Important development for our area is in the making

Last week, Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tom Kaine, along with Representative Rob Wittman introduced legislation to designate Virginia’s Northern Neck (which includes Northumberland County) as a National Heritage Area (NHA).  This designation, if approved, would deliver federal dollars, encourage public-private partnerships, and assign a specific entity – the Northern Neck Tourism Commission – to help protect the Northern Neck’s natural, cultural, scenic, and recreational resources.

Under this proposed legislation, the NHA designation would apply to the land between the Potomac River and Rappahannock River, spanning King George, Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland counties.

Senator Warner stated: “As many Virginians already know, the Northern Neck is reflective of the Commonwealth’s unique history, with deep connections to eight Algonquian tribes and a number of American statesmen, including James Madison, James Monroe, and George Washington.  I’m proud to introduce this legislation to help protect the rich history and unique geography of the Northern Neck and leverage federal dollars to spur long-lasting economic opportunity in the region.”

Senator Kaine added: “Virginia’s Northern Neck is a source of pride, history, and economic development for the Commonwealth.   The beauty and cultural significance of the region attract tourism, strengthening Virginia’s economy and supporting jobs. I’m proud to introduce this piece of legislation to highlight the Northern Neck’s natural beauty and cultural assets, which will bring visitors and economic development.”

Representative Wittman stated: “The Northern Neck’s lands and waters showcase a natural beauty unlike any other. As a longtime resident of the Northern Neck, I know our heritage is unique and worthy of preserving.  With a history profoundly intertwined with that of the entire nation, it’s only right for us to recognize the Northern Neck as a National Heritage Area. I’m proud to join Senators Warner and Kaine in introducing this bipartisan legislation.” 

The National Park Service – which awards the National Heritage Area designation – conducted an NHA Feasibility Study which concluded that the Northern Neck’s themes, local traditions, and natural and historic resources retain “sufficient integrity and opportunities for public engagement” to be eligible for an NHA designation.

Under this proposed legislation, and as approved by the NPS study, the heritage area would be managed by the Northern Neck Tourism Commission, which would serve as the NHA’s local coordinating entity.

If this legislation passes, it would make federal funding available to the region and empower the Northern Neck Tourism Commission to carry out an area management plan, that would include:

  • Protecting and restoring relevant historic sites and building;
  • Carrying out programs and projects that recognize, protect, and enhance important resources;
  • Developing recreational and educational opportunities in the area;
  • Establishing and maintaining interpretive exhibits and programs;
  • Promoting a wide range of partnerships among the federal government, state, tribal and local governments, organizations, and individuals;
  • Increasing public awareness and appreciation for natural, historical, scenic, and cultural resources in the area; and
  • Ensuring that clear, consistent, and appropriate signs identifying points of public access and sires of interest are posted throughout the area

If our region is designated as a National Heritage Area, we can expect to see an increase in tourism and national interest in our area because of the region’s unique part in America’s early history as well as our natural beauty.

The legislation introduced by Warner, Kaine and Wittman has not yet been assigned a bill number — here is a link to the legislation as introduced and a link to Senator Warner’s announcement of the bipartisan legislation.  Here is a brief description by the National Park Service of a National Heritage Area

IF YOU OWN PROPERTY IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND LIVE IN ANOTHER STATE OR ANOTHER VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, please read the bill and if you agree that our region should be designated a National Heritage Area,  contact your US Senator and Representative and ask them to support this legislation.

 

Please help our wildlife by limiting activity in the large common area . . . thanks!!

A few weeks ago we sent to everyone an email describing the results of a year-long trial of the mowing schedule for the large, 7-acre common area behind the homes along the southern (non-water) side of Potomac Drive.

This large field is not simply an empty field. In fact, most of the area is septic drain fields that serve 30 of our 52 lots. Waste water is piped from these lots into the drain fields in the large field. For this reason, the grass and brush on the area must be cut regularly to prevent large root intrusion into the septic drain fields.

The area of concern is on two plats of our neighborhood that are posted on the PBE POA website:

Previously the area was cut four times a year. In late fall of 2019, a group of homeowners asked that the cutting be reduced to allow and encourage use of the area by ground-dwelling and ground-nesting birds. In 2020, we cut the area before April 15 and after August 15, which is the nesting season for several species native to our neighborhood. The result was gratifying as a few nesting pairs with fledglings were observed that had not been seen for several years.

The area is being cut today, October 8, as the third and final cut for this year.

We now are in the process of certifying the 7-acre area as a Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary. To that effect, we have suspended mowing in that area from approximately April 15 to August 15 to enable the grass and wildflowers to flourish. We have already had sightings of Eastern Meadowlarks and are hopeful of attracting more bobwhites, indigo buntings, bluebirds, flickers, migratory songbirds, and other bird species along with many varieties of butterflies.

We ask that everyone tread carefully and limit human activity in this area and let us know what varieties you observe. It would be fun to keep a list of sightings and dates for our website.

Thanks to everyone for making our neighborhood a friendly place for everyone as well as for our feathered and furry neighbors.

Watch for baby deer . . . it’s best to leave them alone.

Look closely at this photo — see the tiny fawn in the center of the photo?

fawn may 8 2019 cropped

This photo was taken on Wednesday, May 8, around 11:00 AM along Newman’s Neck Road about 1/4 mile before the entrance to our neighborhood.  The fawn was observed the day before in the same spot, grazing and later lying in this spot.  Late Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after this photo was made, the fawn was gone and has not been seen since.

