For your reference, we have left the 2018 schedule of breakout sessions.  Each year, our program comes together from a mix of presentations selected through our call for presentations as well as solicitations for presentations made by members of our Program Advisory Committee for the sake of rounding out the offerings.  Contact us directly if you have any questions.  Previous years’ program booklets are also available for download for referencing the full schedule.

2018 Breakout Sessions Schedule

Conference Schedule

Details of our day-by-day schedule will be posted by February.

2018 Breakout Session Descriptions (OLD)

Special Sessions

Introduction/Address by David Paylor, Director

Location: Gillis Theater, Marshall Hall
MODERATOR: Amy Owens, Director, Valley Regional Office


  • Melanie Davenport, Director, Water Permitting Division
  • Michael Dowd, Director, Air and Renewable Energy Division
  • David Paylor, Director
  • Jutta Schneider, Director, Water Planning Division
  • Justin Williams, Director, Land Protection and Revitalization Division

Location: Boardroom, Marshall Hall

A new conference opportunity for influencing environmental issues facing Virginia! Led by Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute Alumni supported by the UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation, your input will be captured, synthesized and provided to appropriate entities for consideration.

  • Integrating environmental justice considerations throughout Virginia’s programs, regulations, policies, and procedures: how and where? Synthesis provided to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.
  • Rapid growth of solar farms in Virginia: what questions and issues need to be considered, by whom? Synthesis provided to DEQ.
  • Improving Virginia’s Administrative Process Act community engagement process: creative ideas, guidelines, projects that need additional or different public engagement? Synthesis provided to the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

Location: Auditorium, Nichols Engineering Building

MODERATOR: Dorothy Hayden, Assistant Director, Office of Career Services, Virginia Military Institute

  • Sgt. Mike Hill, Conservation Police Recruiter/Training, Virginia Department of Inland Game and Fisheries
  • Blaine Loos, Development Manager, Apex Clean Energy
  • Mary Rafferty, Executive Director, Virginia Conservation Network
  • Jennifer Van Houten, Director of Corporate Culture and Employee Development, Wetland Studies and Solutions

This session is geared toward students interested in learning more about careers in the environmental sector.

Location: Blue Ridge Room, Marshall Hall

  • Kevin Remington, Professional Photographer

Drop by the Blue Ridge Room to sit for a professional profile head-shot.  Participants will sign-in and receive instructions on downloading your photos.

(Pre-Registration Required)
Location: Activities Room, Moody Hall

An informal gathering of women working in the environmental sector for a breakfast and networking.

Session A

The Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (The RAFT)

MODERATOR: Tanya Denckla Cobb, Institute for Environmental Negotiation, Director

  • Elizabeth Andrews, Professor of the Practice and Director, Virginia Coastal Policy Center, William & Mary Law School 
  • Tanya Denckla Cobb, Institute for Environmental Negotiation, Director
  • Angela King, VCPC
  • Michelle Covi, ODU-VSG
  • Pilot Community Staff: Larry DiRe, Town of Cape Charles; Meg Pittenger, City of Portsmouth

The University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation is partnering with the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School and Old Dominion University (together, The RAFT Team) to create an assessment and response decision framework to assist communities in evaluating risks of coastal flooding, prioritizing action to increase resilience, and identifying sources of technical assistance and funding. This framework is called the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (The RAFT).

The RAFT has three components: 1. Assessment of a locality's resilience to the effects of sea level rise, flooding, and other coastal hazards; 2. Facilitation of community identification of near-term actions to increase resilience; and 3. Technical assistance for implementation of these actions.

The tool and approach have been successfully piloted in three Virginia coastal communities - Town of Cape Charles, Gloucester County, and the City of Portsmouth. The RAFT Team presented scorecard results to the three pilot communities in the summer of 2017. Community leaders then reviewed findings of their locality's strengths and opportunities to improve resilience. The RAFT Team facilitated workshops that used the scorecard to create an informed discussion about the locality's challenges and opportunities. These workshops generated one-year Resilience Action Checklists, with actions ranging from a review of local environmental regulation to nature-based climate projects such as green infrastructure BMPs. The three pilot communities are currently entering their one-year implementation phases. The RAFT Team is conducting regular check-ins to support progress towards goals and assist with the ongoing evaluation.

MODERATOR: Bernly Bressler, AECOM

Stone Soup:  How Innovative Collaboration Around Urban Agriculture Can Promote Clean Water & Healthy Soil

  • Nicole Anderson Ellis, Henricopolis Soil & Water Conservation District, Vice-Chair

In the fall of 2016, multiple, diverse organizations in the Richmond region joined forces to convert four overgrown acres adjacent to Fairfield Middle School into a productive community farm.  Each partner came to the table with their own, seemingly disparate motives:  teaching civic engagement to university students, serving the nutritional needs of families in an urban food desert, promoting best practices for urban agriculture, healing impaired waterways, and more.  But the combination of assets, skills, and incentives proved successful in the creation of the Cornerstone Community Farm.  

This panel discussion will explore the benefits and challenges of collaboration in urban agriculture through the framework of this project.  Representatives from Virginia Commonwealth University, the non-profit Community Food Collaborative, the Henricopolis Soil & Water Conservation District, as well as student and community volunteers, will address why they entered into this project, what they hoped to achieve for their stakeholders, what they wish they'd known sooner/done differently, and what they have each gotten out of this ongoing, expanding endeavor.

Binford Middle School: A Green School Initiative

  • Nissa Dean, Director, Virginia Office, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • David Hirschman, PrincipalHirschman Water & Environment, LLC

The RiverWise Schools program is a branch of the RiverWise Communities program that highlights the benefits of providing hands-on watershed and water quality education to middle school students through the installation of stormwater and green infrastructure practices.  Grant funding came from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and Altria.

At Binford Middle School, the program is focusing on 6th-grade students, as it aligns with SOL curriculum goals and allows the students to enjoy the benefits throughout their middle school career. The Alliance contracted with a team, including Hirschman Water & Environment, SG Designs, and Ecosystem Services to assist with the Binford project.  The goal of the project was to not only create a green infrastructure master plan for the school but to engage teachers, students, and administrators in the effort.

The effort included a green infrastructure presentation for the entire 6th grade.  Students in various classrooms participated in an outdoor activity, using a green infrastructure checklist, to identify opportunities on the school grounds.  The students also completed math worksheets to calculate pollutant removal benefits from the identified practices.  Finally, the students in Ms. Wilson's 6th-grade classes worked in small teams to create videos, each focusing on a particular green infrastructure practice.  The team took the students' ideas and converted them into a master plan that included before and after graphics, along with descriptions, short-term and long-term implementation strategies, and rankings based on cost, educational benefits, pollutant removal, and maintenance responsibilities.

Getting Stormwater Science into the Classroom

  • Danielle Wynne, Government Ecologist, Fairfax County, Virginia 

Communicating the importance of stormwater and watershed management to residents is vital to implementing an efficient Business Area. Program elements can be met easier and are more effective when the public understands the problems facing our waterways. Fairfax County Stormwater Management (SWM) staff have been working on implementing this concept from the bottom up; that is, to work with the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system and help create a community of student scientists that understand their role in keeping our streams and watershed healthy.

Students and teachers benefit when professional subject matter experts partner with them in the classroom and out in the field to provide real-world examples of how science is used to monitor the health of our environment. Staff have worked with teachers, students and curriculum writers to create a series of Fairfax County specific education and outreach tools such the Stormy the Raindrop education campaign, the Fairfax County Field Guide to Plants and Animals, Meaningful Watershed Education Experience field trips, Sewer Science and Stream Crime Investigation.

The presentation will go through these successful programs created to meet the education needs of the school and government as well examples of roadblocks to successful partnering with examples of how to get around these obstacles.

MODERATOR: Ann Swanson, Chesapeake Bay Commission

  • Rich Batiuk, Associate Director for Science, Analysis and Implementation, EPA Chesapeake Bay Program
  • James Davis-Martin, Chesapeake Bay Coordinator, DEQ

Our experts will discuss, in detail, recent pivotal decisions by the Chesapeake Bay Program Principals Staff Committee regarding the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load and Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans. These decisions included addressing new information regarding the Conowingo Dam, incorporating climate change into restoration efforts, and accounting for future growth.


MODERATOR:  Kevin Heffernan, DCR

Establishing a Framework for Invasive Species Management Using Ecological Principles and Citizen Science

  • Nathan Burrell, Superintendent, James River Park System, City of Richmond Parks & Recreation Department
  • Doug DeBerry, The College of William & Mary and VHB, Senior Environmental Scientist
  • Chris Senfield, Senior Environmental Scientist, VHB

The James River Park System (JRPS) is a ca. 600-acre municipal park spread out along the banks, floodplains, and the adjacent riparian zone of the James River on its course through the City of Richmond.  Over the centuries since European colonization, this section of the James River has been exposed to biological invaders to the extent that the dominance of non-native invasive plant species is now the largest threat to biodiversity and ecosystem integrity in the park.  An Invasive Species Management Plan (ISMP) was designed by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) in 2015 to create adaptive management techniques for invasive plant control.  The JRPS ISMP established a “Task Force” formed between VHB, JRPS management, and a team of volunteer stakeholders from non-profit groups, agencies, and academia.  Since April 2015, the Task Force has been actively working in a positive direction toward invasive species eradication in the park.

