Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed

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Stop Erosion NOW!

Rappahannock News

Save Money, Save Streams: Stop Erosion NOW!
By Beverly Hunter

Homeowners, excavators, educators and students, local government officials, regional experts on soil and water, and the general public will discuss and learn ways to prevent soil erosion on Saturday, November 22 from 10 a.m.until noon at the Washington Fire Hall. . This public forum, titled "Save Money, Save Streams: Stop Erosion NOW!" is the third in a series of free educational events sponsored by RappFLOW - Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed.

Erosion caused by recent heavy rains troubles many Rappahannock residents. A recent survey conducted informally by RappFLOW garnered comments such as:

"Tons and tons of gravel have washed into the creek…and we pay for the gravel ourselves!"

"Road is very steep, and there is tremendous wash off in the road and gravel into the creek."

"We lost lots of gravel and have the biggest ruts ever in 20 years."

"Our pond next to the road overflowed and washed out the driveway."

"The rain from the barn roof and from the surrounding lawn and our new terrace, collects and races downhill along the path of least resistance, which is the driveway."

"I got out mattock, shovel, and wheelbarrow and started digging, moving the dirt back up the driveway, cleaning out the ditches, and filling the ruts. Haven't finished yet, and I don't know when I'll get back to it. I've been doing this for a lot of years, and it is getting tiresome. Better ideas would be most welcome."

How can citizens protect not only their driveways, backs and pocketbooks, but also our water resources from damaging erosion? How effective are our Soil Disturbance ordinances in preventing erosion? These are concerns expressed by. homeowners, contractors, excavators and environmentalists.

The November 22 public forum will address such questions, and help individuals learn more about methods to prevent and correct erosion on their property.
The Event will include a featured presentation, panel discussion, exhibits and educational handouts on the topic. In addition, local excavators are invited to come and share their know-how with the community.

The featured speaker will be Mike Lee, Erosion and Sediment Control Specialist for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. He will address the impact of erosion on water quality and fish populations, the usefulness of our soil disturbance ordinances,. how to construct a driveway for longevity and controlling stormwater on site before it can cause erosion.

Panelists will include Richie Burke, Building Inspector for Rappahannock County; Perry Cabot, Vice-President, Culpeper Concerned Citizens; Roger Mello, Principal of the Rappahannock High School; and Greg Wichelns, Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District.

Seventh grade students with their teacher Jill Keihn from Hearthstone School will exhibit their study of the South Fork of the Thornton River Watershed. Paul Komar, Vice President of the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP) will provide an exhibit on the soil disturbance ordinances, along with his collection of dramatic erosion pictures.

Co-sponsors and exhibitors for this Event include Concerned Culpeper Citizens, Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District, Hearthstone School, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Madison County Task Force for Sustainable Growth, Piedmont Environmental Council, Piedmont Research Institute, the Rappahannock County government, Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection, and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

All are welcome to participate. Participation is free, and light refreshments will be served.

About the Experts

Mike Lee has 10 years construction experience, a B.S. in Environmental Science from WVU and 10 years experience in the erosion and sediment control arena. At the Division of Soil and Water Conservation, Mike's three main duties are: periodic reviews of localities' erosion and sediment control programs, inspection of projects for compliance with the erosion and sediment laws and regulations and teaching the State environmental certification classes.

Greg Wichelns is the District Manager of the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District (5 counties). He has a BS in Ecological Agriculture from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MS in Horticulture from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Previously, he was the Greenhouse Facilities Manager and staff horticulturist for the Institute of Biological Chemistry at Washington State University. Greg reviews erosion and sediment control site plans for member counties, provides technical sssistance to local governments, plans and assists with educational programs.