the impact of land development on the Bay, rivers and creeks. Loss of habitat, she said, has been a disaster, adding that a primary cause is runoff from developments. Davenport is co-chair of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and a member of the Finfish Management Advisory Committee (FMAC). Wade Self, the youngest member of the panel, spoke for pound fishing. About three weeks ago, while working the water, a TV reporter asked him about his kids – will they work the waters? That stopped him. “It was the first time I thought about the future. Will the Bay be here for them,” he said. “The state brings up new problems before solving the old problems – knowing what’s wrong and not doing what’s right is the problem.” Third generation captain, Danny Crabbe recalled his observations in the charter business for almost 40 years. He has seen quite a few changes. For one, the bluefish landed in the 1970’s were averaging 10 to 14 pounds. After virtually disappearing in 1989, the blues are coming back. Moreover, he has caught species in the Bay that he did not recognize. Looking them up on the internet, they turned out to be native to the Gulf of Mexico. The appropriate representative for menhaden fishing was Monty Deihl, Director of Fishing Operations for Omega Protein. He said that the media in the region give the impression that all that has to be done is shut down menhaden fishing and the Bay will recover. “It frustrates me that so many people believe that commercial menhaden fishing is one of the leading causes of the declining health of the Bay. There has been study after study that say that menhaden fishing has no appreciable impact on the Bay, but that doesn’t stop anyone from saying it and getting headlines in the papers,” he said. He added that both his grandfather and father advised not to get into menhaden fishing, not because of lack of fish, but because they won’t let you do it. Deihl pointed out that it is now generally agreed that the control of menhaden fishing is based on poor science and a new model is needed. But until that time, a 20-percent limit was imposed which is causing serious impact on Omega Protein. The real problem, he stated, is not over fishing, but “recruitment”—bringing eggs to maturity. And that depends on environmental conditions. Comments during the open discussion were lively and ranged from dealing with strict regulations, the conflicts between local, state, and federal interests, and the impact globally of the Green Revolution. Taking a cue from Dr. Mann, audience member Jerry Pulliam said people should stop pointing fingers. “We have to stop going after the fishermen and farmers,” he said, adding that the way homes are built, yards are landscaped, and trees are cleared to make way for water views should be addressed. Wade Self summarized much of the thinking by saying, “Elect the right people.”
With the full support of the NAPS Executive Committee, the Northern Neck Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby is now official. Spearheaded by NAPS Treasurer Greg Haugan, the CCL Chapter had its first organizational meeting on Saturday, March 2. This was also the day, the first Saturday of the month, that CCL holds its national conference call meeting and lecture.
President Bill Estell explained that the NAPS Executive Committee is the center in the organization of the chapter; however, the larger view is to be the Northern Neck Chapter.
Rich Pleasants from Lancaster County emphasized the importance of social networking to attract younger volunteers. He has set up a Northern Neck Citizens Climate Lobby on a closed Facebook site. He pointed out that CCL has two main thrusts – lobbying and education/outreach. A partial list of actions include fresh water and aquifer problems, sea level rise, Chesapeake Bay health, renewable energy source encouragement, and coal power plant problems.
Greg stated that a primary goal is to promote carbon tax and dividend legislation proposed by CCL. There is a Senate bill that comes close to this proposal. The Climate Protection Act (S. 332), sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would place a steadily increasing tax on carbon-based fuels and return revenue to consumers. The difference between the CCL version and the senate bill is CCL wants all of the tax revenue returned to consumers, while the senate version would retain 40 percent of the revenue in the government coffers. The bill would send 25 percent of revenues to the general treasury for deficit reduction and 10 – 15 percent to fund clean energy proposals and low-income weatherization.
CCL is working to amend the Climate Protection Act in two ways: Make it revenue-neutral by returning all of the proceeds back to the American people and ramp up the tax. Increasing the tax by $10 per ton per year to $30 will reduce CO2 emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels over the next 10 years, according to CCL estimates.
Action involves a combination of direct contact with elected officials, person-to-person or mail, letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, and seminars. CCL’s Annual Conference will be held June 23 to 25 in Washington, D.C. Every senator and representative will be identified and targeted for meetings on the last day.
At the close of the meeting, action items were identified and assignments made to prepare by the next monthly meeting, April 6 at the Fellowship Hall of the United Methodist Church in Heathsville, starting at 11:30. For more information about the CCL Chapter, please contact Greg Haugan at 804-580-2166 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing Greg advised, “Always remember that the action we are taking is for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. We don’t want to leave them a mess.”
