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Dragon Run Steering Committee 2004 Meeting Minutes

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Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
Fall Quarterly Meeting
November 10, 2004


1. Social Hour - light supper
2. Welcome and Call to Order
3. Summary of Dragon Run Day
4. Where Do We Go From Here?
5. 2005 Meeting Schedule
6. Adjourn


Steering Committee: Prue Davis, Dorothy Miller (Essex); Rick Allen, Jerry Horner (Gloucester); Robert Gibson, Keith Haden, Frank Herrin (King and Queen); R.D. Johnson (Middlesex)

Others: Julie Bixby (Virginia Coastal Program); Teta Kain, Davis Rhodes (Friends of Dragon Run); Rachel and Russell Williams (King and Queen); Amy Easterbrook (Middlesex); David Fuss, Karen Fuss (MPPDC/Contractor)


Chair Prue Davis welcomed everyone for refreshments and began introductions. Chair Davis specifically welcomed guests and new Committee member R.D. Johnson of Middlesex County. David noted that a slide show from Dragon Run Day would be running on the projection screen throughout the social hour and the meeting.

Summary of Dragon Run Day

Event Coordinator Karen Fuss told the Steering Committee that about 300 people attended the event, so it was classified as a great success. There were many reports that the visitors were very interested and engaged and many exhibitors enjoyed talking to visitors in great detail about their work. It was noted that this rarely happens at other festival events.

Karen proceeded to thank the following:
• The event planning subcommittee (Prue, Dorothy, Jerry, Frank, and Davis) for all their time and effort
• The Virginia Coastal Program (Julie) for sponsoring the event
• Former Committee member Russell and Rachel Williams and Committee member Robert and Nettie Gibson for volunteering for the entire day of the event
• Committee member Rick Allen’s wife and daughter who volunteered
• Committee member Dorothy Miller was the primary “runner” and also took over 100 digital photos
• Committee member Frank Herrin for coordinating the parking control
• Teta Kain of Friends of Dragon Run for producing many volunteers and exhibitors and for leading nature walks
• Davis Rhodes of Friends of Dragon Run for helping with planning and serving as master of ceremonies
• David and Nolan Fuss for running the pond studies

Committee Chair Prue Davis presented Karen with a certificate of appreciation for coordinating Dragon Run Day. Thanks to Margaret Kennedy of Tidewater Resource Conservation and Development Council for preparing the certificate. Prue also presented Karen with a framed map print of the Middle Peninsula.

Where Do We Go From Here?

David led the Steering Committee in a discussion of the status of the watershed management plan in each of the counties. Essex, Gloucester, and King and Queen have adopted the plan. Middlesex had adopted and then rescinded the plan. David also reviewed the current grant agreement with the Virginia Coastal Program.

Frank Herrin suggested that the Steering Committee invite the Dragon Run Landowners Association to meet to work out the issues with the management plan. He noted that Middlesex has the strongest zoning, but that they did not show good leadership by telling the other three counties not to come back until they strengthen their zoning to Middlesex standards.

Prue Davis suggested the formation of a subcommittee to work on changes to the management plan that would address the Association’s concerns.

R.D. Johnson thought that this would be a good approach and that it would no longer leave room for the idea that the Association was not involved in developing the plan.

Frank Herrin thought that the Committee did address landowner concerns and incorporate them into the management plan.

Prue suggested that the Committee keep moving forward with the rest of the products in the grant agreement.

R.D. Johnson suggested having an introductory meeting with the entire Dragon Run Landowners Association and Steering Committee to serve as a foundation for the subcommittee’s work. The subcommittee can then hold its meetings to work out the details.

Frank Herrin suggested an early January date for this introductory meeting.

David asked the Committee if it wanted to consider requesting that the Planning District Commission give the Committee permission to add a Planning Commission representative from each county to the Committee’s membership. He suggested that Planning Commission members should have involvement during development of model comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance sections.

Amy Easterbrook indicated that this would be useful for the Middlesex County Planning Commission.

Frank Herrin moved to seek permission from the Planning District Commission to increase the Committee’s membership to include an appointed member from each county’s Planning Commission. Dorothy Miller seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

David announced to the Committee that Betty DeHardit had notified the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors that she has resigned from the Dragon Run Steering Committee.

Jerry Horner discussed mercury in the Dragon Run. Dr. Willy Reay of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science is pursuing a scientific instrument that measures mercury deposited from the atmosphere. Jerry proposed the concept of a living laboratory for the Dragon Run that investigates how the Dragon Run affects its inhabitants (e.g. animals, humans). He suggested that this might be good publicity for the Steering Committee, too. He also suggested investigating the status of species in the Dragon Run and that some may be disappearing or have already disappeared (e.g. shad, freshwater clams and mussels).

Dorothy Miller thought that the Committee should look into grants to fund these species studies.

David talked about the status of current research efforts in the Dragon Run and that he would encourage research in the Dragon Run and investigate what researchers are performing studies in the Dragon Run area.

Jerry spoke about the effects of pollution on humans and animals.

2005 Meeting Schedule

David reminded the Committee that they had been meeting quarterly on the second Wednesday of the month at 7:30 PM. The Committee agreed by consensus that this was a good time to meet and that the 2005 schedule should be set to reflect this.

The meeting schedule for 2005 shall be February 9, May 11, August 10, and November 9.

Other Business

The Committee discussed the formation of a subcommittee to develop changes to the watershed management plan that address the concerns of the Dragon Run Landowners Association. A discussion about what types of changes yielded the approach to wait and see what the subcommittee comes up with. A discussion about whether the three counties that adopted that plan in its entirety would need to approve changes that might be adopted by Middlesex yielded the conclusion that this was probably not necessary, barring massive changes to the document.

Chair Prue Davis asked for volunteers to serve on the subcommittee. Frank Herrin, Keith Haden, and R.D. Johnson volunteered and Prue appointed them to serve on the subcommittee to be assisted by SAMP Director David Fuss.


