Issuu on Google+

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 1

Winter 2007

Special Holiday Fundraiser Our Holiday 2006 fundraising campaign centered around a Holiday ornament featuring a painting by Diana Snarr of Strasburg, Virginia, which portrays a beautiful scene of the North Fork in the fall. More than fifty members donated $50 or more in order to acquire the first in a series of three ornaments that Friends will offer in 2007 and 2008. Thanks to everyone who donated any amount during the Holiday fund drive – every little bit helps us continue to focus on the issues confronting water resources in the North Fork Watershed.

Ornaments are still available and are lovely enough that you can hang them up year ‘round so call us and we will be happy to send you one or two!!!

Friends Website gets a New Look!

Our website has a new look but has the same address "http://www.fnfsr.org" with more information and a fun new look! Friends’ board member Susie Wilburn, has been working diligently to get our improved website on-line and it looks great! The website has tons of information regarding our activities, volunteer opportunities, river (North Fork) access locations, and

the latest updates on water resource issues including recent fish kills. You will also be able to renew your Friends membership on-line, read our newsletters, and purchase Friends related merchandise in the very near future! Check it out!

Grant Updates

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Grant writing and project planning are in full swing at Friends and we are happy to report success on a number of fronts:

$ A $25,000 grant from the MARPAT foundation was awarded to Friends in December 2006. The main goal of this project grant is to increase awareness in the entire North Fork Watershed community – farmers, other landowners,

local politicians and decisionmakers – regarding the effect of individual actions and policy decisions on water resources. And further, to encourage responsible decision making at the personal and professional levels regarding the use and protection of precious water resources. The health of the Shenandoah River is at a crucial juncture (continued growth related pressures, fish kills, intersex fish) and we at Friends are dedicated to promoting action in response to water quality and quantity issues in the home, at work, and in local government. This grant will allow Friends to renew an important and historic focus on water resources related education. Continued on Page 3


W

W

W

DEAR FRIENDS I hope this letter finds you well and recovered from the busy holiday season. As we all prepare to weather the winter that finally seems to be upon us, I ask you to take a few moments to read about FNFSR’s plans for the upcoming spring and hope that you can find a way to join us. We have had a busy fall writing grant proposals and receiving some money for ambitious projects. First, we will be developing a message to increase awareness in the NF Watershed community regarding the effect of individual actions and policy decisions on water resources. If you belong to any groups that you think would be interested in hearing our message please contact me. We are also on our way to deploying at least one sampler in the NF that will mimic the fish intake of trace organics such as pharmaceuticals. We hope that this data will lead to answers regarding the fish kills and or the intersex problem that has been identified in many of the adult smallmouth bass. Another big project that we will be undertaking this spring is a membership drive to dramatically increase our members. There has been an influx of new citizens into our watershed and we will be making a concerted effort to reach out to these new friends and employing their assistance to accomplish our mission. For those of you who attended our Fish Fry in the fall, you heard this from me then but I would like to repeat it: Each of you has a special talent or interest that can help us accomplish our goals. We are always looking for volunteers and want to hear from you to discuss ways that we can best utilize your talents. These are just a few of the things that we will be working on as the weather warms up. You will hear from us often this spring as we increase our visibility in the community. I look forward to working with you to strengthen Friends in the upcoming months. Karey Mullins Executive Director karey@shentel.net

2

.

F

N

F

S

R

Call for Volunteers!!!!! We need YOU! Friends is a grassroots group that needs the brain and brawn of our members. There are numerous ways to get involved with Friends and we are embarking on a number of initiatives that will be truly successful only if you, our members, get involved in a hands-on way. Whether you have an hour, a day, or a month to spare, there are opportunities to join Friends in making a difference and working to protect water quality and flow of the North Fork. Please contact Leslie Watson at friends@shentel.net or 459-8550 if you have any questions or would like to volunteer! Monitoring – Friends has inactive surface water monitoring sites in Strasburg, as well as many sites in the Timberville/Broadway area that we would like reactivate. Surface water monitoring requires brief and simple training and certification. Water samples are taken twice per month and samples are analyzed by the Friends of the Shenandoah. The results of the analysis are available on their website or on the Water Window (http://www.purewaterforum.org/ waterwindow/). This is a Shenandoah Basin wide effort and data is certified and used by the Department of Environmental Quality and other local and state agencies and groups. Advocacy – Our legislative committee needs volunteers who would be interested in tracking water related policy issues, regulations, and ordinances at the town and county government levels in municipalities through-

.

