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Dragon Run Steering Committee 2002 Meeting Minutes

See meeting minutes from: 2009 |2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | Member Attendance


Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
Fall Quarterly Meeting
November 13, 2002

Agenda

1. Welcome Chair Davis
2. DCR Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant update David Fuss
3. Farmland Preservation Steering Committee update David Fuss
4. DGIF Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide - Coastal Area overview David Fuss
5. SAMP update - Where are we now? Where are we going? David Fuss
6. Adjourn Chair Davis

Attendance

Steering Committee: Prue Davis - Chair, Dorothy Miller (Essex); Keith Haden (King and Queen); Rick Allen (Gloucester); Robert Major, Davis Wilson (Middlesex)

Others: Robert Hudgins (Gloucester/Mathews); Mary Ann Krenzke (Middlesex); David Fuss (MPPDC)

Welcome

Chair Davis welcomed everyone and began introductions.

DCR Grant Update

David Fuss provided a one-page summary of the grant awarded to the PDC from the Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation for Improving the Effectiveness of Local Land Use Policies in Protecting the Natural Resources of the Dragon Run Watershed: A Blackwater Tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. David explained the key components of the $25,000 grant that will take one year to complete. The PDC was awarded 1 of 17 grants. A short question and answer period followed that included questions about: any relation to the proposed state park for the Middle Peninsula; the source of the matching funds; and whether DCR might have strings attached to the grant for future DCR initiatives.

Farmland Preservation Steering Committee Update

David announced an upcoming seminar entitled Preserving Family Farms to be held Wednesday, November 20 from 2-4:30 PM at the Cooperative Law Library of Rappahannock Community College in Warsaw. Seminar topics include conservation easements, FarmLink program, legal considerations, and tax considerations. The seminar is sponsored by the Cooperative Law Library, the Virginia Farm Bureau, and the Tidewater Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D). Chair Davis explained that the Tidewater RC&D has formed the Farmland Preservation Steering Committee, which consists of those interested in farmland preservation in the 10-county region that includes the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.

DGIF Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide Overview

David provided a brief overview of the newly released Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide for the Coastal Area, published by the Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). The product's main concept is to provide a platform for nature-based tourism in the state. David explained that sites are linked by driving loops and that each site was nominated by a landowner and/or confirmed with the landowner. In many cases, sites are owned by federal, state, or local government. Signs will be erected at each site and on major roadways. Questions focused on landowner permission and trespassing concerns on adjacent property.

SAMP Update

David offered an update of the Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) project. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been signed by Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, and Middlesex Counties, and the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission. The signatories agree to participate in the project, agree to the project's goals and objectives, and agree to consider the Steering Committee's recommendations for ways to achieve the goals and objectives. David congratulated the Committee on getting the MOA signed in such a short period of time.

David also expressed the need to develop action plans to achieve the goals and objectives. This part of the project will entail 3 primary areas of activity:

1. Research - e.g. aquatic inventory, land use policy analysis, natural heritage inventory
2. Outreach - presentations to civic groups and decision-makers, local newspaper articles about the project
3. Recommendations - incorporate research results and feedback from outreach efforts into process of developing action plans to achieve the project's goals and objectives

David reminded the Committee that one SAMP grant deliverable is to develop a draft watershed management plan by the end of March 2003 that is consistent with the components required by the Chesapeake Bay Program's Chesapeake 2000 Watershed Commitments Task Force. A final plan - only from the Steering Committee, not yet adopted by the local governments - will be due at the end of September 2003. This is towards what the SAMP process is leading.

David emphasized that he will need contacts, if available, from Steering Committee members for civic groups that may be interested in a speaker to discuss the Dragon Run SAMP project. It was suggested that dinner meetings for Royster Clark and Southern States might be an excellent way to make presentations to the farming community.

Other Business

Dorothy Miller raised the idea of trying to diversify the economy so that the communities are not so dependent on forestry, citing similar scenarios that played out in the Pacific Northwest when the forestry industry collapsed. Ms. Miller indicated that the Committee needed to realize the future pressures on land in the Dragon Run due to shifts in natural resource markets.

