Page 1

W

W

W

.

F

N

F

S

R

.

O

R

G

Fr i e n d s o f t h e N o r t h Fo r k of the S h e n a n d o a h R i v e r

Dedicated to protecting and enhancing the purity, beauty and natural flow of the North Fork. Volume 18, Number 2

2!7 Annual Meeting

Continuing a

recent tradition of doing something a little different at our annual meetings, Friends focused on fellowship and information this year, featuring Steve Reeser from the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries with an update on the continuing fish kill crisis and a recap of the activities and programs that Friends organized and participated in throughout 2006 and the spring of 2007. Friends also held a raffle during the annual meeting with the grand prize – a kayak and paddle – going to Mark Burr of Edinburg.

Fish Kill Update: Fish Kills Spread with no answer in sight. Reports and evidence of fish kills in the Shenandoah River Basin have continued into late spring but appear to be diminishing as we move into early summer, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. However, prior to this decline in reports of affected fish in the Shenandoah River, additional kills and sick fish were reported in the Maury, Cowpasture,

Summer 2007

The Friends’ Board is greatly interested in knowing what issues are of concern to our members and in what activities our members would like to be involved. Friends is indeed an organization supported by our membership and it is our goal to address those things that are closest to the hearts and minds of our members. Towards that end, we distributed a survey to meeting attendees. Survey results revealed, not surprisingly, that members are extremely concerned about the recent and ongoing fish kills and that Friends should maintain a leadership position in the effort to find causes and solutions to the problem. Results also suggested that members enjoy learning about the group’s activities and our accomplishments.

The business portion of the meeting included a report on Friends’ financial situation and the re-election of Ron Falyar and Gary Proctor to another three year term with our organization. Ron and Gary have been with Friends since the organization was founded and we are deeply grateful to their continued involvement and support. Thanks to all who contributed their time, effort, and donations to Friends’ 2007 annual meeting.

and James Rivers. These unfortunate developments add more mystery to an already confounding problem, as the Maury, Cowpasture, and James had heretofore escaped the kills affecting the Shenandoah since 2004.

sick and dead fish by expanding the fish kill task force advisory group to include areas such as fish diseases, microbiology, chemistry and agriculture to provide additional expertise for the investigation – expert panel should be working by July and intensifying analysis of the chemical makeup of agricultural waste streams in the affected watersheds. Many of the water quality tests, so far, have evaluated river water and have focused specifically on nutrients and ammonia, which are normally associated with agricultural waste. A plan is under development for expanded, comprehensive testing

What’s being done about it? Scientists remain baffled by the type of kills that are now plaguing waterways throughout the Shenandoah Valley and into central Virginia. DEQ reports that research efforts being coordinated by the Commonwealth’s Fish Kill Task Force are trying to “narrow the focus of possible cases” of observed friends@shentel.net

540-459-8550


W

W

W

of waste streams and sources connected with agricultural land uses. This accumulated information will be compared with chemicals found in fish tissue, sediments and water in the fish kill areas; and continued and magnified evaluation of viruses, bacteria and parasites. This work is being coordinated with work being conducted by the US Geological Society (USGS), the US Fish and Wildilife Service disease laboratory, and Cornell University. Additionally, numerous fish collected during the spring are being saved for further analysis, after additional chemical information comes in from water quality and agricultural samples. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also collecting sediment samples from some of the affected rivers in order to test for toxicity and estrogen-related chemicals as intersexed fish have been discovered within these rivers, as well. What we know! Research to date has shown that affected fish have suppressed immune systems and that the male fish in the Shenandoah Basin are exhibiting intersex traits – meaning male fish are growing eggs in their testes. One possible explanation for these developments may be the accumulation of and exposure of fish to chemicals known as trace organics – substances that come from the use of drugs and hormones in the home and on the farm, use of shampoos and home cleaning products, and other industrial and agricultural products. What is Friends doing? Friends of the North Fork is extremely dismayed by this ongoing problem and has made the fish kills a high priority issue, continuing to maintain a high level of activity as a member of the Commonwealth’s Fish Kill 2

.