For the national conference call, climate scientist with the National Wildlife Federation Amanda Staudt presented “Overview of draft National Climate Assessment.” The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) published the draft of the Third National Climate Assessment Report in January, 2013.
Staudt reported that among the key conclusions, “Human activities are now the dominant agents of change.”
The report contains several warnings calling for action to reduce emissions and warming.
“There have been observed trends in some types of extreme weather events, and these are consistent with rising temperatures,” she said. “There are signs that the message is getting attention across the country and people are looking for the cause. That is why CCL is important.”
A orientation meeting February 10 set the groundwork for the organization. At that meeting, Steve Valk, CCL Regional Manager and Director of Communications, ran a three-hour seminar that included role-playing practice.
Participants learned some of the details of a carbon tax and why it is consumer friendly. The session also included instruction on how to get letters and op-ed articles published and how to hold group meetings with elected officials.
The Spring 2013 Roadside Pick-Up is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30. We’ll meet at 1pm to get organized, and on the road by about 1:15pm. Meet at the parking lot behind Wicomico Episcopal Church on Rte. 200 in Wicomico Church.
Wear sturdy shoes. Gloves and hats recommended. We provide orange safety vests and water. Everyone works with a “buddy” – bring one or we’ll match you up with another volunteer.
Please call or email Janice Mahoney to volunteer or get more details: 580-3154 or email@example.com.
Op-Ed by Frank Fletcher, PhD (Posted 4/2/13)
The Virginia coastal plain is headed for a water crisis. The once plentiful supply of water is steadily and relentlessly shrinking. Unless decisive action is taken to safeguard this resource, the consequences will be rising costs of extraction, treatment, and distribution, increasing water shortages, and escalating jurisdictional water conflicts.
A Long History of Groundwater Use
Because the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries consist chiefly of brackish water too salty for most household, agricultural, and industrial purposes, the inhabitants of the Tidewater region have been digging, boring, and drilling into the earth for their water since as long ago as the founding of Jamestown.
Today, groundwater is the principal source of water for more than two million persons on the Virginia coastal plain. They withdraw more than 125 million gallons of water from the underground reservoirs every day – that’s approximately 46 billion gallons a year, or enough to fill more than 70,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. Every home, every restaurant, every retail shop, and most industrial establishments of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula are dependent on groundwater. In the counties of Lancaster, Richmond, and Mathews, all public and private water comes out of the ground.
A Threatened Groundwater Supply
The groundwater supply is finite, bounded, and, for all practical purposes, nonrenewable. While 46 billion gallons of groundwater are pumped out of the earth each year in this region, only a negligible amount replenishes (recharges) the loss to pumping. Thus, the stock of groundwater is being mined and is not being replaced.
Bad things happen when the demand for water approaches the limits of the supply. Already, artesian water levels, which gauge the magnitude of the groundwater supply, have fallen so low at localities along the western boundary of the coastal plain (the Fall Line) and at centers of high groundwater usage (West Point and Franklin) that further withdrawals threaten irreversible damage to the aquifers. During the next few decades, as withdrawals continue and water levels decline, the peril to aquifers will spread across the rest of the coastal plain, endangering the groundwater supply of virtually every community.
The Approaching Crisis
Absent profound changes in demographic and economic trends, the Virginia coastal plain is headed for a historic water crisis. Current Virginia groundwater policies are too feeble to avert it. First, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s groundwater management regulations apply only to approximately half of the counties on the coastal plain, leaving the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula unprotected. Second, while the groundwater withdrawal regulations foster water conservation and the utilization of alternative water sources and abate the amount of groundwater withdrawal by individual water users, they have not halted the persistent growth of groundwater withdrawals from entire Virginia coastal plain aquifer system. Third, a review of early efforts to craft a comprehensive State Water Supply Plan has not inspired a confidence that a water supply crisis can be prevented. The slowly evolving plan is exceptionally technical and encyclopedic; but it fails to focus laser-like on the central problem, the relentless loss of groundwater supply.
Heading Off a Crisis
Effective solutions to the problems must take into account several important factors. First, the era of cheap and abundant water is ending and will not return. Second, the demand for groundwater will increase as population grows and the economy expands, putting more and more stress on the supply. Third, the groundwater supply is limited and non-renewable, and any consequential quantity of withdrawals reduces the supply. Simply slowing the growth rate of groundwater withdrawals will not preserve the supply.
