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Help the James River this Saturday for the Regional Cleanup Day

The James River always needs a little help. This Saturday it will hopefully get a lot of help from volunteers.

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Join the James River Advisory Council in its 22nd year of cleaning up the James River and its shorelines! The cleanup is a cooperative, regional event spanning more than 75 miles of the James River at 13 sites. Walkers, powerboats, paddle craft, and hikers will participate in a limited capacity, social distancing. We hope to see you at one of our various sites throughout the watershed! Volunteers will need to register!

Please remember to dress comfortably (closed toe shoes) bring gloves, masks, trash bags, grabbers, water, insect repellent, sunscreen, and hat (optional).

Some of the localish sites include:

Chesterfield County

  • Dutch Gap Boat Landing and Conservation Area
  • Falling Creek Ironworks Park
  • Falling Creek Reservoir

City of Petersburg

  • Lakemont Neighborhood
  • Pocahontas Island

City of Richmond

  • Ancarrows Landing
  • Belle Isle
  • Brookland Park Boulevard
  • Pony Pasture Rapids

Goochland County

  • Tucker Park at Maiden’s Landing

Henrico County

  • Osborne Park and Boat Landing

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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RVAH2O Now Giving the People the Straight Poop on Sewer Overflows

This real-time technology and data makes Richmond’s the first “Smart Sewers” in Virginia.

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Full credit to Whit Clements for giving me that headline of this announcement from RVAH2O.

Big Update (and Upgrade!) for Combined Sewer System Overflow Events in Richmond! 📣

Real-time data is now viewable in an interactive map that looks just like the one above so you can know exactly where and when overflows occur (and plan your James River visits accordingly!).

(The map is linked in perpetuity in our bio as “Check for Combined Sewer System Overflow Events Here” but you can also bookmark the link for rainy days!)

Here’s how it works: just hover over (or, on your phone, click on) any of the remaining 25 overflow points in Richmond to see the last time combined flows were discharged—and just like that you’ll be up-to-date!

Red triangles give you a quick notification that there’s been an overflow event in the past 48 hours. 🔺

When you see yellow boxes, that means our team is recalibrating those sensors and meters. 🟨

This up-to-date system will replace the email alerts of the past (which were triggered and automated when it rained 0.1″ at the @richmondairport, which doesn’t always reflect rainfall within city limits).

This new map uses:

  • meters at each outfall to quantify flows
  • rain gauges in Richmond
  • real-time data that’s updated continuously!

This real-time technology and data makes Richmond’s the first “Smart Sewers” in Virginia (we love being trendsetters)! 🧠🌊

And this system will help us to maximize and fully utilize the capacity within our system to prevent overflows and reduce overflow volume!

We know y’all love accurate information and continuous updates, so we hope you’ll love this upgrade and map made for you too!

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Outdoors

Birders Rejoice, You Can Put Your Feeders Back Up But Keep’em Clean

The most important advice to follow if you decide to put your feeder back up is that you need to clean it once a week and disinfect with a 10% bleach solution.

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Earlier this year it was advised to take down all bird feeders due to a unknown disease that was killing many songbirds. Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) stated that no definitive cause has been determined. The good news is that incidents of the disease, which involved birds exhibiting eye issues (swelling, crusts, discharge, etc.), along with neurological symptoms, have declined to such a point that DWR feels it safe to put your feeders back up.

They posted these guidelines along with the all-clear.

Residents that choose to feed birds or provide water in bird baths should remain vigilant for avian mortalities and consider the following best practice guidelines:

  • Clean feeders and bird baths at least once a week, then disinfect with a 10% bleach solution to prevent potential infectious disease spread between birds and other wildlife. After cleaning, rinse well with water and allow to air dry.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling bird feeders and baths and wash your hands when finished.
  • When feeding birds, follow expert recommendations, such as those listed in Audubon International’s Guide to Bird Feeding.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead wild birds.
  • Avoid handling wild birds. If you must do so, wear disposable gloves or place an inverted plastic bag over your hand to avoid direct contact with the bird. Dispose of dead birds in a closed plastic bag in household trash. Alternatively, you may bury bird carcasses at least 3 feet to prevent any disease transmission to scavenging animals.
  • If you observe any additional bird mortalities in Virginia, submit a mortality event to the DWR.

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Community

Over Five Acres of Richmond Riverfront to Become a Parkland and Education Center

The Conservation Fund announced its purchase of the 5.2-acre Dock Street property on the James River in downtown Richmond, Virginia.