David Fuss mentioned several items: 1) Dr. Garman of VCU is actively performing the aquatic inventory in the Dragon Run; 2) the concept of incorporating the idea of Dragon Run Stewardship Awards into a Dragon Run Festival for the communities sponsored by the Steering Committee; and 3) Committee members would be very effective as speakers to Boards of Supervisors and Planning Commissions.

The Committee decided to set the dates for its 2003 meetings as follows:

Winter February 12
Spring May 14
Summer August 13
Fall November 12

All meetings are to be held at the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commissions at 7:30 PM unless the Committee agrees upon an alternate site.

Adjourn

A motion was made, seconded and carried to adjourn the meeting.


Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
Special Meeting
October 15, 2002

Agenda

1. Welcome
2. Overview of U.S. EPA Watershed Initiative agenda item at August Committee meeting
3. The Nature Conservancy's proposal to VA DEQ to select the Dragon Run for the U.S. EPA Watershed Initiative
4. Should the Committee support this proposal? - Discussion
5. Adjourn

Attendance

Steering Committee Members: Prue Davis, Dorothy Miller (Essex); Frank Herrin, Russell Williams (King and Queen); Robert Major, Jack Miller (Middlesex)

Others: Andy Lacatell (The Nature Conservancy); Julie Bixby (VA Coastal Program); Rachel Williams (King and Queen); Mike Anderberg, Mary Ann Krenzke, Davis Rhodes (Friends of Dragon Run); David Fuss (MPPDC)

Welcome

Committee Chair Prue Davis welcomed everyone and initiated introductions.

Overview of U.S. EPA Watershed Initiative

David Fuss reminded the Committee that they had given tentative support for The Nature Conservancy's proposal to nominate the Dragon Run for the U.S. EPA Watershed Initiative at the August quarterly meeting. At that time, however, the Committee did not have program details or a detailed proposal. The Committee had decided that it should call a special meeting if asked to write a letter of support. The Nature Conservancy is now asking for a letter of support from the Committee. David provided a Fact Sheet from the US EPA web site about the Initiative. He then reviewed the program goals, program characteristics, allowable activities, and selection criteria. The main goal is to provide a way for localities and states to voluntarily achieve water quality standards through a holistic, coalition-based approach. The program will provide funding of $300,000 to $1.3 million for up to 20 watersheds nationwide. Proposals must be based on existing watershed management plans and must provide 25% non-federal match.

The Nature Conservancy's Proposal

Andy Lacatell distributed a one-page summary of The Nature Conservancy's proposal to VA Dept. of Environmental Quality to select the Dragon Run as one of Virginia's nominations for the U.S. EPA Watershed Initiative. He indicated that the Initiative is a good funding opportunity, but that it will be highly competitive.

Mr. Lacatell described the ecological value of the Dragon Run as the basis for The Nature Conservancy's interest in protecting the watershed. The Nature Conservancy's primary goal in the Dragon Run watershed is to protect working forests as part of the largest remaining forest complex in the Chesapeake Bay region. Forests are one of the best land uses in protecting water quality.

The Nature Conservancy's proposal involves the establishment of the Dragon Run Conservation Forestry Program, including the hiring of a Conservation Forester. The Conservation Forester would provide forestry consultation services to landowners and facilitate the purchase of working easements on forestry land. The program would mesh with the Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan and the existing Dragon Run Watershed Management Plan (1996). The Nature Conservancy's objective is to manage for water quality.