The meeting was adjourned.

Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
Annual Picnic – Robert & Carolyn Major’s Home
August 18, 2004


1. Welcome
2. Presentation of Award to Russell and Rachel Williams
3. Watershed Festival Planning - Work Session
4. Other Business
· Watershed Management Plan Adoption
5. Adjourn


Steering Committee: Prue Davis, Dorothy Miller, Scott Owen (Essex); Rick Allen, Betty DeHardit, Jerry Horner (Gloucester); Robert Gibson, Frank Herrin (King and Queen); Robert Major (Middlesex) 

Others: Bill DeHardit (Gloucester); Nettie Gibson, Elise Herrin, Rachel Williams (King and Queen); Carolyn Major (Middlesex); Davis Rhodes (Friends of Dragon Run); Russell Williams (Former King and Queen Committee Member); David Fuss (MPPDC); Karen Fuss (Watershed Educator)


Committee members and guests enjoyed a potluck picnic before the business meeting. ChairDavis welcomed everyone. David Fuss snapped a photo of the 2004 Steering Committee. 

Presentation of Award to Russell and Rachel Williams 

Chair Davis presented Russell and Rachel Williams with a pewter plate engraved with the following inscription: “Dedicated Service Award, Russell & Rachel Williams, Honoring exceptional devotion and service to the Dragon Run, Dragon Run Steering Committee, Spring 2004.” Mr. Williams served on the Steering Committee from 1987-2003 as a landowner in King and Queen County. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are both members of the Friends of Dragon Run and have given an access easement to the Friends to gain access to their Big Island property. 

Watershed Festival Planning – Work Session 

Karen Fuss said that six field workshops had been completed so far. These trips targeted the Dragon Run Steering Committee, Gloucester County, Middlesex County, Rappahannock Community College, and Friend of Dragon Run Board of Directors. A trip for Essex County and other interested persons is planned for August 27th. A pre-trip presentation to the King and Queen County Planning Commission is planned for September 7th and a field workshop is scheduled for September 16th. Middlesex Master Gardeners received a pre-trip presentation and decided to have a field workshop as a substitute for their October meeting. Karen will offer a pre-trip presentation to the Friends of Dragon Run membership on September 24th and a field workshop on October 9th. 

Karen announced that Dragon Run Day would be held on October 23rd from 10 AM – 4 PM at the Glenns Campus of Rappahannock Community College (RCC). She has already met with RCC officials, faculty, and staff and took a tour of the grounds with Mark Beaver, RCC Facilities and Grounds manager. The festival will have access to all outside areas and grounds. RCC will charge a $165 fee for security.

Karen distributed handouts listing potential exhibitors and demonstrators for the Committee to consider. Confirmed exhibitors include: The Nature Conservancy; Friends of Dragon Run; Virginia Institute of Marine Science; Dept. of Forestry; Virginia Cooperative Extension (Middlesex); Virginia Coastal Program; Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission; Virginia Canals and Navigations Society; Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries; Virginia Society of Ornithology; and Virginia Butterfly Society. Confirmed demonstrations include: nature walks; pond study with nets; and model boat building. 

Karen’s summary follows:

I. Field Workshop Summary

A. Six workshops have taken place for the following groups:

i. Steering Committee
ii. Middlesex County officials and staff
iii. SAMP Advisory Panel
iv. Gloucester County officials and staff
v. Board of FODR
vi. Rappahannock Community College faculty and staff

B. Others have attended

i. Most of MPPDC office staff
ii. Technology camp from RCC – GPS campers

C. Future trips – all of you are invited to go on any of these

i. Essex County officials and staff on Fri., Aug. 27th
ii. King & Queen County on Thurs., Sept. 16th (talk to Frank about starting or ending at their house)
iii. Middlesex Master Gardeners on Tues., Oct. 12th

1. Gave pre-trip program on Aug. 10th
2. Were so excited that wanted to have workshop in place of their scheduled October meeting

iv. Friends of Dragon Run membership on Sat., Oct. 9th

1. Give pre-trip program at Fri., Sept. 24th meeting

D. Total of 10 workshops will be presented before the end of Oct.

II. Festival Update

A. General Logistics

i. Name – Dragon Run Day
ii. Date – Sat. October 23rd from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
iii. RCC at Glenns Campus – all outside areas
iv. Grant $ will pay $165 charge to RCC for security person

1. If more security is needed, then RCC will pay for that

B. Exhibitors/exhibits – pass out list; have plenty of these

i. Confirmed List

1. The Nature Conservancy
2. Friends of Dragon Run
3. Virginia Institute of Marine Science
4. Department of Forestry
5. Virginia Cooperative Extension – Middlesex Co.
6. Virginia Coastal Program
7. Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
8. Virginia Canals & Navigations Society
9. Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
10. Virginia Butterfly Society
11. Virginia Society of Ornithology

ii. Some of these exhibitors plan to have more than 1 display

1. VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries – 3
2. VIMS – 3

iii. Still waiting to hear from several more

1. Soil & Water Conservation Districts
2. Middlesex County Museum
3. Natural Heritage
4. Virginia Native Plants Society – John Clayton Chapter

iv. Any others?

C. Demonstrations – pass out list. The group added ideas to the list.

i. Researched boxes from RCC from Dragon Run Folklife Festival
ii. Need your help for finding contacts and getting demonstrators to participate!!

1. You making a phone call to a friend will go a lot longer than me, who they don’t know, calling them or sending them a letter

iii. Send out letters and emails requesting help
iv. Antique guns must be made so they can’t fire – trigger locks
v. Logging displays & farm animals – RCC concern about mess – must be cleaned prior to leaving
vi. Mural drawing – what do you think? The group didn’t seem excited about this – no one spoke; delete this idea.

