Community Meeting to present a clean up plan December 5

 Calling all Spout Run Watershed Residents:

Over the past 8 months, The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and partners have been working closely with local residents to develop a clean up plan for Spout Run, Roseville Run and Page Brook. Currently, the creeks are con- sidered unhealthy due to high amounts of fecal bacteria in the water. This means that people face a greater chance of illness or infection when they go swimming in the creeks. A large amount of sediment in the streams is also negatively impacting aquatic life. Input from local residents was used to develop the draft plan to address these issues, which will be presented at the meeting. This will kick off a 30-day public comment period for the plan. The meeting will also include:

  • A Chili Cook-Off sponsored by the C-Spout Run Partnership
  • A presentation from students at the Powhatan School
  • A video screening by The Downstream Project
  • Numerous displays from project partners 

Please join us for a meal with friends and neighbors (free of charge) and a great opportunity to learn more about your local streams!

December 5, 2012
6:00-8:00 p.m.
The Powhatan School
49 Powhatan Lane, Boyce, VA 

Please RSVP to:
Bob Slusser, VADCR (540)351-1590 

Download flier

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

Clarke County Recipient of NFWF Small Watershed Grant

Clarke County, Va. will receive $141,600 (plus $87,800 in matching funds) to improve water quality and restore eastern brook trout habitat in Spout Run by working with farmers and residential landowners to stabilize stream banks, install fencing and convert turf to trees. As a partner in this effort, The Downstream Project videotaped the NFWF press conference in Arlington, Virginia.

Watch Announcement: remarks by David O’Neill, Eastern Partnership Office Director, NFWF; Jeffrey Corbin, Senior Advisor for the Chesapeake Bay and the Anacostia River, U.S. EPA; The Honorable James P. “Jim” Moran, U.S. Representative

NFWF News Release (download PDF)
ALL NFWF Grant Recipients (download PDF)

[Read more…]

Mountain Vista Governor’s School learns about Spout Run Watershed

The Downstream Project was privileged to join ten students from the Mountain Vista Governor’s School for a day on Spout Run and at Blandy Experimental Farm. These gifted seniors, all attending voluntarily, learned about the watershed ecology of the Chesapeake Bay headwaters and karst groundwater systems from Candace Lutzow-Felling, Director of Education at Blandy, and her staff.

Read more… | Watch Video on Vimeo

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Supports Spout Run Cleanup

Clarke Daily News

Dear Editor,

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation congratulates everyone engaged in the Spout Run watershed cleanup. It takes just such communitywide, public-private partnerships to restore local streams, as all of us contribute in some way to the pollution of our waterways, and all of us can play a role in cleaning them up. The Spout Run partners are to be commended for moving forward to restore clean water to their community, those downstream, and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay.

Success will mean a healthier, safer stream, a more vibrant local economy, and better quality of life for local residents and future generations. Kudos to all involved: Clarke County, local residents, farmers, Trout Unlimited, Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, The Downstream Project, Piedmont Environmental Council, Friends of the Shenandoah River, and the Virginia Departments of Environmental Quality and Conservation and Recreation.

Ann F. Jennings
Virginia Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

County and Community Partner to Restore Spout Run Watershed

From the Clarke Daily News
By  on May 9 2012.

Clarke County is moving forward to begin water quality improvements in the Spout Run watershed. The Spout Run watershed covers a portion of southern Clarke County including the areas near Boyce and Millwood, Virginia. A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June, 2010 identified high levels of bacteria and sediment in the Spout Run watershed.

According information presented by Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) representatives at an April public meeting to discuss a water quality improvement plan for Spout Run held in Boyce, portions of Spout Run and one of its tributaries, Page Brook, are on Virginia’s list of impaired or dirty” waters because they violate the state’s water quality standard for bacteria. DCR says that levels of bacteria in these stream segments could lead to increased risk of illness for people who come in contact with the streams’ waters. Bacteria sources identified include failing septic systems, direct discharges of human waste, pets and agricultural practices in the area.

DCR says that in addition, a portion of Spout Run is on the dirty waters list because of its failure to support a healthy and diverse population of aquatic life. Studies have determined this is a result of excessive sediment in the stream. Sediment covers the stream bottom and destroys critical habitat for aquatic life. Sediment is transported to the stream in runoff from paved surfaces, construction sites, agricultural fields and lawns.