A question and answer discussion period followed. The following is a summary of the discussion:
· Concern about flexibility in managing forests
· Concern that the funding is all going to support TNC initiatives
· Discussion about fee simple purchases vs. easements - TNC's belief is that the most efficient way to accomplish conservation goals is to directly protect stream/wetland buffers and pay for development rights on adjacent uplands
· Concern about grant requirements and how state budget cuts might affect local government budgets and their ability to meet any liabilities under this grant agreement - TNC did not believe that local governments would be financially liable under this grant agreement
· Concern about federal government involvement and that mandates would be passed down later after the grant funding has been awarded - this does not appear to be the case according to the funding program details
· What would happen if Steering Committee did not support the grant proposal? TNC's proposal is unlikely to success without local support
· Concern about how this funding initiative will affect the SAMP and the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the four counties and the PDC
· Worried about development pressure increasing adjacent to easements that offer recreational access - too much recreational use?
· Discussion about the details of a conservation easement - probably will not have easement details until the full proposal would be due to US EPA, after selections are made nationwide
· The funding initiative has the potential to channel money to landowners in the watershed that could benefit by keeping their land in forest/farm production instead of selling to development interests

Adjourn

After considerable discussion, no motions were made to vote on whether to support The Nature Conservancy's proposal. The Committee decided that more discussion time was needed and elected to continue the meeting on Friday, October 18 at 10:00 AM at the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission offices.

On October 16, The Nature Conservancy opted to withdraw its plans to submit the proposal to the VA DEQ to select the Dragon Run as Virginia's nomination for the U.S. EPA Watershed Initiative. Without full local support, TNC felt that it was not the right time to proceed with the grant proposal. Consequently, the meeting on October 18 was cancelled.


Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
August 21, 2002

Agenda

1. Welcome
2. Picnic at Mr. Robert Major's home
3. Dragon Run SAMP update

MOA
Presentations to BOS, civic groups
Web Site Updates· DEQ Impaired Waters List
Natural Resource Agency/Organization meeting
Story of the Dragon Run: Its History, Its People, Its Culture
DCR Chesapeake Bay grants
EPA Watershed Initiative
Shoreline Erosion Advisory Service
Research/data database
Landowner Liability

4. CBNERR-VA/VIMS

Land Purchase
Ecotourism Operator Training

5. Other Business
6. Adjourn

Welcome

Robert Major welcomed everyone to his home for a picnic meeting of the Dragon Run Steering Committee. Those in attendance were: Robert and Carolyn Major (Middlesex); Bill Major (King George); Prue Davis, Dorothy Miller, Scott Owen (Essex); Frank and Elise Herrin; Keith Haden (King and Queen); David Fuss (MPPDC).

Dragon Run SAMP Update

David Fuss updated the Committee about several items:

· The Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission and Essex County and is on the agenda for the King and Queen Board of Supervisors meeting in September. Gloucester and Middlesex Counties will be visited in October.
· The Dragon Run SAMP web site has been enhanced with a new look and more information, including the Steering Committee's 1996 Watershed Management Plan.
· The Dragon Run has been listed on the VA Dept. of Environmental Quality's Impaired Waters [303(d)] list for fecal coliform, pH, 2 fish tissue samples for mercury, and 1 fish tissue sample for lead. These impairments are most likely due to natural causes according to DEQ and many other experts. They are based on water quality and fish samples taken at two locations (US 17 bridge, Mascot).
· There have been recent reports of fish with lesions being taken from the Dragon Run by hook-and-line fishermen. This does not amount to a fish kill, according to DEQ. The lesions are most likely due to naturally occurring bacteria and fungi that are affecting fish under great stress from high salinities in the lower Dragon.
· The SAMP project is at the point where presentations should be given to community/civic groups to make more people aware of the project. David asked the Committee members to use any connections they have to line up presentations, since he has a 15-minute program prepared.
· David convened a meeting of regional, state, and federal agencies, universities, and non-profit conservation organizations involved in data collection in the Dragon Run. The purpose was to identify studies that had been done, are being completed, and will be performed. During this meeting, several data gaps were identified: mussels and other benthic macroinvertebrates, migratory birds, natural heritage species in headwaters and uplands areas, and fisheries.
· A representative from the VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation's Shoreline Erosion Advisory Service attended the data collection meeting and indicated that he is available to survey eroding shorelines to provide solutions for these problem areas. David asked the Committee to let him know of any areas that they felt warranted an erosion survey.
· In response to concerns about landowner liability, David found that Virginia has a Landowner Liability Law that protects landowners from frivolous lawsuits whether permission has been given or not. Furthermore, if an access easement is given to a state or local government entity, then the easement holder, not the landowner, is responsible for any legal costs associated with a defense of a liability lawsuit, frivolous or not.
· VIMS/CBNERR-VA is trying to purchase a 120-acre tract along the Dragon Run near Mascot. This is not finalized, but should go through. CBNERR-VA will restrict access to the site, using it for a research site and educational trips.
· VIMS/CBNERR-VA is working on a training program for ecotourism operators, which may be useful to outfitters using or planning to use the Dragon Run.
· David reported that a new VA Dept. of Forestry study indicates that forestry provides more than $30 billion in benefits to Virginia each year and employs more than 248,000 people.