Initial program development and implementation were funded through Friends of James River Park (FOJRP), an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization.  The framework developed by VHB combined the following:  1) standardized ecological sampling techniques; 2) training to engage a “citizen science” approach to inventory and assessment; 3) quality assurance/quality control measures; 4) use of technology to communicate and ensure accuracy; 5) a decision matrix based on relative ecological risk; and, 6) commitment to adaptive management to achieve both short- and long-term goals.  We present the assessment completed in 2015, a summary of the plan's implementation since that time, the results of a validation study completed by the College of William and Mary, and an overall framework for invasive species management combining ecological principles and citizen science that can serve as a model for similar applications throughout the region.

Invasive Species: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons Learned

  • Daniel Rockefeller, Scientist, CERPIT; OBG

As Virginia updates its statewide invasive species management plan, it is positioned to maintain its role as a leader in the management of invasive species (IS) among mid-Atlantic states. Strong legislative backing combined with existing administrative structures (ISWG, ISAC) and programs (iMapInvasives), as well as important partnerships, has created a well-structured IS management program.

Here we present a brief update on Virginia’s IS issue, including progress to date and potential opportunities to incorporate lessons learned from other states. We will also discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with IS management on restored post-industrial sites as well as some simple actions we can all take to minimize the spread of invasive species.

Blue Ridge Prism

  • Rod & Maggie Walker, Co-Founders, Blue Ridge PRISM

Learn about the Blue Ridge PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management), an organization devoted to reducing the impact of invasive plants in Virginia.  Hear about the PRISM’s programs, current activities and how you can leverage them.

MODERATOR:  Donnie Seward, AECOM

Estimating the Local Effects of Off-Site Water Quality Compliance

  • Marcus Aguilar, Research Scientist, Virginia Tech

Water quality trading has been proposed as a more economically efficient means of meeting stormwater quality goals by allowing for payment of “off-site” treatment in-lieu of treating runoff at a development site. The Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) provides a mechanism for off-site compliance with nutrient water quality criteria by allowing developers to purchase nutrient credits from nutrient banks in the same (or adjacent) eight-digit hydrologic unit (HU-8) in-lieu of constructing on-site stormwater best management practices (BMPs).

As nutrient banks have been constructed in various watersheds across Virginia, the purchase of off-site credits has become a more prevalent practice, resulting in a lack of water quality treatment in urban areas. This presents two issues for local government agencies (i.e. VSMP administrators): first, watersheds draining to local urban streams are being developed without the BMPs necessary to mitigate water quality impacts, and second, this forgone treatment prevents local governments from demonstrating progress towards non-nutrient total maximum daily load waste load allocations (TMDL WLAs).

The objective of this presentation is to demonstrate the potential impact of the off-site compliance program to local governments by simulating land development in Virginia localities and estimating the cost incurred on the locality when BMPs are not constructed on development sites where they would otherwise be required.

The results of this study quantify the tradeoff that occurs with the use of off-site compliance and provides a means of developing local regulations that account for the impacts of off-site compliance on local urban waterways.

Asset Management for MS4 Compliance


  • Dr. Clay Hodges, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
  • David Hurst, VHB, Program Manager

Asset management systems for stormwater infrastructure are often desired by municipalities and transportation agencies for creating and tracking maintenance work orders, budget planning, and a general understanding of their system, but an asset management system can also be used to track MS4 compliance.  Numerous requirements of the MS4 Six Minimum Control Measures can be accomplished or made more efficient by taking advantage of tracking tools in an asset management system.  Some of the ways an asset management system could be used to assist in MS4 compliance include illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE), mapping stormwater infrastructure, prioritizing assets for good housekeeping, and tracking in general. 

This talk will explain how to enhance an asset management system for MS4 compliance, present cases studies on how systems are helping agencies comply with their respective MS4 permits, and review the development process and implementation strategies.

Although there are many drivers for creating an asset management system the most important aspect is creating a system framework that can be used to track, plan and report MS4 permit and enforcement requirements.  A robust asset management system can allow users to collect data in the field while also updating data in the office and be easily converted into tables for annual reporting.  Development of the asset management system requires forward-thinking to understand future permit requirements and infrastructure needs, but once a system implemented, it can be an efficient tool that helps reduce the cost for MS4 compliance while working in coordination with other tools.

Using 360 Degree Image Technology to Support Stormwater Management


  • Ryan O'Banion, Associate, Hazen and Sawyer
    Joseph Arizzi

Comprehensively documenting the condition of stormwater controls and potential retrofit sites can be challenging. Written documentation can sometimes incorporate biases of the field technician, while simple photographs may be tedious to catalog, miss key elements, or be challenging for someone not directly involved in the inspection to understand.

To combat these issues, Hazen is currently using innovative 360-degree image technologies to more comprehensively capture the condition of stormwater controls and better document potential retrofit sites in Fairfax County, VA, Washington, DC, and Boston, MA. These spherical images instantaneously capture the entire scene around the camera, rather than just a single direction. When viewed with appropriate software, a fully immersive and interactive environment is experienced by the viewer, with the ability to pan to or zoom into any location within line of sight from the point the image was taken.

This presentation will discuss how 360-degree image technology can be used to support stormwater management. It will exhibit example imagery and virtual tours of common stormwater facilities including bio-retention and underground detention. Presentation attendees will also gain an understanding of the technology and software required to implement this approach in their own workflows, including the collection of imagery, post-processing, and procedures for incorporating additional information into the 360-degree views.

Session B

MODERATOR: Mary Rafferty, Executive Director, Virginia Conservation Network

  • Sarah Francisco, Director of Virginia Office, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Mary Rafferty, Executive Director, Virginia Conservation Network
  • Shawn Ralston, Program Director, James River Association
  • Peggy Stevens, Chair of the Virginia United Land Trusts (VaULT) Board of Directors

Environmental leaders from non-profits will address trending issues

MODERATOR: Ellen Graap Loth, Cardno

NNS Fuel Conversion Project – A Case Study in the New Source Review Process

  • Michael Dennis, Environmental Engineer, Newport News Shipbuilding

The Fuel Conversion Project at Newport News Shipbuilding consisted of the replacement of three No. 6 fuel oil-fired steam boilers with three natural gas-fired units and the conversion to natural gas of two barge-mounted No. #6 fuel oil-fired marine boilers used to steam nuclear aircraft carriers during refueling and overhaul.

This presentation will discuss the air quality regulations, their permit implications, engineering and scheduling challenges as well as the benefits of converting five No. 6 fuel oil-fired boilers to the more sustainable natural gas fuel.

Specific topics:

  • Complexities of the PSD applicability analysis for projects involving “replacement” and “modified units”
  • NSPS Subpart Db option to use a predictive system to estimate NOx emissions in lieu of a CEMs system for excess emissions reporting purposes
  • Permitting issues related to a phased project

Environmental and operational benefits of the fuel conversion from No. 6 fuel oil to natural gas

Recent Developments in Air Permitting and Regulation

  • David Friedland, Principal, Co-Chair of Climate Change Practice Group, Beveridge and Diamond

With the change in the U.S. administration came a few changes in policy related to air permitting and regulation, aside from climate change policy.  The panelist will present an overview of key developments in air regulation and permitting for conventional air pollutants (not addressing regulation of climate change pollutants).  The panelist will highlight changes at the federal level that could impact permitting and regulation at the state level.

Study of the Voluntary Adoption of Cleaner Products in the DC Metro Area

  • Christine Ng, Environment, Senior Managing Consultant, Ramboll Environ

In a study sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, we used market surveys and publicly available industry information to evaluate the extent to which voluntary adoption of cleaner product formulations has occurred in the automotive refinishing coating and residential heating oil industries in the Metropolitan Washington DC area (which includes DC and parts of Maryland and Virginia).   Although Northern Virginia has less stringent regulations on automotive refinishing coatings and heating oil sulfur content than Maryland or DC, the regional nature of supplier and distribution networks prompted a question about whether cleaner products may be voluntarily sold in Northern Virginia.  Using the survey results, we estimated current and projected air emission reductions from the voluntary adoption of cleaner products in the jurisdictions and investigated the possibility of applying for State Implementation Plan (SIP) credit.  Our presentation summarizes our results and key findings and reflects input from our survey respondents (industry representatives), MWCOG (our study sponsor), and state and local air agency representatives.

MODERATOR: Bill Gill, Smithfield Goods, Inc.

Stormwater and Water Efficiency (A Global Perspective)

  • Scott Blossom, President, Blossom Consulting and Engineering Inc.   

Water resource management affects communities in many ways and is addressed with innovation and creativity throughout the world. The United States Green Building Council provides a framework for development that includes ‘credits’ awarded for water management, energy efficiency, and high-performance design. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is a global program, used as an economic development tool, measuring resiliency and sustainability. Blossom Consulting and Engineering Inc. is responsible for Stormwater and Water Efficiency review for projects worldwide and has performed a review of hundreds of credit submittals for institutional, private and Government sponsored projects. Mr. Blossom provides technical review of these credits, involving a range of stormwater management techniques and rainwater harvesting practices specifically customized for the climatic, demographic and topographic characteristics of the area in which the project is located.  Each project meets a common “intention” by demonstrating compliance with pre-defined quantifiable standards. This presentation will focus on a comparison of case studies, highlighting innovative and exciting ways accomplish water resources management. Case studies will be compared in relation to credit requirements and engineering calculations/documentation, exploring water quality treatment, quantity management, and adequacy or receiving channels and downstream waterways. Learning objectives consist of: general understanding of LEED stormwater and water efficiency requirements (including preview of LEED V4 requirements), decision making strategies for stormwater compliance in relation to geographic/topographic constraints, and exposure to unique and innovative water resource management technologies used by professional engineers, floodplain managers, and high-performance design teams involved in cutting-edge design and environmental leadership.

