Archive for the ‘Workday Projects’ Category

In case you already read the post below, it has been updated to indicate that steel-toed shoes will no longer be required for the tour.  You will still need a hard hat.  As requested in the post, please let us know if you can bring your own hard hat.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind??

How many times have you flushed the toilet today?  How many times in your lifetime?  Have you ever stopped to wonder happens next?  One of the most important functions of our local government is to deal responsibly with everything that goes down our drains.  In the old days, it was considered enough to just remove the “solids” and kill the bacteria before dumping the water back into the James River.

Over time, it was realized this primitive treatment was not enough.  The wastewater still contained lots of pollutants such as nutrients that fouled our waters.  Over the years, wastewater treatment has become more and more complicated as large cities like Richmond try to maintain “state of the art” facilities and do their part to restore the Chesapeake Bay.  In fact, Richmond is currently in the midst of yet another round of upgrades.

Please come and join us as we tour the Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to find out what happens to all that stuff that goes down the drain.   The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has generously offered to provide a guided tour on Saturday, February 9, from 9:00 – 11:00 am.  The tour will include an explanation of the treatment process as well as a chance to see a recently installed “green roof”.

Space is limited so registration is required.  Please register by sending an e-mail as soon as possible to: reedycreekcoalition@gmail.comIt would be helpful if you included “WWTP Tour” in the subject line. 

Since there is ongoing construction at the plant, we will be required to wear hard hats for the tour.  DPU and the Reedy Creek Coalition have a limited number of hard hats available for those who cannot bring one.  Please let us know in advance if you will need to borrow a hard hat so we can plan accordingly.

In order to streamline passage through plant security, we will gather at the Stone House in Forest Hill Park at 8:45 am and carpool/caravan over to the WWTP.  More details will be provided later.

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Owl Orchard Community Garden at 44th and Reedy

What is the value of a Riparian Tree Planting?

“Riparian” means “located on the bank of a natural watercourse,” in this case our own Reedy Creek.  Riparian tree plantings (also called “Riparian Buffers”) offer many benefits for humans and wildlife.  These include:

  • They trap sediment.  Runoff from lawns and roads is trapped in the buffer rather than being allowed to enter the stream.  Sediment is the greatest cause of decreased water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • They trap nutrients and pollutants.  These include fertilizers, pesticides, and animal wastes from lawns and roads.
  • They provide better habitat for fish and aquatic invertebrates by reducing fine sediments, lowering water temperature, increasing dissolved oxygen, and supplying organic materials such as leaves and woody debris to serve as food for the invertebrates.
  • They provide shelter and food for other wildlife including birds, mammals, and reptiles and amphibians.

Ideally, a good riparian buffer should range from  25 to 100 feet in width on each side of the stream.  Our newly planted buffer will be about 75 feet wide.  It will be to the right of the utility pole in the picture below.  Space to the left will be available for community gardening (see bottom of hill to the left in the photo) as well as fruit trees, some of which have already been planted.

Owl Orchard Community Garden

We already have enough volunteers for this tree planting project but another tree planting project at the Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant on Friday, December 7th, could use your help!  If you might be able to help with that, please contact Hands On Greater Richmond.

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A rain garden is a landscape feature that is specifically designed and built to receive and hold a certain amount of stormwater for a short period, allowing much of it to infiltrate, and the excess to flow safely to a designated site.  There are formulas to follow and soil mixes to use and guides for which plants to use.

A Rain Garden by a House

A rain garden can add interest and beauty to your property and can serve as a focal point for your design or can screen an unwanted view.  Plants of different varieties and sizes soften the edges of the garden and help the water infiltrate faster.  Native plants are used that can tolerate extremes of wet and dry and these create a habitat for birds and beneficial insects.

An example of a large rain garden in the Reedy Creek Watershed is at the Patrick Henry School, near the entrance to the parking lot and adjacent to the slope leading to Reedy Creek in Forest Hill Park.

Another, designed by Charlene Harper of Timmons Group in cooperation with Reedy Creek Coalition and the Alliance, is being installed at Miles J. Jones Elementary School at the headwaters of Reedy Creek.. This garden will be planted on October 20 by Hands on Greater Richmond volunteers and volunteers from Reedy Creek Coalition and Richmond Tree Stewards. You can sign up to volunteer here: http://www.handsonrva.org/HOC__Volunteer_Opportunity_Details_Page?id=a0CA000000JYTJLMA5 (few spaces remaining).

