What Reedy Creek Coalition has done
The centerpiece of the Reedy Creek Coalition activities over the last seven years has been the collaboration with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to develop and pilot the Watershed Protection Audit program (now known as the RiverWise program). Over 140 assessments have been completed in the Reedy Creek watershed and over $200,000 in grant money was obtained to install best management practices on private property. Other highlights of the last seven years include:
- Six years of monitoring data at 4 stations distributed through the watershed.
- Streamwalks covering over 80% of the mainstem of Reedy Creek and its tributaries
- Workshops and tours on best management practices (rain gardens, Bayscapes, rain barrels, native plants, etc.)
- Planning and volunteer assistance for installation of best management practices at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts (rain garden, Bayscape, stabilization of eroded slope, tree planting)
- Participation in educational events at schools (Miles Jones and PHSSA), Sunday in the Park, and other neighborhood venues
- Presentations at state (Virginia Citizens for Water Quality), regional (Middle James Roundtable), and neighborhood meetings
- Riparian tree plantings
- Stream clean-ups
- Storm drain marking
- Invasive plant removal in Forest Hill Park and Crooked Branch ravine
Things Reedy Creek Coalition and DPU agree on
- Reedy Creek has problems due to stormwater.
- A variety of green infrastructure projects (especially at schools) which were listed in the 2012 Reedy Creek Watershed Stormwater Master Plan: George Wythe HS, Westover ES, Miles Jones ES, Covington St. property, Forest Hill Park, etc.
- Reedy Creek watershed could me a model for watershed restoration in the city.
- Need for planning.
Things RCC could help provide in collaboration with DPU and other organizations
- Volunteers to help reduce cost of green infrastructure projects and volunteers to water and maintain BMP (best management practice) plantings.
- Education/Outreach on stormwater problems and solutions to homeowners, churches, and commercial properties in the form of workshops, tours, etc. (Although we have focused on Reedy Creek, some of our events attract people from other watersheds. In the future, we could be part of specific efforts to reach people in other parts of the city.)
- Monitoring and stream condition assessment of Reedy Creek. (We could consider assisting with monitoring in other watersheds. Not all of our monitors live in the Reedy Creek watershed and might be interested in other watersheds. Also, there is the possibility of systematically training college and/or high school students to collect data.
- Training to interested volunteers in other watersheds. (stormwater assessments, monitoring, stream condition assessment, organization of events, etc.)
- Data collection, “ground-truthing” of existing watershed conditions, and other inputs into a comprehensive watershed plan for Reedy Creek.
- Pursuing grant funding for projects in Reedy Creek
Moving Forward: Let’s work together on projects we all agree on
- Stream condition assessment (Reedy Creek Coalition has already gathered a lot of relevant data and is in the process of summarizing it.)
- Comprehensive watershed plan for Reedy Creek
- Green infrastructure projects at schools, Forest Hill Park, and other city properties
- Make Reedy Creek a model for watershed restoration (use BMPs for tours and outreach, pilot new programs and approaches for stormwater reduction).
- Pilot a cost-share program for residential properties, churches, and perhaps commercial properties.
- Investigate the possibility of obtaining Chesapeake Bay TMDL credits for Forest Hill Park Lake and initiate a regular dredging program as originally promised by city staff.
- Delay the currently proposed stream restoration project and use the city portion of the money to carry out the green infrastructure projects we agree on during the next 3 years. Perhaps some of the DEQ grant money could be used for green infrastructure projects. If not, the DEQ portion could be matched through grants to non-profit collaborators, volunteer time, cost-share program, and other city departments involved in green infrastructure projects (e.g. Richmond Public Schools, Department of Public Works, Richmond Recreation, Parks, and Community Facilities).
- No proposals for stream restoration in Reedy Creek for the next 8 years during which time a stream condition assessment study and comprehensive watershed plan are completed.
- Create a “balanced” Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan that focuses on watershed restoration with a focus on reducing storm water run-off.