Show How Better Site Designs Can Be Done and Has Been Done in Other Countries

  • Richard Street, Senior Environmental Engineer, Spotsylvania County; VAEPO Director

The first discussion will be about Guatemala where it was evident that they are where we were in Virginia back in the late 1970’s- 1980’s as far as regulations and awareness of the impacts of pollution and sediment runoff from stormwater. The second portion focus will be on the current US efforts to create better site designs and how much better we are now than we were in the 70’s and 80’s. The third focus will be on South Korea’s efforts to create a new site for their government and how they are incorporating better site designs but looking at all potential impacts at one time plus their hurdles that have faced. The last section will highlight some companies that have risen to the call and developed planning tools for better site designs on watershed bases. Very comprehensive and will be beneficial to us all.

MODERATOR: Peggy Sanner, Assistant Director and Senior Attorney, Chesapeake Bay Foundation     

Water Quality Trading & Offsets at the Chesapeake Bay Midpoint Assessment

  • Justin Curtis, Attorney, AquaLaw  

Building the Case for Crediting Conservation and Forestland Retention to Meet Chesapeake Bay TMDL Goals:  The VA/PA Healthy Watersheds Forest TMDL Project

  • Greg Evans,Mitigation Program Mgr./Chesapeake Bay Program Lead, Virginia Department of Forestry

The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement includes outcomes for protecting healthy watersheds and forestland of the highest value for maintaining water quality.  Management strategies were approved to improve knowledge of land conversion throughout the Watershed by developing a methodology and metrics to characterize the rate of farmland, forestland and wetland conversion, and measure the extent and rate of change in impervious surface coverage.  The goal is to provide localities with tools to quantify potential impacts of land conversion and evaluate policy options, incentives, and planning tools that continually improve capacity to reduce the rate of conversion. The Healthy Watersheds Forest/TMDL project sponsors proposed that if (1) localities and private landowners retain forestland and that results in a decrease in load over the 2025 projected TMDL load allocation; and (2) those decreases subsequently reduce probable future offset costs localities could be facing in 2025, then (3) a way to credit localities and others for retaining forestland through the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Model should be considered.  In Phase I, Virginia quantified the potential cost savings following EPA TMDL methodologies.  In Phase II Pennsylvania joined the project and confirmed Virginia’s findings in its own study area while Virginia undertook an extensive outreach and discovery process working with localities and other stakeholders to identify policy and incentive challenges and opportunities.  In Phase III the effort will focus on designing a sustainable credit mechanism supported by the private financial sector and working with localities to address the challenges and opportunities identified in Phase II.

Stormwater and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL:  How Virginia Industry Can Comply

  • John Tabella, Director, Environmental Services, SCS Engineers 

After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) established the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay in 2010, stormwater permit holders were required to evaluate the quality and quantity of certain pollutants in stormwater leaving their facility.  The pollutants of concern included nutrients (total nitrogen and total phosphorus) and total suspended solids.  The USEPA Region 3 and delegated states (including Virginia) in the Chesapeake Bay watershed challenged permit holders to demonstrate compliance with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and put in place requirements for permit holders to meet the Chesapeake Bay TMDL standards by 2024.  As a result, facility operators and industry overall were faced with new challenges to improve stormwater quality through management improvements, pollution prevention planning, and best management practices.  In this presentation, we will discuss the regulatory environment associated with stormwater programs in Virginia, particularly as it relates to industrial stormwater and facilities involved in waste management.  We will also discuss the requirements of industry to comply with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and present two case studies of issues faced by industrial stormwater permit holders.


  • Bland Crowder, Environmental Specialist, DCR

The presentation will demonstrate the new Flora of Virginia Mobile App to people who often work in botany, ecology, restoration, landscaping, project evaluation, conservation, and gardening. The App, for Android and iOS devices, comprises the full content of the Flora of Virginia (2012, BRIT Press), but with photographs, range maps, additional botanical illustrations, invasiveness and threat ranks, and an innovative graphic key.


Improving Public Access to Waterways of the Middle Peninsula

  • Lewis Lawrence, Executive Director Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Ask almost any rural coastal local elected official if providing public water access is a priority for local governments and the answer is YES, followed by “BUT, so is keeping criminals in jail, disposing of solid waste, and keeping schools open”. These three critical governmental services account for approximately 90% of a locality’s budget.  You do the math - how fast will provision of public access drop down the local priority list when stacked up against funding libraries, volunteer fire and rescue services, and elderly programs, all of which compete for the remaining 10%  of local tax dollars?   This talk will showcase how the formation of the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority, one of the nation’s first dedicated single purpose public entities for public access, has placed the question of providing public access as its only priority, at the forefront of policy development, project implementation and financial innovation.  Enabled in 2003, the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority has gone from zero holdings to managing in excess of 51 new public water access sites, with a combined value over $4,000,000 without spending any directly appropriated local tax money.

Improving Public Access to Waterways in Hampton Roads

  • Benjamin McFarlane, Senior Regional Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Providing public access to water for recreational purposes and enjoyment of the region’s natural resources is a major goal of many localities’ comprehensive plans and parks and open space plans. The HRPDC has been working with its localities and relevant state agencies to develop a regional strategic plan for improving public access to the area’s waterways.

The end goal of this project is to develop a regional vision that will assess the state of public access in Hampton Roads from local and regional perspectives, thereby helping to identify areas where opportunities exist for new sites or where areas are underserved.

The overall goal of this project is to help develop and promote a regional network of public access sites and connecting trails. The presentation will describe the steps involved in completing the plan, including an assessment of existing policies, analysis of the current state of public access in Hampton Roads, development of a GIS data layer of all public access sites in the region, and the development of an online map portal.

Session C

MODERATOR: Ann Jennings, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources

  • James Davis-Martin, Chesapeake Bay Coordinator, DEQ
  • Adrienne Kotula, Government Affairs and Policy Manager, James River Association

Our experts will explore the Chesapeake Bay region’s progress in reducing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution. Discussions will include whether modeled progress indicates the region and individual states, have met the 2017 60% goal. Experts will also explore whether in-field monitoring trends indicate progress toward both Chesapeake Bay water quality standards and local water quality goals.

MODERATOR: Al Christopher, Director, Energy Division, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy

  • Hayes Framme, Government Relations/Communications Manager, US Government Affairs, Ørsted
  • Jason Williams, Director, Environmental Services and Sustainability, Dominion Energy

Dominion Energy partnered with Ørsted, Europe’s largest sea wind developer, and set a target to construct two 6MW turbines 24 nautical miles off Virginia Beach by 2020. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project would be the first wind turbines constructed in federal waters on the first such research lease issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Virginia has unique advantages as a hub for the Mid-Atlantic offshore wind industry supply chain, including unmatched port assets and the largest and most skills-diverse workforce needed by the rapidly emerging U.S. industry.

The two turbines should be in operation by late 2020 and will lay the groundwork for potential large-scale development in the 112,800-acre commercial Wind Energy Area Dominion Energy has leased from the federal government. The project is an important first step toward offshore wind development for Virginia and the United States. It would be only the second offshore wind project in the nation and the first owned by an electric utility company. Along with clean energy, it will provide Dominion Energy valuable experience in managing offshore wind resources. Specifically, it will provide the critical operational, weather and environmental experience needed for cost-effective and efficient large-scale development.

The CVOW project will build on earlier work carried out under the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Assessment Project (VOWTAP), which was started five years ago in an effort to lower the cost of offshore wind and test new technologies. Much of the work done by VOWTAP is still applicable, include geophysical and geotechnical investigation of the sea floor for the turbine sites and export cable route, metocean studies including hurricane and breaking wave studies and seabed mobility studies.

MODERATOR: Clara Poffenberger, Environmental Law and Policy LLC

  • Michael Dowd, Director, Air and Renewable Energy Division, DEQ
  • Jay Holloway, Williams Mullen Law Firm
  • Clara Poffenberger, Environmental Law and Policy LLC
  • Jim Wedeking, Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP

Under the Trump administration, there is a lot of rumor and some real changes to environmental enforcement.  In this session, our presenters will cover the each of the following Environmental regulations which are enforced at four levels, depending on the specific regulations and industry: (1) federal enforcement, (2) state enforcement; (3)local enforcement; and (4)citizen suits.  The Clean Air Act is almost entirely enforced at the first three levels.  The panel will discuss recent changes and rumors related to environmental enforcement at these three levels, with specific attention to enforcement of air regulations. Speakers are experienced in federal and state enforcement and are particularly experienced in air regulatory enforcement. The panel will also share recent developments arising from court decisions affecting air enforcement and citizen suits under the Clean Air Act.


Right-Sizing Your Remediation in a Performance-Based Remediation World

  • Mark MacEwan, P.E. Senior Program Director, AECOM
    Sumon Chatterjee, Environmental Engineer, AECOM

Background/Objectives: A 4,500 feet long trichloroethene (TCE) plume at the former Virginia Air National Guard (ANG) Base in Sandston, Virginia presented a challenge to the remediation team when the performance-based remediation (PBR) project was awarded in 2010. Historical attempts to locate the source of the groundwater plume had limited to no success.  Enhanced reductive dechlorination was challenging due to the groundwater pH in the low 4 – 5 range with aerobic oxidizing redox conditions. The TCE concentrations in groundwater had to be reduced from greater than 5,000 ppb to 160 ppb in a five year period of performance within a fixed budget.  The project objectives are to achieve risk-based Interim Remedial Goals (IRGs) through accelerated remediation.

