Natures’ Best Hope

Native plants, especially trees and woody shrubs,  are the best way to reduce storm water runoff and therefore improve water quality.  That is why reducing lawn to make room for these plants as well as perennials is so important.  So why does our organization suggest using native plants?

That question is answered best by watching Natures’ Best Hope, a presentation by Dr. Doug Tallamy available on YouTube,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY4aV5hqkxY.  We recommend this for adults and older children; some young children might enjoy the images of insects.  Make it a movie night for the family. 

Dr. Tallamy’s book by the same name is highly recommended.  The Virginia Native Plant Society has this to say about his book by the same name:

“Tallamy’s explanations of the specialized relationships among plants, insects, and animals are fascinating stories, but also foundational building blocks for understanding the natural world we live in, whether we live in the city, the country, or anywhere between.”  

If you watch the presentation you may enter a drawing to win a native plant. The presentation itself lasts for about an hour and that is all you need to watch to enter the drawing.  The remainder of the video (Q&A and other things) is optional.  

Two native plant species, spicebush (Lindera bezoin) and ironwood (Carpinus caroliniana) , have been donated by Reedy Creek Environmental, a local native plant nursery.  These plants are local ecotype and have been propagated from seed collected in James River Park under a strict permit.  

After watching the presentation, e-mail reedycreekcoalition@gmail.com to enter the drawing.  Please indicate the species you prefer in the subject line.  Drawing will be on February 14th because we love native plants!

Invasive Plant Removal: Why does your local watershed group think this is important?

Crooked Branch Ravine Park acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water and keeping it where it falls.  It is also home to many native plants that support wildlife, including warblers and other song birds on their long migrations.

CBR map
The circle indicates the approximate location of Crooked Branch Ravine Park.

Protecting areas like this will help keep the rain where it falls and help improve water quality; this need is great in urban areas with lots of impervious surface.   Unfortunately, this little park has many non-native, invasive plants and over time they will threaten the tree canopy (natures’ best invention for capturing rain water).  And, as native species are lost so is the diversity that supports wildlife.

This is important work. We would appreciate your help.  Looks like the weather will cooperate with us this time!

  • Sunday,  November 15 from  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.  An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Please bring your own water.
  • Bring a friend!

NOTE

  • You must bring a mask and must wear it when you are anywhere near others.
  • There is plenty of room for social distancing.   We would prefer that people work 15 feet or further apart.
  • Tools will not be shared.

Map to meeting site

Volunteers Needed for Planting in Forest Hill Park

Reedy Creek Coalition and Friends of Forest Hill Park will be planting shrubs and some trees around the lake in Forest Hill Park on Saturday, November 7.  We will begin at 0900 and expect to be finished by 1200. 

  • Saturday, Nov 7 0900-1200
  • Meet at the gazebo down by the lake.
  • A mask is required and must be worn when you are anywhere near others.
  • Bring your own gloves.
  • Tools provided for the planting.

Our planting list includes all native species.  The goal is to help reduce erosion as well as provide habitat and food sources for our park critters.  

  • Button Bush
  • Arrowwood viburnum
  • Gray dogwood
  • Bay Berry
  • Spice bush
  • Sycamore
  • Swamp rose
  • Alder

In addition we will be planting several American chestnut cultivars in another area of the park.

All images are from https://www.wildflower.org/plants-main

Please let us know if you will attend.  Just add your name below and send.  Your e-mail is optional but will allow us to contact you should there be any changes.

Thanks to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities for their support!

Invasive Plant Removal: Why does your local watershed group think this is important?

Project cancelled for today – too wet and chilly. Looking forward to a good day for work soon.  

Crooked Branch Ravine Park acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water and keeping it where it falls.  It is also home to many native plants that support wildlife, including warblers and other song birds on their long migrations.

CBR map
The circle indicates the approximate location of Crooked Branch Ravine Park.

Protecting areas like this will help keep the rain where it falls and help improve water quality; this need is great in urban areas with lots of impervious surface.   Unfortunately, this little park has many non-native, invasive plants and over time they will threaten the tree canopy (natures’ best invention for capturing rain water).  And, as native species are lost so is the diversity that supports wildlife.

This is important work. We would appreciate your help.

  • Sunday,  October 25 from 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.  An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Please bring your own water.
  • Bring a friend!

NOTE

  • You must bring a mask and must wear it when you are anywhere near others.
  • There is plenty of room for social distancing.   We would prefer that people work 15 feet or further apart.
  • Tools will not be shared.

Map to meeting site

Crooked Branch Ravine Park – A Place Worth Protecting

Looks like this Sunday will be another unseasonably lovely day and a good day for cutting English ivy at the base of trees so that the vines above will die.  This is beneficial to the tree and prevents spread of the seed to other places.  This plant only forms flower, fruit and seed after climbing a vertical surface.   Birds then spread the seed to other sites.  You could prevent the sprouting of hundreds of new plants in other places with a few clips of your pruners!

We will even take a break for a little winter tree ID walk if you are interested.

  • Sunday,  March 1 from 1 – 3 p.m.
  • If you can only stay an hour, that’s OK. Every hour counts.
  • Bring gloves, hand clippers & a small saw if you have one. An old screwdriver is  sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Bring your own water bottle.

