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StreamSweepers 2013

IMG_2689StreamSweepers 2013 successfully completed assessment and sweeping of 20 miles of the Rapidan River from the Greene County line to Rt. 15. Landowners along the river can contact the Center to receive a proprietary complete report of 2013 river findings. A documentary of the 2013 season is available to the general public.

StreamSweepers continues in 2014 with 40 miles of the Rapidan and Robinson Rivers to be completed.

A log of 2013 program activities is provided below.

September Update

  • Getting ready for Fall Landowner and Watershed Community Supporter Project Findings Presentation and Gathering October 16
  • Discussions underway about 2014…

August  Update

Week 1 - 

·        All four employees show up on time every day

·        Day 1 Training – Wavers, Employment Agreement, Rapidan River Basin Eco-History (Cenozoic to the Present), Digital Map Making 101

·        Day 2 Training – Water Safety 101, Logistics, Risk Reduction, Intro. to GPS, Dr. Merrick First Aid

·        Day 3 Training – Rapid Screening and River Diagnostic Metrics

·        Day 4 Training (on river) – Forest Quality, Bethic Macroinvertebrates, Stream Morphology, Paddling 101

·        Day 5 Training (on river) – Rapid Screening Training (Spicers Mill to Rt. 15), More instruction and testing macroinvertebratesmorphology

Week 2 - 

·        Team conducted screening of 17 mile reach (~ Greene Line to Rt. 15)

·        Screening consisted of Rapid Assessment of four river condition elements – canopy, bank vegetation, bank geometry, bed structure and marking major debris location

·        Team conducted representative diagnostic testing on High and Moderate condition areas

·        Began preparation of Draft Report to Landowners and Community using Google Earth as Mapping Platform

·        More landowner outreach

Week 3 Update -

IMG_2692

What a week! Miscellaneous stuff like oil drums and urinal found

·       Dozens of tires

·       Bottles, cans, etc.

·       And stuff that we tried but couldn’t get out…(large culverts still in river)

July 25 Update

Article about the project in today’s Daily Progress (Orange) – A River of Potential.

July 23 Update

Training started Monday for our inaugural group of Sweepers

After our third day of classroom work tomorrow, we hit the river Thursday and Friday for two days of Field Training.

June 25 Update

The Friends of Rapidan StreamSweepers Asado was held at Bloomingdale Farm in Somerset, Virginia on June 21. The event raised thousands of dollars for the 2013 pilot project. Food was provided by Reese Altman, Meat Chef Extraordinaire, Seaford Oyster Company York Point Oysters (thanks to the Grennan and Perdue Families via their support of Virginia Native Oyster Restoration through the Ahyayha Project), Beggars Banquet, and Gordonsville BBQ Exchange. Music was provided by Phil Audibert/Alex Caton and the Peter LaBau Trio.

June 13 Update

  • Two additional students from Orange County High School have been  hired…
  • We would like to find one more team member from Madison County High.
  • Schedule for 2013 pilot is now set:
    • Week July 22 – Classroom and Field Training
    • Week July 29 – Liberty Mills – Madison Mills Eco-Screening
    • Week August 5 – Sweeping

June 5 Update

Student interviews will be held at Orange County High School Thursday, June 6. Beth Seale with Rapidan River Kayak will lead Field Training and be the on-site risk reduction manager for all in-stream activities. 1 college student has been hired and 3 more students are needed to round out the StreamSweepers 2013 Team. Youth training will occur the third week of July followed by two weeks of Eco-Screening and River Sweeping from Liberty Mills to Madison Mills.

A preliminary screening of the StreamSweepers Pilot Project scheduled for the ~8 mile Liberty Mills-Spicer’s Mill section of the river was completed April 26. Average trash and above average scenic quality were found as shown below.

A business plan for an Eco-Screening (water quality using benthic macroinverebrates, vegetation, wildlife, and morphology), and Trash Sweeping for this section of the river for the summer of 2013 is now being developed. The Screening and Sweeping will be completed by local high school and college youth, especially trained in Ecology through a new course now being taught at Orange County High School and through an Eco-Fieldschool taught by Center Staff. Unit rates on a per river mile linear foot basis will be developed for the Screening and Sweeping service. Funding for this market-based conservation project will be paid for by supportive landowners interested in learning more about their river frontage and improving the cleanliness of the Rapidan.

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