A Watershed Event: Concert for Clean Water in Clarke County

BERRYVILLE—Barns of Rose Hill,
Saturday, January 3, 2015-
Benefit performance by Where’s Aubrey, with a guest appearance from the The Bitter Liberals!

jan2015gigpostersmRing in the new year, enjoy some special holiday refreshments, and help support clean water in Clarke County while you enjoy the always entertaining and inventive sounds of Where’s Aubrey at Barns of Rose Hill on January 3, 2015. Special appearance by the The Bitter Liberals! Doors open at 7:30; concert begins at 8:00.

In a true community effort, the C Spout Run partners have been working since 2012 to help remove Clarke County’s Spout Run from Virginia’s impaired waters list and restore brook trout habitat. Come and learn more about this ongoing project and what you can do from representatives of Trout Unlimited, The Piedmont Environmental Council, Powhatan School, Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of the Shenandoah River, Clarke County, and The Downstream Project. Learn about BMPs (best management practices), financial incentives and cost-share programs for everything from livestock fencing to septic repairs and maintenance—existing programs available to Spout Run residents that will go a long way to help protect our water. Learn about rain gardens and rain barrels and volunteer opportunities for water monitoring and tree plantings.

Many thanks to the duo behind Where’s Aubrey, Gary McGraw and Rhine Singleton, for donating their time and talent and proceeds for this concert to raise money and awareness for the C Spout Run project. All of their live concerts have been benefits for nonprofit endeavors; they are proud to give back to the community and are grateful to their generous fans. Where’s Aubrey has played together since 1985, writing and performing all original music since the turn of the millennium. Rhine Singleton’s original songs, cloaked and hooded by Gary McGraw’s improvisation on the fiddle and mandolin, range from old-timey folk music through modern jazz. Special Guests: The Bitter Liberals (Allen Kitselman, Clark Hansbarger, and Mike Jewell) will join Where’s Aubrey for a few songs.

Ticket available online now at The Barns of Rose Hill website. $20 for adults in advance, $25 at the door.


Download High Resolution Poster

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


High Water Earns High Marks for Stream Restoration Efforts

A potentially record-breaking and damaging storm surge came down Spout Run earlier this month along with monsoon rains, just two days after this restored reach of Spout Run at Carter Hall spring below Millwood had been staked and seeded.

The Downstream crew joined stream restoration specialists, Seth Coffman and James Fulcher from Trout Unlimited, to document how well the site and intended improvements held up. It is estimated that over 130 cubic yards of sediment were deposited over the newly established flood plain area and kept from washing further downstream to the Shenandoah River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

We love it when a plan comes together. Congratulations to Seth and James for a great design and execution.

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. 

Equine Management Workshop

Held Tuesday November 12, 2013,
Boyce Fire Hall, Boyce Virginia

Hosted by: The Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Virginia Cooperative Extension

The focus of the workshop was to provide information about improving the overall health and safety of horses. Dr. Lee Newman, veterinarian with the Shenandoah Animal Hospital discussed horse health as related to pasture management. She explained the advantages of rotational grazing to reduce parasites, effectively manage manure and improve forage. She emphasized that with a small financial investment in fencing equine health issues can be greatly reduced effectively saving horse owners money.

Corey Childs, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, Virginia Cooperative Extension discussed pasture and paddock care as related to forage species. He spoke later about nutrient management and composting techniques.

Bobby Clark also a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent talked about mortality management. He explained the 6 alternatives for carcass disposal in order of preference. Rendering through Valley Protein will not take cattle but is an option for horse owners, onsite composting can be very effective if done correctly, incineration but these facilities are not found locally, landfill burial, and finally onsite burial.

Approximately 10 persons attended the workshop. A second similar program will be held in the spring.

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 amathis@allianceforthebay.org or 804-775-0951.

Map Link to venue.

Citizen scientists get their feet wet

For the past few weeks, Gem Bingol of the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) has been wading into the waters of Westbrook and Roseville Runs with citizen volunteers to monitor stream health.  She and her volunteers share some of their experiences in a new video produced by The Downstream Project.

