This map shows known rivers and streams deemed healthy. About 200 healthy stream reaches have been identified in the eastern half of the state so far. They flow through urban and agricultural areas, as well as forested, coastal and mountainous regions. Click a red area or dot on the map for more information about these exceptional waters in Virginia.
Of the stream sections sampled so far, about 30 are exceptionally healthy, representing the best in Virginia. These include:
Streams throughout the entire state will continue to be assessed and added to the database as resources become available. Healthy Waters stream data are supplemented with information on Virginia's watersheds, which is also available through INSTAR.
The watershed classification done by INSTAR combines information about species collected at various locations. This classification is not as geographically specific or as comprehensive as a stream assessment, but it can be used to prioritize watershed protection efforts. Watershed integrity is ranked as "outstanding," "very high," "high" or "moderate."
"An unexpectedly high number of Virginia's stream and river segments assessed by the INSTAR program since 2004 - up to 25 percent in some watersheds - are ecologically and biologically robust. These healthy streams represent a significant natural legacy for the Commonwealth and should be conserved using every tool at our disposal." Greg Garman, director of the Center for Environmental Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University