NRPA hosts waterways expert

Published 10:48 pm Saturday, October 11, 2014

The new director of the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic will draw on his extensive experience protecting the environment while visiting Suffolk next week as a guest speaker.

The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance has secured Ron Hoagland for the next installment of its River Talk program, to be held at the Ruritan Hall in Eclipse, 8881 Eclipse Drive, on Wednesday.

Hoagland will speak beginning at 7 p.m., following the social portion of the program from 6:30 p.m.

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“Ron has over 25 years’ experience, and he has extensive experience working on legislation and policies that have been created to protect the waterways,” said Elizabeth Taraski, alliance executive director.

“His scope is the entire Chesapeake Bay area, and he’s here to share his deep knowledge of the region and of the state, and what he sees coming down the road, which is very important for us.”

Hoagland took the reins of the clinic in July. He has worked on environmental law issues including land use, water quality and restoration matters.

His leadership on environmental issues, according to the alliance, has included a bay-specific fund for farmers under the federal Farm Bill, oyster aquaculture and reef construction programs, a state water quality fund helping localities control pollution, and “a host of advances in Virginia’s water protection laws.”

Also on Wednesday evening, the alliance will unveil the winner, second place and honorable mention in its annual photo contest, while Hoagland will answer questions and be available for further discussion after he speaks.

Meanwhile, Taraski said the alliance is expanding its water quality monitoring program to Bennetts Creek. The program started three years ago with the Nansemond River, and was expanded to Shingle Creek last year.

“This is so we can gather information on all the different waterways and provide it to the (Virginia) Department of Environmental Quality and the city,” Taraski said.

Taraski said Hoagland is known as a dynamic speaker. He’s keen to hear from Suffolk citizens, according to Taraski.

His appearance in Suffolk is especially important after the Virginia Department of Health recently expanded the area on the Nansemond and Bennetts Creek off-limits to shellfish harvesting, according to Taraski.

“The topic is timely to educate citizens on legislative policies and actions created to preserve and protect the environment,” Taraski said.