September 30, 2003

 

            Not In My Back Yard! (NIMBY) is the battle cry when an unwanted big box retail, super highway, or other “improvement” threatens our quality of life.            But there is another problem in our back yard. This year’s almost continuous rains, in amounts usually over 1 inch at a time, have made this problem apparent. What is the problem? Too much runoff. Our homes, businesses, farms, and natural mountain topography all combine to make the rain flow too quickly to the creeks, streams, and rivers.

 

Much of the fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides farmers add to their fields, and homeowners add to their lawns end up in the river rather than on the field or lawn where it is needed. This nutrient loading pollutes the Rockfish River. The macroinvertebrates (critters such as mayflies, dragonflies, and hellgrammites) cannot live in such a nutrient-rich environment. The June 10, 2003, stream monitoring at Elk Hill Baptist Church and Meander Inn bore this out. Both sites came back with an unacceptable rating of 6 and 5 respectively. The water was too high to monitor at Drumheller Bridge. A 2-inch rain fell a couple of days earlier.

 

            Sediment is also a problem. The quickly flowing water makes the stream banks erode. The overtaxed streams flow into the Rockfish River, which in turn erode its banks. All of this caused the Rockfish River to flow red or brown most of the year. Not only is a red colored river unsightly, but also is a death knell for many of the critters that live there. This also adversely affects the James River and Chesapeake Bay.

 

            So far, I have detailed the problems that our backyards face. So, what is the solution? Some helpful suggestions are found in the enclosed brochure. In addition, you can join FOR Watershed. Your time and talent are needed for stream monitoring, designing brochures for our information kiosks at Spruce Creek Park and the Rt. 29 Wayside, and other projects. Your treasure (membership dues and donations) is appreciated, and will contribute significantly to our efforts. Please join today by returning your membership application and check in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope!!

 

                                    Diane L. W. Easley, President

                                    FOR Watershed, Inc.

 

Note: Connect to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation at http://www.dcr.state.va.us/ to learn more about what you can do to protect your watershed.