On the Ground Spring 2016

Updates from our field offices around the Piedmont…


Route 29 Solutions

Decades of hard work are paying off as local solutions to congestion on Route 29 move forward. One of the solutions, the Hillsdale Drive Extension, is slated to begin this June. Other projects are scheduled for completion within the next 18 months.

Scheduled for completion in 2016:

  • By May: Route 29/Route 250 Interchange Improvements.
  • By December: Grade separation at Rio Road and Route 29.
  • By October: Six-lane Route 29 from Polo Grounds Road to Towncenter Drive.

Scheduled for completion in 2017:

  • By October: Berkmar Drive Extension.
  • By Fall-Winter: Adaptive Traffic Signal Technology.


Partnering for Monarch Habitat at the Park & Ride

PEC is part of a coalition of groups working with VDOT and coordinating with Clarke County on a large monarch waystation and pollinator demonstration garden at the Route 50 park and ride facility. This is one of the outcomes from meetings between VDOT, County staff and non-profit groups to find ways to better protect monarch habitat in VDOT rights of way. The date for planting the demonstration garden has yet to be scheduled, but is expected to be in May or June of this year, and volunteers are encouraged to contact Gem Bingol at gbingol@pecva.org for more information.


Community Support for Saving Waterloo Bridge

In February, PEC held a community meeting to provide an update about the Waterloo Bridge. About 45 people came out to the Orlean Fire Hall in Fauquier County, including Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel and representatives from Concerned Culpeper Citizens and Mosby Heritage Area Association. We talked about the timeline of what has and has not happened, and we ended with a call for continued pressure on VDOT and our local and state representatives. People left energized, ready to take action, and many bought “Save Waterloo Bridge” yard signs that we created. Following the meeting, PEC received interest from private donors who are willing to help provide some of the resources needed to preserve and rehabilitate the bridge.


SCC Finally Puts Option A to Rest

Great news! Our voices have been heard! After hearing testimony from PEC, Dominion, and Fauquier County, the Judges of the State Corporation Commission (SCC) accepted the recommendation of the Hearing Examiner in the Remington to Warrenton 230-kV transmission line case. Two options were being considered, Option A that would take 9.2 miles of new right of way through land in eastern Fauquier County and Option C that would use mostly existing right of way. The Hearing Examiner determined that Option C would have less impact. Also, see an update on the effort to save the historic Waterloo Bridge in the Culpeper County section.


Sources of Funding for Conservation Workshop

Coming Soon On, April 26, 2016 at 6:00 p.m., we’re holding a workshop at Blue Ridge Cafe in Ruckersville. This event is designed to help you decide among the wide variety of land management and land conservation programs available to farm and forest landowners in Virginia. Join us for an overview of federal, state and local programs and conservation options offered by land trusts and governmental agencies to see which one is best for you. You can register for the event by visiting pecva.org/events.


HOA Forum Success

On March 10, we held a HOA forum at the Algonkian Regional Park Conference Center for HOA leaders, HOA open space or grounds committee members, landscape contractors, property managers and interested HOA residents, and the turnout was great! Loudoun HOAs discussed how they have implemented sustainable landscaping practices. And guests learned about regional projects that help clean and manage stormwater more effectively while integrating native plants and trees to improve habitat, sustain biodiversity and support threatened pollinators. Attendees also learned how to get started in their own communities through partnerships with PEC, Loudoun County and other local groups.


Bring Back the Brook Trout!

PEC teamed up with Trout Unlimited and Early Mountain Vineyards on February 27 to provide an update on its efforts to open miles of Brook trout habitat on high quality streams flowing out of the east side of the Blue Ridge. More than 75 people gathered for a wine reception, fly tying, dinner and a presentation on the results of a recent PEC stream crossing survey that details the number of culverts that are impeding fish passage. PEC staff also presented two pilot projects slated for this spring that will remove or replace two culverts in Madison and Rappahannock Counties.


Dominion Seeks Approval for Damaging Upgrade of Existing Transmission Line

On April 18 at 6:30 p.m., PEC is hosting a meeting at the Rapidan Fire Hall to discuss the Remington-Gordonsville Transmission line project in advance of the Local SCC hearing.

The application for the Remington-Gordonsville Electric Transmission Project has been filed with the State Corporation Commission (SCC). This project includes the rebuild of the existing 115-kV line to carry an additional 220-kV circuit. To accomplish this, Dominion proposes to replace existing 52’ tall wooden poles with 103’-107’ tall steel monopoles. The SCC has released the schedule for that process and has set a date for a local public hearing. The hearing will be at the Orange County High School, located at 201 Selma Rd., on April 28, at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. There is also an opportunity to provide written comments on the issue with a deadline later in June. PEC will be participating in the case as a respondent, meaning full participation in the legal process with the ability to provide expert testimony and cross-examination of any witnesses Dominion may provide.


Land Conservation and Stream Restoration

It was a great year for conservation in 2015 for Rappahannock County. PEC assisted many landowners and worked with partners to help protect nearly 1,000 acres in the County. Meanwhile, we’re gearing up to replace a road-stream crossing near Flint Hill that will reconnect over two miles of brook trout habitat. In February, around 100 people gathered at PEC’s Bring Back the Brook Trout event to celebrate PEC’s launch of its Brook Trout Stream Restoration Initiative. Do you live along a stream? Are you interested in land conservation, streamside tree planting, or livestock fencing?

This letter was featured in our Spring 2016 Member Newsletter, The Piedmont View.