F

N

F

S

R

Task Force, but also as a direct contributor of research information related to trace organic chemicals found in the Shenandoah River. Two sets of trace organics sampling instruments purchased by Friends via grants from the Virginia Environmental Endowment and others have been retrieved and sent to a USGS laboratory. Our samplers along with a number from the VA DEQ are being analyzed to determine the “soup” of chemicals that is present in the North Fork and other Virginia rivers. It is our hope that results from this analysis will shed some light on the potential causes of the fish related catastrophe occurring in the North Fork. Information for this article was obtained from VA DEQ’s website and from the Roanoke Times Read more on DEQ’s website: http://www.deq.state.va.us/info/srfis hkill.html Fish kills diminish; Investigation narrows focus, June 15, 2007

Fish Fry 2007

Mark your calendars and save the date of Sunday, October 14, 2007 for the Friends 3rd Annual Fish Fry. This year, our fun event will be held at the beautiful riverfront home of Wendy and Steve Pieper in Deer Rapids, just south of Strasburg, VA.   We are currently searching high and low for the most unique and wonderful auction items that will be available for your bid and you can once again enjoy a delicious fried cat fish meal while listening to the best music in the Valley.    So start doing a ‘dry’ dance for our weather and plan to join us for a day of good food and fun, all for the purpose of maintaining our ability to keep a close watch over our beautiful river.   For sponsorships, donations, reservations or if you just want to help, friends@shentel.net

.

O

R

G

call Diane Gould, 459-5284 or email Diane at

dgould@shentel.net.

Welcome, New Monitors! Six new water monitors have joined the Basin-wide surface water monitoring effort in w h i c h

Ross Clem is pictur out his new m ed here checking onitoring site .

Friends of the North Fork has participated in since the early 1990s. Ellen Nash and Jonathan Jay, Ross Clem, Darnice Pettigrew, and Bill and Ginny King have joined the ranks of certified monitors who volunteer their time and effort to collect water samples twice a month, all year long, rain or shine, hot or cold! Our combined effort with Friends of the Shenandoah River reaches the entire length of the North and South Forks and mainstem of the Shenan-

ogram, r Monitoring pr Welcome to ou d Ginny King. an Bill

doah River with approximately 100 monitoring sites on the river and its tributaries. Information gained from these outings is important and is used by the VA De540-459-8550


W

W

W

partment of Environmental Quality to: list and delist impaired waters for the 303(d) Impaired Waters List submitted periodically by VA DEQ to the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA); identify sources of pollution for previously listed impaired waters; track progress of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plans and other riparian/ stream restoration projects; identify water for future VA DEQ monitoring; and educate land owners on the water quality impacts of land use activities.

Seven Bends State Park Wo o d s t o c k , VA

Plans are underway for the formation of Seven Bends State Park located east of Woodstock along the North Fork. The park includes a total of 1,066 acres of floodplain, uplands, and mountain side, as well as almost four miles of river frontage along the North Fork. Land gifts from Dr. James R. Myers, the Town of Woodstock and the purchase of the 306-acre Camp Lupton property by the Commonwealth combine to form the land area of the future park. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has initiated the master planning process for the Park. Friends of the North Fork has been asked to participate on the Master Plan Advisory Committee and we are being represented by Board Member Mary Gessner and Program Manager Leslie Watson. If you have concerns regarding the park design, natural resource considerations or conservation issues, please email or call the Friends' office as soon as possible. The next advisory committee meeting is July 25. 3

.

F

N

F

S

R

This is a wonderful opportunity for our members to have a voice in the planning of what DCR hopes will be a highlight of their Virginia State Parks system.

