Linville Creek Cleanup Eyed
Valley Groups Digest Pollution Diet Plan
Local farmers and landowners gather for the Linville Creek Agricultural Focus Group on Wednesday evening to discuss best-management practices for Linville Creek to help improve its water quality. (Photos by Holly Marcus / Special to the DN-R)
Nesha McRae, watershed field coordinator, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, attends the session.
The meeting, which took place Wednesday, was the first and last for the agricultural working group, which is helping to craft a cleanup plan for the impaired creek.
A larger group of about 60 local residents gathered in Linville in late November for the first session. That group was divided into agricultural and urban working groups; the ag group met last week and the urban group will meet today.
The larger group will come together again for a final session this spring, probably in April, according to Nesha McRae, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation TMDL/watershed field coordinator.
The conservation department, the state agency charged with putting together local TMDL plans, has hired a contractor to write the plan.
A TMDL — total maximum daily load — is a pollution diet state and federal regulators require for all impaired waters and meant to reduce the amount of pollutants that run into them.
Linville Creek, which covers almost 30,000 acres between Harrisonburg and Broadway, is considered impaired for two reasons: It contains too much sediment and too much E.coli, a bacteria found naturally in the human body but certain strains of which can cause illness.
Farmers were particularly interested in how to keep riparian buffers free of invasive species and how to reduce stream bank erosion, among other topics.
“I think they all felt like [stream bank erosion is] a problem in our watershed, which is what our data shows,” McRae said.
The group set a goal to fence out livestock on about 50 to 60 percent of the stream over the next seven years. The proposed ultimate timeline for the cleanup is 14 years total.
Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or email@example.com