On February 5, 2019 the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors met to consider whether to remove two proposed bike trails through Huntley Meadows Park in southeast Fairfax County from the County’s Comprehensive Plan and Bicycle Master Plan.
Last month, ASNV sent comments to Arlington County staff (and Board members) on a proposed Bicycle Element to the County’s Master Transportation Plan. ASNV forcefully opposed two proposed off-street bike trails that would endanger natural resources in Glencarlyn and Barcroft Parks, including Moses Ball Spring, the associated creek to Long Branch Creek, and the globally significant Magnolia Bog. ASNV also opposed widening or adding lighting to the W&OD and Four Mile Run trails in natural areas of Glencarlyn and Bluemont Parks.
Prince William County is reviewing its Comprehensive Plan this year. The Comprehensive Plan is vitally important for county planning of amenities such as parks and natural recreation areas. The county has far less parkland per resident than is called for by its own standards, a situation that will only get worse as population increases.
The loggerhead shrike, or butcher bird, has seriously declined over the last half century, with current numbers estimated to be only a quarter of what were in 1966. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is currently working to understand what is driving the decline.
Fairfax County law enforcement and emergency management staff are drafting an operations manual for using drones in their work. ASNV is participating in the task force drafting the manual. Below is the schedule. ASNVers may wish to speak at some of the public meetings or submit comments.
ASNV submitted comments to the Arlington County Board in December on the final draft of Arlington County’s Public Spaces Master Plan (PSMP), which will guide public-space decisions for the next 20 years. ASNV urged the Arlington County Board to consider making the PSMP more unambiguously reflect the need for preservation of natural resources in Arlington County and the need for expansion of natural areas for public benefit.
At the initiation of Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on November 20th authorized consideration of a comprehensive plan amendment to include natural landscaping at county facilities in the county’s Policy Plan.
The November 6th election brought a change in party leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 116th Congress. Many Washington observers predict that House committees will conduct more oversight of federal-agency actions.
ASNV is participating in a Fairfax County drone task force, called the Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Task Force, led by the Office of Emergency Management, which is reviewing practices for use of these systems and focusing on how to “effectively and safely implement a UAS program” in the county.
At the urging of ASNV, starting in 2005, and with a big push from Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck this year (13 years later!), Fairfax County staff are reviving and formalizing a county natural-landscaping plan for certain county properties. Kambiz Agazi, Fairfax County’s environmental coordinator, gave a presentation to supervisors in October.
On November 6, Virginians will elect 11 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and one U.S. Senator. Many observers contend that the outcome of this election could change the party composition and leadership in the House and Senate, including several Virginia House seats.
Would you like to help ASNV learn about priority environmental topics and discuss a coordinated approach to advancing policy in the upcoming Virginia State legislative session? In preparation for Virginia’s 2019 General Assembly, Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) and its partners, including ASNV, will convene for a preview of what’s in store for our natural landscapes and resources.
Alexandria's Environmental Policy Commission is making recommendations to the City Council in an update to the Environmental Action Plan. The 2030 update is being done in two phases. This first phase is for short-term actions recommended within five years to FY 2023.
Members of ASNV met last April with representatives of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter the Fairfax County Animal Shelter Advisory Board to discuss concerns about the impact of free-roaming cats on birds and other wildlife and about the shelter’s Trap, Neuter and Return program. At the conclusion of the meeting, animal shelter officials invited ASNV to comment and offer suggestions on how the subject is covered on the shelter’s new website.
Regulation of recreational drone-flying is lax at best, an administrative and legal shortcoming that jeopardizes wildlife because drones can disturb birds and other animals, particularly nesting birds and their young.
Here’s a chance to advocate for Loudoun County’s natural assets, current and potential. The county is holding meetings on Envision Loudoun to receive input on county policies affecting land use and conservation.
Four ASNVers met with representatives of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and Gina Lynch, Chair of the County’s Animal Services Advisory Committee, to urge changes in the county’s policies and practices.
The Virginia Senate will reconvene on May 14 to try to complete action on the state budget. Conservation advocates are working to increase funding for land conservation. For the Land Conservation Fund, the Governor’s budget proposed $4.5 million. The Senate cut it to $1.5 million and the House eliminated all funding for the first year and provided $4.5 million in the second year.
Climate change is affecting seasonal patterns, making Virginia summers hotter, extending allergy seasons, increasing mosquito and tick-borne diseases and leading to more coastal flooding, among other problems, concludes a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council here.
The Fairfax County Park Authority is embarking on development of the FY 2019-2023 Strategic Plan. You can read the draft plan here and submit comments until May 25, 2018 via Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov or on the project website.
The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is actively promoting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), working with volunteers to trap feral cats, spay or neuter them, vaccinate them against rabies and distemper and give them a basic checkup, then eartipping and releasing them back to the location they were originally trapped.... Although this program may sound like a humane way to address a feral cat problem, it is not....
The Virginia General Assembly will meet twice in April: April 11, to finalize the biennial budget, and April 18, to vote on Governor Ralph Northam’s vetoes. Auduboners should weigh in with state legislators soon.
Let our Virginia U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Representatives Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Barbara Comstock and Robert Wittman know that the proposed fiscal year 2019 Trump administration budget does not advance conservation.
National Audubon urges members to help defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of our nation’s oldest and most important wildlife conservation laws, especially to oppose any effort that undermines the ability to address what’s called “incidental take” of birds under the MBTA.
Following up on our March 18 conservation advocacy workshop, the ASNV Advocacy Committee will meet on April 24, 7 p.m., at the Mason District Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22203 (small conference room). Directions here.
National Audubon urges members to contact Members of Congress and encourage them “to uphold and support America’s conservation programs.” Visit Action Audubon. National Audubon is also fighting efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Info here.
Most national environmental groups, including the National Audubon Society, believe that the current Congress and the Trump Administration will try to weaken many current federal environmental policies.
On November 8, all incumbent Northern Virginia U.S. representatives were re-elected: Cong. Don Beyer (D-8); Cong. Gerry Connolly (D-11); Cong. Barbara Comstock, (R-10); and Cong. Rob Wittman (R-1). Virginia’s U.S. Senators, Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D) were not up for re-election in 2016.
Now is the time to urge your candidates to support conservation. In addition to electing a U.S. president and vice president this year, Virginians will elect 11 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) this year is an opportune time for advocates to urge elected officials and candidates to provide stronger support, especially more funding, for our 413 national park sites.
Two dozen national parks no longer sell water in plastic bottles. Instead, they sell reusable bottles and have installed water refill stations. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure to prohibit the NPS Director from approving “a request by a park superintendent to eliminate the sale in national parks of water in disposable, recyclable plastic bottles.”
Millions of bird die every year after colliding with buildings, especially windows. National Audubon urges all Auduboners to encourage their members of Congress to support H.R. 2280, the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act. Go here to learn the details.
Thanks to North America’s largest land conservation project in history — an effort in which Audubon played a leading and integral role — the Greater Sage-Grouse will not require federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Pope Francis will address Congress on September 24 and plans to discuss his recent climate-change encyclical Laudato Si': On Care for our Common Home. A People's Rally for Climate Justice is planned for that morning at 7:30 AM on the National Mall.