Category Archives: Volunteers

CSI Drone Training, April 28, 2018

Friends of Nelson and the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance are excited to announce the date of our first Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) drone monitoring training on Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 12:00pm – 4:00pm at the Rockfish Valley Community Center (click for directions).
 
If you haven’t already, please sign up for the event using our Pipeline Air Force volunteer form here: 
 
The purpose of this training is to introduce volunteers to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to monitor construction and preconstruction activities of the fracked gas pipelines that threaten our communities.
Topics to be covered are as follows:
  • Why use drones?
  • Which drones can you use?
  • Flying Safely: Do’s & Don’t’s
  • Flying Legally: Rules of the air
  • What and where to monitor?
  • Taking useful photos and videos
  • Advanced mapping missions
  • Networking with your neighbors

The CSI will have two DJI Mavic Pro drones present for demonstration. If you own or have access to your own drone, please bring it with you! 

This training will include an indoor classroom-style presentation in the Rockfish Lounge followed by a flight and mapping-mission demonstration in the soccer field outside. Lunch will be provided, so please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. 

Important: It is our hope with this program to create a network of citizen aerial monitors across our region who can respond to and document construction non-compliance and environmental degradation at the hands of ACP and MVP developers. This training is not an end-all-be-all for how to fly, you’ll need to practice flying on your own to become proficient. If you cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts or distance, don’t fret, we plan on holding more of these trainings in the coming weeks and months in different communities along the proposed MVP and ACP routes. We also plan to have a live-stream video of this training so stay tuned for updates on how to access that.

Space is limited to 50 people.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Ben Cunningham, at silvercunning@gmail.com or 434-882-1893.

Your Help Wanted – CSI Volunteer Options


The Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) is a program developed by the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance and its member organizations to support citizen efforts to ensure strict application of environmental laws and regulations in the construction and operation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The need for citizen oversight of pipeline construction has been made clear by observations of recent pipeline projects and inadequate regulatory agency response to repeated violations and water resource harm.

Pipeline CSI will focus first on the approximately 200-mile section of the proposed ACP route extending from Harrison County in West Virginia to Buckingham County in Virginia. The extreme earth disturbance required for construction of the ACP in this area of steep mountain sides, high-quality streams, and karst valleys presents an unacceptable risk to water resources.

You can help! Here are the various ways volunteers can participate:

Citizen Observers

  • Work independently or with other organizations to observe and report incidents of both downstream surface water impact and noncompliance with construction requirements.
  • May be organized by coordinators affiliated with local or other regional organizations.
  • Access for viewing pipeline construction areas will ordinarily be limited to public roads or other public vantage points.
  • General guidance for citizen observers is provided on the Pipeline CSI website.
  • Can submit incident reports to CSI Central by using methods provided on the Pipeline CSI website or by methods provided by other organizations.

Stream Monitoring Program Volunteers

  • Participate in monitoring programs managed by local watershed groups and regional programs such as the Trout Unlimited/West Virginia Rivers Pipeline Monitoring program or the Isaak Walton League Save Our Streams program.
  • Take part in training and certification conducted by the monitoring programs.
  • Follow protocols and reporting methods established by the monitoring programs.
  • Can submit incident reports to CSI Central using methods provided on the Pipeline CSI website or by methods provided by the stream monitoring programs.

Research and Administration Volunteers

  • Monitor ACP filings to FERC including the Environmental Compliance and Weekly Status Reports.
  • Monitor FERC docket for inspection reports, variance requests, and other ACP constructionrelated documents.
  • Review construction-related documents provided by regulatory agencies.

CSI First Responders

  • Teams dispatched by CSI Central to investigate reported incidents of surface water impacts or noncompliance with pipeline construction requirements.
  • Recruited based on professional or scientific background related to water resources or erosion and sediment control and stormwater management.
  • Collect data and investigate reported incidents following Pipeline CSI protocols.

Pipeline Air Force

  • Pilots recruited and trained to fly routine pipeline surveillance flights and incident response flights.
  • Photographers recruited to obtain aerial imagery of pipeline construction areas.
  • Drone operators recruited and trained to obtain aerial imagery of pipeline construction areas.
  • Pipeline Air Force participants will follow Pipeline CSI protocols.

