New FloydFest site lacks state permits, could endanger protected species, group says

New FloydFest web site lacks state permits, might endanger protected species, group says

Kris Hodges, FloydFest Founder and Producer, and Sam Calhoun, Chief Working Officer of Throughout-the-Means Productions, Inc. and FloydFest, tour the FloydFest’s new 200-acre web site at 5826 Floyd Freeway on Thursday, January 12, 2023 , in Chess.

Scott P. Yates

FloydFest organizers have constructed roads and bridges to the brand new music pageant web site with out the required permits, which an environmental group says might endanger a federally protected turtle and butterfly.

In a warning letter to Hill Holler LLC dated March 6, the Virginia Division of Environmental High quality mentioned its inspections confirmed the work was progressing with no state-approved stormwater administration plan.

The letter obtained by a bunch of residents by means of the Virginia Freedom of Info Act and shared with The Roanoke Instances warns that continued violations might end in fines and a shutdown order.

In accordance with Will Harlan, a biologist with the Heart for Organic Variety, the development has demolished the habitats of the threatened terrapin and the endangered Mitchells satyr butterfly. Harlan labored with involved residents of the Examine space, the place as much as 14,000 festival-goers are anticipated to converge for 5 days in July.

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Officers from Hill Holler, an organizational entity of FloydFest, and DEQ couldn’t be reached for touch upon Monday.

Two DEQ inspections, Jan. 23 and March 1, discovered that building of roads and three bridges spanning Meadow Run and its tributary had begun with out required permits regulating erosion and sedimentation, in keeping with the warning letter. .

A number of instances over the previous six months, DEQ has requested extra data to make sure Hill Holler’s plans are ample. The stormwater administration plan submitted for the location has not been accepted, the March 6 warning letter mentioned.

In a March 13 response additionally obtained by means of an open data request, the Roanoke regulation agency of Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black mentioned on behalf of Hill Hollers that the work had been accepted by an erosion and sediment management allow issued by the Floyd County.

Floyd County relied partly on DEQ submissions to supply the approval, in keeping with Hill Hollers, the letter from lawyer Daniel Summerlin mentioned.

Nevertheless, Hill Holler doesn’t intend to do any extra work till she will get DEQ approval, Summerlin wrote on the time.

Final October, the Heart for Organic Variety expressed concern in a letter to the DEQ and different businesses that preparations for the 210-acre web site might pose a danger to European pond turtle, satyr butterfly and the wetland ecosystems they occupy. .

The terrapin is the smallest and rarest turtle species in North America and probably the most endangered, Harlan wrote.

Drying out, ditching, damming and improvement threaten a lot of the pond turtles that stay wetland habitat, the letter mentioned. The European pond turtle and their distinctive wetland habitat in Floyd County are particularly important and warrant the very best degree of safety supplied by federal and state administration businesses.

Equally, Mitchell’s satyr butterfly is underneath menace, wrote Harlan. Floyd County is the one place in Virginia the place the medium-sized chocolate brown butterfly has been sighted.

The letter to the DEQ, the USA Military Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Division of Wildlife Assets and an identical one to Hill Holler went unanswered, which Harlan says is deeply disturbing.

A gaggle of Examine space residents have spoken previously in regards to the noise, visitors and security impacts ensuing from having a crowd near the scale of the Floyd County inhabitants converge on the location.

However environmental considerations, notably for species listed as threatened or endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and guarded by regulation, could emerge as probably the most critical.

I am simply afraid that by July there can be nothing left on that property, mentioned Dan Vest, who lives close by. It is going to be a genocide of marsh turtles down there.

FloydFest, situated since its inception in 2002 off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Patrick County, introduced final yr that it might be transferring to a brand new location in Examine, simply off US 221 between Floyd and Roanoke.

In an Oct. 6 letter to Hill Holler chief government John McBroom, Harlan wrote that over time, FloydFest has centered on sustainability and decreasing its environmental impression.

The Heart for Organic Variety hopes additionally, you will contemplate being a pacesetter and champion for uncommon and endangered species and their habitat in your new FloydFest venue, its letter mentioned.

Harlan mentioned he is a fan of FloydFest, having attended it many instances, and does not wish to see it cancelled.

I need it to proceed to be the superb pageant that it’s, Harlan mentioned on Monday. However I additionally need to be ok with going there, I feel individuals who come to FloydFest need to be ok with what they do. They do not wish to assume their parking zone is wiping out the habitat of an endangered species.

Author: ZeroToHero

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