Map to meeting site

drawing, robin

Water Quality Monitoring

Reedy Creek Coalition is looking for a few more volunteers to join our water quality monitoring team.  Sample collection occurs once a month and takes about two hours; on the job training is provided.  If you are interested in helping or if you have questions please contact us at reedycreekcoalition@gmail.com .

Our monitoring activities can make a difference right here in our own neighborhood.   Back in 2012 during our travels along the stream we found what appeared to be a potential hot spot for E. coli; our sample collection confirmed these suspicions.  We contacted Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities who investigated, found and repaired a sewer leak.  Click here for that story.

This is Citizen Science at its best!  Please join us.

Invasive Plant Removal: Why does your local watershed group think this is important?

Crooked Branch Ravine Park acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water and keeping it where it falls.  It is also home to many native plants that support wildlife, including warblers and other song birds on their long migrations.

CBR map
The circle indicates the approximate location of Crooked Branch Ravine Park.

Protecting areas like this will help keep the rain where it falls and help improve water quality; this need is great in urban areas with lots of impervious surface.   Unfortunately, this little park has many non-native, invasive plants and over time they will threaten the tree canopy (natures’ best invention for capturing rain water).  And, as native species are lost so is the diversity that supports wildlife.

This is important work. We would appreciate your help.

  • Sunday,  September 8 from 1 – 3 p.m.  or as long as you can stay.
  • Bring gloves and hand clippers.  An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Please bring your own water.
  • Bring a friend!

Map to meeting site

Happy Trails

Imagine having thousands of visitors in your yard every year. The
wear and tear on your lawn and garden would be substantial. Grass
would be trampled, compacted beyond repair with paths worn into ruts
that pool with water when it rains. Soon your visitors, in avoiding these
areas, would widen the bare spots. That’s what is happening in our
James River Park System and in our backyard, Forest Hill Park. The
parks see thousands of visitors a year, millions in James River Park.
We hike, jog, bike and walk our dogs into the parks in all types of
weather. A frequent visitor to the parks may notice the muddy ruts in
the trails that seem to be getting bigger and taking longer to dry. This
happens when trails erode below the soil surface and the water has
nowhere to go. The muddy areas lead to another problem that’s
created when trail users dodge the mud and go off of the trail, trail
widening.

Why does erosion matter and trail widening matter?

  • Safety!  Rutted, uneven surfaces, exposed rocks and plant roots
    are a tripping hazard for hikers and joggers.
  • Environmental impact! Eroded soil can make its way into streams
    and eventually the river, increasing water turbidity and sediment
    buildup. This can have a negative impact on aquatic organisms and
    the overall health of the streams and rivers.Invasive species move into disturbed areas and compete with native species for resources to the detriment of micro and macroecosystems that depend on each other to flourish.  Invasive species seeds can be introduced to new areas from the mud in shoe or bike treads.
  • Aesthetics!  Rutted trails and bare spots on hillsides are ugly, show
    lack of care and lessen the quality of recreational experience.

What can we as park users and lovers do?

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY Stay off the trails when it has rained in the last
    24 hours. Use an alternative hard surface trail until the trails have
    dried.  *Trail conditions for James River Park as well as trail rules can be found here.  https://jamesriverpark.org/visit-the-park/trails-overview/
  • Please use ONLY existing trails DoNOT create new ones. The parks
    are home to many species of plants that can be damaged or killed
    when trampled.
  • When hiking, walk single file rather than side by side.

So, let’s work together and use our parks responsibly and preserve
their natural beauty for generations to come.

For more information:
pwrc.usgs.gov. Assessing and Understanding Trail Degradation:
Results from Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area
imba.com

https://www.americantrails.org/resources/studies-weigh-mountain-biking-hiking-impacts

Twitter info: Trail conditions @RVATrailReport

Water Quality Monitoring

Reedy Creek Coalition is looking for a few more volunteers to join our water quality monitoring team.  Sample collection occurs once a month and takes about two hours; on the job training is provided.  If you are interested in helping or if you have questions please contact us at reedycreekcoalition@gmail.com .

Our monitoring activities can make a difference right here in our own neighborhood.   Back in 2012 during our travels along the stream we found what appeared to be a potential hot spot for E. coli; our sample collection confirmed these suspicions.  We contacted Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities who investigated, found and repaired a sewer leak.  Click here for that story.

This is Citizen Science at its best!  Please join us.

Invasive Plant Removal: Why does your local watershed group think this is important?

Crooked Branch Ravine Park acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water and keeping it where it falls.  It is also home to many native plants that support wildlife, including warblers and other song birds on their long migrations.

CBR map
The circle indicates the approximate location of Crooked Branch Ravine Park.

Protecting areas like this will help keep the rain where it falls and help improve water quality; this need is great in urban areas with lots of impervious surface.   Unfortunately, this little park has many non-native, invasive plants and over time they will threaten the tree canopy (natures’ best invention for capturing rain water).  And, as native species are lost so is the diversity that supports wildlife.

This is important work. We would appreciate your help.

  • Sunday,  January 6 from 1 – 3 p.m.  or as long as you can stay.
  • Bring gloves and hand clippers.  An old screwdriver is sometimes helpful for removing ivy from trees; we will show you how.
  • Bring a friend!

Map to meeting site