Ensuring a safe and reliable water supply in the future requires a dramatic shift from an unstable reliance on groundwater mining to the creation of a diversified and sustainable supply accomplished by expanding water conservation measures (including new “no-water” cleaning and waste disposal processes) and utilizing alternative water sources (including water recycling and reuse, energy-efficient desalination, interbasin transfer, and aquifer storage and recovery). Sustainability is the practical solution not a romantic dream of environmental idealists. Because the path to a sustainable water supply will require both innovation and guidance, it will be best accomplished by a private-public partnership, not by government action alone.
Letter to the Editor - 2/4/13:
The Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewartship (NAPS – www.napsva.org) opposes the land application of sewage sludge (dubbed “biosolids”) in the county. We detail our four objections in a letter to the current Secretary of Natural Resources posted on our web site. To summarize: 1) “DEQ’s preliminary decision is to approve the permit for a ten year term.” Sludge can only be disposed every three years according to law and both soil analyses and a nutrient management plan are required by law every three years. On what basis is an arbitrary ten year term being established and how will it be administrated until 2023? Permits should be granted for no longer than three years. 2) Only 30% of the nitrogen (N) in sludge is used by the first crop, and only 55% is utilized over four years if chemical fertilization rates are reduced according to recommendations. This compares to N uptake from chemical fertilizer of about 65%. The science is uncontested that the disposal of sewage sludge by land application causes more nitrogen pollution than does the use of chemical fertilizer, to grow the same crop. The recommendations to reduce N from chemical fertilizer for three years following disposal on fields are submerged in the documentation and should be emphasized and required. 3) The amount phosphorus (P) being disposed is astronomical compared to crop requirements and the “cap” that is being imposed has no basis in science. On average, fields already contain 63 ppm P and the soils are ranked “High” in P, requiring no more than 40 pounds of P per acre for corn. Yet 120 pounds of P is scheduled to be disposed to the certain increase on water pollution. 4) Both the Clean Water Act and the Code of Virginia prohibit “…the escape, flow or discharge of sewage sludge into state waters, in a manner that would cause pollution of state waters …” It is an established and uncontested fact that the concentrations of N, no matter what fertilization practice is used, along with small amounts of dissolved P, are elevated in groundwater beneath agricultural fields. It is also an established and uncontested fact that in settings like Northumberland and Lancaster Counties, shallow groundwater is recharged by rain and discharges continuously, some of it directly, to tidal (navigable) waters. Therefore we contest that the disposal of sewage sludge in Bay Act Counties is a violation of both Federal and State law. We hope citizens will contact DEQ as per their public announcements (Anita Tuttle, DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Rd., Glen Allen VA 23060) and request a public hearing to address these, and other issues (health, odor, pharmaceuticals, other unregulated chemicals, etc.) as they apply to our unique tidewater counties.
Bill Estell, President, NAPS Heathsville VA
Letter to the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources - 2/4/13:
February 4, 2013
Mr. Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources
PO Box 1475
Richmond VA 23218
Dear Secretary Domenech:
I am writing this letter to you as President of a stewardship organization regarding a permit for the disposal of municipal sewage sludge by land application in Northumberland County. You oversee both the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that are both involved. We do not believe that the Piedmont office of DEQ is capable of responding to our concerns and they have already told us they are just “policemen” enforcing the law. Our concern is that existing laws do not protect the environment and violate the Code of Virginia, the intent of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and President Obama’s Executive Order regarding Chesapeake Bay. We request a written response to these concerns so that our 200 members, the public and EPA are clear about the administration’s position.