CSI Incident Review

  • Provide input to the Pipeline CSI Environmental and Forensic Review Teams evaluating incidents of surface water impacts or noncompliance with construction requirements.
  • Access to review information will be provided through the online CSI Mapping System.
  • Review assistance is requested from professionals with erosion and sediment control and stormwater management backgrounds, as well as from other knowledgeable individuals.
  • Training will be scheduled for interested participants, and information concerning regulatory and technical requirements will be provided through the Pipeline CSI website.

BECOME A CSI VOLUNTEER! Go to: http://pipelineupdate.org/csi-help/

Questions? Contact Lew Freeman – lewfreeman@gmail.com or 540-468-2769

Webinar: Volunteer Pipeline Visual Assessment Program

Everyone can now watch a replay of the March 13, 2018, Trout Unlimited/Appalachian Voices/WV Rivers webinar on Pipeline Visual Assessment Program, see http://appvoices.org/fracking/pva-program/.

Learn how to detect and report water quality impacts from natural gas pipelines

The WV/VA Pipeline Visual Assessment Program was developed by Trout Unlimited and West Virginia Rivers Coalition to support and train volunteer citizen observers to identify, document and report pollution incidents associated with large-scale pipeline development. Through a series of webinar trainings, volunteers will learn about erosion control best management practices used in pipeline development, specific examples of pollution to look for, and how to best document those problems.

On the same Web page with there are links to download the handouts associated with the Webinar.

If anyone would like to host a screening party, or have another group screening at the Nelson Library, contact Doug at wellman.doug@gmail.com.

Pipeline Visual Assessment Program Webinar

Sign up for a Webinar on this volunteer program.

The Volunteer Pipeline Visual Assessment Program was developed by Trout Unlimited (TU) and West Virginia Rivers Coalition to support and train volunteer citizen observers to identify, document and report pollution incidents associated with large-scale pipeline development.

Through these webinars, you will learn about erosion control best management practices used in pipeline development, specific examples of pollution to look for, and how to best document those problems. After the webinar, you will be able to report pollution incidents to TU and WV Rivers.

To participate in the program, please register for one of the free webinar trainings. Space is limited. 

Register for the webinar in the state you plan to monitor:

VA Specific Webinar: Tuesday, March 13th — 7:00pm-8:30pm. Register here.
WV Specific Webinar: Tuesday, March 27th — 7:00pm-8:30pm. Register here.

For more information, please contact Jake Lemon, TU’s Eastern Angler Science Coordinator, at jlemon@tu.org.

Citizen Activism Praised

In a March 2, 2018, editorial, the Staunton News Leader says citizen activism is “The only good byproduct of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

“In the nearly four years since we began reporting and writing about the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, never did it seem unlikely that Dominion Resources would eventually get its way, ripping up our mountainsides, sawing through forests, bulldozing across streams and digging its way through the Shenandoah Valley. Perhaps Dominion has its own version of the state seal, with a motto beneath a vanquished opponent that’s edited to read, ‘Thus always to those who oppose Dominion.’ If they do, it’s because they bought it and paid for it, along with the rest of our state government. …. But they’ve created something else, unintentionally. Their project has given rise to a group of citizen activists who are not likely to stand down any time soon. …. And there’s no sign they’re going away, which is a good thing as Dominion’s plans move forward. Someone needs to be watching, and we have no confidence that the state agencies will assure that Dominion’s promises, as weak as they have been, actually line up with their actions.

Read the full editorial here.

Video: Beyond the Pipeline

A new video, Beyond the Pipeline, focuses on ways individuals and communities in Augusta, Nelson, and Buckingham counties are coming together to stand up against the ACP.

Lee White: “It starts on the local level. We have to act. We have to step up. It’s our responsibility.”

Richard Averitt: “We’re fighting an extraordinarily powerful enterprise. And really, at its core, we’re fighting things that are so hard-baked into our legal system, and our society, and the incentives that are there, that you recognize when you get into this that it’s not really about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. That’s a symptom of a much, much bigger problem, and it’s going to take all of us to turn it around.”

Join us in the fight!

(A production of Amanda Joy Photographics, Conservation Division.)