New Hope for Trout in Spout Run

Carter Hall Spring

April 25, 2016

Downstream of Project Hope’s Carter Hall spring, students from Ms. Robin Coutts lower school science class at Powhatan School released trout fry they had raised from eggs into Spout Run. For the last several years, the school has participated in Trout Unlimited’s “Trout in the Classroom” program as part of an environmental science curriculum focused on habitat and water quality.

Bordered by Spout Run and Page Brook, Powhatan is ideally situated in the heart of the Spout Run watershed. In 2011, the school received a donation of 46.8 acres along Spout Run (Crocker Conservancy) which will be in perpetual easement for education and recreation. This will allow the school to expand is focus on environmental science and nature study.

Releasing trout back into the wild is a small but symbolic event culminating three years of restoration work in this stretch of the stream by Trout Unlimited and the C Spout Run partnership. Work has included extensive stream bank restoration to reduce sedimentation and numerous tree plantings by volunteers to restore habitat and tree cover — all to help protect and cool the waters. Hopefully, these trout fingerlings will now find suitable conditions to grow and reproduce.

Kudos to Ms. Coutts and the students of Powhatan!

Landowner Leadership in the Spout Run Watershed

Richard Farland recently completed a conservation project on his farm along Page Brook. The two hundred acre farm is home to a cow-calf operation. In partnership with the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, Mr. Farland has fenced the livestock out all 2,360 feet of Page Brook. An additional 1,237 feet of wetland was excluded. The 8 acres of riparian buffer have achieved complete sediment reduction.

Richard Farland Exclusion Fencing

The Farland Property Along Page Brook


Spout Run: A case study on the effect of biosolid fertilizer application on water quality

karst copy

A look at karst topography

How does nitrogen get in the streams of the Shenandoah Valley?

Spout Run watershed was a case study in this FOSR 2013 report from Clarke County, Virginia which indicates that springs located near fields or areas where biosolids have been applied have higher Nitrate concentrations than those springs located in areas where biosolids have not been applied.

Download the full report in PDF

This study was conducted by Friends of the Shenandoah River with cooperation of Clarke County and the willingness of landowners who gave access to the springs. Funds for the study were granted to Alison Teetor by the 2013 Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program, from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund. Chemical analyses were conducted by Karen Andersen and Molly Smith. Ben Sawyer performed GIS measurements and helped with hydrologic analyses. John Young USGS Leetown, WV loaned a stream flow meter. Richard Marzolf helped write this report.


Spout Run is a type example of a karst watershed in Clarke County in the Shenandoah Valley. Its drainage basin of 21.4 square miles is entirely karst (carbonate); with characteristic fracture zones, frequent sinks and springs and fewer surface streams than the adjacent less permeable metamorphic and siliciclastic formations. Flow from springs is nearly a direct connection to the ground water; that is, ground water, emerging to the surface in spring flow, accounts for up to ca. 80% of the stream flow. Precipitation infiltrates rapidly with only 2- 4% of rainfall appearing as runoff, and, depending on vegetation and season, up to 70% of rainfall is returned to the atmosphere by evapotranspiration. The upshot of this hydrogeological configuration is that base flow is sustained and flood peaks are muted. The central purpose of the study was to examine the role of ground-water transport of nutrient constituents of biosolids when they were applied to lands near springs. A general finding of the chemical analyses was that changes through time were minor in any one spring; while the differences were observed to be among the various springs. Generally the nitrogen concentration was higher in spring flow from springs proximal to biosolid application areas. Total Kjeldahl nitrogen (organic), ammonia and nitrite concentrations were below the limit of detection. 

C Spout Run to be featured at Water Quality Summit

Virginia Citizens for Water Quality (VCWO) presents “The Muddy Mystery” —2013 Annual Summit and Movie, (Union First Market Bankshares, Ruther Glen, Virginia) – November 9, 2013.

Join our project team representatives Nesha McRae (VADEQ), Seth Coffman (TU), and Bill Howard (The Downstream Project- TDP) who will be presenting a keynote address—C Spout Run: Inspiring Successful Watershed Planning in the Shenandoah Valley.

Learn and enjoy from other partner groups and the state offering presentations focused on uncovering the mystery of runoff pollution.

Registration is now open! $15 includes lunch and refreshments.

Check out the draft agenda by clicking –> here.

Register online here:

Questions? Contact Anna Mathis at or 804-775-0951.

Map Link to venue.

Restoration Planning: TU topographic studies

Stream restoration specialists, Seth Coffman and James Fulcher, from Trout Unlimited take elevation and survey measurements to develop a targeted restoration plan for the stream below Millwood at Carter Hall.

Tall vertical banks contribute a tremendous amount of sediment to Spout Run and the restoration plan will ease the height and slope in targeted locations. Plantings will also help to stabilize the ground to minimize soil erosion.

Landowners’ Guide to Spout Run

Spout Run is a truly local stream. Most residents know that Spout Run, including Page Brook and Roseville Run quite literally flow out of the ground in several clean and cold springs: Saratoga, Prospect Hill, Page Brook and Carter Hall to name a few of the larger ones. Prospect Spring is the source of all public water for Boyce and Millwood, meaning that we literally have spring water coming out of our taps! And because the watershed is so small most landowners live within a stones throw of Spout Run or one of it’s major feeder streams….

Read more – download the Landowners’ Guide to Spout Run

Water Quality Improvement Plan

The public comment period for the Implementation Plan will begin the day after the public meeting (December 6, 2012) and end on January 4, 2013.  Written comments should include the name, address, and telephone number of the person submitting the comments and should be sent to Nesha McRae, Department of Conservation and Recreation, PO Box 1, Verona, VA, 24482, telephone (540) 332-9238, fax (540) 248-3069, or e-mail

Download the Full Report

(Report will download to browser and you can save PDF to your Desktop)

Decision Rationale: Total Maximum Daily Loads for Spout Run

Decision Rationale
Total Maximum Daily Loads Recreation Use (Bacteria) Impairment Spout River Watershed Clarke County, Virginia

Jon M. Capacasa, Director Water Protection Division

Download report in PDF

Total Maximum Daily Load Development

Total Maximum Daily Load Development to Address Bacteria and Benthic Impairments in the Spout Run Watershed,
Clarke County, Virginia

Prepared by: Dr. Robert Brent; James Madison University Prepared for: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

February 2010

See full report