Approach/Activities: The two keys to properly sizing the groundwater remediation were: (1) identify and remove the source, and (2) understand the subsurface conditions so that time and money were not wasted remediating “clean” groundwater.

First, the source area was identified in a previously uncharacterized area of the site using a combination of high-resolution site characterization techniques including membrane interface probe and intensive, discrete depth groundwater sampling coupled with an onsite laboratory with a patented analytical method that analyzed volatile organic compounds in approximately five minutes. This real-time investigation was expensive: however, it allowed the project team to identify the source and also provided a detailed understanding of the subsurface conditions: a narrow (5 – 20 feet wide) paleo-channel acting as a preferred pathway and two distinct aquifer sections, with the “lower” aquifer exhibiting a much faster groundwater flow than the “upper” section.

Once identified, the source, including saturated soils, was removed and the excavation was backfilled with a hydrogen release compound, which was chosen for its extended, controlled release of lactic acid.  A groundwater recirculation system with pH buffer addition was set-up powered by a solar panel due to the lack of commercial power at the site.  These actions, while costly, resulted in achievement of the first major performance milestone, 50% total contaminant reduction.

The project team then tackled the issue of “right-sizing” the groundwater remediation by conducting a dye test to evaluate the dispersion of injected substrate into the spine/core of the plume versus the periphery on either side of the spine/core.  The team wanted to determine if remediation of the plume required grid-like injections or if transect injections could be utilized, which would be a more economical approach.  The dye study determined that a combination of grid injections in the source area combined with transects in the downgradient portion of the plume could be effective in achieving project objectives.  Another remediation design element that required “right-sizing” was the substrate to be injected.  It was determined that in situ injections using zero-valent iron and sodium bicarbonate amended carbon substrate was optimal for the source area plume with the highest concentrations. However, this substrate was not cost effective for the entire plume, so emulsified vegetable oil amended with sodium bicarbonate was selected for the downgradient section of the plume with lower concentrations.  Substrate concentrations were modified by depth in the downgradient section of the plume to continue “right-sizing” the remediation.

Leveraging Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy (ESS) to Refine Conceptual Site Models: Magothy Aquifer, New Jersey Coastal Plain

  • Ryan Samuels, Geologist/Stratigrapher, AECOM
  • Junaid Sadeque, Senior Geologist/Stratigrapher, AECOM

Sound conceptual site models (CSMs) are essential for developing a comprehensive understanding of natural attenuation processes and preferential groundwater flow pathways at contaminated sites.  However, as groundwater remediation projects are commonly challenged by inherent geologic complexity in the subsurface, the development of CSMs and a quantification of the associated uncertainties often tend to be less accurate than desired.  In this study, we use Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy (ESS) to better understand the subsurface geology and define preferential flow pathways within a complex groundwater remediation site.  This information is then used to optimize remedial strategies at both the source and the dilute fringe of a tert-butyl alcohol (TBA)-impacted groundwater plume in New Jersey.

ISS – Insitu Stabilization

  • Roy Wittenberg, NRT, an OBG Company, Principal Engineer

In situ solidification/stabilization (ISS) has seen increasing use on contaminated sites across the United States. Originally for treatment of metals, the use of ISS has been expanded to treat a broad range of contaminants including organics and non-aqueous phase liquids(NAPL). ISS is a technology that treats media in place by mixing with admixtures or reagents intended to alter the media physical or chemical characteristics. ISS has seen increasing use over the past 20 years and has become the remedial technology of choice for several contaminants including metals, coal tar residuals, coal combustion residuals (CCR) and for wood treating residuals.  Recently the use of ISS has been expanded to be combined with chemical oxidation treatment and for the remediation of impacted sediments.  Current research includes the use of this technology for both in situ and ex situ solidification/stabilization beneficial use applications using CCR materials for CCR impoundment containment, alternative construction applications and coastal restoration (e.g., levees).

While the use of ISS is not appropriate under all conditions, the continued development of this technology provides another tool that can effectively manage impacts in-place given site-specific constraints. It also provides a platform for expanded beneficial use of pozzolanic industrial byproducts.  Because it is performed underground ISS may allow for less community disruption, less waste placement in landfills and less impact on infrastructure.

This presentation will explain the ISS process, describe the current state of the practice for ISS and its typical applications. Lessons learned will be demonstrated to through a few brief case studies.

MODERATOR: Joe Maroon, Virginia Environmental Endowment

Using Technology to Prioritize Restoration in the James River Watershed

  • Jeff Allenby, Chesapeake Conservancy, Geospatial Analyst

As the Commonwealth of Virginia seeks to achieve nutrient and sediment pollution reductions, limited public and private dollars to implement best management practices must be prioritized to projects and places that will have the greatest impact on water quality improvements. In partnership with the Virginia Environmental Endowment, the Chesapeake Conservancy has answered this need for greater efficiency by developing a blueprint of restoration prioritization for the James River watershed. First, the Conservancy spoke with a variety of stakeholders including restoration professionals, academics, and state agencies to understand the most important criteria to consider for implementation of a successful restoration project. Based on these criteria, we have developed and aggregated multiple datasets to support decision-making on the placement of restoration projects in the watershed. These include high-resolution land cover, high-resolution flow paths, soil erosion and pollution reduction models, as well as ancillary datasets such as stormwater and urban infrastructure. By combining these data layers, we have identified priority restoration opportunity areas at the sub-parcel scale, with targeted information about the most suitable best management practices. This analysis will help inform better investment strategies by selecting those restoration projects that have the greatest potential impact on mitigating pollution runoff and improving water quality. The Conservancy will create web-based tools to allow for further transparency and encourage interaction of potential project implementers with the data and prioritization process. By supporting decision-makers with information technology, the best projects can be proposed in the right places to improve water quality in the James River watershed.

James River Strategic Investment Plan

  • Joe Maroon, Virginia Environmental Endowment

This panel will showcase the latest report card on the health of the James River and an innovative tool for identifying where the greatest opportunities are for addressing sediment and runoff flow in the watershed. In addition, the Virginia Environmental Endowment will inform participants of a new grant program to address water quality in the James River.

State of the James River

  • Shawn Ralston, Program Director, James River Association 

When the JRA was founded 40 years ago, the health of the James River had reached a low point.  In 1975, the Governor of Virginia closed the entire tidal James to any type of fishing due to kepone contamination, which exacerbated the existing issues of regular raw sewage discharges and widespread industrial pollution due to inadequate wastewater treatment. However, the James River has been a story of success over the last 40 years.

Over the last four decades, the measured health of the James River has increased remarkably, making the river arguably the most improved in the nation. To track progress over time, every other year since 2007 JRA has produced the State of the James, a report card on the ongoing effort to bring the James River back to full health.  The Report is designed to examine the status and trends of indicators in four categories – Fish and Wildlife, Habitat, Pollution Reductions, and Protection and Restoration Actions – that are interconnected and build on one another to achieve a healthy James River.  For each State of the James Report, JRA gathers primary data from authoritative sources. Once complete, the Report is shared with policy makers, decision makers, and the general public.

Attendees will learn about the current level of health of the James River through the 2017 State of the James Report.  Attendees will also walk away with success stories and ideas for restoration projects that could be implemented in watersheds across the state.

Session D

MODERATOR: Dave Gunnarson, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Realities of EMS:  Balancing Compliance and Culture

  • Jennifer Boeder, Environmental Program Manager, Prince William County

Prince William County government's EMS program stagnated for many years and only groups with a manager that valued environmental compliance were truly active; the rest went through the motions.  No amount of training or policymaking seems to make an impact.  In hindsight, this is because it was managed as a "one size fits all" program based on a non-emotional view that considered science, money, and the law.  Eventually, out of desperation, EMS program managers began to listen and watch; they asked people what they thought was important and didn't dismiss what they heard.  In short, they considered the culture of groups and what kind of projects would engage them. They began to incorporate projects into the EMS program that they previously considered "fluff;" those things that have more of an emotional payoff than environmental impact.   When balanced with stronger compliance goals, it did more than move the program forward, it gave it great momentum, leading to larger, more impactful projects that groups got excited about and management became interested in.  Soon the EMS participants became a unified group, yielding more power and gaining more respect and resources.  Today, Prince William County incorporates cultural values into the EMS.  They've learned that when cultures are challenged or dismissed as being inconsequential, resistance to compliance grew stronger and more roadblocks arose. But when values, habits, and beliefs were acknowledged and accepted there not only was more success, there was a culture change, with greater value placed on environmental protection and sustainability.

Introduction to ISO Environmental Standards

  • Peter Burke, Enterprise Solutions Manager, Quality Management International, Inc.

This course will introduce and review the latest environmental and sustainability standards currently endorsed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).  ISO has developed and published over 19,500 standards that are endorsed by over 160 countries around the world.   This course will focus on the most popular Environmental (ISO 14000), Social Responsibility (ISO 26000), (ISO 45001) Occupational Health and Safety and Energy Management (ISO 50001) ISO series.  It will also review the process organizations need to adopt to be certified in these standards.  Attendees will find the information provided valuable in understanding how businesses, government organizations and local communities stakeholders work together to protect the environment, manage energy use, conserve water and protect land.

ISO Technical Committee 207 has just updated the ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems and ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems.  ISO 45001:2016 (DIS) Occupational Health and Safety and ISO 50001 are scheduled for a new release by 2018.  Over the next few years, all of the ISO standards will be updated to the new High-Level Structure (HLS) being introduced for all ISO management system standards going forward.  Whether an attendee is planning to work for an NGO, government organization, or in private industry, familiarity with ISO standards and the new HLS will be a valuable resume addition.

