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Have you considered nature journaling but haven’t started yet?

Don’t really understand what it’s all about, but want to learn?

This meeting is for you!

Our speaker. Lynn Wilson, is a Riverine Master Naturalist who enjoys and teaches nature journaling in the Chickahominy watershed.  She emphasizes that it is not necessary to be an artist to enjoy and learn from nature journaling.

Please e-mail reedycreekcoalition@gmail.com to reserve your space.

Capture 2.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let it GROW

Almost six years ago Reedy Creek Coalition and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay decided to do something about a bare slope in Forest Hill Park; improving water qualilty was the goal.  We do not have “before” pictures so you will need to use your imagination…

  • Hard, compacted, bare soil (if you want to call it soil.)   This stuff was dead; real soil is alive, moisture retentive and complex.
  • What little did grow there was mowed down.
  • There were no plants to hold the leaves that fell from nearby trees.  It either blew away or was removed.
  • When it rained water ran off the slope, into the road and down the hill.  Actually by the time it got to the road, it was a little muddy stream carrying sediment down to the lake.

Got the picture?

We planted about 30 small trees in February, 2010.  Unfortunately, the following summer was hot and dry with July temperatures of 105 degrees and only about an inch of rain all month.  Attempts to water the trees were not successful;  water ran off the slope instead of into the ground, rain did the same and most of the trees died.  The good thing was the sign: “NO MOWING. HABITAT RESTORATION IN PROGRESS”.  That made all the difference.   Mowing stopped.  Nature took over.

Loblolly pines were the first to sprout and it wasn’t long before there were enough of them to hold some autumn leaves on the slope.  Other plants began to grow. The loblolly have now been joined by several eastern red cedar, Virginia pines, a few American holly seedlings, and the occasional little blueberry.  Grasses help hold the soil.  Acorns, hickory nuts, and the seeds of tulip poplar in the leaf litter offer hope.   There are even a few clumps of moss and some tiny mushrooms at work when it’s damp.

This slope, once bare and ugly, now holds much more of the rain that falls there and is coming to life.   Benefits include cleaner water, food and habitat, beauty and lessons learned.  Simply not mowing made all the difference; nature did the rest.  Thanks to Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities for letting the slope grow!

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Great information from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Improve water quality while enjoying vegetables from your own garden, providing habitat for pollinators and making your property look awesome.

And remember… Rain barrels are beautiful!

Runoff Busters

 

 

 

Thanksgiving is over but I wanted to say thanks to some great people who recently worked together to help solve a recurrent trash problem along Forest Hill Avenue.
One of the food stations for the annual Anthem Richmond Marathon is erected each year at 44th and Forest Hill Ave. For years past, trash in the form of candy wrappers, energy gel packs, and paper cups remained strewn about for days after the event that brings 19,000 runners through our neighborhood. The November weather elements impact this trash—winds scatter it from the street into personal properties and down the sidewalks of Forest Hill Avenue, and worse, rain runoff carries the trash into the storm drain (also located at 44th and Forest Hill Ave) that empties into the Reedy Creek Watershed. Time compounds the problem—the more time trash has to mix with leaf litter and become concealed, the more ineffectual cleanup efforts are.
This annual litter bomb is more than a neighborhood nuisance and an unsightly mess, it has a negative impact on our environment as the trash that makes its way through the storm drains first goes to the James River, and then to the Chesapeake Bay. Along the way, much of it gets deposited in the bottom of the creek, river or bay where it interferes with the life of bottom-dwelling creatures and plants.
After talking with the marathon organizer (Sports Backers), I learned they use street sweepers for post-race cleanup. Beyond that, they did not have a good plan for promptly cleaning trash not captured by street sweepers. So in the Spring of 2015, I reached out to Anna Mathis of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and asked for help. She put me in touch with her colleague and RVA Clean Sweep’s Amy Robins who sits on Richmond’s Clean City Commission (CCC) for the 5th District. After the CCC discussed the issue at their monthly meeting, the CCC Coordinator Darlene Mallory personally met with the marathon organizers the week before this year’s event to discuss the need for same-day, comprehensive cleanup efforts.
As a result, no trash remained on Forest Hill Ave (or surrounding areas) the day after Anthem Richmond Marathon came through our neighborhood this past November. Thank you, Clean City Commission and Sports Backers! I appreciate your efforts to work together to address community concerns and to keep Forest Hill neighborhood trash-free and for keeping trash out of the Reedy Creek Watershed.
Please consider getting involved in the New Year, volunteering for good causes with these wonderful community organizations:
Thanks again,
Susan Price