We also request a public hearing administered by knowledgeable officials to specifically address our four concerns as well as errors, omissions and inaccuracies in the submitted Nutrient Management Plans. The Piedmont office of DEQ is being informed of what we believe to be errors in the Plans that they failed to identify. We believe that neither DCR nor DEQ recognizes that counties such as Northumberland are unique in Virginia. Like many other coastal plain counties, we have hundreds of miles of tidal shoreline where groundwater discharges directly to tidal water, and an electorate highly concerned about Bay water quality. We suggest that the public meeting should include adjacent Lancaster County because permit requests have been submitted to DEQ by the same operator representing some of the same farmers. We note that nearly all the sewage sludge and attendant environmental problems is being imported into Virginia, most of it from Piscataway, MD. Our four main concerns are as follows:
1) DEQ plans to grant the permit for ten years. The Virginia Administrative Code states [9VAC25-32-560.B.3.a.(1)] “No further applications of biosolids shall be allowed for a period of three years from the date that the agronomic rate is achieved for the crop or crops grown in the following 12 months.” Further, the “Special Conditions” in the permit applications state “(1) Soil samples for biosolids application fields will be analyzed at least once every three (3) years……” and “(13) Nutrient management plans that contain fields in which row crops will be grown will be revised at least once every three (3) years.” Requirements for updates every three years are also present in the Virginia Administrative Code. No data are presented in any of the submitted documents for crops grown in 2016, and it is probably impossible for farmers to plan that far ahead. Given these facts, we do not believe DEQ can provide sufficient oversight and keep the public informed if the permit is granted for a decade. Errors in existing plans prove DEQ’s lack of oversight within even a three year term. A ten year permit is an arbitrary “blank check” with the nutrient management plans being written by the permit applicator. If DEQ claims that insufficient staff are available, then the permits should be denied until additional funds can be obtained so that DEQ can responsibly carry out its legislative mandate.
On what basis are ten-year permits being granted?
2) The DCR document “Virginia Nutrient Management Standards and Criteria, Revised 2005” (“Standards”) recommends that sludge can supply 10% of the Nitrogen (N) required for crop growth for two years following disposal by land application, and by 5% the fourth year (Table 9-1). The only place these recommendations appear in the documents submitted for the permit are at the bottom of the sludge analyses. Farmers must be informed that these recommendations should be followed. The recommendations should appear in the “Biosolids Application Agreement”, in the “Special Conditions” and in the “Farm Management Plan.” No documentation of previous sludge disposal in three years previous to the proposed activity exists in the permit application. It is unclear if chemical fertilization of subsequent crops is being reduced for four years. Failure to require reduction in chemical fertilization following sludge disposal exacerbates the large amount of N pollution already being sanctioned by DEQ. Only 30% of the N in sludge is used by the first crop, and only 55% is utilized over four years if chemical fertilization rates are reduced according to recommendations. This compares to N uptake from chemical fertilizer of about 65%. The science is uncontested that the disposal of sewage sludge by land application causes more nitrogen pollution than does the use of chemical fertilizer, to grow the same crop.
Why do regulations not require that chemical N application for four years following sludge disposal be reduced because of the N from the sludge that remains in the soil?
3) The amount of Phosphorus (P) disposed is astronomical and the laws are written to sanction cheap waste disposal and not to protect water quality. “Standards” (Table 4-1) “caps” P on Eastern Shore and Lower Coastal Plain fields to less than 458 ppm (presumably Mehlich III and not Mehlich I soil analysis as stated in the column heading). This immense number cannot be justified based on any existing science. For example, Dr. Douglas Beegle stated ‘‘. . . the critical level for soil test phosphorus for the Mehlich 3 soil test is around 30 ppm for Mid-Atlantic soils. If the test is below 30 ppm we would expect a profitable increase if we add P. However, if the soil test is above 30 ppm, no yield response is expected’’. (2006, In: Haering, K.C., Evanylo, G.K., (Eds.), Mid-Atlantic Nutrient Management Handbook, US Department of Agriculture and Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, MAWP 06–02, p. 164). The average P content of soils in the Northumberland County permit application is 63 ppm, ranking the soils “High” in P for corn. According to Section V in “Standards” no more than about 40 pounds of P should be applied to soils “High” in P. On average, 8 tons of Piscataway sludge are to be applied per acre, each containing 15 pounds of P, so that, on average, 120 pounds of P are being disposed. It could be argued that no P is required by the corn according to Dr. Beegle. At most 40 pounds should be disposed if recommendations in Section V of “Standards” are followed.
How does DCR justify the astronomical caps on P disposal in Table 4-1 and why are the recommendations in Section V (VALUES) in “Standards” ignored?
4) The FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION CONTROL ACT 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq. (the CWA) states (SEC. 405.) “(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or of any other law, in the case where the disposal of sewage sludge resulting from the operation of a treatment works as defined in section 212 of this Act (including the removal of in-place sewage sludge from one location and its deposit at another location) would result in any pollutant from such sewage sludge entering the navigable waters, such disposal is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by the Administrator under section 402 of this Act.” Additionally, the Code of Virginia § 62.1-44.19:3. states “B. The Board, with the assistance of the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Health [VDH should be replaced by DEQ], shall adopt regulations to ensure that (i) sewage sludge permitted for land application, marketing, or distribution is properly treated or stabilized; (ii) land application, marketing, and distribution of sewage sludge is performed in a manner that will protect public health and the environment; and (iii) the escape, flow or discharge of sewage sludge into state waters, in a manner that would cause pollution of state waters, as those terms are defined in § 62.1-44.3, shall be prevented.”
