Ida Hall and her beagle Ruby getting ready to pull crab pots. Ida was named the 2019 Northumberland Distinguished Citizen.
The Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship (NAPS) has selected Ida Hall to receive the 2019 Northumberland Distinguished Citizen Award. The formal presentation will take place at the NAPS Annual Fall Social on Saturday, October 26 at the Bay Quarter Shores Community Clubhouse, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Ida has been a career waterwoman in Northumberland County for 45 years and has been a strong advocate for environmental stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Ida was a strong supporter of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act when it was proposed in 1988 with the sponsorship of Northern Neck Delegate Tayloe Murphy. In 2002, she was the first woman from Virginia to be appointed to the bi-state Potomac River Fisheries Commission and has served several terms, including as chairwoman. She was also a member of the Virginia Blue Crab Industry Panel, an organization that worked to sustain the population and harvesting of the species.
Ida currently serves as secretary for the Virginia Waterman’s Association. She participates in the Heritage Ecotourism program, taking others out to experience first-hand what watermen do and teaching students about Bay ecology in the classroom. She has also served on Congressman Rob Wittman’s Environmental Advisory Panel since 2008. In 2009, Ida was asked to represent Northumberland County on the Tidewater Resource Conservation and Development Council, promoting prosperous and sustainable communities. She is also a long-standing member of NAPS and has served as secretary and as a member of the board of directors.
In 2007, Ida spoke out against the environmental risks of a 288-unit cluster development plan in the Bluff Point area of Northumberland County, which was later voted down by the Board of Supervisors. From 2010-2013, Ida spearheaded efforts to educate the public about plans for another development project in the county, where 440 acres of the property were Zoned C-1 Conservation. Ida and NAPS deemed the higher densities and usages proposed inconsistent with any concept of conservation, and that the entire project would be severely affected by rising sea levels and damaging floods. Although the county Board of Supervisors approved the project early on, the developer decided not to go through with it, gifted a 37-acre parcel to James Madison University, and placed nearly all the remainder into a perpetual conservation easement.
In 2014, National Fisherman magazine, the country’s largest publication for commercial fishing, named Ida Hall as a Highliner Award winner, recognizing commercial watermen who “display a passion for fishing and advocate for the sustainability of fish and fishermen.”
Ida grew up in Danville, Virginia, but spent most summers and many vacations at her family’s farm on the Chesapeake Bay in Northumberland County. She attended the College of William & Mary and graduated in 1972.
The Northumberland Distinguished Citizen Award is presented by NAPS each year to honor an individual, team, organization, or business in the county that advances one or more of the goals of NAPS: Improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; Fostering and preserving the county’s rural atmosphere; Promoting and monitoring land use policies; Encouraging economic growth to promote jobs; and Cooperating with others through educational programs to target these goals. For a list of past awardees, visit NAPSva.org/awards-and-grants.