David then reported on several items that required action from the Committee.

1. DCR's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Office Grant Application
Following consultation with Andy Lacatell of The Nature Conservancy, David proposed to submit a grant application to the VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Office. The proposed project will document the effectiveness of local land use policies within the Dragon Run Watershed in achieving commitments in the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement (C2K) and incorporate improvements to those policies into a locally supported watershed management plan. Specifically, the project will contribute to the development of the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission's Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan project by: 1) filling data gaps in a comprehensive environmental inventory; 2) evaluating the consistency, enforceability and effectiveness of land use policies of the four counties within the watershed; and 3) disseminating this information to local decision-makers and landowners. The Committee agreed to write a letter in support of the grant application, which is due Sept. 13.

2. EPA Watershed Initiative
Andy Lacatell of The Nature Conservancy informed David that TNC would be lobbying the Warner administration to select the Dragon Run as one of its nominations for the U.S. EPA's Watershed Initiative. This new funding program will fund 20 watersheds with $21 million over 2-3 years. The focus is on watersheds where active watershed management and planning are occurring. The funding might be used for environmental inventory work, purchase of conservation easements, and related activities. David sought guidance on this issue from the Committee, in light of past efforts to designate the Dragon Run as a Scenic River. The Committee was tentatively supportive of the idea to seek more funding for the SAMP effort. There were questions that could only be answered after seeing the program details, which David did not yet have. It was agreed that, if a support letter from the Committee was needed, the Committee would call a special meeting to discuss the program details and any outstanding questions.

3. Story of the Dragon Run
Andy Lacatell of The Nature Conservancy suggested to David the idea of a project called "The Story of the Dragon Run." This project would be similar in nature to a project done on the Eastern Shore of Virginia by the Edgewise partnership between William and Mary, Virginia Tech, and The Nature Conservancy. The idea is to document the people, the history, and the culture of the region is a succinct ~20-page report to distribute to residents of the watershed. It might include library and museum records, county records, and personal interviews with residents. The project would be done by students and would not cost very much to produce and distribute. David asked the Committee for guidance on this topic. The Committee thought that this project had potentially great value and should be pursued.

Adjourn

The meeting was adjourned at dusk.


Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
May 15, 2002

Agenda

1. Welcome
2. Overview and preliminary results of The Nature Conservancy's beaver dam assessment project
3. Dragon Run SAMP update - Draft/final MOA
4. Legislative update
5. Other business - BFI landfill concerns?
6. Adjourn

Attendance

Steering Committee: Prue Davis, Dorothy Miller (Essex); Frank Herrin, Russell Williams (King and Queen); Rick Allen (Gloucester); Robert Major (Middlesex); Jerry Horner (Gloucester)

Others: Andy Lacatell (The Nature Conservancy); Hugh Markham (Tidewater Resource Conservation and Development); Davis Rhodes (Friends of Dragon Run); Neal Barber (Middle Peninsula Land Trust); Rachel Williams (King and Queen); David Fuss (Middle Peninsulal Planning District Commission)

Welcome and Introductions

Chairwoman Margaret "Prue" Davis welcomed everyone and began introductions.