It is an established and uncontested fact that the concentrations of N, no matter what fertilization practice is used, along with small amounts of dissolved P, are elevated in groundwater beneath agricultural fields. To cite just one example from the Eastern Shore ”… the median concentration of nitrate from 29 wells in agricultural areas was 5.4 mg/l, and the maximum was 37 mg/l. Water in about one-third of the wells exceeded the Primary Maximum Contamination Level of 10 mg/l established by EPA.” (USGS Circular 1228, p. 6). It is also an established and uncontested fact that in settings like Northumberland and Lancaster Counties, shallow groundwater is recharged by about one foot of rain per year. All that water discharges continuously, some of it directly, to tidal (navigable) waters. Point source discharge occurs if tiles or ditches exist. Virginia must reduce nutrient pollution to satisfy TMDL requirements imposed by EPA. Disposing of sewage sludge in Bay Act Counties, to the benefit of a very small number of farmers, is obviously inconsistent with EPA’s mandated goal as stated in President Obama’s Executive Order of 05/12/09 to ”… to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary waters ….” (Sec. 301).
Why does Virginia permit the disposal of sewage sludge in tidewater Counties where it is certain that nutrient pollution discharges directly into navigable (State) waters, in clear violation of the Code of Virginia, the intent of the Clean Water Act and President Obama’s Executive Order “Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration”?
Wm A. Estell, Jr., President
Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship
(804) 450-3538 www.napsva.org
Mr. Shawn M. Garvin, Region 3 EPA Administrator, 1650 Arch St, Philadelphia PA 19103-2029
Sen. Ryan T. McDougle, PO Box 187, Mechanicsville VA 23111
Delegate Margaret B. Ransone, PO Box 358, Kinsale VA 22488
Congressman Rob Wittman, 2454 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515
Northumberland County Board of Supervisors
Lancaster County Board of Supervisors
Anita Tuttle, DEQ Piedmont Regional Office by Email
Come to the NAPS Annual Meeting and Get Hooked on the Program: Chesapeake Bay Fisheries: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.
When: Saturday, February 23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Fellowship Hall, Heathsville United Methodist Church (corner of Route 360 and Rt. 201)
Annual Business Meeting will follow the discussion. All are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.
Over 50 members and friends attended the 2012 NAPS Social, October 13, at Bay Quarter Shores Club to honor the Distinguished Citizen Award recipient, enjoy refreshments with a great view, and have a wonderful chicken dinner with a variety of sides.
Prior to the presentation, President Bill Estell spoke of the important ties NAPS has had with the Northumberland schools as part of our education programs. This recap was a segue to introduce NAPS guest, Dr. Rebecca Gates, the new School Superintendent. Dr. Gates said that as she settles into the job, she looks forward to working with NAPS, adding that she now understands the major impact NAPS has had on the new school campus.
The main feature was the presentation of the 2012 Distinguished Citizen Award (DCA) to Dr. Gregory T. Haugan. Bill stated that this award is not only well deserved, it is long overdue.
In his thank-you comments, Greg said, “I have always followed the NAPS theme, ‘Northumberland is going to grow. Let’s help it grow with order and beauty.’”
There were other Distinguished Citizen Award winners in attendance, including Porter and Mary Kier, Mike and Adele Harwood, Lynton Land, and last year’s recipient Myrtle Phillips. They joined the rest of the audience in a standing ovation for Greg.
NAPS has chosen Dr. Gregory Haugan to receive the 2012 Distinguished Citizen Award (DCA). The official presentation took place at the NAPS Social, Saturday, October 13, at Bay Quarter Shores.
Greg’s contributions to the county cover a staggering amount of complex work. He started his volunteer consultant work with the County Administrator in developing a “Lesson Learned” report following Hurricane Isabel in 2003. This report was presented to the Board of Supervisors and assisted in upgrading the County emergency preparedness plans. He volunteered to update the statistical appendix to the Comprehensive Plan, and then led 11 public hearings to rewrite the Plan. He also maintained a log of all public comments and their disposition to incorporate citizen contributions and worked with staff to perform the complete revision. In addition, he assisted the Administrator in the implementation of the Fleeton and Callao Sewer Systems.
