Virginia proposes end to participation with multi-state Commission aimed at protecting Potomac River
The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) is an interstate agency created by the individual statutes of its member jurisdictions – Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Federal Government participation was approved by Congress in 1940.
The ICPRB promotes collaborative watershed-based services aimed at improving and protecting water quality and quantity in the Potomac River basin. The ICPRB provides services that directly benefit Virginia, including technical and managerial support, watershed-based initiatives with an intergovernmental focus and public education.
Virginia’s cost for continued participation with the ICPRB is $151,500. The return on this investment is significant. In 2011, the total cost benefit to Virginia provided by ICPRB services totaled $529,000. (Click here for supporting documents.)
According to Fairfax Water Authority (FWA), “Northern Virginia, an economic engine within the Commonwealth, would be adversely impacted by Virginia’s withdrawal from the ICPRB.” FWA has expressed concern that “withdrawing Virginia’s membership from the ICPRB could have serious consequences for regional cooperative water supply operations and could jeopardize the reliability of the Potomac River as a water supply source during droughts.” Read more…
Together a team of nearly 30 volunteers recorded 81 species at the Nokesville Christmas Bird Count on December 26 2011 (species list below the fold). Previous counts ranged from 82 species in 2008 to 86 species in 2009.
Some species seen previous years were noticeably absent, including Red-breasted Nuthatches, Purple Finches, Horned Larks and Bobwhite. Sadly the Brewers Blackbirds, known to frequent a farm on Fleetwood, were nowhere in sight.
Highlights of the day include 12 bald eagles seen at the Prince William County landfill. The Bald Eagles were watching/hunting the 1000+ gulls, mostly ring-billed, foraging through uncovered trash. One Raven was also seen at the landfill, with 2 others at MCB Quantico and 2 in Fauquier County.
A Screech Owl was in Fauquier County along with Barred Owls, which were also seen at Merrimac Farm. Woodcock were seen at MCB Quantico and in Fauquier County. There were many Eastern Bluebirds, with an impressive flock of 50+ at the Rte 234 Wetland Mitigation Area. Read more…
In 1998 the Prince William County Board of Supervisors adopted a Comprehensive Plan that, for the first time, established an Urban Growth Boundary. The intent was to strengthen the County’s capacity to control urban sprawl by defining an area that was available for higher density development and a protected rural area, which quickly became known at the Rural Crescent.
We asked the candidates who signed the Rural Crescent Pledge to comment on their support for the Rural Crescent. Here’s what they said.
From the beginning, citizens were overwhelmingly in support of the Rural Crescent proposal. Martha Hendley, Gainesville Supervisor candidate, remembers the largest coalition of residents ever put together in the County, saying “From Bull Run Mountain to the Potomac River, citizens of all political persuasions joined in the effort to approve the Rural Crescent. They had become alarmed at the leap-frogging of residential development which was creating huge infrastructure needs to be funded by taxpayers.”
“I chose to move to Prince William County because our community has great assets and open spaces such as the Rural Crescent. I support the Comprehensive Plan and will continue working to improve the quality of life that drew us to this community,” says Ann Wheeler, Gainesville District Supervisor candidate.
The Rural Crescent is also critical to the County’s redevelopment goals. Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May says, “The only way we are going to see redevelopment of run down areas like the Route 1 corridor is by ensuring that the proper incentives are in place to encourage investment in these areas. Deviating from our Comprehensive Plan and allowing development of the Rural Crescent has the opposite effect.” Read more…
The sky was clear and temperatures were in the low 80′s for the end of the month wildlife survey at Merrimac Farm on Sunday, July 31. A half dozen people toured mostly upland habitats and we were interested to see that flowering plants are beginning to shift from summer to fall blooming species.
Purple-headed Sneezeweed, Blue Mist Flower, Rose Pinks, and Queen Anne’s Lace were plentiful and in full bloom. Several species of Goldenrod are about to light up fields and forest edges, and the Bonesets won’t be far behind.
