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December 16, 2010

Nature Conservancy biologist named to Albemarle water board

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By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, December 16, 2010

A biologist who helped conceive key approaches in the 2006 community water supply plan has been named to the Albemarle County Service Authority.

The new appointee, Bill Kittrell, is the director of conservation programs for The Nature Conservancy.

Bill Kittrell

“This is a good way for me to use some of my science and economic experience to help the community with a very important issue,” Kittrell said in an interview. “I thought it was a good way for me to become involved more directly.”

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to name Kittrell to the seat vacated when John Martin resigned in order to advocate for the water plan as a private resident. Supervisor Ann H. Mallek approached Kittrell to find out if he would finish Martin’s term.

“I’m very excited he would step in,” said Mallek, who represents the White Hall magisterial district. “I wanted to make sure that the ACSA Board had someone representing the rivers.”

Kittrell, who has been with The Nature Conservancy since 1990. worked with Ridge Schuyler and other staff to develop one of the plan’s key concepts. The existing water supply relies on a pipeline from the Sugar Hollow Reservoir to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. Kittrell said that has altered natural conditions for the Moormans River by diverting the natural stream flow.

“Currently, the Sugar Hollow Dam releases waters that mimic the Moormans’ natural flows only 64 percent of the time,” Kittrell said. “Under the proposed community water supply plan, the Moormans’ flows will mimic its natural flows 99 percent of the time.”

Charlottesville and Albemarle agree on the elimination of the Sugar Hollow pipeline, which would restore natural stream flows.  However, they disagree about the degree to which the streams should be improved and the approach to be taken with a new dam at Ragged Mountain.  Charlottesville favors a taller dam built in two phases only as needed, an approach Mayor Dave Norris has said can be much cheaper and have less of an impact on the environment.

Kittrell said that he did not believe dredging the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir should be part of the water supply plan, as some city residents and city councilors have demanded.

“It’s not cost effective and it doesn’t meet stream flow requirements. I don’t think it’s environmentally beneficial, and I don’t think that it’s going to be a reasonable solution to meeting the water supply needs for the community in the future,” Kittrell said. However, he added he would support dredging of the reservoir for other purposes if it were not too expensive for ratepayers.

Kittrell was born in Greenville, N.C., and received degrees in biology and economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Crozet with his wife and daughter.


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