D. Food Vendors – pass out list

i. Prue suggested church groups – please give specifics on these, because there are so many; if you all know of a specific church that has served food at festivals as a fundraiser, please let me know
ii. Any other input? Notify Middlesex, Urbanna, and Saluda churches out of courtesy (Prue Davis suggested).
iii. Send out letters and emails requesting help

E. Entertainment/Performers – pass out list. The group added to the list.

i. Need your help for finding contacts and getting performers to participate!!

1. Again, your phone call to a friend will go a lot further than me contacting these folks

ii. Can be a single performer with a banjo or guitar – it doesn’t have to be elaborate
iii. Haven’t contacted these folks yet
iv. Do we offer a stipend? How much? Don’t offer a stipend, but explain that it’s advertisement for the performer, and they are welcome to sell CDs.
v. No sound system at the amphitheatre – do we ask each performer to provide this or try to rent one? Performers should provide own sound system.
vi. Storytelling area – how should we do this? Performers on stage or an area? Several members voiced their opinion that they should perform on stage.

1. Dorothy Homes – Essex Library – need contact information; contact her at the library (Dorothy Miller suggested).
2. Louise Gray was suggested, but found out that she would not like to do any public speaking

F. Clean-up Crew – pass out list

i. Do we offer a donation to the group up front or 1st see who offers (if any) to do it for free? It was suggested that we offer $100 - $150 for clean up (Rick Allen suggested).
ii. Contact Waste Management to see if they’ll donate boxes for trash; also ask them if they will provide a temporary dumpster (Rick Allen suggested).

G. Miscellaneous Details

i. Tents – for exhibits and demonstrations, if needed

1. Clements’s Tent Rentals

a. Don’t think he has enough to get all from him

2. Rappahannock Rentals
3. Is it OK with you all to rent tables from both businesses? Yes
4. Will ask demonstrators if they would like to supply own tent to lower our costs

ii. Porta-toilets

1. King’s Rentals in Barhamsville

a. 5 Basic + 1 Handicap + Free sink with 2 wash stations = $400

2. Church View Septic

a. 5 Basic + 1 Handicap = $370

3. Deliver on Friday and pick up on Monday
4. Who should we choose? See if Church View has sinks, and then Karen chooses.

iii. Parking – 500 spaces total

1. Possibly 20 being used for students of Sat. classes
2. Ask Civic groups such as the Lions Club to volunteer as parking attendants (Prue Davis suggested).

iv. Amphitheater – finishing it

1. Stage size is 48’ x 30 ‘
2. 70 Bench seats that seat 8 people for a total of 560 seats

v. Informational tent

1. Information – festival brochure with map
2. Communications – maybe walkie/talkies or handheld radios
3. Lost & Found
4. First Aid
5. Davis Rhodes offered an enclosed trailer to use as a “Command Center” during the day of the event. Karen discussed this with Prue and both agreed that an Information tent with tables will serve this purpose with the benefit of being open to see everything that is happening.

H. Publicity

i. Where & what type?
ii. Newspaper ads
iii. Radio announcement – 99.1 FM (Thomas Robinson) said that he would help
iv. Letters to the following:

1. Landowners
2. Members of PDC, SAMP, FODR
3. Field Workshop participants
4. Schools (public & private)

v. Any others?
vi. Posters around town? Yes locally in banks, stores and businesses.

III. Need Your Help!!

A. Subcommittee – help to make remainder of decisions and give support where needed

i. Most likely involve 2 meetings

1. Week of Sept. 20th – do walk-through at RCC
2. Week of Oct. 11th

ii. Could also involve discussions via phone or email; maybe a lunch type meeting, if needed
iii. Those that sign-up for Subcommittee – let’s talk immediately after the meeting so that I have correct contact info. for you & to set 1st meeting date
iv. Suggested that Karen appoint subcommittee; however, several volunteered. Subcommittee does not have to consist only of Steering Committee members (Prue Davis).

B. Volunteers

i. I’ve asked for a lot of input tonight, but I also need all of your help to pull this off
ii. Not only do I need you, but also I need for you all to recruit others to help
iii. Dragon Run Day is your festival – your idea that is finally coming to fruition (quote from last night – Dorothy)
iv. I have been promised at least 20 volunteers from FODR to help the day of the festival
v. List of volunteer positions – pass around

1. Please feel free to sign up for more than 1 category
2. Don’t have to be a Steering Committee member to sign –up
3. Time slots – not the entire day
4. Please add any contacts at the bottom of the sheet or have these folks contact me

vi. Give t-shirts to volunteers; but also sell t-shirts and possibly hats.

IV. Renew Contract – the group readily agreed to renew Karen’s contract

A. Field Workshops scheduled, as already mentioned, for after Sept. 30th

i. Have submitted additional ideas to VA Coastal Program about expanding the education program

1. Teacher Training Workshops – with 1 day or 2 day workshops
2. Workshops for businesses – PowerPoint presentation + Activity or Field Workshop
3. Student Field Workshops
4. Curriculum Materials for teachers to use

B. Festival Coordination

i. Hired to plan festival
ii. Would like to continue with coordinator to implement Dragon Run Day

Watershed Management Plan Adoption

David Fuss announced that Essex, King and Queen, and Middlesex have adopted the Dragon Run Watershed Management Plan as an addendum to their comprehensive plans. Gloucester Planning Commission tabled the plan until its Sept. 2 meeting. 

Betty DeHardit expressed concern about the Plan being a precursor for measures that would impact landowners. She asked Mr. Allen to look into whether comprehensive plan changes are a back-door way to change zoning without landowners knowing or having a say. She has been told that by state law, the zoning ordinance must follow the comprehensive plan. David Fuss responded that a public hearing is required for any zoning and comprehensive plan amendments. 


Chair Davis asked for a motion and adjourned the meeting.

Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
Spring Quarterly Meeting

May 12, 2004


1. Welcome
2. Grants Update
• Watershed Festival Update
• Watershed Education Field Workshops
• Web Site Improvements
• Sustainable Economic Development Study
• License Plate Grant Closing
• SAMP Year 4 Proposal
3. Other Business
• Watershed Management Plan Adoption
4. Adjourn


Steering Committee: Robert Major, Davis Wilson (Middlesex); Robert Gibson, Frank Herrin (King and Queen); Dorothy Miller (Essex)

Others: Karen Fuss (contract educator); David Fuss (MPPDC)


Vice-Chair Herrin called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone.

