Methane is trapped in ice but when the ice thaws it bubbles up to the surface. We then have a big problem. Methane 30x worse than CO2 can cause a run-away greenhouse effect. Read this article.
Thanks to everyone who shared their visions at our January Transition Town meeting! We collected 10 huge pages full of ideas on Energy, Economy, Transportation, Housing, Food, Water, Reduce/Reuse/Recycle, Family, Health, and Community. Our small group conversations led to some immediate project initiatives and lots more possibilities for the future.
What’s the next step? Look for it in your inbox next week.
The next step is to build a detailed strategic plan for 2013-2014 and identify folks who are ready to step up and help turn these ideas into reality. On or around Feb. 13, we’ll send an online survey to the local Transition community: which parts of this vision should become our top priorities, and what are YOU willing & able to work on this year? …or, what are you already working on that we can support and amplify? We’ll follow up on the survey results at our next monthly Transition Town meeting on February 25.
Don’t wait for the survey, or the February meeting, if you want to get involved right away! Leave a comment below, or you can reach me at annmarie.hohenberger (at) gmail (dot) com or (434) 981-2004. I would love to hear about your project idea or put you in touch with a group that needs you.
Folks around town are already working on our vision. Thanks y’all!
Another piece of this vision process is to connect our efforts with work that’s already being done locally. The Transition Cville “Initiating Group” (our steering committee – currently me, Joanie, Dave, Stevo, Lorrie, Glenn, and Dana) will examine our community inventory of allies and brainstorm ways to support instead of duplicating.
Two of our most important potential allies – sometimes overlooked – are City and County government. They’re working hard to create a new Comprehensive Plan, and many items match beautifully with what Transitioners want to see in our community. Public involvement in the Comprehensive Plan process has been low (although Joanie and Dave have faithfully attended many meetings). In the coming months, let’s resolve as a Transition community to support and encourage our elected officials and public staff who are working toward sustainability.
Inspiration from the VISION meeting
At the end of our January 28 meeting, each person shared one thing they would take away from the Vision activity:
- Explore reuseable technology that can facilitate tool libraries, time shares
- Look at making a Cville mutual fund to aggregate financial resources for micro enterprises.
- How can Transition Cville host an internship for youth?
- Meet with local food hub to see how can work with them.
- Contact Meredith Richards to “fan the flame” for warehousing capacity.
- Look at steps for creating an energy cooperative.
- Cheerleader for Better Business Challenge; encourage businesses to compost and have reuseable to go containers.
- Tool Library, starting with Transition group.
- be “Mr. Recycle”
- Look at first steps for starting a local energy grid or wind farm.
- Think about community being self contained and self sufficient.
- Already working on generating cooperative businesses; going to Cleveland, Ohio to visit Evergreen’s energy cooperative, with a focus on low income.
- Focus on Dominion Power and generate grassroots movement working with other groups to work together.
- Not be miserable about the now! Also, buy more in bulk.
- Women’s clothes swap. Writing letters for energy reform.
- Raise awareness about Dominion Power and lack of renewables.
- Convince a financial group to create a mutual fund for local investment. Involve young people in Transition – put together a curriculum package to offer to HS students.
- Don’t need a refrigerator.
- Take back your power (in all ways).
- Integrate alternative healing modalities to bring together health, community and family – create a wellness bus or traveling herb kitchen.
And here’s a video from Transitioner Bob Fenwick that captures the spirit of the meeting and shows what we did.
|The Rivanna Conservation Society has, for more than 20 years, been concerned about the impact of the runoff that occurs after major rain and or snow storm events. With each storm, pollution is washed from the land surfaces into the rivers and streams that flow in our lovely community. Working with the UVA Conservation and Environmental Law Clinic and the Southern Environmental Law Center, RCS and its partner submitted recommendations to the various governmental jurisdictions, many of which have been implemented. Click here to see the Stormwater Reports
Now the City of Charlottesville is proposing to increase its focus on stormwater management and has a stormwater program that will come before the City Council of February 4, 2013. This program is needed because as Charlottesville has developed, large areas have been covered with impervious surfaces – (surfaces that do not absorb water). These hard surfaces account for over 105 million square feet, or about 37%, of the city, which is enough to cover almost 2,000 football fields. RCS is supporting the proposal to improve the City’s stormwater systems and the utility being developed to support it. Here’s why…
We hope you’ll take the time to learn about this important issue.
Jack Brown, Board Chair
Now is the time for a Stormwater Utility!
Help repair and protect our local waterways! Public hearing Tues. 1/22, 7:00 p.m. at City Council Chambers, City Hall, 605 E. Main Street.
We will be presenting the Stormwater Utility Ordinance to City Council at 7pm on Tuesday, January 22. That presentation will include an overview of the Water Resources Protection Program and associated Stormwater Utility, followed by a public hearing on the proposed ordinance.
