Help Wanted in 2023 – Crooked Branch Ravine Park

Project date has been changed to January 15th. See new post.

We had intended to have a workday tomorrow, December 15th, but looks like rain for most of the day. The next workday is planned for January 8th. Our focus is to continue removing non-native plants in the area where sheep grazed in the fall. This is important work and hope that you will join us at a workday in 2023.

Thanks to RVA Goats and Honey for working with us, to TrueTimber for removing two large Ailanthius, and for members of the James River Park Invasive Plant Task Force for their advice and assistance. And thanks to the volunteers who have worked with us in 2022!

Please contact us if you have questions.

Help Wanted – Crooked Branch Ravine Park

This small wooded area is home to at least 25 native tree species and native shrubs including azalea, blackhaw viburnum, and Vaccinium species. During our work we sometimes uncover native perrenials struggling to survive. These plants support the local wildlife as well as migrating birds and serve as an effective sponge for rainwater. We have made progress, but there is still much to do. Please consider joining us. The next work day is scheduled for Thursday, December 15th 10 a.m. to noon.

Habitat Restoration in Progress…

Reedy Creek Coalition members continue to work on removing invasive species in Crooked Branch Ravine Park. Sheep have cleared an area that was heavily impacted and now the follow-up begins. That includes removing vines the ground, removbing ivy from trees and monitoring for other non-native species that might return.

If you are intersted in helping please contact us with the most conveneint times of the day and week for you. We will try to schedule work days for times that are convenient for most people.

Our next 2 workdays are scheduled for Sunday, December 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. and Thursday December 15 from 10 – 12 a.m.

Sheep just getting started, carly October.
The sheep are done, but our work continues.
Volunteers remove non-native shrubs and other plants, November 17.

The Sheep Are Done, Habitat Restoration Begins

Reedy Creek Coalition will have our first work day at the Northrop Street entrance to Crooked Branch Ravine Park on Sunday, October 16 from 1-3 p.m. and we are looking for volunteers to help us return this area to a more natural state. We will be

  • collecting trash that was hidden by the ivy.
  • moving some of the debris – bricks, pieces of concrete, etc.
  • removing forsythia using a weed wrench.
  • removing ivy vines from the ground.  Much easier to do now.  

Please bring your own tools for removing ivy vines, gloves, and water.  Though we have not noticed poison in this area dress accordingly just in case.  Please contact us if you have questions.

Map to the site

Many thanks to RVA Goats and Honey for getting us off to a great start,   

See Sheep Eating Baaaaad Plants

The entrance to Crooked Bransh Ravine Park at the end of Northrop Street has been overtaken by a variety of invasive, non-native plants.   This happened quickly, is now more that we can manage and so we have called for HELP!  This week-end a small herd of sheep from RVA Goats and Honey will be chomping away at that aweful jungle so that we can begin to get some control of the area and let the native plants grow.  

The sheep will arrive late Friday morning and leave early Sunday morning,   

RCC members will be there from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 8 and we hope you will drop by.

  • See the sheep at work.

  • Get help with invasive plant ID.  Have a question about something in your yard?  Bring a sample or snap a picture.  

  • A short, guided walk through the woods and down to the creek. 

  • Plus the opportunity to see our lending libary and perhaps go home with a good book.

Map to the site

There really is no such thing as a bad plant.  These plants (English ivy, privet, Japanese honeysuckle and others) just do not belong here!




Another good book…This one is about BEAVERS!

Eager – The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

This is what one of our readers has to say about the book…

“Eager Beaver is a book that was recommended by a Reedy Creek Coalition member at the invasive ivy removal workday in January. She was right, the book reads more like a story than an academic study of the ecological importance of the habit building effects of beaver dams and poses the dilemma of how to effectively balance that benefit with the often times destructive effect on human creations like culverts and bridges/roads. The kind of book you’d likely never come across if not recommended…I’m glad it was.”  

To borrow a book enter the name of the book at this link. Please allow a day or two for a response which will come to your e-mail.

Want to Learn More about Bees and other Pollinators?

Have you been looking at the bees and other pollinators buzzing about in your garden and want to learn more? Concerned about the decline in insects? Our book, Pollinators of Native Plants, may interest you.

We also have a booklet, Bee Basics – An Introduction to Native Bees, which covers the most common groups of native bees, how they nest and how different bees species use different types of plants. This is also available as a PDF.

To borrow a book enter the name of the book at this link. Please allow a day or two for a response which will come to your e-mail.

Habitat Restoration: Why does your local watershed group think this is important?

Crooked Branch Ravine Park receives about 480,000 gallons of water during a 1 inch rain event and acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water, keeping much of it where it falls.  Tree leaves, bark and roots, along with the understory plants and leaf litter on the ground, make this possible.

English ivy and other non-native invasive plants will threaten the tree canopy and, over time and, as trees no longer thrive, the ability to retain rain will be limited.  Important habitat for critters will be lost, more sediment goes into the water, and there will be more flooding events down stream.  Think of the potential for flooding at Dunston Avenue near the Reedy Creek and in Forest Hill Park.  Our efforts now will have many benefits in the future.

Please come help remove English ivy and other invaisve, non-native plants.  

  • Sunday,  May 1  1 – 3 p.m.  or as long as you can stay.
  • Bring gloves and your own tools: hand clippers, lopers, a saw or other tool you prefer.  A small garden tool for digging may be helpful as well.  An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Please bring your own water and consider some insect repellent also.
  • Bring a friend!
  • Map to meeting site

Stormwater, most of which comes from the area around Midlothian Turnpike, leaving Crooked Branch Ravine after a rain.