Both Westbrook and Roseville Run feed into Spout Run, a tributary of the Shenandoah River that is on Virginia’s Impaired Waters list for bacteria and for aquatic life. “Impaired” means that bacteria pollution levels in Spout Run are so high, it doesn’t meet state or federal standards for fishing or swimming. The stream also has so much sediment that many bottom-dwelling insects and other small creatures eaten by fish can’t survive.  With leadership from PEC, The Downstream Project (TDP), Friends of the Shenandoah and other community partners, Clarke County citizens are now working to restore the watershed as part of the C-Spout Run restoration project, and remove it from the Impaired Waters list by 2025.

With input from local residents and these groups, the state of Virginia has come up with a plan to restore Spout Run. The plan is now underway, but judging its success will be difficult without some indicators along the way.  That’s where citizen monitoring comes in.   Gem and her teams are looking for benthic macroinvertebrates – insects, crustaceans, worms, snails and clams that live on the bottom of streams – to see what kind of life Spout Run and its tributaries currently support.  As Gem explains in the TDP video below, some macroinvertebrates are more tolerant of pollution than others.  When she and her volunteers find a lot of critters that are tolerant, and few that are intolerant, she knows that stream conditions are harming aquatic life and will need to be improved to restore the watershed.  Benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring is particularly useful because it reveals not only the health of the streams, but also the health of the surrounding land in the watershed.  Sensitive stream creatures need all the components of a healthy stream ecosystem, including shade trees and plants along waterways.  When a watershed doesn’t have enough vegetation along its streams, many benthic macroinvertebrates will disappear.

But crawly creatures aren’t the only way to measure stream health.  As volunteer (and a director of the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation Service) Wayne Webb notes in the video, Friends of the Shenandoah River has been measuring actual pollution levels at key monitoring locations on the Shenandoah for years.  Those pollutants include nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from fertilizer, livestock and erosion.  Collecting both kinds of information at the same sites in Spout Run over time will help identify baseline conditions, point to potential sources of the problems, and reveal if corrective measures solve the problems.

It takes a lot of feet to cover the 14 miles of stream in the Spout Run watershed.  To attend a training session and become a citizen scientist contact Gem Bingol at gbingol@pecva.org or visit the FOSR website.

Video: Sustainable Landscaping Workshop June 13, 2013

In this video excerpt, experts from BlandyLord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District and Master Naturalists shared information about sustainable landscaping and yard care practices, garden ecology and backyard habitat creation—with an emphasis on Monarch butterflies. Discover how and why you can benefit by changing the way you care for your property and how that can help the local environment as we work to clean up Spout Run in Clarke County.

This program was completely free of charge and brought to you by the Piedmont Environmental Council in cooperation with Clarke County, C Spout Run partners, and a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Please contact Gem Bingol at (703) 431-6941 or gbingol@pecva.org to get more information about the program.

Follow the Spout Run website for news of continuing programs being offered in the watershed.

Sustainable Landscaping Workshop

butterflyBring Butterflies and Birds
Invest in Your Garden to
Save Money, Time & Energy

Date: Thursday, June 13th
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Where: Boyce Elementary School–Library

Experts from Blandy, Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District and Master Naturalists will share information about sustainable landscaping and yard care practices, garden ecology and backyard habitat creation—with an emphasis on Monarch butterflies. Discover how and why you can benefit by changing the way you care for your property and how that can help the local environment as we work to clean up Spout Run in Clarke County.

This program is completely free of charge and is brought to you by the Piedmont Environmental Council in cooperation with Clarke County and a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Please contact Gem Bingol at (703) 431-6941 or gbingol@pecva.org to sign up, or get more information about the program.

Trout raised in Powhatan classroom released to Spout Run

Powhatan School
May 14, 2013

Follow this blog post and check out the video of students at Powhatan School, with the help of Mark Zimmerman of Trout Unlimited, celebrate the release of several young “fingerling” brook trout, raised from eggs in the classroom, into Spout Run. Tracy Smith, who served as the parent coordinator of this valuable educational program, explains the importance of this 7th grade service project.

This flagship program of Trout Unlimited’s Youth Education efforts, Trout (or Salmon) in the Classroom (TIC or SIC) offers students of all ages a chance to raise salmonids in a classroom setting and then release them into a nearby stream or river. Caring for the fish starts to foster a conservation ethic in the students, and the act of walking to a streambank and directly releasing the fish into the water makes a concrete connection between caring for the fish and caring for the water.