Grants Update

Karen Fuss, contract educator and event planner, provided an update on field workshops and held a second brainstorming session about the watershed festival. The first workshop was held on April 24 with the Dragon Run Steering Committee at Frank Herrin’s property and at Friends of Dragon Run property at Mascot/New Dragon Bridge. A total of 11 people attended. A workshop for Middlesex County officials and staff, plus others, will be held on May 21. 10 trips will be held by the end of September as part of the education contract. A flyer has been developed to solicit interest from local governments and civic groups.

The most significant development in watershed festival planning is that Rappahannock Community College (RCC) has indicated that the festival may be held at the Glenns Campus, although a date has not yet been confirmed. A meeting was held with Dr. Norman Scott (RCC President), Mark Beaver (RCC Building and Grounds), Gayle Wood (RCC Workforce and Community Development), Dan Kavanagh (MPPDC Executive Director), Karen Fuss (MPPDC Event Planner contractor), and David Fuss (MPPDC) to discuss options. The main concern at RCC is the size of the crowd – they only have 500 parking spaces. Paperwork will be resubmitted with Dan’s signature.

The provision of alcohol was eliminated and education will be emphasized in order to limit or control attendance. The usage charge will be waived and a $165 fee will be levied for security. There will be access to water and electricity, the grounds and trails will be open, and some parking spaces will be retained for student use. The Steering Committee’s responsibilities are: portable toilets, sound system, trash cans and pickup, traffic control and parking, damage to shrubs or landscaping. The Steering Committee will be covered by MPPDC’s insurance at $1 million per occurrence for liability and $10,000 per person for medical.

Karen discussed exhibitors and demonstrations with the Committee. Instead of fire trucks, the Committee suggested having Dept. of Forestry firefighting equipment. Committee members discussed having trapping gear, rabbit boxes made from cypress trees, antique farm gear, antique guns, storytelling, and music (no battle of the bands). Also, It was suggested that Virginia Marine Resources Commission be added to the list of exhibitors. Trash pickup was discussed and Boy Scouts are a likely source of assistance.

The need for tents as booths for exhibitors and for portable toilets were discussed. Tommy Lankford at Church View Septic was suggested as a contact. Also, banks, funeral homes, and fire departments sometimes have large tents for events.

Changing the name from “festival” to something else to limit attendance was discussed. Several options surfaced, including “Dragon Run Fair,” “Dragon Run Festival,” and adding the word “Educational” to either one.

Parking limitations were discussed. It is not clear how many spaces will be reserved for students. There may be a need for some space in the parking lot for either vendors or portable toilets. It is possible that these could be located on the grass or on the gravel road and that vendor parking could be behind the shop facility.

Upcoming planning activities were discussed. Karen will confirm a date for the festival, hopefully in October. She will meet with RCC staff to do a walk-through and assessment. She will then contact exhibitors, demonstrators, and vendors (non-profits). She will develop promotional materials for media contacts. The Committee discussed the need for a festival planning subcommittee as a liaison with Karen. The Committee decided against a formal subcommittee, favoring a special meeting if necessary. Karen indicated that she would probably not need to report until the next quarterly meeting in August anyway.

David Fuss demonstrated improvements to the Dragon Run Steering Committee and Dragon Run SAMP web sites, which make it easier to navigate within the MPPDC web site. David distributed a list of potential economic opportunities from the VIMS sustainable economic development study. David explained that the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund grant is closing. He also distributed the Year 4 Dragon Run SAMP proposal for the Virginia Coastal Program.

Other Business

David Fuss informed the Committee that Middlesex County would be addressing the adoption of the watershed management plan at the May 13 Planning Commission meeting and the May 18 Board of Supervisors meeting. Public hearings will be held at both meetings. King and Queen County Planning Commission was introduced to the plan at its May 3 meeting, but decided to delay action until June 7 when the Chairman would be in attendance. King and Queen County holds joint public hearings with the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

The Committee agreed to hold a picnic at its August 11 meeting. Robert Major agreed to host the meeting at his home. The Committee decided to invite Russell and Rachel Williams to attend to be recognized for their long service to the Dragon Run.


Davis Wilson made a motion to adjourn. Robert Major seconded. The meeting adjourned.

Dragon Run Steering Committee
Special Meeting
Wednesday, March 10, 7:00 PM
Saluda, Virginia


1. Welcome
2. Watershed Festival Planning
3. Adjourn


Steering Committee: Prue Davis, Dorothy Miller, Scott Owen (Essex); Robert Gibson, Frank Herrin (King and Queen); Jack Miller (Middlesex)

Others: Amy Easterbrook (Middlesex); Karen Fuss (Watershed Educator); David Fuss (MPPDC)


Chair Prue Davis welcomed everyone and indicated that it would be an informal special meeting of the Steering Committee.

Chair Davis recognized Robert Gibson as a new Committee member from King and Queen County and indicated that the Committee was very glad to have him serve.

Chair Davis also indicated the Committee’s desire to recognize Russell and Rachel Williams of King and Queen County for their dedication to the Dragon Run and service to the Dragon Run Steering Committee. A formal recognition will occur at the Committee’s May meeting. It was noted that Mr. Williams has served on the Committee since at least 1987 and may actually be an inaugural member (1985).

Chair Davis announced that the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission approved the Dragon Run Watershed Management Plan at its February meeting. Each county will now address the plan. King and Queen County’s Board of Supervisors has already referred the plan to the Planning Commission for consideration.

Watershed Festival Planning

Karen Fuss, Watershed Educator, led the Committee through a brainstorming session concerning the development of a community-oriented watershed festival for the Dragon Run.