We had an exciting start to the morning when we spotted a gang of Wild Turkeys along the road to the Stone House. We counted about 20, and close to half of these were babies. Over the course of the morning, we sighted 31 different birds and 15 species of butterflies… the full list is included below the fold.
Planning a visit to Merrimac Farm with friends or family? Before you go, check out our group photo site here to see what wildlife others have seen recently as well as our bird and butterfly lists for Merrimac Farm. Please join us for our next nature walk at Merrimac Farm on Sunday,August 28, beginning at 8:00 am. It’s a great way to learn more about this great natural area and local wildlife. Read more…
The weather might be a little too warm for you and me, but it’s perfect for butterflies. This is a great time to hunt for the butterflies that light up our landscape as they flutter from flower to flower.
Butterflies are fun and easy to observe. You can find them everywhere, from backyards to stream banks and fields. Every habitat has its own butterfly community. The variety of butterflies increases with the size and diversity of the habitat.
Some species are difficult to separate, such as Monarchs and Viceroys. Monarch butterflies are well known for their association with milkweeds, the only food the caterpillars can eat. Milkweeds contain a toxin the caterpillars ingest and retain as adults, so the brightly-colored Monarch has no need for camouflage – most predators have learn this very visible butterfly makes a poisonous snack and regard their bright colors as a warning to stay away.
Viceroy butterflies are also orange with black veining and, at first glance, appear indistinguishable from Monarchs. Their copy-cat appearance allows them to fool predators into thinking they are poisonous when they are not. The black band that crosses the lower hind wing of Viceroys makes it easy for us to separate the two species, but it’s not enough for hungry birds on the wing, who avoid both species. Read more…
The unseasonably cool weather last Sunday morning made for a pleasant walk at Merrimac Farm, despite the slow start for butterflies. White-eyed Vireos, which frequent deciduous woodland edges, were plentiful and we were delighted to spot a Yellow-breasted Chat on our way to the pond.
The highlight of the day, however, came when we spotted more than a dozen Olive (Juniper) Hairstreak butterflies nectaring on milkweed in a field near the barn. Small and reclusive, these pretty bright olive-green and brown butterflies typically occur in localized colonies, where they spend most of their lives perched high in their host plant, Red Cedars. We were lucky to be in the right spot at the right time!
Over the course of the morning, we sighted 34 different birds, 15 species of butterflies and nine dragonflies… the full list is included below the fold. Read more…
UPDATE April 7, 2011 — At Manassas City’s budget mark up session on Wednesday, April 6, Councilmen approved $80,000 to hire a policeman to patrol Lake Manassas. This is in addition to funding a lawsuit aimed at keeping Lake Manassas closed. How much is Manassas prepared to spend to keep the Lake closed?
UPDATE February 20, 2011 — According to the Washington Post, the Manassas City Council has rejected partner support, including Brookfield’s offer to donate land for a public access point and the Game Dept. offer to invest $100,000 for infrastructure. Councilmen claimed the $16,400 investment to cover the gap was too much for the City to pay… but they are apparently willing to invest significant public funds to ensure the Lake stays closed to the public.
July 2010 — While the Manassas City Council continues to drag their feet, public and private partners have stepped up to the plate with commitments to fund most expenses. The Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries (DGIF) has committed $100,000 to build a boat ramp, parking lot and finger pier. DGIF also says they would provide an operations stipend to offset costs for a concession stand and monitor the Lake. Read more…
Bring your family and friends to Merrimac Farm on Sunday, April 10, beginning at 10:00 am, to welcome spring and view the spectacular display of Virginia Bluebells that carpet the floodplain along Cedar Run for nearly a mile. In the words of one visitor, it’s like walking through Oz.
We’ll have naturalist-led tours to the Bluebells and Cedar Run, where you can stay as long as you’d like. The event also includes a nature art show, children’s activities, concessions and (out)door prizes. Bring your kids, cameras and binoculars for a fun day! Click here for more information and directions.
Sponsored by the Prince William Conservation Alliance, Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries and Marine Corps Base Quantico.