Clarke County environmental planner Alison Teetor told the Clarke County Board of Supervisors on Monday that the study, which was completed in 2009 by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), identified sources of pollution and reductions needed to attain water quality standards.

“This is a similar process to that which has recently been completed for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” Teetor said.

Sediment sources in Spout Run (Click to enlarge)

Teetor explained that the TMDL study considers point sources such as residential, municipal, or industrial discharges and non-point sources such as residential, urban, or agricultural runoff. According to Teetor, DEQ computer models track bacteria from the source, to the land, to the stream, and then downstream to the Shenandoah River.

Teetor said that DEQ verified that accuracy of the study by also looking at water samples collected from the stream from 1991 to 2008.  As with the bacteria samples, DEQ’s sediment model was calibrated against real-world suspended sediment and flow measurements taken from the stream.

Teetor said that once the Spout Run bacteria and sediment in sources were identified, DEQ’s computer models were used to determine how the level of bacteria and sediment load reduction needed to clean up Spout Run and its tributaries.

Teetor said that bacteria and sediment load reduction typically are accomplished by fencing out cattle from streams and provide alternative water sources; conducting stream bank restoration projects in areas where banks are actively eroding; creating riparian buffers to filter bacteria and sediment from farm or residential land; identification and repair of failing septic systems; and picking up pet waste on residential and commercial land

Teetor said that a substantial grassroots effort has been initiated to bring funding to help with development and implementation of the Spout Run cleanup plan. Teetor said that Trout Unlimited, Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, The Downstream Project, Piedmont Environmental Council and Friends of the Shenandoah River have agreed to help with the clean-up effort.

Teetor said that the County is currently seeking a grant to fund the initial cleanup effort at Spout Run. In a letter to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation endorsing the grant request, Clarke County Supervisors Chairman Michael Hobert (Berryville) said “The holistic nature of the C-Spout Run project and the partnership that is behind it make it an excellent opportunity to improve a unique and ecologically valuable local stream and the Chesapeake Bay.”

Agricultural runoff has been cited as the primary source of bacteria in Spout Run (Click to enlarge)

Hobert also said that Spout Run is one of several spring creeks in the Shenandoah Valley that shows great promise for the reintroduction of brook trout. “The local watershed community is both aware of, and enthusiastic about the streams potential to support a coldwater fishery,” Hobert added.

The Downstream Project president George Ohrstrom said that said that Spout Run offers a unique opportunity to visually document a stream clean-up project from start to finish.

“One of the beauties of Spout Run is that the entire watershed is in one County so it’s a good candidate for successfully implementing and managing a TMDL plan,” Ohrstrom said. “The problems at Spout Run are really representative of the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. We are planning to do a short video documentary that covers the clean-up process from the beginning to the point where Spout Run is hopefully removed from the impaired waterway list. Releasing a video will be a good way of helping people see what can be accomplished through a coordinated community effort.”

Teetor said that the cost and timeline for the clean-up effort can’t be accurately predicted but better information will become available once the project starts.

“I don’t know how much the cleanup will cost and I’m not sure if anyone can estimate that at this stage,” Teetor said. “That information  should be one of the items listed when the implementation plan is completed.”

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

Notice of Public Meeting

The TMDL document will be available on the DEQ website the day of the meeting for public comment and review:

The final public meeting on the development of these TMDLs will be held on Wednesday February 24, 2010. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) seek written and oral comments from interested persons on the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the Spout Run watershed in Clarke County. Spout Run was listed on the 1998 303(d) TMDL Priority List and Report as impaired due to violations of the State’s water quality standard for bacteria and violations of the State’s general (benthic) standard for aquatic life. The benthic and bacteria impairments on the South Fork Shenandoah extend for 3.7 miles from the confluence of Page Brook and Roseville Run downstream to the confluence with the Shenandoah River. In addition, Page Brook was listed on the 2004 303(d) TMDL Priority List and Report as impaired due to violations of the State’s water quality standard for bacteria. This impairment extends for 8.78 miles from the headwaters downstream to the confluence with Roseville Run.

Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act and §62.1-44.19:7.C of the Code of Virginia require DEQ to develop TMDLs for pollutants responsible for each impaired water contained in Virginia’s 303(d) TMDL Priority List and Report.
The public comment period for the final public meeting and TMDL document will end on March 29, 2010. The public notice appears in the Virginia Register of Regulations on February 15, 2010. [Open Meeting]