Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed

RappFLOW Advisory Committee

Notes from Oct 6 Advisory Committee Meeting

RappFLOW Advisory Committee Founding Meeting
October 6, 2005
Washington Town Hall

Advisory Committee October 2005

Advisors (left to right):

Todd Benson. Resettlement Road near Flint Hill. Environmental lawyer with Fauquier County government.

Kathy Poush. Gid Brown Hollow. Information technologist.

Mike Focazio. Hume. Hydrologist with USGS.

Monira Rifaat. Covington River watershed. Beef cattle farmer. Serves on Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation Board of Directors.

Charlie Strittmatter. Flint Hill. Chairman, Rappahannock County Planning Commission.

Jeff Smith, South of Sperryville in Hazel watershed. Environmental lawyer.

Tom Taylor, Sperryville; Builder in Rappahannock County.

Dick McNear. Gid Brown Hollow. Beef cattle farmer. Was county planner. Serves on VA Soil & Water Conservation Board. (not in picture).

Volunteer Contributions to the Event

Stan Berns. Set-up.

Tim Bondelid. Summary of RappFLOW’s data challenges.

Louise and Tim Bondelid. Food.

Sarah Gannon. Presentation: How to engage land owners in the Upper Thornton study.

Bev Hunter. Maps and exhibits, land owner questionnaire, event coordinator.

Hal Hunter. Printing, venue, set-up.

Marybeth Martin. Coffee, set-up.

Cliff Miller. Recruiting.

Larry Oliver. Maps.

Mitzi Young. Greeter.

Other RappFLOW Hosts for the event: Reid Folsom; Margaret Strawser; Khalil Hassan (Madison County); Joy Lorien (Page County); Kenny Giles; Pam Owen; Cliff Miller; Jeannie McNear.

Funding for venue: RLEP

Goals for the Meeting

Monira Rifaat served as chairperson for this meeting. She announced the goals of the meeting:

  1. Advisors and volunteers get to know each other and how their interests and talents relate to the RappFLOW mission and operations.

  2. Advisors provide advice to volunteers concerning how to engage land owners in the Upper Thornton River watershed study.

Advisors’ Questions

As a way of addressing the goals of the meeting, individual Advisors challenged RappFLOW volunteers to develop answers to a series of questions. These questions included the following:

  1. What are the citizens’ concerns about watersheds and water quality in Rappahannock County’s watersheds?

  2. Why should a land owner care about water quality in the streams? What arguments or incentives can you offer to a land owner that will persuade him to improve his land management practices?

  3. What are the Planning Commission’s concerns about watersheds and water quality?

  4. Why does RappFLOW focus on individual land owner decisionmaking?

  5. How does RappFLOW define a healthy or impaired watershed? How does RappFLOW define a healthy or impaired stream?

  6. Does RappFLOW use the same definitions for “impaired” as DEQ does?

  7. What are the threats to water quality in Rappahannock County?

  8. What is RappFLOW’s strategic plan?

  9. Is RappFLOW ready to establish a more formal organization and structure?

Advisors’ Suggestions

Advisors suggested some partial answers to some of the above questions.

  • Running water is no longer acceptable for cattle. Need alternative sources.

  • Love the Chesapeake bay crabs. We don’t get those crabs like we once did. (Importance of cleaning up the Rappahannock River Basin.)

  • On the planning commission, we need to keep streams clean from overdevelopment.

  • Chesapeake Bay Agreement. Ominous threat if there are not improvements by 2010. Localities have had authority to do something about water quality. Rappahannock county community will be well poised to stay independent of mandates from federal government. One thing people might care is that they can get money now to clean up the streams, maybe later the money will not be available.

  • The CSWCD staff have experience talking to farmers.

  • Why farmers don’t want to create stream buffers: They don’t want someone coming on their land and telling them what to do. They don’t want the feds. The programs don’t pay their way. There are pitfalls to the programs. “Its my land and I will do with it what I want.”

  • There might be some creative solutions to the problem of cash flow in using government cost-sharing programs that require up-front cash by the land owner. Maybe there could be a revolving fund that could loan a farmer up front the money till he gets the reimbursement.

  • Planning Commission interest in the Sewage Treatment Plants. What are their plans?

  • Important to distinguish sources of impairments.

  • Some problems are solvable by coercion – pets, driveway erosion, --if it is a human induced problem, you can do it by coercion. For the farmers, you have to have a carrot.

  • I recommend that rappflow adopt the standards of DEQ. AND we are the grassroots citizen orgs that will study our streams for those parameters. Somewhere along the line DEQ will need citizaen groups to work with the landowners, we are that group. When they compute the TMDL they will need the grassroots org.

  • There is nothing sinister about the TMDL. There will be money for implementation.

  • To be ready for this liaison role with the TMDL process, we need to use DEQ standards.

  • You could augment the DEQ standards with things of concerns in the county.

  • Farmers are more impressed with other farmers. People will listen to their peers more than outsiders.

  • When a farmer comes to another farm he wants to see whether that farmer is like him.

  • The county could provide recognition of people who are doing the right thing. RCCA recognizes people who put their land in easement.

  • Many people in county are in land use. If you look at state regulations, you are supposed to be using BMP’s if you are getting land use taxation. Commissioner of revenue -- work with her.

RappFLOW Volunteers’ Response to Advisory Committee

Several RappFLOW volunteers expressed their appreciation for the Advisors’ questions and stated that by asking these questions the Advisory Committee is serving the intended purpose.

Subsequent to the meeting, volunteers decided to post the Advisors’ questions, and RappFLOW answers to the questions, on the RappFLOW web site as a means of improving communications and building knowledge among this community.

RappFLOW volunteers also requested further assistance from members of the Advisory Committee, in helping to recruit more farmers to serve on this Committee.

RappFLOW Advisory Committee Members

top of page