Other Watershed Projects in the Middle James
Albemarle County Riparian Buffer Restoration Initiative
WQIF funding will match local expenditures for establishment and restoration of forested riparian buffers on nonagricultural lands and will double the amount of riparian buffers constructed. The County will develop a program for accepting the cash equivalent of riparian buffer restoration so that in cases where applications for development proposals create authorized impacts to buffers applicants will be able to provide that cash equivalent as mitigation. Installation of signage will be required to identify sites established as a permanent riparian buffer and in order to foster future protection of the restored areas. An estimated 471 acres of forested riparian buffer will be established. The riparian buffers will be targeted to TMDL impaired streams. The program supports the Moores Creek TMDL Implementation Plan, and will contribute toward addressing TMDL impairments to the North Fork Rivanna River and the Rivanna River.
For more information on Albemarle County ’s environmental initiatives visit: http://www.albemarle.org/department.asp?section_id=1827&department=plannin
James River Association
Extreme Stream Makeover
On October 19, 2009, the James River Association, with the help of local government, businesses and organizations, kicked off Extreme Stream Makeover 2009! This year’s project, the third of its kind, took place in the Blackwater Creek watershed. This watershed includes portions of Bedford & Campbell Counties, as well as the City of Lynchburg.
Extreme Stream Makeover is a week-long, local project aimed at sparking greater community involvement and public action to improve and restore water quality through a series of low impact design projects. In this case, low impact design refers to reducing the amount of rainwater runoff from roads, buildings, parking lots, and managed turf that enter stream and creeks and ultimately, the James River.
Activities began with the opening ceremonies on Monday, October 19. Hundreds of volunteers worked at various sites throughout the watershed including Jefferson Forest High School, Peaks View Park, Blackwater Creek Athletic Area and several shopping centers along Wards Road.
For more information on JRA's Extreme Stream Makeover visit: http://extremestreammakeover.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=281846
Or for more information on other James River Association projects visit: http://www.jamesriverassociation.org/
Willis River Water Quality Implementation Project
The Willis River in Cumberland and Buckingham Counties is currently listed as impaired for bacteria from the headwaters to its mouth at the James River. The impairment indicates that the stream presents an elevated risk of illness for individuals swimming or taking part in any activity that presents a possibility of ingestion of water. In 2005 local citizens and locality and agency representatives collaborated with Virginia DCR to develop the Willis River Water Quality Implementation Plan (Fecal Coliform TMDL). The plan outlines corrective actions needed to reduce bacteria entering the stream including excluding livestock from streams, replacement of failing septic systems and straight pipes (direct discharges household waste to streams), and educational activities. In September 2005, the Peter Francisco Soil & Water Conservation District began a project to implement the plan. Through an EPA grant, the District has hired a Conservation Specialist to promote and design best management practices (BMPs) in the Willis River watershed. Funding is also provided for the installation of BMPs to exclude livestock from streams and improve waste treatment systems. By September 2008 there were 21 miles of stream exclusion fencing installed, removing 2,700 livestock from having direct stream access. One loafing lot management system, 10 septic system repair and one septic system replacement were completed. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's ambient monitoring program has shown improvements in violation rates of the river's bacteria standards. Yearly violation rates dropped following the TMDL development in 2002. No violations of bacteria water quality standard were recorded in 2002, 2004, or 2005. The rate rebounded slightly in 2006.
Contact Peter Francisco Soil and Water Conservation District at 434-983-4757 for more information.
Rivanna Conservation Society (RCS)
RCS is working with volunteers to test water samples from various parts of the river and watershed, and perform coliform tests on these samples. These tests will show us if the areas tested are safe for swimming.
Woolen Mills Dam Breach
RCS has been working for many years to breach the Woolen Mills Dam in the city of Charlottesville. Once the dam is breached, we hope to re-establish a self-sustaining population of American shad, and allow free migration of resident fish species. Portions of the dam will be left intact for historical interpretation.
For more information on Rivanna Conservation Society projects visit: http://www.rivannariver.org
Rivanna River Watershed
StreamWatch Land Use Study
In Fall 2011, StreamWatch released its latest study, which examined
the relationships between land use, stream habitat, and stream biology
in the Rivanna River watershed.
Stream health is closely related to land use. Rural landscapes with
lots of forest have healthy streams. In addition, forested buffers
alongside streams can protect and improve stream health. Unstable
banks and excess sediment affect the health of many Rivanna streams.
Urban areas with lots of paved surfaces have unhealthy streams. The
relationship between land use and stream health is so strong that we
can estimate stream health based on the amount of forest and
development in the surrounding area.
About 70% of streams in the Rivanna watershed are failing Virginia
biological standard. This standard tells us whether streams support a
variety of life forms. Streams with more life have better water
quality, and can provide better services to humans. Such services
include water supply, recreation, and aesthetic enjoyment.
Most of the Rivanna watershed is semi-rural (exurban). In this exurban
landscape, forest cover averages about 70%, and there are about 17
acres for every house. This amount of disturbance may seem mild, yet
more than half of exurban streams failed the biological standard.
Rural and exurban streams decline rapidly with increased development
or deforestation. In urban areas, stream health is already poor.
Therefore, urban streams do not respond dramatically to additional
Fortunately, only 5% to 10% of streams are severely degraded. Most
streams sit near the pass/fail cusp and might meet the standard with
better care. However, based on current development practices
projected land use changes, a third of the remaining healthy streams
could fail the standard within 20 years.
For more information about StreamWatch key findings, go to http://streamwatch.org/lus
Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District
Special Watershed Projects
- Agricultural Programs to promote "Best Management Practices"
- Riparian Open-space Easement Program
- Conservation Education
- Technical Assistance with soil and water issues
- Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management Plan reviews
- Streamwalk of the Hardware River and its tributaries to determine
problem areas for targeting resources
- Rainwater harvesting program: technical assistance for large scale
systems; build-your-own rain barrel workshops
- Active member of the Rivanna River Basin Commission and its
Technical Advisory Committee
- Go to www.tjswcd.org for more information about these and other
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." -- John Muir