Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan

Advisory Group

October 14, 2003




1.      Welcome and Announcements


2.      Final Watershed Management Plan

David Fuss - MPPDC

3.      Discussion


4.      Adjourn


Dragon Run Steering Committee meeting: Wednesday, November 12





Robert Gibson (King and Queen); Anne Ducey-Ortiz (Gloucester); Lorna Anderberg, Mike Anderberg, Mary Ann Krenzke (Friends of Dragon Run); Willy Reay (CBNERR/VIMS); Pat Tyrrell (Tidewater Resource Conservation and Development Council); David Fuss (MPPDC)


Welcome and Announcements


Mike Anderberg announced that there have been reports of few obstructions due to the hurricane between Big Island and Rt. 603. Most obstructions are right near Mascot.


David announced that the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority (PAA) will use VA Coastal Program funding to purchase the Brown Tract off of Rt. 604 in Essex/King and Queen County near Center Cross. It is about 270 acres of timberland spanning the Dragon Run and is currently owned by John Hancock Life Insurance Co. It is under contract to The Nature Conservancy (TNC), but TNC has agreed to sell it on an option to the PAA. Ultimately, half of the property will be deeded to the VA Dept. of Forestry as part of a state forest. A management plan will be developed by a stakeholder group following the settlement in December.


Pat Tyrrell announced that the Virginia Cooperative Extension Forestry Tour will be touring hardwood management sites in Richmond County on October 16. Flyers are available.


Final Watershed Management Plan and Discussion


David began a slide show presentation to explain the main elements of the final watershed management plan to ask for feedback. Mike Anderberg noted that the emphasis on the degree of conflict in Sections 1 & 2 seemed somewhat artificial. There is not really a high level of conflict or clashes. Suggestions were made to tone down this idea by substituting a different word for conflict or indicating differing points of view about how to preserve the watershed. Due to the potential for a high turnover of land ownership (e.g. John Hancock owns 25+% of the watershed and there are many aging landowners), it was suggested that the concept of proactive planning and management be implemented before serious conflict occurs (e.g. head off conflict).


Willy Reay suggested that inserting the concept of the watershed approach as the best way to plan for an area/ecosystem could be used as justification for the Dragon Run Planning Area in the Actions (Section 4).


Mike Anderberg noted that the document as a whole was difficult to digest, even for someone who has been participating in the meetings for months. He suggested trying to distinguish  between those items that are already being worked on and those that would qualify as “new” actions. Some way to prioritize the actions would be ideal. It was also noted that the whole document could be more concise.


Willy Reay suggested that some of the items in the list on page 11 could be incorporated into other actions. Anne Ducey-Ortiz pointed out that many of these policies are geared for comprehensive plans and that they have value to the needs of county planners. She also mentioned that an assessment of the level of public input for Action 1 would be helpful. Furthermore, she indicated that the reference to the Dragon Run Conservation District is unhelpful and should be removed.


Willy suggested that the Actions could be categorized by topic, such as Education and Land Stewardship. Also, it was suggested that, if possible, tabs for the different sections be incorporated into the final version.


There should be an oversight entity and staff support to keep track of how things are progressing with plan implementation. There is the potential for a lot of work for the county staff, so it will be important for the Steering Committee to continue to have staff support. It may be necessary to seek other resources (e.g. grant for a consultant).


Bullets and not letters should be used for lists like those on pp. 12-13. Furthermore, it might be possible to sort the list on pp. 12-13 by landowners vs. government. Also, Action 1B should be changed to read “Promote Preservation of Farms, Forests, and Natural Resources.”


There is a lingering concern that the document is confusing, even for the Dragon Run Steering Committee. The Advisory Group does not want people to get exasperated reading through a big document. It was suggested a summary document of ~5 pages with photos and main elements of the plan be prepared as a supplement to the technical document. This could be presented to the Dragon Run Steering Committee in a PowerPoint slide show.


In general, there should be an effort to improve the document’s formatting. Examples are keeping the Table of Contents on the right side of a page and to clearly separate the Sections (e.g. individual Section title pages).  Robert Gibson emphasized that the document should be kept simple and that we do not want people to have to study it to figure it out.


Finally, it was noted that photos of invasive species would improve the plan.


David promised to make these changes and then the final recommendations of the Advisory Group would be presented to the Steering Committee at their next meeting.




David announced that there will not be a SAMP meeting in November, but the SAMP Advisory Group is invited to attend the Dragon Run Steering Committee’s quarterly meeting on November 12. The Steering Committee will be considering the final watershed management plan recommended by the Advisory Group. The meeting was adjourned.