New River

Watershed Roundtable











Steering Committee-Action Item List


Report 2004-05


The following were set at the August 9, 2003 Conference to serve on the Steering Committee for the New River Watershed Roundtable (a one-year term): Ron Powers-Friends of Claytor Lake, Patrick Burton-New River Planning District Commission, Cynthia Hancock-Skyline Soil and Water Conservation District,  Gary Boring-New River-Highlands Resource Conservation and Development, Darla Tucker-Friends of Claytor Lake, Rachel Havens-Big Walker Soil and Water Conservation District, Karita Knisley-Citizen, Jerry Moles-Organizational Consultant, Rick Roth-Radford University, Mike Harvey-Friends of the New River, Llyn Sharp - VT Science Outreach Co-Op and Museum, Charles Maus-Citizen, Kelly Miller – Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.


These action items are to be used as guidance for the Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee will address each of these items and following the item is what is to be accomplished. 


  1. Set meeting dates and agendas over the next 12 months. – The steering committee schedules the meeting dates and times approximately 3 months in advance.


There have been regular meetings of the Steering Committee, leading to the seating of the New River Watershed Roundtable Board, and the appointment of the Executive Committee.


  1. Study non-profit status. Make a recommendation back to Roundtable. – Discussion was held on non-profit 501(c)(3) status throughout the 18 months.  Kent Welsh, a Certified Public Accountant and Financial Planner was present at the May meeting to discuss this issue.   501(c)(3) status allows individuals and groups to make charitable contributions to the Roundtable that is tax deductible.  To obtain 501(c)(3) status groups have to be an organized, form a non-stock corporation, have articles of incorporation (a lawyer is needed to complete this) and have by-laws to operate by.  The group would have to qualify as a charitable organization to be eligible to apply for this status.  Once 501(c)(3) status is obtained, a small amount of paperwork is required each year to upkeep status; a tax return is not necessarily filed.  The State Corporation Commission requires a yearly $30.00 filing fee and all financial activity has to be documented.  Consensus of the steering committee at this time is to umbrella under another organization status until the group is further established with a strategic plan, by-laws, etc.  A committee of Kelly Miller, Ron Powers, Darla Tucker and Gary Boring will further investigate this issue.


The New River Watershed Roundtable was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia on September 12, 2005.  We have received our Tax ID number (65-1259956).  Application for 501(c)3 status as a non-profit with the IRS is planned for 2006.  Thanks to Kent Welch for pro bono services and Ron Powers and Darla Jennings for their efforts to submit it.


  1. Consider or develop proposed by-laws to set forth powers of the Steering Committee and a possible Executive Committee. – A committee of Jerry Moles, Karita Knisley, Patrick Burton, Richard Guthrie, and Cynthia Hancock has been set to research by-laws of other Roundtables and recommend by-laws for the New River Roundtable.  Suggestion has been made to wait until the larger body of the Roundtable accepts the Strategic Plan, then proceed on with by-laws.  By-laws have to be in place to apply for 501(c)(3) status. 


Bylaws were adopted by the Board at their inaugural meeting in July 2005.



  1. Resource Directory.  A directory of all agencies and groups in the watershed working in water quality issues, contact information, a summary statement of what they do and how, and what services and resources they provide. – Brad Belo, the STEP intern for the summer of 2002 began this process, it is not complete at this time.


Still not complete.  The New River Planning District Commission has also looked into providing this information.


  1. Provide educational programs to Roundtable members on topics of choice. -During the first few Steering Committee meetings a guest speaker (VDGIF, VDOF, etc.) from throughout the watershed was present.  When the group began the strategic planning process, all meetings were dedicated to completing the plan. 


With organizational development starting to take form, Board meetings are beginning to include education and capacity-building.


  1. Facilitate the whole Roundtable process. – Canaan Valley Institute has assisted with this process.  They provided a facilitator to guide us through the strategic planning process and also with a grant to hire a one-year facilitator to lead the group. 


With the seating of the Board, DCR has provided funding for a part-time watershed field coordinator to assist with facilitation of the Roundtable.


  1. Study and recommend a fundraising plan. – Pursue funding. – 501(c)(3) status needs to be obtained before the group can begin fundraising.


Under our new organizational structure, the development of a business plan will now fall to the Executive Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, and Finance and Grants Committee.


  1. Study appropriate partnerships with a goal to reduce redundancy. – Take a look at other groups goals, plans, and resources, not to repeat anything another organization is working on or has completed. 




  1. Devise and recommend a marketing plan. – Referring to marketing Roundtable programs with a website, meeting notices, news articles, radio spots, etc.  Discussion has been held numerous times on developing a website.  At this time, cost is too great (developing and hosting the site) to pursue this issue. Meeting notices, news articles and radio spots were given on the public meetings and the outcomes of some of the meetings.


Under our new organizational structure, the development of a marketing plan will now fall to the Executive Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, and Public Outreach Committee.