Beaver Dam Assessment Project

Chairwoman Davis introduced Andy Lacatell of The Nature Conservancy. Andy delivered a presentation concerning The Nature Conservancy's project to assess beaver dams and their permeability to anadromous fish. He passed out a fact sheet describing The Nature Conservancy's Chesapeake Rivers Program.

Andy noted that The Nature Conservancy's mission is to "preserve plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive." Within the Chesapeake Rivers Program, he indicated that anadromous fish are a priority, citing them as indicator species of system health and noting the depressed populations of American shad, alewife, and blueback herring. For anadromous fish, the Chesapeake Rivers Program considers invasive species as the highest threat, fishing as a high threat, and structural impediments to fish passage as a medium threat. Strategies are to address invasive/non-native species, promote sound fishery management policy to increase anadromous fish populations, and to assess structural impediments to fish passage.

The goal of the current project is to improve access to historic reproductive habitat for shad and herring. The objective is to assess permeability of beaver dams to anadromous fish. The project stresses community volunteer efforts to assess locations and parameters of beaver dams in the Dragon Run and Cat Point Creek, utilizing the Cat Point Creek Steering Committee and the Friends of Dragon Run. Furthermore, the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University will be collecting and analyzing fish data.

Preliminary results indicate that there are: 16 beaver dams between Rt. 602 and Rt. 603 bridges; 10 beaver dams between Rt. 603 and Rt. 17 bridges; and 5+ beaver dams between Rt. 17 and the Piankatank River. Based on fish sampling between February and May, 27 native species of fish were found in the Dragon Run, but no herring. Andy passed out a list of fish collected in the Dragon Run and in Cat Point Creek. Robert Major pointed out that, in his family's extensive experience on the Dragon Run, herring are always caught on a full moon in January and February. Andy noted that 6 non-native species were caught in the Dragon Run, including blue catfish. The presence of these species is cause for concern. In Cat Point Creek, alewife and blueback herring were found in abundance, including some above significant beaver dams.

VCU will finish fish sampling next week and perform data analysis over the summer. Hugh Markham of Tidewater Resource Conservation and Development will do presentations to community groups. Later, VCU will perform a juvenile fish study and volunteers will reassess the beaver dams. Ultimately, VCU will analyze data and advise TNC about where to install a Denil fish ladder structure - probably one structure on Cat Point Creek during next winter. This would not be tried on the Dragon Run due to lack of herring.

Questions followed the presentation. The extent of Phragmites, an invasive plant, in the Dragon Run was discussed. It is found only in a few places. Contact with landowners was discussed. Andy noted that permits to install in-stream structures would be needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and would not be installed without adjacent landowner permission. The fish ladder structures are small, short-term devices that would be installed for several months on dams less than 4 feet tall. There was some discussion about the relative merits of beavers in the system.

Dragon Run SAMP Update

David Fuss explained the purpose and structure of the Memorandum of Agreement for the Dragon Run Watershed Special Area Management Plan. He passed out a draft version that had been recommended by the SAMP Advisory Group. He asked the Steering Committee members to review the document and offer comments and suggestions.

Frank Herrin suggested that language about 'managing access' was not necessary until there was action to provide access. He proposed to strike the last phrase of Goal II. Davis Rhodes spoke about needing a distinction between education and publicity. How much is too much? There was also discussion about the wording specific to the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement in Objective A under Goal II.

Chairwoman Davis proposed to discuss the Goals and Objectives in order and began to ask for comments on them in sequential order. The sole change made to the draft was to strike the last phrase of Goal II, as suggested by Frank Herrin. Chairwoman Davis asked for a vote on approving the MOA to send to the Planning District Commission. The members voted to approve the MOA, except Robert Major abstained. The Committee asked David Fuss to make the necessary changes and prepare the MOA for the Planning District Commission at its May meeting.

