Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chincoteague Inlet Dredging

Dredging of the Chincoteague Inlet federal navigation channel is complete for this year. The Dredge Currituck worked for 21 days to remove potentially hazardous shoals from the inlet bottom.

Norfolk District survey vessels will use SONAR to get a detailed look at the navigation channel to ensure the
sandbars forming on the bottom have been removed.

"We have a pretty good idea that the Currituck got the problem areas removed, but we use the survey vessels as a confirmation; as well as we can determine exactly how much sand was removed and how deep the channel is after dredging," said Gregg Williams, Norfolk District dredging project manager.

The Chincoteague Inlet is a critical channel for commercial fishing vessels. The island has the largest commercial port on the Eastern Shore, handling more than 3,000 vessels a year.

source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Office

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

7th Annual Virginia Beach Cherry Blossom Festival

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation invites the public to celebrate Virginia Beach’s international sisterhood with Miyazaki City, Japan, at the 7th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 2 at Red Wing Park (1398 General Booth Blvd) in Virginia Beach from 11 am - 3 pm.

This event will offer the rich culture and beauty of Japanese music, martial arts, creative activities by A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, and various demonstrations. Councilman James L. Wood will give the official welcome. The festival is sponsored by Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, the Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach, the Japan Education Culture Center Inc., and supported by the Virginia Beach Koto Society, Old Dominion University Martial Arts program and Virginia Beach City Public Schools Japanese programs and clubs.

Featured performances will celebrate all City of Virginia Beach's Sister Cities, including songs from Sons of Norway (representing Sister City Moss, Norway) and key entertainment from the Kempsville Middle School Band representing Sister City North Down County, Ireland.


Food and beverage are available for purchase. Patrons are welcome to bring a blanket or lawn chair for the performances. In the event of inclement weather conditions, the event will be postponed until Sunday, April 3 at the same time and place.


Because of the City of Virginia Beach’s sister city relationship with Miyazaki City this year's event will honor the survivors and victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan and will be dedicated to the thousands who perished.

The Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, along with Japan Education Culture Center Inc., also a (c)(3) charitable organization, will be conducting a fundraising campaign for relief efforts for the survivors of this disaster. This fundraiser is also being coordinated with the sister cities groups and volunteer organizations in Miyazaki. Due to the urgency and immediacy of the crisis, only financial donations will be accepted.

If you are unable to attend the Cherry Blossom festivities, but would still like to send a donation, you may make checks payable to: Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach and note on the check “Humanitarian Fund for Japan’s Natural Disaster.”

Donations may be sent to:

Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach
City Hall, Municipal Center
2401 Courthouse Drive
Virginia Beach, Virginia   23456-9005

All donations collected will get to the victims for their basic necessities in Sendai city, and nearby towns and villages, through their municipal government offices in Japan.***

Modeled after the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., the Virginia Beach Cherry Blossom Festival held at Red Wing Park celebrates the goodwill friendship between Japan and the United States, marked by the 100 Yoshino Cherry Blossom trees which were all donated as part of the Miyazaki Garden expansion plan and planted by the Japan Educational Cultural Center and the Miyazaki Sister City Committee in 2005.

The City of Virginia Beach and Miyazaki City have benefitted from many fruitful grass-roots exchanges since the early 1980s. For the last 18 years, Miyazaki and Virginia Beach enjoyed exchanges in the promotion and development of community volunteerism. In 2007, Miyazaki’s eco-park Hagino Dai and Mount Trashmore Park officially becoming “Sister Parks.” In addition, through our Sister Cities relationship, Tallwood Elementary and Miyazaki Minami Elementary School became “Sister Schools.”

For more information about the 7th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, call Debbie Vick at 385-2992 (TTY: 757-711 Virginia Relay), e-mail or visit

source: Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation

Back Bay Music Blast

In Hampton Roads, the Back Bay Music Blast will be held on March 26th, from 1:00-5:00 pm.

The event will feature live music, dancing, local micro-brewed beers and delicious food at this fundraiser for the Back Bay Restoration Foundation.

Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

For more information, visit or call 757-721-7666.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Virginia Free Fishing Days: June 3-5, 2011

June 3, 4, and 5, 2011 have been designated as Free Fishing Days in Virginia. On these three days, no fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in freshwater or saltwater, except in designated stocked trout waters.