White-tailed deer fawns are born April through July, with the majority of fawns born in June. Most does will have one fawn the first year they give birth, then, twins or triplets are typically seen thereafter. Until they are strong enough to keep up with their mothers, deer fawns are left alone while their mothers go off to feed.

This fawn likely was left there by his/her mother while the mother doe went off to feed or find water.

We are posting this information here to remind everyone to please do not touch any fawn you may find in the neighborhood or anywhere else.

Until they are strong enough to keep up with their mothers, deer fawns are left alone while their mothers go off to feed. Mother deer will stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators to their young. Does return at dawn and dusk to feed and/or move their young.

Fawns are typically left in an area with tall grass or bushes, but sometimes they are left in more open areas, including backyards. Older deer fawn may wander short distances.

Well-meaning humans often assume that because a fawn is alone it must be an orphan, leading to numerous fawn “kidnappings” each year.

A fawn has the BEST chance of survival when cared for by its mother. Typically, the best option is to leave the fawn alone!  Also, remember to keep your dog or children away from any fawn you may find — or any other baby animal for that matter.

Here is a website with more information about what to do if you encounter a fawn.  Notice that if the fawn is injured, you should contact a wildlife rescue agency.  In our county, call the Northumberland County Sheriff — 804-580-5221 — and ask for animal control.

There are no licensed wildlife rescue agencies in our county; the nearest are in Gloucester, about 45 to 60 minutes away.

Stephanie Booker Gloucester (804) 815-2042 Fawns, Small Mammals
Carolyn Vavala Saluda (804) 694-6722 Fawns, High Risk Rabies, Opossum

You also can contact Wild Bunch Wildlife Rehablitation in Warsaw — 804-313-2240.  They deal mainly with birds and small animals; sometimes they are able to help with injured fawns.

HOT!!!

For the past few weeks, there’s been no doubt that summer is here!!  High temperatures in and around the PBE neighborhood have been in the mid- to upper-90’s with humidity to match.  We’ve had very little rain, except for an occasional thunderstorm around sunset.

As of today — July 24 — temperatures are forecast to moderate slightly with daily highs for the coming week forecast to be in the mid-80’s with humidity ranging from 65% to over 70%; still no rain in the forecast except for the occasional late-evening thunderstorm.

For those who enjoy statistics, for the period July 1 through July 23, 2017:

  • Nine days had high temperatures above 90 degrees
  • Ten days had high temperatures above 85 degrees
  • 18 of 24 days in the period had high humidity above 90%!!!

One of our neighbors has a personal weather station that you can view at this page on our website.

June 22: Neighborhood road resurfacing in progress

Around 8:00 AM this morning — June 22 — a convoy of vehicles and equipment from VDOT and a VDOT contractor showed up on Potomac Drive.  They are resurfacing Potomac Drive and Presley Drive; we don’t know if they will go up Newman’s Neck Road.

The resurfacing is not asphalt paving.  It’s a layer of sand, then a layer of tar, then a layer of gravel.  After the sand-tar-gravel layer is applied, a heavy roller rolls the material flat, then, the process is repeated.

Work should be completed by the end of the day.  We don’t recall when the last resurfacing was done, though it was several years ago.

2016 Water Quality Report

The Potomac Bay Estates water system annual water quality report for 2016 has been distributed and is available online as a PDF document:     2016 Water Quality Report

This is the 2016 water quality report because it consists of measurements taken in 2016.  We take water samples monthly and send them to a state laboratory for testing.  If any problems are found, we take corrective measures immediately.

Thanks to everyone who attended the annual meeting; Surveys; Bylaws revision

Annual meeting

Many thanks to everyone who attended the annual meeting last Saturday, June 3.  It was good to see everyone, especially our neighbors who don’t live here full-time.

We will post documents from the meeting as soon as the Board approves the minutes.

Association surveys

In other news:  The Association has set up an account with SurveyMonkey, an application that allows us to send surveys to members.  The survey also can be used for voting on matters before the Association.

Please watch your email for announcements of surveys.  When we announce a survey, we will send an email message to all members that includes a link to the survey.

Bylaws revision

Please go to this link for information on revising the Association bylaws.

 

Revised PBE POA Bylaws

In the course of research in preparation for starting the common area beach project, the Board determined that the PBE POA Bylaws now in effect were not in compliance with the Virginia Code, Chapter 26, the Property Owners’ Association Act, VA Code 55-508ff.

The areas of non-compliance were minor and were the result of changes in the statute since the PBE POA was formed in 1989.  The Board formed a committee that consulted with an attorney who worked with property owners’ associations.  The committee then revised the bylaws.

These revised bylaws are not in effect until they are:

  1. Approved by 2/3 of the members who are eligible to vote (that is, dues and assessments are paid, not delinquent), and,
  2. The revised bylaws after approval by the membership are recorded at the Clerk’s office, Northumberland County Circuit Court.

Here is a link to the revised bylaws.  The revised sections are highlighted in yellow bold italic print.

BYLAWS REVISED EDITED FOR FORMAT JUNE 1 DRAFT HEADER

In a few days, we will send a survey to all PBE POA members asking for you to review and vote on the revised bylaws.  If you wish to vote now, after reviewing the bylaws, please send your vote by email to the POA email address:  potomacbaypoa@hotmail.com