Dorothy Miller commented on the importance of the Special Area Management Plan and the need to plan for future development pressure in 10-15, 50, or even 100 years. Frank Herrin noted that the Committee has not saved the Dragon by approving the MOA - there is plenty left to do.

Legislative Update

David Fuss briefed the Committee on several bills passed by the General Assembly and signed the Governor. HB 1144 authorized the issuance of General Obligation Bonds in an amount not exceeding $119,040,000 for capital projects for state parks and recreational facilities, subject to a majority vote of qualified voters on November 5, 2002. Of this amount, $30,000,000 is allocated for acquisition of land for new preserves and parks - $10 million for Natural Area Preserves and $20 million for State Parks. Three parks are proposed, one of which is expected to be in the Middle Peninsula fronting the Chesapeake Bay or its major tributaries. There is a search committee designed to find 600-1000 acres of land in the Middle Peninsula and this committee is not currently searching in the Dragon Run.

Next, David spoke about HB 619 that establishes the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority. It would consist of representatives from all of the counties and towns on the Middle Peninsula and is designed to manage public land and the terminus points of roads ending at the Chesapeake Bay or its tributaries that are currently owned the VA Dept. of Transportation. The land would be deeded to the Authority for the purpose of developing it as public access or selling to the adjacent landowners. Each county or town would have to approve any action of the Authority concerning a property within its jurisdiction.

Then, David mentioned HB 344, which makes an amendment to allow local governments to acquire property for the preservation of open-space land. Finally, David spoke about HB 346, which makes an amendment that allows local governments to incorporate clustering of single-family dwellings into zoning or subdivision ordinances for the purpose of preserving open space.

Other Business

David Fuss observed that several Committee members had expressed concern about the BFI landfill in King and Queen County and asked the group if he should arrange for a presentation by a BFI representative for a future Committee meeting. Committee members asked David to arrange for a presentation at the November quarterly meeting.

Adjourn

Chairwoman Davis adjourned the meeting.


Dragon Run Steering Committee
February 20, 2002
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Agenda

1. Welcome
2. Annual Officer Elections
3. Update on James V. Morgan Memorial Bridge Dedication
4. Anadromous Fish Inventory projects
5. Update on Dragon Run SAMP
6. 2002 Work Plan and Schedule
7. Other Business
8. Adjourn

Welcome

Vice-chairwoman Dorothy Miller welcomed everyone to the winter quarterly meeting of the Dragon Run Steering Committee on February 20, 2002 at the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission offices in Saluda, Virginia. Steering Committee members in attendance were: Margaret "Prue" Davis, Dorothy Miller, M. Scott Owen - Essex; Charles "Rick" Allen, Jerry Horner - Gloucester; William "Frank" Herrin - King and Queen; Robert Major, John "Jack" Miller - Middlesex. Also in attendance were: Mike Anderberg, Davis Rhodes - Friends of the Dragon Run; Davis Wilson; David Fuss -MPPDC staff. David Fuss informed the Committee that he had presented a plaque to outgoing Chairman Edward Hall for his exemplary leadership for three years. He also presented a thank-you letter from Mr. Hall's wife, Sandra.

Officer Elections

The Committee held annual officer elections. Frank Herrin nominated Prue Davis for Chairwoman. The motion was seconded and carried with no opposing votes. Prue Davis nominated Frank Herrin for Vice-chairman. Jack Miller seconded the motion and the motion carried with no opposing votes.

Bridge Dedication Update

David Fuss provided an update on the status of HB 614 which proposes to dedicate the twin bridges over the Dragon Run on US Route 17 as the "James Vincent Morgan Memorial Bridges." The bill has passed both the House and Senate in the Virginia General Assembly and will soon be enrolled to send to the Governor for his signature. This effort was sponsored by the Friends of Dragon Run. The Dragon Run Steering Committee provided a letter of support for this effort.

