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Fr i e n d s o f t h e N o r t h Fo r k of the Shenandoah River

Dedicated to protecting and enhancing the purity, beauty and natural flow of the North Fork Volume 19, Number 1

Winter 2008

Friends Celebrates 20 Years of River Protection 2008 marks the 20th Anniversary of the founding of Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. Propelled by a "river that stank", Garland Hudgins and Robert Kranich embarked on a mission to clean up the North Fork, raising awareness of the river's plight and encouraging action at both the local and state government levels. Friends can site numerous achievements of our organization in the areas of monitoring, education, advocacy, and partnering with other local organizations in order to be more effective in realizing our mission to "protect and enhancing the purity, beauty, and flow of the North Fork". Friends was even named Virginia's Conservation Organization of the Year in 1989, in recognition of the organization's early accomplishments. However, we are well aware that the River continues to face growing challenges to its health and flow. While an excess of nutrients, bacteria, and sediment continue to plague water quality in the North Fork, we are now becoming aware of additional pollutants known as "emerging contaminants," including trace organics (pesticides, personal hygiene products, cleaning products, etc.), endocrine disrupters (hormones) and other chemicals that may be compromising the health of fish, other aquatic organisms, and whose affect on humans is unknown at this point. In order to confront these growing issues, Friends is completing a strategic planning process that will give the Board and staff focus for our monitoring, education, and advocacy efforts. As much as we would like, we cannot address every issue that confronts the river. We must be deliberate in choosing those issues that are most crucial to improving water quality and flow in the North Fork and where Friends' efforts can be most effective. Friends diverse and dedicated Board of Directors and staff are ready to lead the organization into the 21st century. Leslie Mitchell-Watson, Executive Director

Annual Meeting and 20th Anniversary Celebrations Annual Meeting - April 26: Please join Friends as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary at our Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 26. We are planning an evening dinner during which we will honor the founding board members of Friends; complete a small amount of business - introducing our strategic plan (THANKS TO ALL WHO FILLED OUT OUR ONLINE SURVEY!!); and present "The North Fork Shenandoah River: My River, My Community, My Watershed," a new presentation that Cindy Frenzel, our Education Coordinator, is giving to groups in the North Fork watershed. Please mark you calendars and plan to join us for an evening dedicated to the work of Friends of the North Fork, the Voice for the River. We will be mailing out invitations in mid-March! Cleanup and Celebration at “First Spring” - April 12: Friends will host a cleanup and small celebration at the First Spring - the headwaters of the North Fork - located near Broadway, VA. We will meet at the Friends’ office at 8:30 am on Saturday April 12 and pile into 4-wheel drive vehicles for a caravan to the site. We’ll clean up around the spring and have lunch. Please call Leslie if you would like participate - 540-45-8550. 1


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Education and Outreach Corner Cindy Frenzel, Education Coordinator - Cindy.Frenzel@fnfsr.org

“The North Fork Shenandoah River: My River, My Community, My Choice” - Education Campaign Many people have helped: a college professor and his students, several local photographers, an advisory committee, an education committee, and many other volunteers! Now we have successfully developed a wonderful slide show, “My River, My Community, My Choice”, that we are currently presenting to a variety of community groups. If you have a group that would like to see the slide presentation, please contact Cindy Frenzel at the Friends office at 459-8550. The Education Committee has also: • Designed our slide show to reflect a consistent message - What is happening to the river? Why should I care? and What can I do? • Worked with Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation to schedule six conservation and nature art workshops in conjunction with our slide show presentation (see below and page 3). • Completed draft designs for a My River, My Community, My Choice logo, a conservation tips flyer and a new membership brochure. We are continuing to plan for other handout materials, and suggestions are always welcome! • Worked to find corporate sponsors to develop a coupon book that corresponds to the conservation tips in the slide show and flyer. (How about your business or company?!) • Worked with Blue Canoe Crew in Woodstock who will sponsor a reusable shopping bag to hand out at presentations. • Updated our webpage (www.fnfsr.org) to include all of these new education programs and elements. (Any new ideas and links?) If you are interested in being a part of the education effort or would like to be a member of the education committee please contact the Friends office today at 540-459-8550!

Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River Workshop Series - May and June 2008 A new series of workshops sponsored by Friends of the North Fork will be held this spring in partnership with the Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation Department located in Edinburg, VA. These workshops are open to Friends’ members and the public. If you are or would like to become a member of Friends of the North Fork; you can receive a discount on registration fees for 4 of the workshops (see ** below). In order to receive a member discount please tell the Parks and Recreation office at the time that you register and pay for the class that you are (or will become) a Friends' member. You can register at the Parks and Recreation office in Edinburg (508 Piccadilly Street), by mail with a Parks and Rec. registration form (available on-line at http://www.shenandoahcountyva.us/parks_new/programs/register.php), or, online, at the previously noted Parks and Recreation website. Please call Friends at 540-459-8550 if you have any questions or need help with the registration process. Workshops are described on page 3.