Doing Well and Doing Good--Engaging Employees in Sustainability Practices

  • Reba Camp, University of Virginia Health System, Administrator, Environment of Care

UVA Medical Center employees about 6000 team members in clinical, ancillary and support services roles to care for our patients and their families.  The Medical Center consumes high volumes of energy and water and generates vast amounts of regulated medical waste and municipal solid waste.  in 2009 we adopted a policy on maintaining a sustainable environment and we have included stewardship as one of our core values.  Our presentation shares ways we have engaged our team members in our journey to sustainability in the hope that other organizations can benefit from our experience.  We have adopted an onsite program created by UVA Recycling to give team members a means for sharing reusable office supplies.  This not only diverts supplies from the landfill but enables savings that can be directed toward patient care.  Along with this program, we offer a monthly featured topic about sustainability including energy and water conservation, recycling, and tips for behaving in ways that are compatible with protecting our environment.  By measuring our effectiveness, we are able to learn different or better ways to raise awareness about how each individual in the workplace can practice sustainability.

MODERATOR: Joan Salvati, Virginia DEQ, Manager, Local Government Assistance Programs

  • Marc Aveni, Planner, Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission
  • Michelle Edwards, Planner, Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission
  • Mary Grattis, Director of Local Government Programs/LGAC Coordinator
  • Joan Salvati, Virginia DEQ, Manager, Local Government Assistance Programs
  • Kendall Tyree, VASWCD Executive Director
  • Joe Wood, Virginia Staff Scientist, Chesapeake Bay Commission

As part of the Chesapeake Bay Partnership's on-going efforts to restore water quality in the Bay, EPA has established detailed expectations for all of the States in the Bay watershed regarding the development of Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs). One of the four key elements included in EPA's expectations document is that each Bay jurisdiction should develop a detailed strategy of how they engaged their local/regional/federal partners in the development of the Phase III WIPs, and how these same partners will be engaged in implementing the Phase III WIPs.

Virginia has initiated a Phase III WIP engagement initiative by conducting initial outreach to local government officials and staff from Soil & Water Conservation Districts across the watershed.  Local stakeholders also participated at these meetings.  More detailed engagement with local entities and stakeholders is planned through 12/18 when the Phase III draft WIP is due to EPA. As Virginia finalizes its local engagement program, we are seeking input  from local/regional partners regarding the best approach to identify pollutant reduction strategies to be incorporated into the Phase III WIP.   The panel, to be facilitated by DEQ, will be made up of representatives of local government, soil & water conservation districts, the conservation community and Federal entities. Panelists will be asked to present their ideas on the best ways to identify pollutant reducing strategies that will be sustainable, yield BMPs that can be incorporated into the Phase III WIP, will protect local waters and achieve other community benefits.

MODERATOR: Will Cleveland, SELC

  • Pam Faggert, Chief Environmental Officer and Senior Vice President - Sustainability, Dominion Energy
  • Harry Godfrey, Executive Director, Virginia Advanced Energy Economy
  • Angela Navarro, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia

In 2017, Virginia's Air Board voted to approve a draft plan for the Commonwealth of Virginia to regulate carbon pollution from stationary sources.  This plan was drafted by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in response to Governor McAuliffe's Executive Directive 11. This plan is under review by the DEQ and open for public comment. It could be finalized as soon as this summer. This panel brings together business, government, and non-profit leaders to discuss how the regulation and the economic advantages this plan will bring to Virginia.

MODERATOR: Kateri Shreve, Luck Ecosystems

An Arboretum Stream Restoration: Innovative Methods and Educational Opportunities 

  • Robert Brent, Associate Professor, Integrated Science and Applied Technology, James Madison University
  • Abe Kaufman, Energy Conservation & Sustainability Manager, Facilities Management Department, James Madison University

The 2015-2016 stream restoration project in the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at James Madison University (JMU) restored a meandering stream pattern, reconnected the channel with the floodplain, established a riparian buffer and wetland areas adjacent to the stream, and planted trees and native vegetation. A 2013 study by the Center for Watershed Protection that looked at 30 different public land retrofit projects determined that this project offered twice as much phosphorus reduction at half the cost of any other project in the area that was studied. This project achieved the nutrient reduction at a very cost-effective rate, with the cost per pound of phosphorus removed at just over $2,000, which is roughly 1/10th of the average cost of urban Best Management Practices. By leveraging grant programs and using innovative stream restoration techniques, i.e., natural channel design principles, the phosphorus and nitrogen reductions from this project exceeded the reductions needed to meet the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) at a fraction of the cost anticipated with traditional stormwater practices. Pre- and post-restoration monitoring conducted by JMU faculty and students confirmed estimated reductions in sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus loads. Educational elements of the project included signage, student research projects, and workshops, which fulfill outreach criteria in MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) permits. Nearly 100 students participated in on-site field workshops that introduced aspects of stream ecology and natural stream channel design. Three students, Matthew McCarter, Carli Kohler, and Ben Petersen, developed multi-year research projects monitoring the impacts of the restoration, and they presented their results in a senior thesis and at the Integrated Science and Technology Senior Symposium. This project is a model of using campus infrastructure and operations for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research that contributes to advancing sustainability on campus. The methodology and resource aspects of the project, including the role of the stormwater coordinator and faculty, will be presented in detail, so attendees are able to consider the applicability of this highly transferable project to their stormwater management, education, and/or sustainability programs.

Jumping Stream Restoration Practices to a New Level

  • Michael Rolband, President, Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc.

Stream restoration is a “young” practice of science, engineering, and construction. The practice of stream restoration has evolved to a point where there is a need for scientific evaluation of existing practices so we can advance the “State of the Art” to a higher level.

To achieve this, we need to:

1) Create a funding mechanism

2) Link practitioners with academic researchers

3) Select research topics that advance the state of the art of stream restoration

Mike Rolband will explain how Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. (WSSI) and its associated non-profit Resource Protection Group (RPG) developed an Applied Wetlands Research program in 2007, and how the same strategy can be applied to streams.

Then we all focus on audience participation to brainstorm what research topics are needed in the industry to jump-start the “State of the Art” to a new level.

The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) and BMP Implementation Trends

  • Jillian Sunderland, Water Resources Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

The Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 2013 to provide matching grants to local governments for the planning, design, and implementation of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that address pollutant loads.  This presentation will provide a statewide summary of the types of BMPs installed and the funding amounts awarded over the last four years. Since FY14, 51 localities have applied for funds and 49 have received at least one grant.  Nearly $73M has been awarded for 193 projects over the life of the program.  The most frequently awarded BMPs across the state have been stream restoration, wet ponds, and constructed wetlands. The median cost per pound of phosphorus removed has varied over the years for the most popular BMPs.

Session E

MODERATOR:  Tina Bickerstaff, Managing Scientist, OBG

  • Pamela F. Faggert, Chief Environmental Officer and Senior Vice President - Sustainability, Dominion Energy
  • Bill Gill, Assistant Vice President of Sustainability, Smithfield Foods
  • Matthew Ledford, Sr. Manager - Environmental, Health, & Safety; Daikin Applied Amercas Inc.
  • Christian Simmers, Environmental Health & Safety Leader, GE Intelligent Platforms

Environmental leaders from Virginia industries will be addressing trending issues.

MODERATOR: Sidney Huffman, CTS, Inc.

Virginia ConservationVision: a Strategic Approach to Landscape Planning and Conservation Prioritization

  • Kristen Hazler, Landscape Ecologist, Virginia Natural Heritage Program, DCR

Virginia ConservationVision has since 2007 been Virginia’s most comprehensive statewide assessment and prioritization of conservation values, inclusive of prime farmlands; forest values; ecological cores and corridors; cultural and historical values; recreational assets; watershed integrity; and development threat.  This set of GIS-based maps has been used by many localities and planning districts for conservation and green infrastructure planning and integrated into the conservation decisions of state agencies, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, various land trusts and other NGOs.  These conservation planning tools have also been used for prioritizing land conservation opportunities and scoring newly protected lands under land conservation goals of Governors Tim Kaine, Bob McDonnell and Terry McAuliffe.  This presentation will provide an update on the recently revised ConservationVision models, their expanded availability and current and future uses for targeting land conservation.

2017 Virginia Outdoors Survey

  • Danette Poole, Environmental Programs Planner, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Outdoor recreation is a growing as one of Virginia’s largest economic drivers. Outdoor recreation is embraced by health professionals, businesses, industries, and almost all Virginians. Important to all ages, ethnicities, socioeconomic categories and regions of the Commonwealth, outdoor recreation is a common denominator for bringing success to industry, local initiatives, and regional partnerships. A key component for improving health outcomes, outdoor recreation is linked in many ways to Virginia’s vitality.

This Virginia Outdoors Survey presentation will provide an opportunity for a diverse group of professionals to come to gather to learn what outdoor recreation needs mean to their community and businesses. Attendees will come away with a knowledge that arms them with data to implement connecting resources on their properties and into the community.  The data presented will be a powerful testament to the importance of outdoor recreation across Virginia.

Key deliverables and takeaways from this presentation include the Virginia Outdoors Survey and the Virginia Outdoors Inventory. This session could help attendees begin to imagine ways to integrate these products into a variety of initiatives for a cleaner and healthier Commonwealth.