Anadromous Fish Projects

David Fuss gave an update on anadromous fish projects in the Dragon Run Watershed. The MPPDC has submitted a grant proposal to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for an aquatic inventory of the Dragon Run. Grant program results will be announced in mid-May. Independently, The Nature Conservancy is undertaking a beaver dam assessment and anadromous fish passage study on the Dragon Run between the bridges at Rt. 603 and Rt. 602. The project has been funded for one year, but future action plans will be developed based on the results of the assessment. Future funding is uncertain. Mike Anderberg described volunteer assessment work for the project in which he had participated. Robert Major expressed concern that historical knowledge from landowners was not solicited during the course of this and other natural resource studies. Several Committee members asked what The Nature Conservancy intended to do with the results. David advised Committee members to speak with Andy Lacatell of The Nature Conservancy for more information. David also suggested that the Committee could invite Mr. Lacatell to present the study results at a future Committee meeting.

Dragon SAMP Update

David provided an update of the Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan (SAMP). He distributed a flowchart that visualizes the SAMP process. He described the outcome of two public meetings to discuss issues of concern in the Dragon Run Watershed. At this point, an Advisory Group is forming with three working groups focusing on specific topic areas - Local Government and Policy, Traditional Uses and Habitat Management, and Public Education and Public Access. The next SAMP Advisory Group meeting will be on Tuesday, March 5 at the MPPDC offices at 7:30 PM. David also addressed concerns that landowners' opinions were not adequately represented during the SAMP process. He indicated that every attempt is being made to involve landowners and to present landowners' perspectives during the SAMP planning process. David also informed the Committee that he is developing a resource library, both digital and textual, that is designed to assist the Advisory Group in developing goals, objectives, and action plans for the SAMP. David presented a fact sheet from the Chesapeake Bay Program describing the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement among Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the U.S. EPA. The agreement outlines their commitment to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. In so doing, the State of Virginia hopes to avoid direct regulatory oversight by the U.S. EPA, which lists the Chesapeake Bay and its major tributaries as impaired. The State of Virginia is developing tributary strategies and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL's) for impaired waters to achieve water quality standards. This process is ongoing and may impact the work of the Steering Committee and the Dragon Run SAMP.

2002 Work Plan and Schedule

David presented a proposed 2002 work plan to the Steering Committee for their consideration. The plan will serve as a guide for the Committee's activities over the next year. There was considerable discussion - weighing the negatives and positives - about the concept of a Dragon Festival. Jerry Horner provided background information about the past Dragon Festival, which is no longer in operation. The Festival was hosted by Rappahannock Community College. The Steering Committee adopted the work plan as follows:

Legislative issues
VA DEQ Tributary Strategy
Anadromous fish (shad, etc.) restoration
Ecotourism certification program - VA Coastal Program, CBNERR-VA/VIMS
How to improve dialogue/communication with Boards, citizens
Dragon Festival pre-planning
RCC On-site - recommendation from Land/Water Quality study
Property rights

David also presented a proposed 2002 meeting schedule. After discussion and changes to the proposed schedule, the Steering Committee agreed that Wednesdays at 7:30 PM were the best meeting time for the majority of Committee members. The Steering Committee adopted the following schedule with all meetings scheduled for 7:30 PM at the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission offices:

Winter Wednesday, February 20
Spring Wednesday, May 15
Summer Wednesday, August 21
Fall Wednesday, November 13

A copy of the Steering Committee By-laws were distributed, along with a list of current Committee members:

Essex: Margaret H. "Prue" Davis (elected); Dorothy Miller; M. Scott Owen
Gloucester: Charles R. "Rick" Allen, Jr. (elected); Elizabeth J. DeHardit; Jerry Horner
King and Queen: Edward Hall (elected); William F. "Frank" Herrin; Russell Williams
Middlesex: ohn D. "Jack" Miller, Jr. (elected); Robert W. Major; Cathy Wilson

Adjourn

There was no other business and the meeting was adjourned.



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