He is now gathering statistical information as the required five-year Comprehensive Plan update looms before the Planning Commission. He has recently been added to Congressman Rob Wittman’s Environmental Advisory Council, to represent the county.
“As a county resident, Greg has carried a citizen’s viewpoint through all his work,” said NAPS Vice President Lee Allain, who prepared the DCA citation for the Board. “The value of his contributions as a volunteer, if provided by an outside consultant, would be measured in hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Along with the contributions to the county, Greg has been active in other pursuits, leading courses at the Rappahannock Institute for Lifelong Learning, leading the Betz Landing Homeowners Association, and writing six books related to project management. He is a former member and treasurer of the Northumberland Public Library Board of Trustees and currently serves at Treasurer of NAPS.
Going beyond our county, Greg has published a must-read book and reference for decision-makers involved in large, long range projects. The New Triple Constraints for Sustainable Projects, Programs, and Portfolios provides guidelines for including major population changes, climate changes and energy constraints into their plans. Greg reviewed this book for the Library’s “Books Alive” program on Tuesday, October 23. These activities are all in addition to running his international consulting company, GLH Incorporated. He also has a contract from his publisher to produce a follow-on report addressing Sustainability Activities in Program Management.
Dr. Haugan received his PhD from American University, his MBA from St. Louis University, and his BSME from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also certified as a Project Management Professional by the Project Management Institute. He hosts a website at www.pmhaugan.com. Greg and his wife Sue have resided in Heathsville for 16 years.
On a windy day along the Great Wicomico River an armada of 10 boats collected trash, Saturday, September 15, for the 2012 NAPS Creek Clean-up on waterways from the mouth of Cockrells Creek to the Glebe Point bridge. The staging area was the old Mila steamboat landing on property owned by Pamela Russell. Omega Protein, Inc., represented by Monty Deihl, Director of Fishing Plant Operations and NAPS Board member, was an important contributor to the project. Besides being captain of the purse boat, Monty provided lunch for all hands, port-a-potties, and the all-important dumpster. NAPS President Bill Estell and Board member Lynton Land planned and directed the clean-up operations.
Sixteen Northumberland High School students, organized by Beta Club sponsor Jovita Kelly, and five boy scouts, led by Douglas Schaeffer, made up the boat crews. Some of the students were doing a second tour of duty. In addition, two LDS Church missionaries and a senior from Longwood University took part.
Thirteen NAPS members were on hand to set up the staging area, sort trash to recycle, serve lunch, and clean up the venue. After lunch, Pamela Russell related the history of Mila from its early settlement, through her family’s farm and oyster/crab business, to the present.
“None of this day’s success would have worked without the enthusiastic support of the community, especially Omega,” commented Bill Estell. “And we’re fortunate to have a generous supporter in Pamela.”
All the trash that could not be recycled filled the dumpster. In all, about 5,100 pounds of rubbish was collected. Among the debris was an insulated, one-inch-diameter cable about 50 feet long towed in behind Monty’s purse boat. Other unusual items included a broken toilet bowl, a Sony TV set, an automotive radiator, a smashed up canoe, and a very rusty trike. Lumber of various sizes was also in the haul.
Besides Monty, the boat captains included Blaine Altaffer, Spud Parker, Trevor Deihl, Frederick Rogers, Bill Crowther, Glenn Lester, Carter Fox, Mike Manyak, and Brian Wood.
According to an informal poll of the student crew members, they all had fun. The veterans from last year were just happy that it did not rain. All the participants went home with a bright green NAPS tee shirt designed by immediate-past-president Mike Ahart. The shirt carries an appropriate message: “Taking out the trash.”
Labeled “TOO GOOD TO THROW AWAY, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT,” a freshly painted shed at the Horsehead dump is a collection site for county residents to leave good condition, working items, for other residents to take (free) for their own use. Designed to support recycling, lessen the rapid filling of landfills, and provide a means for people to acquire items they need, the shed is the result of local generosity.
When I suggested the project, I got the support of County Administrator Kenny Eades. It became a reality thanks to a NAPS donation of 100 percent of the cost of materials. The shed was constructed by Ken Shepard’s volunteer building crew of Lee Allain, Bill Estell, Ernie Flynn, and Lynton Land, plus John Henbest and myself, with Nan Flynn as architect. County businesses included Allison Hardware (paint), Lillian Lumber (discount on building materials) and Lowery Concrete. Monty Deihl was responsible for the sign.