 Assessing Impacts of Large Development Projects on Core Forest

  • Joseph Weber, Information Manager, Virginia Natural Heritage Program; DCR

Virginia’s forests provide a range of important benefits, including Ecosystem Services that are often overlooked as landscapes become developed.  Not all forests are equal, however, as patches that are large enough to contain core forest provide habitat and other ecological benefits that are not present or as robust in the same area of forest distributed among smaller patches.  Core forests have been mapped by the Virginia Natural Landscape Assessment (VaNLA) and defined as having at least 100 acres of interior, which begins 100-meters inward from the nearest edge.  Impacts to core forest in Virginia have rarely, if ever, been considered when environmental agencies reviewed projects that would fragment the landscape.  These reviews might have assessed and requested mitigation for direct loss of forest by development, but never before have those agencies assessed or requested mitigation for indirect impacts to core forest caused by a project, but occurring later in time or removed in distance from the project site.  To better address these losses, a team of forest experts from several agencies developed a system for measuring and mitigating for indirect impacts to core forest by development, in addition to the direct impacts confined to the project site.  This novel method estimates relative losses of functions and ecosystem services by evaluating changes in shape and maximum depth of cores caused by new construction.  This new tool gives environmental agencies the ability to expediently evaluate the impacts of large projects, especially long, linear projects that bisect numerous forest cores over vast areas.

MODERATOR: Megan Berge, Partner, Baker Botts LLP

  • Megan Berge, Partner, Baker Botts LLP|
  • Emily Fisher Vice President, Law, and Corporate Secretary; the Edison Electric Institute

Following the election in 2016, there were many stories and statements about legal reforms related to greenhouse gas emission programs. As a result, 2017 began with an expectation that there would be significant changes at the regional, national, and international laws addressing climate change. This panel will explore whether those changes did, in fact, occur and, if so, what effect they have had on regulatory programs and industry activities addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

MODERATOR:  Scott Kudlas, DEQ

  • Elizabeth Andrews, Professor of the Practice and Director, Virginia Coastal Policy Center -William & Mary Law School
  • Scott Kudlas, Department of Environmental Quality, Director of Office of Water Supply
  • Ted Henifin, General Manager, Hampton Roads Sanitation District

This session will focus on the progress that was made toward the greater sustainable use of the Virginia coastal plain aquifer system. The conclusion that significant changes were needed to the way that we manage coastal groundwater resulted in a number of initiatives including a study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (2016), a report by the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee (2017), the Sustainable Water for Tomorrow proposal by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, and efforts by DEQ to modify the permits significant groundwater withdrawers to achieve greater sustainability. This session will update attendees on the progress of these efforts and where future management could go.

Session F

MODERATOR: Missy Neff, Virginiaforever

  • Pamela Faggert, Executive Director, Dominion Energy
  • Joe Maroon, Virginia Environmental Endowment
  • Jim Regimbal, Principal, Fiscal Analytics, Ltd.
  • Peggy Sanner, Assistant Director and Senior Attorney, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Matthew Wells, Senior Regional Manager and State Government Relations, WestRock Company

Virginia has been spending less than one percent of its general funds and all other fund sources appropriated in the state budget on natural resources, state parks and recreation since FY 2014.  The average state spends about double this amount as a percent of their state resources versus Virginia’s spending on natural resources.  When compared to our surrounding states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and particularly Maryland, Virginia spends considerably less on natural resources.  Many other states have dedicated sources of revenue for land conservation and natural resource protection, the most common being a dedicated share of real estate transfer taxes.  Virginiaforever’s Five-Year Plan for land conservation is underfunded by $423 million.

MODERATOR: Tom Timmes, Virginia Military Institute

Microbial Ecology and Water Quality in the Dan River System

  • Catherine Cappellin, Virginia Tech, Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences 

River ecosystems across the US and globally face numerous stressors that impact both ecological function and water quality. In 2015-16, multiple municipalities along the Dan River in southern Virginia experienced the repeated taste and odor issues in their drinking water that originated from the river source water. In response to these episodes, we have been collecting monthly water, sediment, and periphyton samples from the Smith and Dan Rivers to analyze patterns of microbial community structure, as well as enumerate fungi, actinomycete, and chlorophyll concentrations, which have historically been linked to taste and odor problems. Although no significant taste and odor event occurred during the study period, this work has resulted in a large and unique data set describing the interactions between the river ecosystem and aquatic microbial communities. Results from the study show that fungi, actinomycete, and chlorophyll concentrations were all lower than reports from other systems experiencing taste and odor events during the sampling period. From a broader ecological perspective, microbial communities sampled from water, sediment, and periphyton were each unique from each other regardless of site. Within each sample type, water samples were the most variable in their microbial communities, with the Smith river sites harboring the most unique communities. Analyses are also being conducted to identify links between specific microbial taxa, odorant concentrations, and other components of water chemistry.

The Nansemond River Microbial Source Tracking Case Study: Molecular Methods, Targeted Infrastructure Sampling, and Citizen Science to Proactively Identify Sewage Contamination

  • Raul Gonzalez, Environmental Scientist, Hampton Roads Sanitation District
  • Elizabeth Taraski, Chief Executive Officer, Nansemond River Preservation Alliance

The Nansemond River (NR) is impaired due to elevated bacteria. A coalition formed between the NR Preservation Alliance (NRPA), VDH Division of Shellfish Sanitation, HRSD, and the City of Suffolk to reduce bacteria contamination by identifying and repairing sources of human fecal contamination. The coalition adapted microbial source tracking (MST) tools for stormwater, surface water, and sewer samples with the goal of identifying compromised infrastructure or constraining the origin of contamination to a small area. The backbone of the study has been the implementation of human-specific molecular assays. Adaptive, results-based decisions used in tandem with infrastructure knowledge allow tracing of a human fecal signal through infrastructure to a point of origin.

Two phases will be presented. First, is a dry weather screening meant to identify any chronic contamination. All infrastructure were identified and then screened with human-specific molecular markers. Locations that were human marker positive were used as jumping off points for in-collection system MST projects. The many successful find and fix situations demonstrate the complexity each sub-watershed presents and the methodical, yet flexible approach each requires. Issues ranged from sanitary sewer breaks, illicit connections, and failing septic systems. Secondly, a nonprofit led sub-project will be described. The NRPA planned, collected, and assisted in analyses of results on specific high-priority creeks while other phases of the large study were being conducted concurrently. This collaborative study demonstrates how public agencies in partnership with a nonprofit organization can combine molecular methods, collection system knowledge, and citizen-based efforts to systematically identify compromised infrastructure.

MODERATOR: Greg Evans, Department of Forestry

  • Darren K. Coffey, AICP, Chief Executive Officer & Owner, Berkley Group
  • Gregory C. Evans, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry/ Department of Forestry Chesapeake Bay Program lead
  • Eldon James, Jr., Staff Director, Rappahannock River Basin Commission
  • Daniel Spethmann, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Working Lands Investment Partners, LLC
  • Chandler Van Voorhis, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, ACRE Investment Management. LLC

The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement includes outcomes for protecting healthy watersheds and forestland of the highest value for maintaining water quality.  Management strategies were approved to improve knowledge of land conversion throughout the Watershed by developing a methodology and metrics to characterize the rate of farmland, forestland and wetland conversion, and measure the extent and rate of change in impervious surface coverage.  The goal is to provide localities with tools to quantify potential impacts of land conversion and evaluate policy options, incentives, and planning tools that continually improve capacity to reduce the rate of conversion. The Healthy Watersheds Forest/TMDL project sponsors proposed that if (1) localities and private landowners retain forestland and that results in a decrease in load over the 2025 projected TMDL load allocation; and (2) those decreases subsequently reduce probable future offset costs localities could be facing in 2025, then (3) a way to credit localities and others for retaining forestland through the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Model should be considered.  In Phase I, Virginia quantified the potential cost savings following EPA TMDL methodologies.  In Phase II Pennsylvania joined the project and confirmed Virginia’s findings in its own study area while Virginia undertook an extensive outreach and discovery process working with localities and other stakeholders to identify policy and incentive challenges and opportunities.  In Phase III the effort will focus on designing a sustainable credit mechanism supported by the private financial sector, and working with localities to address the challenges and opportunities identified in Phase II.

MODERATOR: Tamim Younos, green Water - Infrastructure Academy

Social Infrastructure in Disaster Resilience 

  • Aishwarya Borate, Intern, ClarkNexsen
  • David Pryor, Director for Waterfront Engineering, ClarkNexsen

As a coastal city, Hampton is both dependent and threatened by the sea. Coastal flooding, storm surges, nor’easters are some of the main issues faced by the city of Hampton.

There is a daunting body of populations of various demographic backgrounds in the city exposed to flooding. Some groups within the society lack ability, knowledge, and resources to improve their resilience.

Studying the population in terms of community capitals helps for drawing accurate and more efficient policies and plans to create a holistically resilient community. The communities that fare well after a disaster are the ones which are well informed; physically robust; and are strong socially, financially, environmentally, and politically. 4Cs of the community capital framework (human, social, financial, and natural capital) were used to analyze resilience of the areas under study. The outcome of this research is a place-based model which can be replicated in other communities with similar community capital distribution.

The Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (The RAFT)

  • Tanya Denckla Cobb, Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation

The University of Virginia’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation is partnering with the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School and Old Dominion University (together, The RAFT Team) to create an assessment and response decision framework to assist communities in evaluating risks of coastal flooding, prioritizing action to increase resilience, and identifying sources of technical assistance and funding. This framework is called the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (The RAFT).

