RICHMOND - A draft water quality improvement plan for Spout Run will be presented at a public meeting Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m., at the Powhatan School, 49 Powhatan Lane, Boyce. The meeting will also feature a locally sponsored chili cook-off and informational displays focusing on local water quality issues and cleanup efforts.
For the last eight months, staff from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, have been working with local landowners to develop a plan to reduce amounts of bacteria and sediment entering the stream. The plan follows a total maximum daily load study approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June 2010. The study identified sources of bacteria and sediment in the Spout Run watershed.
The draft plan includes strategies landowners can implement to reduce amounts of bacteria and sediment entering the stream, as well as an implementation timeline, measurable goals and milestones, education and outreach strategies, and an analysis of costs and benefits.
The meeting kicks off a public comment period during which community members can provide information to enhance the draft plan and ask questions about the process. The comment period ends Jan. 4, 2013.
Spout Run and its tributaries, Page Brook and Roseville Run, are on Virginia's list of impaired waters because they violate the state's strict water quality standard for bacteria. Levels of bacteria in these stream segments could lead to increased risk of illness for people who come in contact with the waters. Bacteria sources identified include failing septic systems, direct discharges of human waste, pet waste and agricultural practices in the area. In addition, Spout Run is on the impaired waters list because it fails to support a healthy and diverse population of aquatic life. Studies determined this is because of excessive sediment, which settles on the stream bottom and destroys critical habitat for aquatic life. Sediment is transported to the stream in runoff from paved surfaces, construction sites, agricultural fields and lawns.
C Spout Run, a partnership working to raise awareness about watershed restoration in the Shenandoah Valley, will organize the chili cook-off. Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to taste chili prepared by project partners.
"We're so excited about the chili cook-off and hope it will bring new people to the process," said Jill Keihn, a member of C Spout Run. "I'm impressed with the way different parties and stakeholders have joined together in this partnership. Everybody is very collaborative. Everybody's pitching in."
The meeting also will feature a presentation by Powhatan School students on their efforts to improve the watershed and a video by the Downstream Project, a Berryville-based nonprofit organization focused on promoting natural resource conservation.
For more information, or to RSVP for the chili cook-off, contact Bob Slusser with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation at 540-351-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.