The brainstorming session is summarized below:

March 10, 2004

I. Introduction

A. Read paragraph about festival from watershed management plan
1. “A component of the education program should be a community watershed festival as a celebration of the watershed’s natural, cultural, and historic heritage. The festival would not serve as a promotional tool to attract visitors. Displays and activities highlighting natural and cultural heritage would be featured. The Dragon Run Steering Committee recommends the festival as a way to increase citizen awareness of watershed issues and as an opportunity to acknowledge citizens for exemplary watershed stewardship.”

II. What does each of these (Natural, Cultural, and Historic) mean in regard to the way you view the Dragon/how do we tie in these features while expressing the goal of getting citizens to make a connection to the watershed?

A. Answers:
1. The 3 features above are often woven together

a. Example – hunting in the watershed has always taken place (historical and cultural as well as it relying on the natural habitat to do so)

b. Hunting could be portrayed at the festival by showing historical photos and displaying trapping gear and other tools that were used in the past
2. The above question generated several historical and cultural stories amongst the Committee members
a. A section of the festival could be dedicated to story-telling
a. A chance for people to trade their stories of the Dragon Run
b. A specific spot for conversations and to share their historical, cultural and natural information about the Dragon with others
III. What type of activities should take place (during the festival)?
A. Answers:
1. Storytelling area - place for sharing stories
2. Demonstrations
a. Historical & cultural demonstrations such as the following:
a. Making hardwood shingles
b. Antique tools
c. Salting fish
d. Antique guns
e. Model or photos of marsh boats that were built for use on Dragon
f. Farm equipment – antique tractors and other equipment (Pruitt’s in Goochland)
g. Portable, circular sawmill (Scott Owen knows folks in Goochland)
h. Historical logging (device on Dragon between Rt. 602 & 603)
b. Current logging techniques
c. Hunting dogs
d. Photos or even slides of flora and fauna of the Dragon (Teta from FODR)
a. Rare, threatened and invasive species
e. Farm animals – calves, goats, sheep (Emily Hunley)
3. Aquariums with live animals (brought by VIMS) such as:
a. Crawdads, snakes, salamanders, etc.
4. Nature walks on hiking trails and nature activities at pond
5. Live, local music
a. Local bands of folk and/or bluegrass
b. Battle of the bands
6. Fire trucks
7. Seek scouts (boy and girl) to help with cleaning up after the festival

IV. What type of exhibitors (to show all 3 features)?
A. Answers:
1. Chesapeake Bay Foundation
2. The Nature Conservancy
3. Friends Of Dragon Run
4. Fish & Wildlife
6. Department of Forestry
7. Gloucester Parks and Recreation
8. Soil and Water Conservation Districts/Resource Conservation & Development Council
9. Middlesex County Museum (Miss Mangum to have historical information)
10. Hunt club(s)
11. Smokey the Bear – obsolete; now there is a Fire Wise Program (Hugh Markham)
12. VA Coastal Program
V. Should food be served?
A. Answers:
1. Yes, but limit to local vendors
2. Supply vendors with guidelines of serving old time, local fare
3. Vendors sell food and keep the profits
a. Civic groups
b. Churches
c. Fire departments
d. Private schools
4. Food suggestions
a. Salt fish and cornbread
b. Pork skins
c. Oysters
d. Barbeque
5. Beer truck
6. Porta-potties
VI. Who are potential sponsors and/or donors?
A. Answer:
1. Group decided not to seek sponsors or donors for the first year of the festival
2. Dave Fuss explained that “seed money” will be sought to pay needed expenses for the first year of the festival
3. Because of the nature of the festival and the exhibits (mostly volunteer), the costs should not be exceedingly high 

VII. What type of advertising (where)?

A. Answers:
1. All local newspapers (4 counties plus Mathews)
2. Send invitations to landowners
a. Get information from counties and FODR
3. Members of FODR
4. PDC & SAMP members
5. Schools including public and private
6. Keep off the internet
VIII. Watershed Stewardship Awards 
A. Read from watershed management plan
1. “The Dragon Run Steering Committee recommends the establishment of watershed stewardship awards that would honor landowners and land managers who have demonstrated commendable stewardship within the watershed. Awards would be bestowed annually at the watershed festival for a variety of categories that may include: forestry; farming; hunting; commercial enterprises; conservation; education; planning; and science. The awards program should serve as an incentive to implement exemplary land stewardship practices.”
B. Do you want these categories? Additions? Deletions?
1. Forestry
2. Farming
3. Hunting
4. Commercial enterprises
5. Conservation
6. Education
7. Planning
8. Science
C. Answers:
1. The group initially started by deleting categories from the above list
2. After quite a bit of discussion, a consensus was reached to eliminate the stewardship awards for the first year of the festival
a. Focus should be on getting the festival off the ground
D. Panel of experts is needed to serve as nominating committee – any suggestions?
E. Answers:
1. Not needed at this time
IX. Where to hold the festival?
A. Answer:
1. Rappahannock Community College was discussed as the best option
a. Central location
b. Easy to find
c. Plenty of parking
d. Restrooms inside buildings – might not need porta-potties
e. Plenty of space for vendors
f. New amphitheatre
X. When to hold the festival?
A. Answers:
1. October 2004 was discussed as the best option
a. Cooler weather
b. No major conflicts
a. Research dates for other festivals such as Crab Festival in West Point
b. FODR have picnic on Oct. 16
c. King & Queen Pride Day is Oct. 23
2. April was also mentioned, but the consensus was that Oct. was better
3. May
4. Saturday would be the best day with festival duration from 10 am – 4 pm
a. Allow for set-up of vendors at 9 am
b. Allow for clean-up prior to it getting dark