stream restoration

The City of Richmond is planning a stream restoration for a portion of Reedy Creek that is within Crooked Branch Ravine Park.   The basic goal is to reduce sediment and nutrient loads which localities are required to do under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maxomum Daily Load (TMDL).   While this sounds like a step in the right direction, Reedy Creek Coaltion has decided that we cannot support this project.

Our concerns are summarized below.

Read our complete comments to the Department of Public Utilities here: RCC Comments to DPU

Click here see the draft of the city’s plan.      Please note that other projects are included in this plan; our comments apply only to the Reedy Creek Project.

Location

CBRavine

Red marker indicates where we believe the project will begin

  • The restoration site is immediately downstream from a long section of concrete channel that intensifies the power of the stormwater draining from Midlothian Turnpike, decreasing the chance of success.   This is a high risk-low reward project.
  • The project is planned for a passive park that is completely wooded.  Regrading the stream banks will require that heavy equipment gain access to the site and will require the removal of trees from the stream bank.
  • This portion of Reedy Creek does have eroded banks, but it is the best riparian area along the creek.  Other sites in the upper portion of the watershed may be more appropriate.

Storm Water Volume Reedy Creek after a rain

  • The source of the problem for urban streams is the volume of water that runs off of lawns, roofs, and paved areas into the streams.
  • Stream restoration does nothing to fix this problem.
  • The image above is Reedy Creek downstream of the proposed restoration site after a rain.  This is not a Gaston event! This is a regular occurence.
  • Efforts to reducing storm water volume should come first.  Restoration projects follow.
  • A comprehensive long term plan is needed.

If you agree with us we ask that you like this post, share it and contact your council person.

Whether you agree or not we ask that you take action to reduce the amount of  storm water that leaves your property.

Thank you.

 

 You are welcome to visit the

Native Plant of the Week

at 4020 Dunston Avenue.

The featured plant will be in the front yard

and will be marked.  

 NPW beauty berry 2NPW beauty berry

 

Common Name: American Beautyberry

Scientific Name: Callicarpa americana

General Description: Woody shrub that reaches 6-8 feet in height.  Branches arch outward providing a rounded shape.  June brings subtle, pink flowers (above right) that turn into conspicuous clumps of purple berries that encircle the stem.  Leaves turn yellow in the fall; but the colorful berries persist into the winter.

Habitat: American beautyberry prefers partial shade with moist soil.  It occurs naturally in open woods and thickets.  However, it can tolerate full sun and is somewhat drought tolerant once it is well established.

Additional information: Aside from its amazing ornamental value, the fruit of American beautyberry is a valuable winter food for many species of birds and mammals.  Summer residents such as catbirds and over-wintering birds such as the Eastern towhee munch on the berries.  The American beautyberry plants located in our backyard (Just ask if you would like to see them.) were started from a few berries collected near the town of Waverly, approximately 40 miles away.  Once established, the easiest propagation method is to simply dig up the new plants that germinate from the fallen berries near the mother plant.

” If half the American lawns were replaced with naitve plants, we could create the equivalent of a 20 million acre national park – nine times bigger than Yellowstone, or 100 times bigger than the Shenandoah National Park.”   Doug Tallamy

Read more here

Please join us for our next meeting.

We will talk more about native plants, learn the importance of local ecotypes and tell you what we know about the plan to restore of a section of Reedy Creek.

RCC meeting 090915

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