Free fishing days are a great time for families in Virginia to try their hand at freshwater and saltwater fishing.

For more information about Virginia fishing regulations, see:

Monday, March 14, 2011

2011-2012 and 2012-2013 Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Proposed

Following discussion at its March 1, 2011, Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries meeting, the Board proposed hunting and trapping regulation amendments for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons.

A public comment period on the proposed hunting and trapping regulations runs through 5 p.m. on April 15, 2011.

At their October 2010 meeting, the Board also proposed regulation amendments regarding license fees and that public comment period which has been open since December 15, 2010, will close on April 14, 2011.

The regulation proposals have been posted on the Department website ( or and will be published in the Virginia Register of Regulations, and summaries advertised in newspapers.

As part of this process, VDGIF wildlife biologists will be hosting a series of public input meetings across the state. The public is invited to attend to discuss the proposed regulations amendments. A list of the meeting locations has been posted on the agency website (

The public may submit comments in a variety of formats including online through the agency website, by email sent to or forwarded to, by mailed letters addressed to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn: Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230, and by public comment at public meetings and at Board meetings.

The Board will take final action on their proposed regulation amendments at their May 3, 2011, meeting.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chincoteague Island Drawbridge Demolition

This video from VDOT provides time lapse footage of the old Chincoteague Island Drawbridge demolition:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Virginia Birding Festival

The Virginia Birding Festival will be held from Thursday, May 12 - Saturday, May 14 at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Tidewater, Virginia.

During the festival, visitors can enjoy guided bird walks, owl prowls, refuge bus tours, photography seminars, birding workshops, and other activities.

Free event registration begins in mid-March. To register, call 757-986-3705.

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The refuge consists of over 112,000 acres of forested wetlands. Lake Drummond, the largest natural lake in Virginia, is located in the heart of the swamp.

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge refuge headquarters is located at 3100 Desert Road in Suffolk, Virginia, and is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. The headquarters is closed on weekends and federal holidays, the hiking and biking trails remain open.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Virginia Wildlife Management Area Stakeholder Workshops

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) owns more than 201,000 acres on 39 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) located across the Commonwealth. The land was acquired primarily to conserve wildlife habitat and to provide wildlife-related recreational opportunities for the public.

Virginia Wildlife Management Areas were purchased and are maintained using Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Funds derived from excise taxes assessed on hunting and fishing equipment and supplies; hunting, trapping and fishing license revenues; and a variety of other funding sources including grants from partner organizations.

While WMAs were initially purchased by the agency to be used by hunters and anglers (many WMAs contain public lakes or have access to public waters), these largely undeveloped lands are also used by bird watchers, boaters, hikers, horseback riders, participants in field dog trials, and others.

To gain stakeholder input regarding recreational use and land management of WMAs, VDGIF Bureau of Wildlife Resources staffs and researchers from Virginia Tech's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences will hold public workshop meetings on five evenings in March. At the request of VDGIF, Virginia Tech researchers completed a year-long study in September 2010 that examined recreational use on WMAs in Virginia. The March workshops are the next step in a multi-year process of assessing use of and developing a statewide management plan for Virginia's WMAs.

Five WMA workshop meetings will be held in March.

Dates, times, and locations of workshop meetings are as follows:

Tuesday, March 8 (7:00-9:00 PM): John Barton Payne Community Room, 2 Courthouse Square, Warrenton (former Fauquier County Library Building)

Wednesday, March 9 (6:30-8:30 PM): Virgil I. Grissom Library, 366 DeShazor Drive, Newport News

Thursday, March 10 (7:00-9:00 PM): DGIF Richmond Office, 4010 W. Broad Street, Richmond

Wednesday, March 16 (7:00-9:00 PM): Augusta Co. Government Center (South Board Room), 18 Government Center Lane, Verona

Thursday, March 17 (7:00-9:00 PM): Wytheville Community College (122 Smyth Hall), 1000 East Main Street, Wytheville

The public is invited to attend and to discuss goals and concerns regarding recreational use and land management on the WMAs. To help VDGIF plan, please call or email Amy Carrozzino at Virginia Tech (, 540-231-0961) if you plan to attend one of the meetings.

To learn more about the Department's wildlife management areas, visit