XI. Should this be an annual event?

A. Answers:
1. The watershed management plan implies that it would be an annual event. “Awards would be bestowed annually at the watershed festival …”
2. It was implied during discussion regarding the awards in that the awards would not be given during the first year of the festival, but could be given later.
XII. Field Trip for Steering Committee
A. April 24th was chosen for trip date
B. Location TBA – sites are still being scouted
C. You will receive a letter explaining the logistics of the trip
1. There will be no introductory program (other organizations will have an introduction), because you already serve on this committee and know a wealth of information regarding the Dragon & SAMP
2. Letter will let you know where and what time to meet, what to bring and what we’ll be doing
D. The trip will be by foot and will not involve boats

Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
Winter Quarterly Meeting
February 11, 2004


1. Welcome
2. Officer Nominations and Elections
3. Appointing a Representative to the Brown Tract Management Plan Team
4. Legislative Update
5. Grants Update
6. Other Business
7. Adjourn


Dragon Run Steering Committee: Dorothy Miller (Essex); Rick Allen, Jerry Horner (Gloucester); Frank Herrin, Robert Gibson (King and Queen); Robert Major, Jack Miller, Davis Wilson (Middlesex)

Others: Lorna and Mike Anderberg, Mary Ann Krenzke (Friends of Dragon Run); Amy Easterbrook (Middlesex); Robert Hudgins (Gloucester/Mathews); Jennie Navarro, Tom Murray (VIMS); Karen Fuss (MPPDC contractor); David Fuss (MPPDC)


Vice-Chair Frank Herrin welcomed everyone and began introductions.

Officer Nominations and Elections

Vice-Chair Herrin explained that customarily the Chair is a Board of Supervisors member and the Vice-Chair is a landowner member. The current Chair is Prue Davis, Supervisor from Essex County. The current Vice-Chair is Frank Herrin, landowner from King and Queen County. David Fuss explained that officers could be re-elected.

Jack Miller nominated Prue Davis as Chair. Dorothy Miller seconded the motion. Nominations closed. Motion carried unanimously. Prue Davis will continue as Chair.

Dorothy Miller nominated Frank Herrin as Vice-Chair. Jack Miller seconded the motion. Nominations closed. Motion carried unanimously. Frank Herrin will continue as Vice-Chair.

Appointing a Representative to the Brown Tract Management Plan Team

David Fuss provided an overview of the purchase of the Brown Tract in Essex and King and Queen Counties by the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority with funding from the Virginia Coastal Program. A management plan will be developed for the site and an initial meeting has been set for Tuesday, February 17 at 1:30 PM at the MPPDC offices in Saluda. The Dragon Run Steering Committee has been invited to appoint a representative to the management plan team. Committee members and adjacent landowners Prue Davis and Robert Gibson have already been invited.

Jack Miller nominated Dorothy Miller as the Committee’s representative. Robert Major seconded the motion. Nominations closed. Motion carried unanimously. Dorothy Miller will serve as the Committee’s representative.

Legislative Update

David Fuss provided an update on bills being considered by the General Assembly in its 2004 session. The bills discussed are:

HB 1418 (Pollard) – Water quality improvement fee; imposition
HB 693 (Morgan) – Natural and Historic Resources Fund and Commission; created, report
HB 1142 (McDonnell) – Aquatic nuisance species, nonindigenous; control and eradication
HB 603 (Dudley) – No discharge zones; regulations
SJ 75 (Ticer) – Private landowners; Board of Forestry to study provision of incentives to preserve forestland
SB 639 (Whipple) – Pollutant loading allocations; adoption of nitrogen and phosphorus levels Chesapeake Bay tributaries
SB 569 (Deeds) – Natural and Historic Resources Fund and Commission; created, report
HB 694 (Morgan) – Biodiesel fuel; minimum content in diesel fuel
HB 54 (Morgan) – Beavers; killing due to destruction of property
HB 695 (Morgan) – Personal watercraft; local regulation
HB 1064 (Armstrong) – Estate tax; exemptions for closely held business or working farms
SB 603 (Bolling) – Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits; changes of duration of issuance

Robert Gibson noted that a biodiesel fuel plant is being built on Rt. 33 near the Budweiser facility. He also noted that 1.5 bushels of soybeans are needed to make one gallon of fuel.

Grants Update

Vice-Chair Herrin offered an overview of how the Steering Committee’s Education Review Team selected Karen Fuss as the contractor to perform the Education Program activities. One Committee member from each, Kay Bradley of the Northern Neck-Middle Peninsula Public Education Consortium, and Lewie Lawrence of the MPPDC reviewed the three proposals received. David Fuss handled the advertising of the Request for Proposals (newspapers, online, word-of-mouth), received the proposals, distributed them to the team, and coordinated the team meeting. After reviewing the proposals, the team convened and discussed them. The team eliminated two proposals and unanimously chose Mrs. Fuss’ proposal.

David Fuss provided an update on the watershed management plan. He provided a bound copy to the Steering Committee members. The Planning District Commission will address the plan at its February meeting. If the PDC approves the plan, then they will pass it on the Boards of Supervisors with a recommendation that the Planning Commissions consider it in detail. David has already provided each of the Planning Commissions with an overview of the plan.

David announced that he has made improvements to the SAMP and Steering Committee web sites. They are now fully incorporated into the Planning District Commission web site and feature sidebars with links to Steering Committee and SAMP information. Navigation of the sites has been greatly improved. Unfortunately, a demonstration was not possible due to network server problems at the MPPDC.

David introduced Jennie Navarro and Tom Murray of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Department of Coastal and Ocean Policy (VIMS). They have been contracted to perform a sustainable economic development study for the Dragon Run watershed. Ms. Navarro is a graduate student at VIMS. She provided a one-page summary of the project, including a timeline. They will be holding workshops in April and July to solicit input from community members. Economic analysis will be performed using the IMPLAN model and software. This will be adjusted based on interviews and contacts with community members. Mr. Murray provided background and qualifications for himself and co-principal investigator Dr. Jim Kirkley of VIMS. He also explained that the analysis is data intensive using an off-the-shelf software and data product that will be adjusted with anecdotal and empirical information from interviews. David Fuss framed the project in the context of related efforts by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Tidewater Resource Conservation and Development Council, and Virginia’s River Country Economic Development Partnership.