O

R

G

out the North Fork Watershed. Friends attempts to comment on local government actions that affect water quality and quantity issues in the North Fork region and would like two or three people to serve as Friends’ eyes and ears within the towns of Timberville, Broadway, New Market, Mt Jackson, Strasburg, and Winchester and the counties of Rockingham, Shenandoah and Frederick. Please contact Margaret Lorenz at friends@shentel.net or 459-8550 if you interested in helping out with this “Know Your Town” project. Education – Friends is exploring opportunities for water resource education for school age children as well as the general public. We are working with the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District (LFSWCD) to broaden the reach of their well established, SOL integrated school programs (related to water, soil, pollution, trees, and wildlife) and to reach a wider public audience with the educational tools they’ve developed. Additional programs, including Project Wet and Project Underground, provide opportunities for volunteers to become certified to teach students about the importance of water, karst, and cave resources in the Shenandoah River basin. Friends would like to create a volunteer team of certified instructors and those willing to present water conservation programs to civic and church groups, and other organizations. Please contact Leslie Watson at 459-8550 or friends@shentel.net if your interested in participating in this effort.


W

W

W

Continued from Page 1

$ DEQ $3,300

Friends has also been awarded almost $4,000 from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in support of our ongoing surface water monitoring program, which is part of a Shenandoah River Basin-wide and cooperative effort with Friends of the Shenandoah River and groups in Page, Rockingham and Augusta Counties. This grant helps sustain the monitoring program by providing money for equipment costs, conducting training, certification, monitor recruitment meetings, and mileage reimbursement.

$ Trace Organics ! Project

We are very excited about the initial phase of a project that will focus on enhancing research related to the numerous fish kills, which have plagued the North Fork as well as the entire Shenandoah River and Potomac River over the last few years. Fiends has applied for a major grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE) among other foundations, to support the collection of data on the presence of substances known as trace organics in the Shenandoah River. The causes of fish kills in multiple sections of the entire Shenandoah River in 3

.

F

N

F

S

R

2004, 2005 and 2006 are not yet known. They are likely the result of several factors. Research to date has shown that the dying fish had suppressed immune systems and the research also shows that most of the male bass in the river are exhibiting intersex traits. Both may be the result of exposure to and accumulation of certain organics in the fish tissues. These trace organics (pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, endocrine disruptors) can come from home use of drugs, shampoos and cleaners, as well as from specific agricultural or industrial activities. Water pollution related to trace organics also results from the flushing of medications and drugs down your toilet. While this is a traditional method for disposing of our expired or unused drugs, these substances are now showing up in our water supplies nationwide. These substances are not assessed or filtered out at sewage treatment plants or at drinking water plants. The best way to discard pharmaceuticals is to make sure you remove your name from prescription bottles, add water or something to make the pills unusable, and throw them in the trash. You may also be able to return them to your pharmacy. The nature and effects of these pollutants are beginning to receive national attention but they are not yet regulated and we are still learning about the sources, the levels and the effects they are having. Friends hopes to acquire two membrane sampling devices that simulate fish uptake of trace organics and other

.

O

R

G

chemicals to determine the levels of these chemicals in the samples (which represent fish fatty tissue) and in the river itself. This sampling method is a “state of the art” effort supported by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Shenandoah River Fish Kill Task Force and a number of watershed organizations in the local and regional vicinity. Testing is scheduled to start in late February.

$ WRAC

Well Monitoring Project

Having completed a cooperative effort with the Holman’s Creek Citizens Watershed Committee to test bacteria levels in residential wells throughout the Holman’s Creek Watershed, Friends is currently partnering with the Shenandoah County Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) to monitor well water depths in a number of wells located in central, northern, southern, western, and eastern portions of Shenandoah County. The goal of this project is to gain a seasonal picture of water level fluctuation in different parts of the County, in order to better prepare for future drought situations. This project is getting underway and monthly measurements will begin in January. John Kreitzburg is leading this effort and if you would like to help him out, please contact Leslie Watson at 459-8550 or friends@shentel.net.


W

W

W

.

F

N

F

S

R

.

O

R

G

A Big Thank You!

Thanks to our wonderful members and many dedicated volunteers and sponsors, Friends’ latest fundraising efforts have been huge successes! Our October 2006 Fish Fry raised more than $12,000, after expenses, thanks to sponsorships and wonderful donations of art and gifts by local artists and businesses and entertainment by local musicians and singers. Thanks especially to the Le Vines’ for the use of their spacious and lovely gardens and to all who offered their time, energy, and financial support for this truly enjoyable day of fundraising for the protection of the North Fork.

FNFSR PO Box 746 Woodstock, VA 22664

Calendar of Events • February 8 – Friends’ Board Meeting • February 17 – Friends’ Cleanup • March 17 – Friends’ Cleanup • April 10-12– Environment Virginia • April 28 - Friends’ Cleanup • April 21 – FNFSR Annual Meeting • May 18-22 - River Rally


Winter 2007 Newsletter