Monday, March 27, 2006

Land Use and Water Quality: Studying the James River

Most discussion about Virginia's dysfunctional land use patterns emphasize their negative impact on traffic congestion and housing affordability. But scattered, disconnected, low-density development also degrades the environment. Now VCU, UVa and Virginia Tech are joining forces to study the impact of land development on the James River and adjoining streams. According to a Virginia Tech press release:
To protect the river as new housing and commercial developments are constructed, the James River Association has organized this collaborative study to launch Building a Cleaner James River. The project will initiate a dialogue among local governments, universities, conservation organizations and developers to reduce water pollution impacts by encouraging environmentally friendly development practices and codes.
The universities will mobilize multi-disciplinary teams spanning environmental policy and planning, biological systems engineering, agricultural and applied economics, environmental science, fisheries and geography. The findings will be shared April 21 at a watershed-wide symposium at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel.


At 10:39 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

For hundreds of years museums have acquired and stored priceless artifacts for us to see and enjoy. One of the saddest stories coming out of Iraq was the sacking of museums where some of mankinds earliest social artifacts were stored.

But now, many of those venerable museums find their collections are in danger because of questions about how those artifacts were acquired. In some cases those objects were clearly acquired illegally. In other cases new laws were passed such that now the objects appear to have been acquired illegally, even thought the objects and their acquisition far predate the laws that now put them in question.

The riverfront plantations on the James have been destroying the river for centuries. And now, like some self righteous descendant of an egyptian tomb robber, we want to come along and tell the current owners that what they are doing is sacreligious.

Well, it is sacreligious. But we have only recently become educated enough to see the value of what we are losing, and now we want it back. "Encouraging environmentally friendly development practices" is only a code word for stealing what we now see as valuable without paying rent for the safekeeping in the meantime. It is a way of getting what we all want without paying for it.

"Mobilizing multidisciplinary teams" is a code word for overwhelming force.

"Agricultural and applied economics" is going to tell those people that they can no longer afford to run the museum.

The poor bastards who built and maintained and enjoyed the museum, and saved whatever is left for all to enjoy all these years will get publicly raped at a symposium where the results are a foregone conclusion.

This makes me want to throw up in the river that was a primary foundation of everything we now like to think of as American. If the river is so valuable, fine. If protecting it means we have to preserve the waterfront, fine. If preservng the waterfront means the current owners no longer get to participate in economic growth, fine.

Show me the money that says you are willing to pay the price of admission to the museum.


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