Next, David introduced Karen Fuss, who has been contracted to establish a watershed education program and facilitate planning for a community watershed festival. Mrs. Fuss provided her background and qualifications. She then summarized her proposal. She plans to keep communication lines open and incorporate the Committee’s ideas into the educational activities. The purpose of the educational activities is to facilitate participants’ understanding of their connection to the watershed. She will perform 10 field trips with introductory sessions prior to the trips. She described in general the field activities. The Dragon Run Steering Committee will participate in the first field trip in April. The group agreed that a Saturday would be best. She will try to find at least one field trip site in each county, so that participants from those counties will experience the watershed in their county. Sites will need to be accessible to the Dragon Run or a tributary. She solicited suggestions for additional sites besides those in the watershed management plan and many suggestions were offered. She described the target audiences as: elected officials and staff; landowners, foresters, farmers, and hunt clubs; civic groups, non-profits, and Chamber of Commerce; state and federal agencies, and the general public. Teachers were also suggested as a possible audience. There will be an evaluation component and a final report. Mrs. Fuss also provided an overview of the community watershed festival planning. She suggested a brainstorming session with the Committee on the second Wednesday of March, March 10 at 7:30 PM. Frank Herrin suggested that it start at 7 PM and all agreed. Jerry Horner suggested that Mrs. Fuss contact the coordinator of the former Dragon Run festival held at Rappahannock Community College, Rick Ughetto of Saluda.

Other Business

David Fuss distributed an article from the Bay Journal about pollution contributions from coal-fired power plants outside of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This has been suggested as a likely source of mercury contamination in the Dragon Run. David also distributed the executive summary of a report entitled “Where Rivers Are Born: The Scientific Imperative of Defending Small Streams and Wetlands.” The report describes the important contributions of small streams and wetlands, common in the Dragon Run watershed, to maintaining water quality and quantity, preventing erosion, and providing important habitat. David announced a short course sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension and Tidewater Resource Conservation and Development Council entitled “Sustainable Timber Harvesting and Marketing” to be held in Tappahannock at the Essex County School Board offices on February 21.


Robert Major motioned that the meeting be adjourned. Jack Miller seconded. Motion carried and meeting adjourned. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 10 at 7 PM at the MPPDC offices in Saluda. The next regular quarterly meeting will be on Wednesday, May 12 at 7:30 PM at the MPPDC offices in Saluda.

Dragon Run Steering Committee
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
Special Meeting
January 7, 2004


1. Welcome
2. Protecting the Dragon Run: The Nature Conservancy's Role
3. Other Business
4. Adjourn

Note: The Education Review Team will meet briefly after the meeting.


Steering Committee: Prue Davis, Dorothy Miller, Scott Owen (Essex); Betty DeHardit, Jerry Horner (Gloucester); Frank Herrin, Russell Williams (King and Queen); Robert Major, Jack Miller (Middlesex)

Others: Andy Lacatell (The Nature Conservancy); Bill DeHardit, John and Sandy Lehman (Gloucester); Rachel Williams (King and Queen); Robert Hudgins (Mathews/Gloucester); Mary Ann Krenzke, Davis Rhodes (Friends of Dragon Run); Julie Bixby (VA Coastal Program); David Fuss, Lewie Lawrence (MPPDC)


Chair Prue Davis called the meeting to order and began introductions.

Protecting the Dragon: The Nature Conservancy’s Role

Chair Davis invited Andy Lacatell, Director of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Chesapeake Rivers Program, to give a presentation entitled “Protecting the Dragon: The Nature Conservancy’s Role.” Andy gave a Power Point presentation covering the following:

Reason for his presentation is to explain TNC’s activities in the Dragon Run watershed and future plans

TNC is focused on protection of the Dragon Run watershed

TNC’s priorities are to:

  • Protect the “last of the least and the best of the rest”
  • Protect natural communities and biodiversity
  • Leverage every dollar to achieve protection of priority areas

TNC’s land protection strategies are:

  • Fee simple purchases
    • Transfer to government agency (funding)
    • Conservation buyer (sale with restrictions)
    • Preserves (e.g. Dragon Flats)
  • Easements – purchased or donated
  • Watershed management planning (e.g. Dragon Run SAMP)

TNC land protection efforts in the Dragon Run are focused on natural heritage resources and 250,000 acres of unfragmented forest in the Dragon Run, Mattaponi, and Pamunkey watersheds

In the Dragon Run watershed, TNC is focused on protection of working forests – the goal is to protect 15,000 acres of contiguous forest with emphasis on riparian buffers and aquatic integrity

The main threat/opportunity in the Dragon Run watershed is land owned by John Hancock Life Insurance Co. – the company plans to divest itself of the land within 5-7 years

The sale of this land (currently ~23,000 acres) could result in fragmentation of working forest land

TNC’s conservation activity in the Dragon Run watershed (either fee simple or easements) includes:

  • January 2001 – existing 510 acres conserved by other organizations
  • June 2003 – TNC purchases 452 acres (Dragon Flats) near Rt. 603
  • November 2003 – TNC purchases 100 acres near Ino
  • December 2003 – TNC purchases 2200 acres
  • January 2004 – TNC will have purchased a total of 3100 acres in the watershed, in addition to the 510 acres conserved by other organizations

How does TNC finance conservation?

  • June 2003 – $1,170/acre
  • November 2003 - $1,310/acre
  • December 2003 – $1,337/acre
  • January 2004 - $1,474/acre

How does TNC pay for its purchases?