Do you live in the Reedy Creek watershed? Are you interested in installing a rain garden on your property?  Do you want someone to help cover the costs?  Sign up for a free Watershed Protection Audit here: https://reedycreekcoalition.org/watershed-audits/.  If, after conducting the audit, we recommend a rain garden for your property, we can help cover the costs of a “do-it-yourself” rain garden or of a contractor installed rain garden.    Check out https://reedycreekcoalition.org/financial-incentive-program/ for more details on our Financial Incentive Program. Also, don’t forget to check out our resource links on the side of the page for more information on rain gardens and other practices.

Rain Garden under Installation in a Front Yard

Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/reedycreekcoalition to keep up with volunteer activities and share your watershed protection story!

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DID YOU KNOW that all storm drains in the Reedy Creek Watershed empty directly into Reedy Creek or its tributaries?  Not only does stormwater go straight into the Creek, but so does any trash that gets into the storm drains.  Reedy Creek has many tributaries, some of which have been covered up, but still deliver water to Reedy Creek.  An example is Crooked Branch which has mostly been covered up but daylights under Crutchfield Street.   Any storm drains in the Crooked Branch watershed empty into Crooked Branch (which drains the Belt Boulevard area) and all this stormwater, along with trash, ends up in Reedy Creek.

Storm Drain off 49th Street Loaded with Trash

What happens to the trash that gets into the Creek?  It makes its way first to the James River, 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.  Such trash and sediment is a principal cause of the loss of  oysters and grasses which normally grow in the Bay.  For a video describing this, click here.

This is why it is so important not to dump trash in storm drains!

On August 11, 2012 we will be marking storm drains within the Reedy Creek watershed to remind people not to place trash in the storm drains.  The markers will look like this (thanks are due to the City of Richmond for supplying us with these markers and for being responsible for the very nice fish design on the markers):

Drain Marker

We will meet at the Forest Hill Park Stone House at 9AM and work until 12PM.  Participants must be 18 years of age or older.

Our first priority will be the commercial areas of Forest Hill Ave. and Westover Hills Boulevard and then we will move out from there.  We will especially concentrate on storm drains located at bus stops and at areas with high pedestrian traffic.

Storm Drain at Bus Stop along Crutchfield Street.
Before getting on a bus, deposit any trash in the trash basket, not the storm drain!

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June 6, 2012 6-7pm

Presented by: Clean Virginia Waterways and Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Registration Fee: $65 per rain barrel
Location: Forest Hill Park (The Stone House)
4021 Forest Hill Avenue, Richmond, VA

Why Rain Barrels? Rain Barrels can be placed under
your down spouts to capture roof runoff. The water stored in the
rain barrel can be used to water gardens or lawn. Rain barrels
can also help control stormwater runoff, which causes erosion
and degrades our streams.
Benefits. Although rain barrels are available at
garden stores, they are not cheap! During the workshop
you will learn how to install and maintain your rain barrel,
plus about your role in water conservation and water
quality protection. Learn how you impact the Chesapeake
Bay and other waterways. You will leave the workshop
with a pre-made rain barrel that was once a pickle barrel.
Note: this is not a “hands-on” workshop.

How do I sign up?  Download registration form from: http://www.longwood.edu/cleanva/rainbarrels.htm
Limited enrollment — sign up today!

Need more information?
Please call 434-395-2602 or send an email to

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Project Clean Stream is an annual stream and shoreline cleanup coordinated by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and partnering watershed organizations. Our goal is to have 5,000 volunteers at 200 sites throughout the Bay Watershed pick up a total of 5,000 lbs of trash.  You can be a part of this huge effort by joining us on April 14th to clean up Reedy Creek in Forest Hill Park!

When: April 14, 2012 – 9:00am rain or shine.
Where: We will meet at the Stone House in Forest Hill Park and will be cleaning up the portion of Reedy Creek that’s in the park.
To sign up: Click this link: Volunteer for this site!

Please bring waders if you own them. Some will be provided along with gloves, bags, etc.

Hope to see you there!

Stream Cleanup

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