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The Conservation Fund had big news to share yesterday.

The Conservation Fund announced its purchase of the 5.2-acre Dock Street property on the James River in downtown Richmond, Virginia. Today, The Conservation Fund, Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) and James River Association (JRA) celebrate this acquisition and JRA’s future plans to build an environmental education center on a portion of the land. This is part of a strategic effort between the three partners and the City of Richmond to protect the property in perpetuity for the public.

The effort will have various benefits to the Richmond community including adding new public access to the riverfront, enhancing the Virginia Capital Trail and youth education programs, and safeguarding the historic “View That Named Richmond.” Conservation easements will be placed on the land to prevent future commercial development of the site and ensure public ownership of the riverfront from Rocketts Landing to Browns Island and the Belle Isle pedestrian bridge. They will also support water quality for more than 2.6 million people who live in the 10,000-square-mile James River watershed, as well as wildlife like the Atlantic sturgeon. Read more about the historic Dock Street property and its various community benefits here.

The CRLC entered into a contract for the historic Dock Street property last year. The contract was then assigned to The Conservation Fund for temporary ownership while the partners raise funding to complete the transaction.

 

“The ability to help our partners purchase and secure key properties like this one quickly and effectively is what The Conservation Fund was built for,” said Heather Richards, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director at the Fund. “Increasing access to the James River and making trail connections for urban centers has never been more important for Virginia’s environmental health and community and economic vitality.”

In the near future, JRA will purchase approximately one acre of the land from The Conservation Fund to establish a new river center for environmental education. The program will focus on connecting Richmond youth with river-based, hands-on learning experiences while inspiring confidence, ecological understanding, nature appreciation, and conservation action. Learn more about JRA’s James River Center here.

“Our goal is to ensure that every child growing up in ‘America’s Best River Town’ is introduced to the James River and enjoys a lifetime of benefits that the river can provide,” said Bill Street, JRA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Building a leading-edge education center on Richmond’s riverfront will expand our ability to engage local youth, particularly in the historically underserved East End.”

“The James River Center represents a great opportunity for Richmond Public Schools students to take part in meaningful environmental science education that focuses on the issues and resources within their city,” said Josh Bearman, Science Curriculum and Instructional Specialist with Richmond Public Schools. “Its presence so close to downtown will greatly increase the possibility of access to high impact field experiences on the river, a crucial piece of RPS Science’s goals for place-based learning.”

The rest of the 5.2 acres will be transferred to the City of Richmond to become part of the James River Park System where it’ll be opened for public riverfront recreation and secure a critical link of the Virginia Capital Trail—a 51.2-mile trail that connects Richmond to Williamsburg. This effort will allow the trail to be moved entirely off city streets and onto waterfront parkland.

 

The CRLC played an essential role in securing a contract with the private seller to make this effort a reality. They will coordinate with the City of Richmond and James River Association to conduct community engagement to envision uses of the future public open space and park, as well as continuing to work with all parties to secure the remaining funding needed to fully open this property to the public and permanently protect this critical riverfront.

“As Richmond’s local land trust having played a critical role in the permanent protection of the James River Park System more than a decade ago, CRLC is honored to continue its efforts to make more places available for the public to enjoy and implement important components of community support plans such as the Riverfront Plan and Richmond 300 Master Plan,” said Parker C. Agelasto CRLC’s Executive Director.

“I applaud The Conservation Fund, Capital Region Land Conservancy, and James River Association for working together to expand the James River Park System with the purchase of 5.2 acres of riverfront property,” said City of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “This significant acquisition, and plans for the James River Center, will benefit Richmonders for generations to come.”

“Permanently conserving this scenic and historic riverfront area is the intentional result of tremendously successful collaborative efforts and undertakings by the dedicated individuals, organizations, and entities involved,” says The Honorable Cynthia I. Newbille, President, Richmond City Council, Councilmember, Richmond East End 7th Voter District. “This work and the plans slated for this area are transformational in nature and will continue to strengthen the beauty, enjoyment, and value of our natural river asset for all Richmond residents and visitors in helping to make our city an even better, more equitable, and more beautiful place to live, love, work, learn, play, visit, enjoy, and raise a family.”

Grants for this project have been awarded for the City’s future acquisition from Virginia’s portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, which have a match component and requires an immediate need for private donations. JRA’s river center is part of its $20 million James Changer Campaign. Readers can inquire about funding needs and ways to support the land purchase with The Conservation Fund and CRLC, and about the river center with the James River Association to learn more.

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