Rules have been posted. They include: Only items that work. No liquids. No TVs. No clothing. No hazardous material. No mattresses. NO JUNK. More rules may be added as we see how things are going. In addition, local thrift shops and volunteers maintain the shed each week to rearrange items, sweep, and discard undesirable donations. After only one month in operation, most items disappear within 24 hours, a very positive sign of success.
NAPS really knows how to make a difference in Northumberland County.
The NAPS Creek Clean-Up this past 15 September was a huge success as detailed in the Rappahannock Record article on 27 September and the feedback received from the participants. A success like this results when the Northumberland community comes together to support programs vital to the health of our environment. Stewards of the water from Omega Protein – Monty Deihl and his fleet of boat captains – provided the vessels. Our happy crew of “pickers” included many Northumberland High School Beta Club students guided by Jovita Kelly, the Boy Scout troop of Doug Schaeffer, two LDS Church Missionaries, and a Longwood University student. Two and a half tons of debris was dragged out of the Great Wicomico River. The enthusiasm of these young people was truly remarkable.
The work of setting up the staging area next to the old oyster house at Mila on Pamela Russell’s family home and sorting recyclables from trash was directed by Lynton Land and Judy Lang and many helping hands. A delicious lunch was provided for all the” worker bees “ by Omega followed by a fascinating history of Mila and the role it played in Northumberland’s history provided by our host Pamela Russell.
The NAPS Fall Social was held at the Bay Quarter Shores Clubhouse on 13 October and as usual a wonderful turnout enjoyed an evening of tasty food and adult beverages. The Social was planned and carried out in expert fashion by Jinny Estell and Earline Walker, as well as the usual host of volunteers. The Chesapeake Garden Club provided the elegant flower arrangements for each table, the flower sculptures for the serving and hors d’oeuvre tables as well as the outside decorations. They provided a spirit of Fall for everyone’s enjoyment. If you missed it this year be sure and look for next year’s extravaganza.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of Northumberland’s Distinguished Citizen Award to our own Dr. Gregory T. Haugan. Greg’s contributions to the County and Community are legend and we are delighted to finally afford him the recognition he so richly deserves. His accomplishments are detailed in this newsletter by our veteran reporter and news hound Jay “Scoop” Walker. It was an excellent choice this year and many members commented on how pleased they were that Greg was selected.
NAPS will continue to work on and bring to you the kind of programs and educational information that reflect your interest in the stewardship of our beloved Northumberland County. We cannot do it alone, however, we need your help and support. The membership of NAPS needs to be expanded; talk to your neighbors and if they are not members ask them to call any of the Directors listed in this newsletter. Best to you and yours,
Sincerely, Bill Estell, President
At the invitation of Board member Monty Deihl, Director of Fishing Plant Operations for Omega Protein, the NAPS Board and spouses visited the Omega facility in Reedville after the August 15 regular meeting. Monty opened the visit with an overview of the company, including facilities elsewhere in the USA. He pointed out that Omega not only provides jobs in Northumberland County, but spends millions of dollars doing business in the Northern Neck. He also said that the Reedville plant has launched programs to improve efficiency, cut costs and also be environmentally friendly.
Bill Purcell, Environmental Manager, described programs that do just that. The highlight this year was converting to Renewable Diesel Oil (RDO), a process that turns industrial fats into RDO. It is carbon neutral, no sulfur, and cheaper than standard diesel. Another program is waste water treatment to cut pollution from the menhaden processing procedures. A third program initiated by Purcell has been fishing vessel upgrades, including no discharge compliance and this year introducing bio-diesel fuel.
Jane Crowther, chief scientist for the OmegaPure Health and Science Center, described the three market segments for Omega Protein – human nutrition, animal nutrition, and plant cultivation. The OmegaPure facility was designed in 2004 as an innovative food-grade fish oil refinery. The entire process is computer controlled and monitored for safety and security. Crowther said that the facility is inspected by the FDA frequently and exceeds all requirements.
The visit ended with a tour of the plant and refinery.
On August 2, 2012, Allison C. Dunaway, DEQ’s Virginia Water Protection (VWP) permit manager, approved Bluff Point Holdings, LLC’s VWP 1 application request for culvert and road improvements “as a VWP General Permit Number WP4.” The project will permanently impact 198 square feet of non-tidal wetlands.