CREP Program

Friends will be joining the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District and the Virginia Department of Forestry in sponsoring a workshop explaining the ins and outs and benefits of participating in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, otherwise known as CREP, on the evening of Monday, July 23, near Strasburg. Thanks to the broad participation of farmers, CREP has become one of Virginia’s most active water quality efforts. The program aims to improve Virginia’ water quality and wildlife habitat by offering financial incentives, cost-share and rental payments to farmers who voluntarily restore riparian buffers, filter strips and wetlands through the installation of approved conservation practices. Why consider a CREP Easement? By participating in CREP, landowners are already committed to protecting water quality and providing habitat for wildlife. CREP Easements go a step further by placing your land and conservation efforts under permanent protection. Establishing a CREP Easement on your land ensures that the decisions you make regarding the wise use of your land remain unchanged. Since easements pass with ownership, one’s efforts to protect water qualOur friends at the Lord Farifax Soil and Water Conservation District – LFSWCD, Pete Benedetto 540-459-5734 Ext. 3 pete.benedetto@va.nacdnet.net or Diane D. Dunaway with the Department of Conservation & Recreation in Richmond, 804-7865-1798 diane.dunaway@dcr.virginia.gov can help you with any questions you may have about the program. friends@shentel.net

.

O

R

G

ity and wildlife habitat continue in perpetuity, even after the original CREP owner no longer controls the land. Dear Members and Friends: Summer is here and we remain vigilant over the North Fork.  As many of you know, this spring there was another significant fish kill on North Fork.  Friends had placed two sets of passive samplers in the North Fork hoping to narrow the possibilities for agents causing the kills.  We have pulled those samplers, sent them off to a federal lab in MO and now must wait for the results which we hope to see in August or September.  These fish kills remain one of the biggest threats to the viability of the North Fork.  Please take every opportunity to educate your friends, family, elected officials and government folks about this problem and the fact that we need every resource available devoted to finding the causes of these kills.  On a separate note, early in the spring we sent our annual membership renewal forms.  If you have not renewed your membership, please do so TODAY!  We are only as strong as our members and we depend on your support.  Lastly look for our segment on the local cable Channel 3 which will be filmed on July 17.  We hope to use this opportunity to educate the public about Friends and the problems facing the North Fork.  I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.  Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments you may have.    Regards, Karey Executive Director karey@shentel.net

540-459-8550


W

W

W

.

F

N

F

THANKS to all of our dedicated monitors! Your efforts are valued and as you can see, extremely useful! An exciting opportunity to discuss citizen water monitoring is coming up on October 12-13, 2007. The EPA Region 3 Citizens Water Monitoring Conference is going to be at Shenandoah University. There will be presentations on using online water quality databases, using water quality data to measure effectiveness of land management practices, case studies of successful volunteer collaborations and workshops on macroinvertebrate identification, and rain barrel construction. Field trips are scheduled for Saturday and there will also be an opportunity to learn about the “Water Window” a website where the data from water samples collected by Friends of the North Fork and Friends of the Shenandoah (FOSR) and analyzed at the FOSR lab is compiled to produce graphs of results. More information is available at www.fosr.org.

friends@shentel.net

S

R

.

O

R

G

Calendar of Events • July 12 – FNFSR Board meeting • July 21 - Virginia Citizens for Water Quality Summit, University of Virginia • July 23 – Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Workshop co-hosting with Lord FX Soil & Water Conservation District & VA Dept. of Forestry • August 7 – Pure Water Forum Board meeting -Harrisonburg • August 11 - Shenandoah County Yard Crawl -Come see us! • October 6 - Oktoberfest, Strasburg Town Lot • October 12-13 – EPA Region 3 Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Conference Shenandoah University • October 12-14 - CBF Watershed Forum, Shepherdstown • October 14 – FNFSR Fish Fry • October 15-16 Shenandoah Valley Science Symposium

540-459-8550

Summer 07 Newsletter  

This is the Newsletter for Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you