Photo by Andrew Thayer 2


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Make and Take Rain Barrel Workshop ** Cost: $35.00 general public; $25.00 Friends of the North Fork Members Date: Saturday, May 10, 2008 Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am (Co-sponsored by Potomac Conservancy and Friends of the North Fork) In this workshop you will receive a covered rain barrel that you will assemble and take home to catch rain water for use around your house. Besides helping the environment, an obvious reason for catching rainwater is to save money. This extra water can have a significant impact on your water bill. You can also hold water from rain storms to use during times of drought, especially if there are water restrictions in your community. A majority of the cost of the rain barrels is funded by a Potomac Conservancy grant. The workshop fee covers a portion of the cost.

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Instructor: Fred Frenzel, District Wildlife Biologist Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Learn how to carve a small frog out of soap stone, and create one to take home. Learn how to recognize local frogs and toads by sight and by their calls. You will also learn how the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries conRiparian Forests: How and What ducts yearly frog surveys. Cost includes all supplies. to Plant to Protect Rivers and Streams Fossil Pottery ** Cost: $10.00 for individuals Cost: $35.00 general public; or family $25.00 Friends of the North Fork Date: Saturday, May 17 Members Time: 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm Date: Saturday, June 7, 2008; Instructor: Joe Lehnen, Area For- Time: 10:00 am – noon ester, Virginia Department of Instructors: Maureen Crisman, Forestry Maggie Crisman and Cindy During this workshop you will visit Frenzel areas where riparian forests have Use clay, natural materials and been created to serve as buffers to plants to make and decorate flat protect rivers and streams in pottery pieces such as jewelry and Shenandoah County. You will also tiles. Learn about plants that grow learn how to create your own ripar- near the North Fork of the Shenanian area, how to plant the right doah River and Stoney Creek. Creating a Rain Garden kinds of trees and shrubs, and Learn about where clay comes Cost: $10.00 for individuals or which government programs are from and how it is processed for family available to help you. Riparian our use. Cost includes all supplies. Date: Saturday, May 17, 2008 planting or planting along waterTime: 9:00 am-noon River Color Painting ** ways is an important way of imInstructor: Jim McGlone, Urban Cost: $35.00 general public; proving the quality of storm water Forest Conservationist, Virginia $25.00 Friends of the North Fork that goes into streams and rivers. Dept. of Forestry Members In this hands-on workshop you will Planting trees can significantly re- Date: Saturday June 7, 2008 duce flooding and pollution of the help to create a small rain garden Time: 1:00 – 3:30 pm North Fork of the Shenandoah in Shenandoah County using a vaInstructor: Holly Cooley riety of native plants and trees. You River as well as enhance the beauty Experiment with a few beginning of your property. will also learn how to create your watercolor techniques using colors own garden and the kinds of plants Frog Soap Stone Carving ** inspired by the North Fork of the used— a selection of wetland edge Cost: $35.00 general public; Shenandoah River, and make a vegetation, such as wildflowers, $25.00 Friends of the North Fork small painting to take home. Cost sedges, rushes, ferns, shrubs and Members includes all supplies. small trees. A rain garden is a Date: Saturday, May 31, 2008; My River, My Community, planted area that is designed to ab- Time: 10:00 am - noon My Choice! sorb rain water runoff from roofs, 3

driveways, walkways, and lawns. Rain water is collected and stored in the rain garden, and is allowed to soak into the ground, as opposed to flowing into storm drains, streams and the Shenandoah River which causes, water pollution, flooding, and less groundwater. Rain gardens can cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%.

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Updates: a Intersex in Smallmouth Bass

Linked to Human Population and Agricultural Intensity of the Area Federal scientists studying intersex (male fish growing eggs in their gonads = testicular oocytes) characteristics in smallmouth bass in parts of West Virginia and Virginia found the highest prevalence of this phenomenon in the Shenandoah River. They also found that intersex intensity is generally associated with rivers in areas of higher human population and agricultural activity. The scientists go on to say that the intersex may be caused by the presence of certain manmade organic chemicals in the river. (Blazer, et. al, “Intersex (Testicular Oocytes) in Smallmouth Bass from the Potomac River and Selected Nearby Drainages”, Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 19:242-253, 2007).

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Updates contd.: a In related work, later this

month, the Friends will be receiving the laboratory results for the trace organics monitoring done last year at two locations on the North Fork and we will be issuing our project report in the next two months. That work will show which trace organics are in the North Fork and represents the most comprehensive survey of its kind. We will work with State, Federal, and academic researchers, adding this piece of the puzzle to both the investigation of intersex and the investigation of the fish kills that we have had since 2004. If you wish to receive an electronic copy of our trace organics report when it is complete, write to John Holmes at john.holmes@fnfsr.org.

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Calendar of Events March 13 - Friends’ Board Meeting March 15 - Cleanup April 10 - Friends’ Board Meeting April 12 - Clean up at First Spring April 26 - Friends Annual Mtg. and 20th anniversary celebration May 8 Friends Board Meeting June 6 Shenandoah Sojourn June 12 - Friends’ Board Meeting Sept. 6 - Monitor Appreciation Day Workshops: May 10 - Rain Barrel Workshop May 17 - Rain Garden May 17 - Riparian Forests May 31 - Soapstone Carving June 7 - Fossil Pottery Making June 7 - River Color Painting


2008 March Newsletter  

Volume 19, Number 1 Winter 2008 Annual Meeting and 20th Anniversary Celebrations Dedicated to protecting and enhancing the purity, beauty an...

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