Numerous citizens familiar with the property and PUD, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation opposed the application request because “the work is part of the larger PUD and not a separate and complete project.” They also believe that Bluff Point Holdings, LLC should “seek approval of the entire set of wetlands impacts created by the PUD and not segment approval of wetlands permits.”
On August 28th, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) granted Bluff Point Holdings, LLC, 150 acres of the 250 acres of oyster ground they had requested in Barnes Creek. After many citizens and some watermen who live in the area voiced concerns about the size of the requested 250 acre oyster lease, the hazards cages would impose to navigation because the mouth of the creek is very shallow, only 12” deep at high tide, risks to other boaters and properties in the area, the strong southerly fetch, shifting sands and unsuitability of the hard sand bottom for oyster cultivation, the VMRC requested Bluff Point Holdings, LLC to reduce the acreage. One commissioner even remarked that the requested 250 acres was, “preposterous.” “The applicant hasn’t even worked the 62 acres of oyster ground he acquired in 2009!”
After meeting with Ben Stagg, VMRC chief habitat engineer, the compromise was reached. The VMRC also denied Bluff Point Holdings, LLC any cages on the shallowest portion of the creek near and outside of the mouth of the creek towards Fleets Bay. (An audio version of the hearing is on the VMRC website.).
The 150 acre approved lease is located in the exact area where Bluff Point Holdings, LLC plans to dredge a channel 1.3 miles long, 10 feet deep, and 100 feet wide for boats up to 100 feet long to access the planned inland marina on Barnes Creek. (Is this really about oyster cultivation?)
Bluff Point Holdings, LLC is in the process of submitting a Joint Permit Application sometime in the next 12-14 months. This will include: shoreline stabilization plans, stormwater plans, grading plans, road plans, erosion and sedimentation control plans, well and wastewater plans, and environmental documentation for review.
When students at Northumberland High School turned on a common household fan out-doors recently, the sun supplied the power via a solar panel designed and built by seniors in the Capstone Math Class taught by Amy Lamb and Javornda Ashton. The project was the result of a $500 Solar Grant in support of the school’s alternative energy activities provide by the Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship (NAPS) last December.
Instructional Technology Resource Teacher Jenny Christman took on the task of organizing the solar energy-based project. Essentially, the project provided an opportunity to apply their high school math skills and they were up to the task.
“This project helped our students apply their math skills in a real-life application that creates a sustainable future,” said Amy Lamb at the demonstration, adding that NAPS provided the stimulus needed to get the project off the ground, including training sessions by NAPS member Lee Allain. (Due to illness, Christman was not able to attend the demo.)
But the math applications did not stop there. The students also had to learn how to build the solar array. After a couple of sessions with Allain to become familiar with the economics and basic electrical engineering applications, the group had to learn how to solder small wires to a copper test strip. Next, they had to solder interconnect tabs on to thin solar cells. All in all, nearly 200 perfect solder connections had to be made.
The cells were then sealed in place using a heat gun to melt a sheet of plastic sealant that covered and sealed in all of the cells. According to Allain, the solar panel should last more than 20 years.
Another group used its trigonometry knowledge to specify the math required to hold the panel at 38 degrees, the recommended angle for solar panel installation to receive the maximum solar energy. On March 6, with a simple frame built to the specified 38 degrees, the solar panel was ready for its debut in the sun. Tied to a regulator, storage battery, and a DC to AC inverter, the panel powered the fan. The students are now thinking about how to use their 120 watt collector for other applications. One suggestion is to power the school sign at the highway entrance.
Asked about their reaction to the project, most of the 15-member team said they were not really interested at first. Then as the project developed, they came around to appreciating that they were making a practical solar energy system. Most of the seniors liked soldering.
“When you consider how few solar energy systems are installed in Northumberland County, these students are pioneers,” said Allain. Lamb and Ashton stressed that all of the team members are going to college and this team-spirit experience will serve them well in the future.
The 23 years of NAPS history tells a story – a story of how a community works to preserve its unique features as it grows and changes. NAPS volunteers have worked hard by monitoring, educating, and getting their hands dirty. We work with many other organizations sharing the same spirit. Together we can continue to make a difference, not just for our county, but for our country and world. How would you like to spend a few fun hours this year helping NAPS help your community? Read more...