  1. Steering committee needs Board of Supervisor representative. – A steering committee member may attend the local Boards of Supervisors meetings to let them know that the organization does exist and what is trying to be accomplished.  Informing and inviting them of the public meetings completed this.  Recruit a Board of Supervisors member to serve on the committee.


We have Board representation from local government, however we still need an elected official on the Executive Committee.  Local government has been our biggest challenge to get involved.


  1. Coordinate Roundtable Focus Groups. – On-going process.  The workgroups have been established and have met on their own.  Very important player in the Strategic planning process. 


The Forestry focus group has remained active with the support of the Virginia Dept. of Forestry and quite a few citizens and other agency volunteers.  They have developed their own workplan and report regularly to the Board.


The Education Group continued to provide watershed education, but will need to more closely identify with the Roundtable.  As the organizational identity develops, this will be easier.


Some of the other focus groups stopped meeting after the strategic plan was developed and agency support went to Board development and other areas.  These will need to be re-energized.



Participants from the August 9, 2003 meeting agreed to give the Steering Committee broad authority and responsibility for pursuing strategies and activities consistent with the list of items above.

Focus group reports follow:

Contact:  Richard Guthrie at or Patrick Burton at

Report 2004-05


Challenge 1:  (Information/Communications) Many stakeholders are not  adequately informed about the full range of how agriculture and water quality issues affect one another.  There is a feeling that program policies and best management practices may sometimes be established without gathering enough information from affected stakeholders. 


Action:  Develop a task force to address the following:  prioritize among strategic activities; identify gaps between current programs/practices and local agricultural needs/issues; work on message/information development; and forge partnerships with other groups (e.g., Farm Bureau; young farmers; Roundtable Education and Communication Focus Groups) to develop and disseminate information. 


Progress:  The SWCDs and RC&D as well as Cooperative Extension Service all have significant programs going, there still seems to be a need for gap analysis.


Challenge 2:  (Funding) Reduced state funding leads to reduced local agricultural services (e.g., loss of agriculture extension agents and programs).  In order to continue these vital programs, local taxes may increase, straining already strained local farm economies. 


Action:  Develop a legislative directory to facilitate communication with representatives in the General Assembly. 

The web now serves this function: <http://>  The Farm Bureau also provides information on key committees.



Contact:  Tom Miller at 540-921-1010


Report 2004-05


Challenge 1:  Education Forum


Action:   Develop and present a Low-impact Development Seminar.

Progress:  The New River Highlands RC&D Council presented a LID workshop in September, 2004.


Education Focus Group

of the

New River Watershed Roundtable

Contact:   Llyn Sharp at


Report 2004-05


Challenge 1:               Science Based Information Summary of the New River Watershed needed



·        Develop a series of fact sheets by topic, level of detail and audiences focus

Task was begun by Llyn Sharp and Mike Harvey from Friends of the New River, but not completed yet.

·        Expand into brochures

Not done.

·        Research a ‘State of the River’ report from other watersheds

We have gathered many examples of reports with quite different approaches.  Work continues.

·        Utilize university scientists better

Still needs work, website would help


Challenge 2:               Materials for K-12 Teachers



·        Outline materials and experiences that are available to teachers, to include workshops, field sites, etc.

Not complete.  Virginia Tech and Skyline SWCD have strong outreach programs in this area.  We need to find out what other SWCDs and organizations are providing and help link teachers to them.


contacted Forestry Focus Group for their report.

New River Roundtable


Annual Plan of Work


Contact:   Kelly Miller at


Challenge 1:      Generally, throughout the Basin, there is a lack of appropriate forest management that improves and sustains water quality and provides for critical wildlife habitat.


Strategy 1:        Increase and improve the implementation of forestry best management practices (BMPs).


Action items:     1)  Approach purchasers of raw materials to require logger training for suppliers

                        Timeline:  ______________________

                        Partners:  VDOF, VCE, Industry, SWCDs, TNC,


                        Funding:  ____________________


Encourage & promote SHARP Logger


Timeline:  On-going and investigate another campaign

Partners:  VDOF, VCE, SWCDs, Industry,


Funding:  ____________________


3)Encourage the development of a low impact stream-crossing course.

Timeline:  Preliminary planning=Spring 2004 with a possible Fall 2004 class

Partners:  VDOF, VCE, New River RC&D, Industry, Other-__________________

Funding:  ______________________


4)  Explore tax credit program for forest management planning.

Timeline:  Jan. 2004 begin research with a recommendation for Jan. 2005 General Assembly session

Partners:  New River Highlands RC&D, TNC, Sustainable Development Council, SAF, Other Roundtables  Other:____________

Funding:  None required, only man hours


Work with Area IV SWCDs to include forestry BMPs on the agenda at the spring meeting.

Timeline:  March 2004

Partners:  SWCDs, DCR, and VDOF

Funding:  None required


6)  Identify and prioritize critical species and unique ecosystems by compiling already existing information on flora and fauna

Timeline:  ___________________

Partners:  USFS, DCR-NH, EPA, VDGIF, Other:________

Funding:  ____________________________


7)  Promote conservation easements to protect critical wildlife habitat

Timeline:  On-going

Partners:  New River Land Trust, Western Va. Land Trust, VOF, DCR Land Conservation Office, USDA-NRCS, TNC, VDOF, VDGIF, Other:_____________________

Funding:  State & Federal Programs, possibly grants for publicity


8)  Publicize state and federal wildlife programs through available media (newspapers, public announcements, displays, etc.).  Encourage agencies to actively market programs.