  • Most of TNC’s acquisitions are financed and must be paid off
  • Exit strategies are used to pay off financing by searching for funding partners, such as:
    • Private – Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund
      • In-lieu fee program for wetlands mitigation
      • $3 million received in 2003
      • TNC uses funds to restore or preserve wetlands in the same or adjacent wetlands as wetland damage occurred
      • Usually achieve 5-6:1 ratio of restoration to damaged wetlands which is more efficient (less overhead) than private consultants
      • TNC will use this fund to purchase 3 tracts in Dragon Run watershed
    • State – no dedicated funds for conservation, but do have low interest loan program (Land Conservation Loan Program)
      • State Water Control Board approved TNC for loan
      • Allowed TNC to refinance internal 4% loan to 1%
    • Federal – Forest Legacy Program
      • Fee simple purchases (state-owned) or easements (private) of working forest land
      • Managed through Dept. of Forestry (DOF) at 75% cost share with TNC providing 25% match
      • DOF lists Dragon Run watershed as #1 priority
      • $2 million awarded for Dragon Run in 2004, matched by $660,000 from TNC (purchases and donated easements)
      • DOF will purchase at least 1680 acres from TNC
      • The potential for 91 home sites on these properties will be reduced to 3 with the purchases through the program
    • Federal – Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Program
      • Acquisition of important coastal and estuarine lands
      • $1 million earmarked for Dragon Run in 2004
  • Land transfers – why does TNC pursue them?
    • Government agencies have the money
    • Agencies share goals consistent with TNC (e.g. conservation, preservation of traditional uses)
    • Will result in development restrictions
  • Conservation buyers – why are they used and how do they work?
    • Reduces development to 1 home site or 1 site/200 acres
    • Restrictive harvest buffers (e.g. 100-300 feet)
    • Promotes active timber management
    • Property stays in private ownership
    • Sometimes TNC must hold the property for a period of time to satisfy match requirements for other agency funding
  • Preserves – how are they managed?
    • Leased for hunting and managed for timber
    • Not public access points, not necessarily open to public
    • Protect resources and demonstrate sustainable management

What will TNC do with its Dragon Run holdings?

  • Timber Branch Swamp, Five Points, Bourne – Dept. of Forestry
  • Brown – Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority and Dept. of Forestry
  • Revere – Friends of Dragon Run
  • Dragon Flats – TNC preserve
  • Others (Lammermoor, Rock Spring, Dragon Bridge, Jackson, Bulman, Haworth, Hamilton) – TNC to hold until sold to conservation buyer
  • TNC must hold properties used for matching purposes for at least 2 years

TNC is targeting the considerable John Hancock Life Insurance Co. land holdings (currently ~23,000 acres in the Dragon Run watershed)

Other Issues

  • Hunting
    • TNC allows deer and turkey hunting on its properties
    • No waterfowl hunting is allowed on TNC property (a national TNC policy)
    • TNC encourages conservation buyers to continue existing hunting leases
    • Dept. of Forestry allows all types of hunting, but can develop site-specific management plans on individual properties
  • Access
    • TNC does not purchase properties for public access, so public access is not necessarily allowed
    • Access increases when TNC transfers property to public agencies
    • Example: Brown Tract in Essex/King and Queen Counties passed through TNC to Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority and Dept. of Forestry
  • Taxes
    • TNC purchases property determined by one or more appraisals based on recent comparable sales
    • Real estate assessment should not be impacted as a result of one or a few sales
    • Concern about conservation lands owned by public agencies coming off of the tax rolls
      • Example: Dept. of Forestry returns 25% of the proceeds from timber harvests at State Forests to localities – in most cases, the overall revenue stream is greater than it was from the real estate tax assessments


  • Some time was spent identifying specific tracts on the maps
  • For Dept. of Forestry tracts, how much is in pine and how much is in hardwood? Does state management change the species composition? DOF manages mostly for hardwoods
  • What role does TNC play after a property is sold? TNC continues to manage and monitor any easements on the property; TNC has third party interest in agency-owned properties
  • What has already been harvested from recently purchased tracts? The Brown Tract has been mostly harvested, while the other tracts (mostly in King and Queen) have 5-35 yr old stands of pine on 35-40 yr pine rotations
  • What will happen with hunting on the sites? In the short-term, leases set up by John Hancock will continue. For properties to be sold to Dept. of Forestry, it’s not entirely clear. The Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries is likely to manage hunting on the sites. For properties that may be sold to conservation buyers, the landowners would determine their policies, which could include no hunting. Agency ownership actually provides some stability because you don’t have to pay to use the site and you don’t have to worry about the site being sold (the down side is that the current lessee no longer has exclusive hunting rights)
  • Will future TNC purchases limit parcelization/homesites? Yes
  • What is TNC’s approach to engaging with landowners (actively seeking or passively reacting)? Both – actively seeking with John Hancock; passively opportunistic with other landowners

Other Business

David distributed the State of the Dragon Run Watershed brochure published with funds from the DCR Watershed Grant. David reminded the Committee that officer elections would be held at the February 11 meeting. Current officers are: Prue Davis (Chair) and Frank Herrin (Vice-chair). David fielded a question about the fish consumption advisory issued for the Dragon Run/Piankatank.


Jack Miller motioned to adjourn the meeting; Dorothy Miller seconded the motion. The motion carried and the meeting was adjourned. The next Committee meeting will be held on February 11, 2004 at the MPPDC at 7:30 PM.


David Fuss convened a meeting of the Dragon Run Steering Committee’s Education Review Team to review proposals for developing an education program for the Committee as part of the Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan. Members present included Frank Herrin, Jerry Horner, Dorothy Miller, and David Fuss. David distributed copies of the three proposals received and a checklist to help in reviewing the proposals. The group agreed to review the proposals and will be prepared to discuss them at a lunch meeting at 12:30 PM on January 14th in Urbanna at a restaurant to be arranged later. David agreed to check with absent members Davis Wilson and Kay Bradley. The team decided that reaching agreement by consensus would be ideal, but majority vote would be an acceptable way to determine the top applicant. The team requested that Lewie Lawrence review the team’s recommendation as another layer of approval. The team agreed that the need for additional information or interviews with applicants would be determined after reviewing the proposals. Jerry Horner expressed concern about hiring someone that looks good on paper, but may not be as good in person.

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