Rockbridge Conservation’s Watershed Committee members do hands-on fieldwork and follow water-related problems of the Mountain Valley Pipeline; the proposed Rocky Forge Wind Farm; the American Hardwood sawmill on Fredericksburg Road; the Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (carcinogenic chemicals) in local waterways; and cleanup efforts for the Little Calfpasture, Woods Creek and other streams.
Studies have established that a large majority of Rockbridge rivers, streams and creeks are impaired due to runoff contamination. Two groups under the committee monitor local streams, one using chemical/bacterial analysis of water samples, the other netting macro-invertebrates to assess biological health. Their data can be viewed on the Rockbridge Conservation website.
1) Maury Watershed Monitors – Benthic Water Monitoring
The monitors use nets to sample the aquatic insects in many streams in our area. Counting the different species provides a good gauge of the health of a creek because some creatures tolerate pollution while others do not. Maury Watershed Monitors have been checking Rockbridge waters for two decades. This fall, they are beginning a study of the Little Calfpasture River above Goshen Pass as part of a state effort to improve the health of that stream. Data is collected in the spring and fall and is also reported to the Isaac Walton League/Save our Streams, one of the primary sources used by the DEQ, and is considered a Tier 2 reference.
You also enter your data at the VA SOS site here: https://vasosdata.org/login/login
2) Rockbridge Water Monitors – Chemical & Bacterial Monitoring
Rockbridge Water Monitors was established in 2020 to address the growing problem of E. coli in Rockbridge waters. In addition to bacterial monitoring, Rockbridge Conservation volunteers are trained by Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative (CMC) to measure pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, conductivity, temperature, by CMC. Monitors are recertified annually.
Data is also reported monthly to the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative/River Trends, which is a primary source for DEQ.
Both groups of monitors are actively recruiting new members. Anyone interested should contact John (MWM) or Catherine (RWM) as shown above.