I can make myself available by email or cell phone (989-8999) if anyone needs to reach me between now and January 22.
Kristel F. Riddervold
City of Charlottesville, Dept. of Public Works
Rain provides critical water to Charlottesville creeks, ponds, lakes and rivers, natural irrigation for gardens and lawns, replenishes safe drinking water supplies and recharges groundwater aquifers. Paradoxically, these same rain events imperil local and regional water quality and river health through direct transmission of the wastes of our combined land uses and daily activities. Automobiles, pet waste, fertilizers, construction sites and pesticides each pose a threat when mixed with rainwater and snow.
This tainted brew of infectious bacteria, stream-clogging sediment, algae-nourishing nutrient pollution and toxins is, in fact, “stormwater” — the fastest growing source of water pollution in Virginia. While no community can control rainfall volume, intensity or frequency, we can—for better or for worse—manage its influence on our environmental and public health, which is why the federal and state governments are requiring local governments to take action to solve their stormwater pollution problems and why the City of Charlottesville is holding a hearing on January 22, 2013, to solicit public comments.
Twentieth century urban engineering designed our impervious (non-porous) city streets, rooftops and parking lots to shed rainwater as quickly as possible by crafting expensive networks of storm drains, gutters, culverts and ditches. According to government agency documentation, our “World Class City” is blanketed by more than 105 million square feet of impermeable surfaces. These surfaces do not absorb, retain, slow or purify water. Rather, they quickly funnel contaminated runoff into our local creeks. The impact of these massive runoff torrents can be seen during any short drive or walk through Charlottesville. These highly engineered stormwater systems generally function well to address the devastating effects of upland flooding to our homes and businesses. At the same time, these practices have literally transformed Meadow Creek, Moores Creek, Schenks Branch, the Rivanna River and James River into pollution conveyances – eventually ensuring each of these public waters an unwanted spot on the EPA “dirty waters” list.
From even a single rainstorm event, tremendous volumes of pollution- laden waters course through our waterways with such velocity and energy that the streams are literally eroded “from the inside out”. Steep, heavily eroded streambanks are not a rare sight on a stroll through Charlottesville. It is likely that you have seen this for yourself, at Riverview Park, Darden Towe Park, or at the Free Bridge on Rt. 250. It’s hard to miss the muddy brown soup of dirty water that follows each heavy rain storm. The visible effects of erosion are both remarkable and alarming.
Modern green infrastructure and engineering design techniques can remove pollutants which currently run across our city and are discharged into our streams, in a reasonable and cost effective way. The results can be impressive and far-reaching. Charlottesville City Council is currently considering establishing a stormwater utility not unlike those enacted in Lynchburg, Richmond and numerous “World Class Cities” throughout the nation. The citizens of these communities receive the benefits of cleaner, safer local streams and rivers, and in our region, a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.
Charlottesville contains the most urbanized and impaired streams in the Rivanna River basin. As a result, Charlottesvillians stand to gain the most from a dedicated stormwater utility. Many communities in our Commonwealth have made the commitment to establish stormwater utilities in order to improve environmental and public health, economic well-being and quality of life. These communities have also adopted innovative incentive measures whereby property owners may receive stormwater fee reductions for installing rain barrels, rain gardens, creek side vegetated plantings and other runoff controls.
The Rivanna Conservation Society, the James River Association and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, along with a host of other nonprofit and for profit organizations, strongly support the proposal for a Charlottesville stormwater utility to provide a dedicated source of funding to address the city’s runoff problems. Such a funding source would allow the city to take advantage of the $35 million in state matching funds proposed by Governor McDonnell in pending state budget amendments. We urge the Charlottesville City Council to move forward and approve a stormwater utility – for better!
For more information please visit www.charlottesville.org/
Rainfall amounts more than 55 percent below normal, stream flows 75 to 90 percent lower than previously recorded flows, and low levels at reservoirs in the region: folks, this ain’t normal.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued a drought watch advisory for the middle James River basin region, which includes the Rivanna River watershed. The advisory has been issued according to the state’s drought assessment and response plan.“Lack of rainfall, along with continued low ground water levels and stream flows, have caused drought impacts in the James River and New River basins in central and western Virginia,” Bill Hayden, spokesman for the DEQ, said in a statement.The advisory includes Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna and Nelson counties and the city of Charlottesville.
What is Stormwater Runoff, and Why is it Important?
Stormwater runoff is rain or snowmelt that flows over the ground and into the City’s stormwater system or directly into creeks and streams.
