Oct. 15-28, 2004
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IN THIS ISSUE
'Tremendous,' 'Smart,' 'Pragmatic'
Access UVa: The door's open
University presidents make the case for charter
Digest
Insurance costs going up, but health coverage to expand
Ann Lee Brown gives $10.5 million to U.Va.
Board in tune with U.Va.-Wise, thanks to Smiddy
Faculty Actions from the October BOV meeting
Thanks to Charlottesville families
Film festival examines reel 'Speed'
NYT columnist, others, to discuss election

Whiteness exhibit to open its only East Coast showing

Gies to speak at fall program
Taking stock of Virginia mountain streams

 

Taking stock of Virginia mountain streams
Symposium set for Oct. 30 to examine causes of waters’ woes
Va. brook trout
Photo by Pok Cha Samarrai
U.Va. studies show that only about 50 percent of Virginia’s mountain streams support native brook trout, like this one, down from about 80 percent prior to the mid-1800s. By the middle of this century, perhaps only 42 percent of Virginia’s streams will support these fish.

By Fariss Samarrai

Thirteen states in the Southeast and Midwest contribute to acidic rain in Virginia. This pollution, primarily from coal-burning power plants, causes long-term damage to mountain streams and forests. The resulting air is obviously hazy, but what is unseen to most people is the gradual loss of fish and other aquatic organisms, as well as trees and other vegetation.

To address the many challenges facing the health of mountain streams and their forests, the Department of Environmental Sciences is hosting a symposium on Virginia’s mountain streams on Oct. 30. Participants from several key stakeholding organizations will present lectures, discussions and informal talks throughout the day.

“This won’t be a bunch of intellectuals talking to other intellectuals; it will be real stakeholders holding discussions with each other and the public about watershed issues that are important to all of us,” said Jim Galloway, professor of environmental sciences and co-director of the Shenandoah Watershed Study at the University.

Galloway and other scientists with SWAS have been studying and monitoring dozens of mountain streams in Virginia and throughout the Southeast for 25 years. They will present their long-term findings, providing a benchmark for the effects of acid rain on native brook trout and other aquatic creatures. Their studies show that only about 50 percent of Virginia’s mountain streams support native trout, down from about 80 percent before the start of the Industrial Age in the mid-1800s.

Despite improved air quality since amendments to the Clean Air Act took effect in 1991, mountain streams in the Southeast continue to suffer due to acidic deposition. U.Va. studies indicate that the decline will continue, and only about 42 percent of Virginia’s streams will support native trout by the midpoint of this century. It is likely that power plant emissions will need to be further reduced in coming years to eventually improve the quality of mountain streams and the overall environment, Galloway said.

In addition to acid rain, stream environments are affected by logging operations, fire, encroaching development, insect infestations, climate change and certain atmospheric chemicals such as ozone. Some of these threats are local in scale, many are regional and all are national concerns, Galloway said.

Participating organizations include: U.Va.’s Shenandoah Watershed Study, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the Dominion Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Trout Unlimited, the Canaan Valley Institute and the Southern Environmental Law Center.


SYMPOSIUM SPECIFICS

The symposium will begin at 9 a.m. in Clark Hall with a poster session and information displays, and an informal open discussion among participants and attendees. At 10 a.m. the conservation
organization Trout Unlimited will join Dominion Resources to premier a new video documentary, “The Last Brook Trout,” which
provides perspective on the gradual loss of native trout in the Southeast.

From 12:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., a series of speakers will offer presentations reflecting the perspectives of scientific, state, federal,
industrial and not-for-profit stakeholders concerned with Virginia’s mountain streams.

To register (there is no charge) send an e-mail with your name, contact information and affiliation (if any) to: SWAS@virginia.edu. Questions about the symposium also can be sent to that address.

Lunch will be available at Clark Hall for $10 to registered attendees.
For more information on the symposium, a map, and facts about the Shenandoah Watershed Study, visit: http://swas.evsc. virginia.edu/symposium.htm, or call (434) 924-7817.


SPEAKERS

Beginning at 12:45 p.m.,
speakers include:

• Session Chair: George Hornberger (Associate Dean for the Sciences, U.Va.)

• Welcoming Remarks by: Gordon
Olson (Natural Resources Branch Chief, Shenandoah National Park)

• Keynote/Introduction by: Gene Likens (Institute of Ecosystem Studies)

• Shenandoah Watershed Study Program: Jim Galloway (SWAS
Program co-director, U.Va.)

• Federal regulatory agency representative: Rona Birnbaum (U.S. EPA, Clean Air Markets Division)

• Federal resource management agency representative: Julie Thomas (National Park Service, Air Resources Division)

• Industry representative: Pam
Faggert (Dominion Resources, VP Environmental Affairs)

• Shenandoah Watershed Study
Program: Art Bulger (SWAS
Program investigator, U.Va.)

• Federal resource management agency representative: Mark Hudy (USDA Forest Service, National Aquatic Ecologist - East)

• State resource management agency representative: Larry Mohn (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)

• Conservation organization representative: George Constantz (Canaan Valley Institute)

• Advocacy organization representative: Jeff Gleason
(Southern Environmental Law Center)

• Shenandoah Watershed Study Program: Jack Cosby (SWAS
Program co-director, U.Va.)

• Conservation organization representative: Leon Szeptycki
(Trout Unlimited)


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