Year in Review: Area environment impacted in 2015

A number of positive developments occurred in 2015 for the region’s environment.

Edinburg Mill

The Edinburg Mill will receive a new bioretention system as Friends of the North Fork of Shenandoah River work with state officials to mitigate storm water pollution at the mill.

The Environmental Protection Agency told Friends of North Fork, along with 14 other state groups, that they would receive funding from a Green Streets, Green Towns, Green Jobs grant initiative.

Friends of North Fork received approximately $43,615 to install the bioretention filter system to alleviate storm water pollution in Stoney Creek.

Invasive species 

Invasive and non-native plants are a norm for staff at the Shenandoah National Park.

The park documented 352 non-native plant species, and staff members are looking to protect the park. While most of the non-native species are not invasive, there are a few that can cause environmental harm.

One such species is garlic mustard, which is an edible biennial that was intentionally introduced as a pot herb back in the early 1860s. About 100,000 acres in the park contain the garlic mustard plant, and it can disrupt native plants and animals that call the park home.

Clean energy legislation

On April 22, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law six pieces of legislation under the title of Clean Energy Jobs that are designed to expand industry in the commonwealth.

This legislation will help to create a Virginia Solar Development Authority, extend the Green Jobs Tax Credit through July 1, 2018, and create more loan opportunities through the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy program.

Department of Forestry

The governor announced that the department of forestry will be awarded more than $1.3 million for new forest conservation efforts through a new USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service effort called Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

This money will be used in a variety of ways – part of it will be given to landowners to work on projects on their lands, including reintroducing certain tree species to the forest to increase diversity, as well as bringing back some diminished tree species, like long-leaf pine.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com