The RAFT has three components: 1. Assessment of a locality’s resilience to the effects of sea level rise, flooding, and other coastal hazards; 2. Facilitation of community identification of near-term actions to increase resilience; and 3. Technical assistance for implementation of these actions.

The tool and approach have been successfully piloted in three Virginia coastal communities – Town of Cape Charles, Gloucester County, and the City of Portsmouth. The RAFT Team presented scorecard results to the three pilot communities in the summer of 2017. Community leaders then reviewed findings of their locality’s strengths and opportunities to improve resilience. The RAFT Team facilitated workshops that used the scorecard to create an informed discussion about the locality’s challenges and opportunities. These workshops generated one-year Resilience Action Checklists, with actions ranging from a review of local environmental regulation to nature-based climate projects such as green infrastructure BMPs. The three pilot communities are currently entering their one-year implementation phases. The RAFT Team is conducting regular check-ins to support progress towards goals and assist with the ongoing evaluation.

Regional Coordination on Coastal Resiliency in Hampton Roads

  • Benjamin McFarlane, Senior Regional Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

The Hampton Roads region is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of flooding and sea level rise due to its coastal location, relatively low-lying topography, and a significant level of residential, commercial, and industrial development. In response, the HRPDC has identified coastal resiliency as a focus area for its work program, including the establishment of an official advisory committee to guide the HRPDC staff’s work and advise the commission. The HRPDC staff’s work, including technical analyses and coordination with other government and non-government stakeholders, has helped identify and narrow information gaps for localities planning for resiliency. A major focus of recent years has been the identification of specific priorities that will directly benefit or improve local planning efforts, which have included seeking grant funding for specific studies with the military and coordinating with other government agencies on data acquisition. This presentation will describe how the program has shifted over time, with a focus on the setting of regional priorities. It will highlight ongoing work in the region, including data gathering efforts with the U.S. Geological Survey, Joint Land Use Studies with the U.S. Navy, and cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to identify potential multi-jurisdictional flood management strategies.

MODERATOR: Justin Curtis, Environmental Attorney, AquaLaw PLC

  • David Davis, Office of Wetlands and Stream Protection, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Michael Rolband, President, Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc
  • Tom Walker, Chief, Regulatory Branch, Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

This presentation will discuss what the recent and potential future changes to the WOTUS definition mean on the ground for landowners, government agencies, and citizens in Virginia. As part of this discussion, the panel will address the prior regulatory landscape, the changes brought about by the 2015 WOTUS rulemaking, the practical implications of the Trump Administration repeal of the WOTUS rule, and potential future consequences of a revised, and potentially narrower, WOTUS rule.

Conference attendees will be provided with a greater understanding of the consequences of the ongoing process to repeal and replace WOTUS. The implications of this process for various stakeholders will be addressed from the viewpoint of regulators at the federal (Walker) and Virginia (Davis) levels, as well as from the viewpoint of practitioners with technical (Rolband) and legal (Curtis) expertise.

Following this presentation, attendees will be able to better understand the current regulatory landscape as it affects projects and actions (e.g., development, linear infrastructure, maintenance of existing infrastructure) that have the potential to affect waters

Session G

MODERATOR: Chris Stone, ClarkNexsen

  • Michael Dowd, Director of Air Quality Division, DEQ
  • Matthew Meares, Co-Founder, Principal, VASolar LLC
  • Richard Street, Senior Environmental Engineer, Spotsylvania County: Director, VAEPO

We have gathered a group of state officials, a locality and one of the solar farm developers to present the experiences from all aspects to design approve and build a solar farm in the Commonwealth. These individuals will explain the hurdles faced and the help that is available to localities and jurisdictions to adequately handle the influx of requests that have been inundating into Virginia communities recently. Basically, the ‘where why and how’ to solar farming in VA.

MODERATOR:  Ann Jennings, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources

  • Ann Swanson, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Commission
  • Kendall Tyree, Ph.D., Executive Director, Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
  • Tim Woodward, CEO, Tellus Conservation LLC

When the Chesapeake Bay Program partners established the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) in 2010, they designated 2017 as the half-way point in the efforts to achieve the 2025 TMDL pollution reduction goals.  The results of this ‘mid-point assessment’ of progress have reinforced the conclusion that farmers have been – and will continue to be – critical players to success in meeting the water quality goals.  In fact, the number of acres of farmland employing pollution reduction practices needs to increase by 28 to 135 percent, depending on the state.  The key to achieving this increase in acres and practices is increased availability of technical assistance for Bay farmers.   This interactive workshop will focus on what can be done to improve and increase the availability of technical assistance to farmers

MODERATOR: Tina Bickerstaff, OBG

Design, Construction, and Demonstration of a Mobile Micro-Digestion Renewable Energy Process

  • Steven Cox, President, GkW Energy, Inc.

Biogas is produced by microorganisms during anaerobic digestion of organic substrates. Biogas consists primarily of methane and carbon dioxide and has been used as an inexpensive and valuable renewable fuel for more than 100 years.

Using anaerobic digestion to stabilize organic waste, produce biogas, and generate electrical and thermal power is a well-studied process and quite common at large organic waste management sites such as wastewater treatment plants and landfills. The benefits of anaerobic digestion include the production of electricity and heat, reduction of organic waste disposal costs, and nutrient recovery. However, the application of this technology at smaller sites is relatively rare although often financially and technologically feasible. The objective of this work is to demonstrate and promote anaerobic digestion/power generation systems for application at smaller organic waste management sites.

During the course of a nine-month period, a team of senior-level engineering students worked with academic and industry advisers to design and construct a mobile anaerobic digestion/power generation process, demonstrating that this technology can be simple, reliable, and cost-effective on a small scale. The process consists of six primary components: A 22-ft trailer, digester feeding system, 1000-gallon digestion vessel, biogas collection and storage system, 7-kW power generation system, and an electrical energy distribution system.

The process was fed waste food from a university dining hall at a rate of 15 lb per day. Gas production was 58 ft3 biogas per day at 57% methane. The process has operated reliably since start-up.

Elevated Temperature Landfills – A Growing Concern within the Solid Waste Industry

  • Davis Garrett, Engineer, Geosyntec Consultants 

The phenomenon of elevated temperatures in landfills across North America (with cases in Virginia) and the globe is a growing and complex problem.  During the past decade alone, the number of landfills reporting elevated temperatures has more than tripled.  Most of these sites have required costly operational and management actions, and have been the focus of regulatory pressure to implement remedial actions.  The short-term liabilities and legal costs associated with increased odor and gas migration increased leachate treatment, and responding to public outrage are substantial.  But these costs pale in comparison to longer-term environmental-damage liabilities that could result from questions about containment-system longevity or from potential slope-instability caused by temporal waste-strength and leachate-generation parameters that could end up being quite different than those used to originally design the facilities.

The presenters are at the forefront of the solid-waste industry’s efforts to understand, remediate, and prevent elevated temperatures in landfills and within the past three years have designed and implemented cutting-edge instrumentation systems across the country using fiber optics and vibrating wire sensors to measure ongoing changes in the thermal and pressure conditions in landfills where temperatures sometimes greater than 300 degrees Fahrenheit have been measured.

This presentation will describe the challenges facing landfill operators at sites with elevated temperatures, as well as efforts being undertaken to detect, monitor, mitigate, and prevent elevated temperatures from occurring at existing and new landfills.

MODERATOR: Tamim Younos, Green Water, Infrastructure Academy  

Electronic Capture of Environmental Data in the Field

  • Mike Hall, Senior Managing Scientist, OBG

Tablet computers and web-based databases provide a rapid, cost-effective, and reliable means of capturing and managing field data in real-time.  This case study provides an overview of how this approach was used to support a comprehensive facility environmental assessment (FEA) of a 650-acre chemical plant that was slated for demolition.  Inspection, characterization, and sampling of the entire facility were necessary to characterize environmental conditions and guide demolition.  With a short schedule, it was necessary to coordinate efforts between many teams of field personnel, with real-time decision-making.  The tablets were used to document field inspections, delineate staining and other potential environmental concerns, and identify and locate thousands of sample locations and descriptions.  Data were automatically uploaded to a web-based geographic information system so that all team members had access to the information in real time.  Use of the system allowed the completion of the FEA, and characterization of the site in a single, continuous effort, which eliminated months of iterative sampling and reporting.  While this technology is useful for large, complex sampling efforts, it also has utility for repetitive tasks such as routine inspections, and groundwater, stormwater, and wastewater monitoring.

Development of Sensor Systems to Assist in Oil Spill Response and Recovery

  • Ben Schreib, Lead Systems Engineer, AECOM

The development and testing results of sensor systems to facilitate offshore oil spill response and recovery will be presented. With support from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), we developed a system that is able to tag and track assets throughout the world and in harsh marine environments to dramatically increase the situational awareness and to enhance the common operating picture in preparation for and during an oil spill response. The goal of our approach was to develop a small, cost-effective and robust Geo-Referencing Identification (GRID) technology package for the tagging and automatic tracking of inventory, equipment, and assets in near real time. Our team then advanced the sensor system design so that if oil is spilled in the Arctic, identified, but unable to be immediately recovered, the oil could be tracked for future recovery. Most recently the family of sensors was modified and tested at the Ohmsett wave tank to measure and characterize ocean waves for mechanical skimming operations, generating measurements such as wave height, length and period and covey this information to responders in real time via WiFi and remote reporting to stakeholders through a satellite network.