Timeline:  Spring 2004 (or when federal budget approved)

Partners:  USDA-NRCS, New River Highlands RC&D, DCR, VDGIF, Other:____________

Funding:  Some media will be free, other spots will need small amounts of funding—possibly mini-grants or donations


Challenge 2:      While it is known that properly functioning riparian

                                    areas provide substantial water quality protection and

                                    enhancement in adjacent water bodies, land use in much

                                    of the riparian areas in the Basin has reduced proper

                                    riparian functioning substantially and not enough

                                    riparian areas are being restored and/or protected.


Strategy #1:  Increase the amount of riparian buffers in the New River watershed.


Action Items:    1)  Review, simplify, and revise the state forestry Riparian Buffer Tax Credit program.

Timeline:  Spring 2004 preliminary work,

Fall 2004 draft proposal & seek General Assembly sponsor,

Jan. 2005= Final draft with Assembly patron ready for introduction.

Partners:  ____________________________

Funding:  None


Support perpetual easements through Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Forest Legacy program, and Farmland Security Act.

Timeline:  On-going



Funding:  State & Federal programs


3)  Promote riparian buffers in urban areas by meeting with PDCs, Board of Supervisors, and assisting with planning conferences.

Timeline:  On-going


Funding:  None


Challenge 3:      Generally in the Basin, there is a lack of alternative forest management and utilization of forest resources


Strategy #1:      Explore alternative uses for forest land and forest products.


Action Items:    1)  Increase awareness of white pine roping industry and potential markets for white pine tips.


                        Partners:  VCE, New River Highlands RC&D, Christmas Tree

                        Growers Associations, Others:__________________

                        Funding:  ___________________


Assist New River Highland RC&D with tipping initiative.


3)  Partner with manufacturing industry to demonstrate and promote.





Strategy #2:      Promote timber stand improvement (TSI) and alternative harvesting methods.


Action Items:    1)  TSI demonstration workshops throughout the



                                     Partners:  VCE, VDOF, VDGIF, Others:________

                                     Funding:  ___________________________


Again, explore a tax credit program for forest management planning.  (See above)


Strategy #3:      Convert marginal pastureland to forested.

Action Items:

1)  Develop Agroforestry information (brochure, demo)


Partners:  VCE, Other:________________



 Increase selling of current program to landowners.  Promote programs that encourage conversion.


Partners:  ALL



Research, gather information, and publicize alternative income sources for forest land.




Groundwater, Surface Water and Waste Water Focus Group

of the

New River Watershed Roundtable

Contact:  Mike McLeod at


Report 2004-05


Challenge 1:   Protection of Karst lands within the watershed.


Action:    *  Identify a group working on a “cave” karst project and support the project.

      *  Promote and Market “cave” projects.

DCR Natural Heritage Karst Office developed workshops for “Living on Karst”.


Challenge 2:   Monitoring


Action:   Provide a workshop to teach interested individuals about water quality monitoring.  Utilize Save Our Streams, Va. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Va. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL). 

Although water quality monitoring training by Roundtable members has continued, it has not been specifically identified as part of the Roundtable’s effort.  Organizational identity like logos etc will help with this.


Challenge 3:   Waste Management


Action:   Explore the pros and cons of Zoning.   What communities are considered zoning in the watershed?   Do any communities already utilize zoning?  


·        Support the use of sound and good science.  Know who and where.

Not sure what this means.

Recreation and Tourism Focus Group

of the

New River Watershed Roundtable

Contact:  Karita Knisely at 

Report 2004-05


Challenge 1:  Recreation Resources Inventory


Action:     Identify inventories already compiled

Work with National Committee for the New River, New River Community Partners, the PDCs, and National Geographic to make a map of the river.  This is an ongoing project led by NCNR and NRCP.



Challenge 2:  Recreation Usage & Activities Coordination


Action:     Develop strong regional tourism coop (liason with new State Tourism  Director)


Action:     Develop presentation for board of supervisors and other local governing or interested parties

Not done yet.

Solid Waste Management, Reclamation Focus Group

of the

New River Watershed Roundtable

Contact:   Cynthia Hancock at


Report 2004-05


Challenge 1:   Reduce solid waste in streams through out the watershed.


Action:   Promote the Adopt–A–Stream Program (Department of Conservation and Recreation – DCR)

Adopt-A-Stream has continued and there were stream cleanups in the watershed during “Stewardship Virginia/Fall River Renaissance”.


Challenge 2:   Work with local government and legislators to promote recycling and consumer reduction.


Action:   Utilize Public Service Announcements (PSA) and support other established education programs.

Litter and recycling education continues at the county level, but support has decreased, so there is room for the Roundtable to help.