Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed

Rappahannock County Water Quality Advisory Committee

Reports & Meeting Minutes

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WQAC Minutes
October 13, 2005

Rappahannock County Courthouse

Notes by Beverly Hunter

Present: Reid Folsom, Bryant Lee, Bev Hunter, Greg Wichelns

Minutes from last meeting were approved.

Next meeting will be on Thursday November 10. Topic will be TMDL’s.

Stream Protection

Reid Folsom discussed his “point paper” about the TMDL challenge in Rappahannock County (attached to the minutes from the September meeting). Bryant Lee discussed problems for the farmer in fencing off streams. Looks toward future for mandate, but how far down the future? Discussion of width of stream buffers. In floodplain, have to take a much bigger buffer than 35 feet. Fence and trees planted in the floodplain would wash out at 35 feet from the stream. CREP program would require him to fence off 150 foot buffer. Types of trees required by CREP -- sycamore, locust -- would not have value for harvest in the future. Discussion of types of trees that will accept wet feet.

Another issue about fencing out cattle is what to do in a drought. On a farm near Lindsay Eastham with the streams fenced, Bryant was renting the land. Wells went dry. Bryant was hauling 3,000 gallons per day to water his cows. Need flexibility – if well goes dry, drop the fence.

Some restrictions are too harsh in the government programs. Need more flexibility.

Who makes declaration of drought for a locality? Governor. That could be the mechanism to trigger the flexibility. But that might take too much time. Maybe the SWCD district would make the decision about declaring drought condition.

Could there be flexibility on the buffer width? State program requires 35 feet. Soils, slope, operation, management, are all variables that affect what size of buffer you need.
If there is a steep hill, you don’t need as much of a buffer. (?)

Discussion of stream buffers. What restrictions does the county place on development beside streams, beyond well and septic setback?

Discussion of what to do about soil disturbance? Bulldozers in the creek. Neighbors can report to Richie Burke.

Discussion of people cutting roads without E&S controls. Has the situation improved since we have the soil disturbance ordinance? There will always be violations. Could Richie Burke come to this committee meeting at some time in the future and talk with us about the effectiveness and impact of the E&S implementation and enforcement?

Tier III for Hazel River

Discussion of Culpeper Board Of Supervisors support for the designation. Uncertain.

Concerns about drawing water out of stream for agriculture. Bryant Lee asked that we find out the Tier III rules about agricultural use of water for irrigation.
How much water would be permitted to take out of the stream for agriculture, as opposed to other uses such as golf courses?

We decided to defer further discussion of the Tier III nomination until formal announcement of the public comment period from DEQ.

RappFLOW News
Bev shared the report from the RappFLOW Advisory Committee meeting that took place on October 6.

Bryant said it is good that RappFLOW is looking at the needs of the whole county, not just of some citizens.

CSWCD strategic planning

Greg Wichelns explained the purpose and status of the draft “Blueprint for soil and water conservation” in the CSWCD. During a series of strategic planning sessions over the past eight months, constituents identified a need for regional assessment of soil and water conditions and where we should be headed.

Next Tuesday the CSWCD is convening a group to review the draft. Then they will mail it to two counties, Rappahannock and Orange, for review.

The purpose of the Blueprint is mainly for use by CSWCD board members to interact with county governments.

How will the county use the blueprint? How does it differ from the Comprehensive Plan?

The group discussed how does CSWCD interface with our BOS? Monira Rifaat, Chair of the CSWCD Board of Directors, reports to our BOS.

Bryant suggests periodic reports from CSWCD verbally to the BOS.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.