As this runoff flows, it can pick up and transport harmful pollutants such as oils and greases, heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, trash and debris, sediment, and animal wastes.
click here for the information you need to be informed: http://www.charlottesville.org/index.aspx?page=562
At 40, Clean Water Act Faces Fight Of Its Life
The Clean Water Act was born 40 years ago—in a burst of bipartisanship—to save our nation’s flaming, poisoned, sewage-choked waterways. Today, we are fighting to save the Act, itself, from politicians who believe that pollution equals prosperity. Read these stories from three who are leading that fight:
On October 18, 1972 the Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments (Public Law 92-500) became the law of this land. Since then the law has been modified a number of times, (major reauthorizations in 1977, 1981 and 1987) regulations have been written, policies developed and programs implemented at the federal, state and local level. Come join us to discuss what four decades and hundreds of billions of dollars have purchased for this nation’s environment.
The Rivanna Conservation Society is hosting 3 Speakers
Rebecca Hanmer – Rebecca was an EPA employee from day one. She helped implement the first clean water act and the reauthorizations that followed. She held the positions of acting Assistant Administrator for Water, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, Regional EPA Administrator for Regions 4 and 8, Deputy Regional Administrator for Region 1, and Water Division Director for Region 3. During the last five years of her federal government career, she directed EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office. She also served as a US representative and program director in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.
Tom Hebert – Tom is the CEO of the Bayard Ridge Group in Washington DC, a client based consulting firm serving the agriculture community. Tom has been involved with the implementation of the Clean Water Act for several decades, particularly in his role as the USDA Deputy Under-Secretary for Natural Resources in the Clinton Administration, as Senior Economist for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, as Staff Economist at USDA, and as Agricultural Budget Examiner at the Office of Management and Budget.
Robbi Savage – Robbi, currently the Executive Director of the Rivanna Conservation Society (RCS) was for nearly 30 years the primary spokesperson for the 50 state program officials responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act. While in Washington she represented the states during the 1981 and 1987 reauthorizations. In addition, she is the founder of World Water Monitoring Day and was the national facilitator for the 1992 and the 2002 Clean Water Act Celebrations.
EVENT: CLEAN WATER FORUM – 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act
DATE: October 18, 2012
TIME: 12:00 – 1:30pm
LOCATION: Jefferson Madison Regional Library
201 East Market Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
2012 Virginia Environmental Assembly: Building for the 21st Century
A message from the Virginia Conservation Network:
Please join the Virginia Conservation Network for a “Conservation Weekend” October 19-20th in Arlington. Book your hotel today to receive the discounted $129 rate at the Hilton Arlington. Phone 1-800-HILTONS and mention group code “VCN.”
You won’t want to miss Friday’s welcome reception featuring cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction of vacation packages, eco-friendly items and more. Reception host: The Virginia Tech Research Center (900 N.Glebe Road, Arlington).
Workshops on Saturday feature Virginia’s local leaders in energy efficiency, alternative transportation and stormwater treatment. Meeting host: Washington Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington). Agenda includes:
- Rethinking Transportation for the 21st Century Panel
Chris Miller, Piedmont Environmental Council, Moderator
Chris Hamilton, Arlington Mobility Lab: How Arlington is giving residents more choices and helping them make better choices
Jim Bacon, author and blogger: How Charlottesville advocates have challenged VDOT’s plans for US 29 with ideas of their own
Nick Donahue, T4America (Invited): How changes to federal funding will force state’s, regions and cities to re-think their transportation plans
- Local Energy Initiatives for Your Community Panel
State Del. Alfonso Lopez, Moderator
Rich Dooley, Arlington Co.: How Arlington plans to deliver cleaner energy to its residents
Cynthia Adams, LEAP: How greater Charlottesville pioneered a community-wide model for energy efficiency retrofits
Blue Crump, Urban Grid Solar: How small businesses grow local energy independence
- Keynote Speaker: Catherine Thomasson, MD, Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility: “Coal, Climate Change, and Keeping the Clean Air Promise”
- Afternoon “Clean Water Tour” showcasing Arlington’s use of smart growth, new technology and green infrastructure to keep pollution out of the Potomac.
Click here to see the full agenda, auction items and to register online. Thanks to our generous sponsors, we’ve got a great event lined up. I hope you can join us.
Outreach and Events Manager
This proposed road would be built dangerously close to six schools, pass through nine established neighborhoods, and would increase risks to our public water supply at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.
This bypass cannot be built until a review of the environmental impacts of the project is completed. The road can be built then only if the Federal Highway Administration finds the impacts acceptable. The review of the bypass’ impacts currently is being conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), with oversight by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
VDOT will hold a public information meeting on a newly released bypass Environmental Assessment from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 27, 2012 at Sutherland Middle School. Comments from the public will be recorded. These comments will be available to the FHWA when it makes the final evaluation of the bypass’ environmental impacts. The Piedmont Group urges local residents to attend the VDOT informational meeting and express opposition to the bypass!
Details on the meeting can be found at:http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/culpeper/2012/rt._29_bypass_environmental59568.asp. The newly released Environmental Assessment is available at:http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/culpeper/rt._29_bypass.asp. Written comments on the bypass can be sent to: Route29BypassEA@VDOT.Virginia.gov.