MODERATOR: Mike Baum, Keep Virginia Beautiful

SWIFT: Sustainable Water Resource Management in Eastern Virginia

  • Ted Henifin, General Manager, Hampton Roads Sanitation District
  • Lisa Jeffrey, Senior Associate, Hazen and Sawyer

This presentation will provide an update on HRSD’s SWIFT Program, the current costs, and benefits of managed aquifer recharge and the potential impact on stormwater permittees within Hampton Roads. Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) treats approximately 125 million gallons per day (managed) of wastewater for a population of nearly 1.7 million people in the southeastern region of Virginia.  In response to several environmental and economic challenges facing the region, reductions in the nutrient loads to the sensitive Chesapeake Bay, depletion of groundwater resources, the intrusion of saltwater into the aquifer, and land subsidence, HRSD developed the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) Program. HRSD has initiated this innovative program to manage regulatory requirements while simultaneously addressing regional water challenges.  The presentation will include discussion of the potential nutrient load reductions anticipated through the program and how these improvements could enable stormwater MS4s to focus on resiliency investments and needed improvements to address their challenging local TMDLs.

One Water in Hampton Roads

  • Whitney Katchmark, Water Resources Principal, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

The Hampton Roads region is gradually moving to a one water approach.  HRSD’s proposed SWIFT project has created an opportunity for localities in Hampton Roads to reassess the focus of water resource programs. Also, the significant focus on regional coastal resiliency has prompted more multi-discipline coordination in the region than ever before. Challenges and lessons learned will be highlighted based on the last few years of regional coordination of water programs.

Session H

MODERATOR: Angela Navarro, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources

  • Clyde Cristman, Director, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Ann Jennings, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources
  • Joe Lerch, Director of Local Government Policy, Virginia Association of Counties (VACo)
  • David Paylor, Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Leading environmental experts will address trending government issues.

MODERATOR: Tanya Denkla Cobb, Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation

  • Heather Bourne, Limnotech
  • Tanya Denkla Cobb, Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation
  • Grace LeRose, Department of Public Utilities, City of Richmond
  • Susan Mitchell, West Cary Group
  • Peggy Sanner, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

A lively panel discussion will discuss the evolution of this project, from its initial conceptualization of a dual track technical advisor and public engagement process through the development of the full watershed plan and integrated permit. Ms. LeRose will share the city’s motivation for becoming the first municipality to voluntarily develop an integrated approach to water management and the challenges it anticipated.

Ms. Bourne will share the engineering firms key concerns and challenges – what was harder than expected, and what was easier. Ms. Mitchell will share key strategies for communication with the broader public that worked best, and those that didn’t work so well. Ms. Denckla Cobb will share challenges and strategies for engaging stakeholder organizations meaningfully. Two additional panelists – stakeholders Peggy Sanner from CBF and Sarah Stewart from the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission – will share the challenges and lessons learned from their perspectives.

MODERATOR: Nissa Dean, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative

  • Liz Chudoba, Water Quality Program Manager, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative is a group of leading organizations providing technical, logistical, and outreach support for the integration of new water quality and macroinvertebrate monitoring data into the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership. This project goal is to create a community where all data of known quality are used to inform watershed management decisions and restoration efforts by bringing together the grassroots volunteer monitoring organizations in a Cooperative to pool their data to support a larger use at the State and Federal level.

The Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative team has been working in collaboration with program partners to develop a comprehensive approach to incorporate volunteer water quality monitoring into Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. Over the last two years, we have developed standardized Quality Assurance Project Plans and Methods Manuals that can be used by monitoring groups throughout the watershed, and a comprehensive database to house all the data collected. In addition, we have created many other tools and resources to reduce the hurdles for groups to start and maintain volunteer monitoring programs.

It’s Everyone’s Business to Be Green

  • Kate Fritz, Executive Director, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

The presentation will give an overview of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance) and present the new Businesses for the Bay Membership Association (B4B), including example actions that businesses take to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Because of their unique position as employer and deliverer of goods and services on which we all depend, the business community has the unique potential to influence public action and represent an influential voice. B4B is the only program designed to help businesses of all sizes and sectors, from throughout the vast Chesapeake Bay watershed, work on voluntary initiatives that help protect and restore our local environment and connect with others.

MODERATOR: Tiina Bickerstaff, OBG 

Compost Happens – Waste Reduction at Capital One

  • Andrew Green, Capital One

Capital One implemented a comprehensive composting and centralized waste program (no individual trash cans) at campus locations in Richmond, VA; Tysons, VA, and Plano, TX impacting several thousand staff and call center associates. The program provides a tangible and daily means of associate engagement with the Capital One sustainability program and has become a foundational pillar of the company sustainability strategy.

The presentation will address program structure, operational logistics, change management, challenges and lessons learned critical to success. Key areas of focus will include associate experience, program evolution since the initial rollout in 2015, the role of data, and challenges of limited composting infrastructure in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Learning Objectives:

  1. How composting and centralized waste fit into a broader sustainability strategy
  2. Operational processes for pre-and post-consumer composting program
  3. Education and change management best practices that contribute to success
  4. Challenges and Lessons Learned

Local Responses, Remaining Challenges and Potential Strategies in Waste Management for Local Programs

  • Debbie Spiliotopoulos, Senior Environmental Planner and Staff for Northern Virginia Waste Management Board, Northern Virginia Regional Commission

The Northern Virginia Waste Management Board (Waste Board) coordinates and analyzes waste and recycling programs in the region and generates a biennial report on programs and challenges for the Washington Metropolitan region.  NVRC and waste board members are active in the Virginia Recycling Association (VRA), which represents a premier platform for sustainable materials management in the Commonwealth. In recent years, both groups have seen the challenges of market instability, and safety risks of contamination challenge established programs and processing businesses. Debbie will present a summary of recent findings for Virginia, Northern Virginia, integrated solid waste programs, outcomes, challenges, and approaches:

The proliferation of smart and battery operated items, and their improper disposal may contribute to the fires and safety challenges arising at waste management, recycling, and composting facilities. For more than a decade, the Waste Board has prioritized reducing the contamination from improperly disposed of hazardous materials in the waste stream. Originally focused on educating businesses and governments on reducing the disposal of mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, the project scope has extended to batteries, electronics, and other commonly used hazardous materials.

During the same period, commercial recycling processors and haulers moved to “single stream” all-in-one-bin collection for localities and businesses, which yielded much higher rates of diversion. The downside has been increased contamination of recyclables with trash and non-recyclable items. The reduced quality of these materials lowered their value and usefulness in domestic processing. For many years, this material retained its export value due to overseas demand.

Recently, China, the major importer of recycled materials, has pushed back on contamination, with extremely specific policies and requirements.  This has effectively embargoed recyclables and dropped market demand.

The presentation will share how recent conditions affect local programs, local and processor responses, remaining challenges and potential strategies. If representatives from our recyclers, localities attend, we could provide a brief panel of perspectives.

MODERATOR: Christine Ng, Senior Managing Consultant, Ramboll Environ 

Implementing Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan

  • Chris Burkett, Wildlife Action Plan Coordinator,  Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan identifies almost 900 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, threats impacting these species and/or their habitats, and actions that can be taken to address these threats. Habitat loss, whether from fragmentation, water pollution, or climate change, represents the single greatest challenge to these species. These habitat issues can also have profound impacts on human communities. The Wildlife Action Plan was designed to support local-scale conservation efforts to meet the shared needs of people and wildlife. The VaDGIF is working with partners to implement actions identified within the Wildlife Action Plan. Some financial resources are available to support additional efforts and staff members from VaDGIF are working to identify new conservation partners and develop new conservation opportunities. VaDGIF staff members are also working with the national conservation community to find new funding mechanisms to help state wildlife agencies and partners implement their wildlife action plans.

Reforestation and Landscape Restoration on New County Projects

  • Julia Flanagan, Senior Project Manager, Prince William County

The continued loss of natural forest conditions through new development impacts to water quality, air quality, and wildlife habitat.   Typical development practices remove valuable topsoil from the site and replace former forest cover with lawn.  As a result, new trees and shrubs installed have poorer health and aesthetics and are more likely to die before reaching maturity due to increased drought stress, loss of soil organic components and low nutrient levels.  Turf requires more frequent maintenance such as mowing, fertilization, and pest control at both a fiscal and environmental cost to the County.

Prince William County has recently expanded the concept of our robust reforestation program to become an integral part of the design and review process for new County projects. This more holistic look at forest and landscape management identifies opportunities to minimize clearing good quality forest and to utilize reforestation in place of managed turf, reconnecting new trees to conserved forest. This approach is popular with citizens, elected officials, and developers because it brings cost savings and greater tree preservation during the development process.

The future of this program includes on-site reservation of topsoil harvested from disturbed areas (typically sold by the clearing contractor to off-site interests) for reuse within both reforestation and traditional landscape planting areas.  This will foster healthier and longer-lived plant communities and will allow greater infiltration of stormwater.

Forests Role in Mitigating Climate Change – A Virginia Case Study

  • Greg Meade, Conservation Forestry Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global leader in the environmental protection/conservation field.   TNC has an ambitious goal of providing leadership at the state level in all 50 states to make measurable impacts on Climate Change.  We envision that happening by working in each state to provide practical and cost-effective solutions, solutions that capitalize on natural and practical solutions.

More specifically our actions in Virginia will be highlighted, along with an in-depth look at how natural climate solutions has led to over 400,000 verified tonnes of CO2 being offset while providing revenue to important conservation needs and assisting in the permanent protection of 22,000 of some of the most important Appalachian hardwood forests in Virginia.