Group wins $141,000 grant to help clean up Spout Run

September 4, 2012
By Val Van Meter
The Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — Clarke County and four private nonprofit organizations have won a $141,000 grant to help clean up Spout Run and remove it from the state’s list of impaired waterways.

The consortium, called C Spout Run, is recipient of a Small Watershed Grant from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, according to county Natural Resources Planner Alison Teetor.

At a meeting held in April in the Town of Boyce, local residents learned from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) that a 2010 study of the stream and its two tributaries, Roseville Run and Page Brook, showed they were polluted by E. coli bacteria and heavy sediment.

DCR is attempting to create a plan to mitigate those issues, with the help of local groups and individuals.

The waterways in question rise west of Lord Fairfax Highway (U.S. 340) at Boyce and flow east through Millwood to the Shenandoah River.

Bill Howard, executive director of The Downstream Project, one of the consortium’s partners, was in Arlington last week to accept the grant. He said C Spout Run aims to remove the stream and its tributaries from the impaired list in five years.

He said each organization and entity in the consortium brings its own talents and expertise to the effort.

The grant will be used to implement a number of specific projects along the stream banks, including two streambank restoration projects, and document the work as a model for other localities.

Spout Run cuts through marl soil, which is easily washed away. Marl banks become undercut, allowing large amounts of soil to wash into the stream.

Trout Unlimited, which has experience in such projects in Clarke and Frederick counties, will lead the way on the restoration.

Clarke County will promote “beautiful buffers,” Howard said. Landowners will be asked to plant trees and shrubs along the stream, replacing grass to better hold the soil. And they will be asked to commit to maintain the plantings.

The county also plans to plant three acres of trees in the Spout Run Watershed. The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) will work with the county to publicize the effort and recruit volunteers for the tree planting.

Farmers will be asked to create at least four acres of buffer zone and to fence livestock out of the streams.

The Friends of the Shenandoah River, which has been monitoring water quality along the Shenandoah River since 1989, will perform chemical water quality testing for two years, beginning in January 2013, Howard said. This will evaluate the effectiveness of the various projects. The PEC and other groups will count macroinvertebrates during the period as another measure of water health.

The Downstream Project, with its expertise in media, will document all these efforts, as a teaching tool for other groups. A website will allow everyone to follow the progress of the various projects as the efforts begin.

Many worthwhile projects “don’t go beyond the watershed,” Howard said, “The results are not shared. We want to share the whole experience,” from working with DCR to the “boots and hands on the ground.”

“We have a great consortium,” Howard said. “Clarke County has a proven track record” in environmentalism and water quality preservation. “It’s a great place for this to happen.”

For more information on the Spout Run cleanup, go to

— Contact Val Van Meter at