Thursday, December 30, 2010

Portsmouth New Years Eve Olde Towne Scottish Walk

On New Years Eve, the 13th annual Portsmouth Annual Olde Towne Scottish Walk will be held. The event will begin at 3:30 PM at the corner of Queen and Washington Streets. After the tuning of the pipes (about 4 PM) walk continues through Olde Towne to the foot of High Street.

A flag raising ceremony will honor George Washington's raising of the first flag "the Grand Union" on New Year's Day.

Other events include singing of Auld Lang Syne, a Lighted Boat Parade and music in local Portsmouth pubs.

Contact Susan Cocke for more information at 757-650-3052.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Minute Shopping Online for Virginia Gifts

This week includes the final few days for shoppers to find Virginia-themed items online. Several online providers are offering special pricing for selected items and even reduced rates for 2 day shipping.

Shoppers that are searching for a suitable online gift can find t shirts, hats, cards and other items at a variety of print on demand gift shops.

The new North America online store features a Virginia gifts section, with new products being added daily.

Another online store with Virginia gifts is Outdoors USA online store. This store offers a large collection of Virginia logos and other unique gifts such as Chesapeake Bay T Shirts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hampton River Diesel Fuel Spill

On December 14th, approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Hampton River as Coast Guard crews and Hampton Fire Department responded to a leak at the Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina hotel.

At approximately 4:15 p.m. the Coast Guard was notified of a fuel leak at the hotel. Crews from the Hampton Fire Department responded on scene and deployed harbor boom to contain the leak.

Coast Guard investigators at the scene reported that approximately 900 gallons of diesel fuel was discharged onto the property surrounding the hotel with at least 100 gallons spilling into the Hampton River. The leak originated from an underground storage tank, which supplies the hotel’s emergency generator. The cause of the fuel spill is under investigation.

"The harbor boom was deployed to keep the spill from spreading into the adjacent waterway," said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Yonker of the pollution investigations branch from Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. "The boom contained the majority of the diesel fuel spilled into the water."

source: USCG press release

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Wildlife Festival Coming to Tidewater Virginia

The Winter Wildlife Festival will be held January 28-30, 2011. A wide range of workshops and excursions offer something for everyone at the Winter Wildlife Festival.

The festival is presented the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Partners for the event include the Virginia Aquarium, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park, First Landing State Park, Lynnhaven River NOW, and the Virginia Audubon Society.

Registration runs from November 15 through January 21. Space is limited for the excursions and workshops, so register early to secure your spot! There is no cost to attend the festival, but some sessions and excursions do have a fee. You can register online, in person at any recreation center, or by using the mail in registration form.

For more information on the wide variety of programs and how to register, visit: or call 757-385-4461.

Visit these links for information about Virginia birdwatching and Virginia festivals.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Virginia Shellfish Farming Zones

In 2011, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission is expected to approve the creation of 15 new Aquaculture Opportunity Zones.

These zones will set aside more than 1,000 acres of prime state-owned water bottoms for the farming of shellfish in cages. The zones appear to be perfect for shellfish farming, also known as aquaculture.

The zones are located in the Rappahannock River, in the tributaries of Mobjack Bay, and around Tangier Island, and total 1,004.3 acres.

In the new aquaculture opportunity zones, the Commission will waive the normal costs to lease water bottoms for private oyster growing, including surveying, advertising, deed recording and the payment of annual rent. These costs typically range from $600 to $1,100.

A streamlined permitting process will eliminate time-consuming surveying and advertising requirements. A simple application will be required, spelling out how many shellfish cages are to be placed, and where and how they would be placed.

“We want people to take advantage of this exciting opportunity, especially commercial oystermen,” VMRC Fisheries Chief Jack Travelstead. “This is an incredible deal. Shellfish aquaculture is more dependable than going out and catching oysters, and reduces pressure on our wild stocks that have been suffering under the pressure of two oyster diseases. Also, we will continue to train commercial watermen in aquaculture as much as our budget allows.”

The new aquaculture zones will be divided up into a maximum of 5-acre blocks and assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis to any Virginian. A one-time application fee of $100 will be levied. Only Virginia residents may apply. Harvest reporting is mandatory. Other permits may be required.

Some annual fees apply for use of this valuable state-owned property in a for-profit venture, just as they do for privately leased water bottoms for shellfish farming. Only on-bottom cages will be permitted in the new aquaculture zones, marked by one buoy each. The cages cannot be placed near navigation channels or private piers without the consent of the property owners.

The Aquaculture Opportunity Zones are authorized under a bipartisan bill sponsored by Del. Albert Pollard that passed the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year and was signed into law by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

The Commission has scheduled a public hearing and a vote on the creation of the new zones at its Jan. 25, 2011 meeting.

source: VMRC press release