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Virginia Freshwater Mussel Restoration Advances Under New Grants

A single mussel can filter up to 15 gallons of water per day, which prevents pollutants such as nitrogen from flowing downstream, leading to clearer and cleaner water.

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Freshwater mussel restoration in Virginia is taking another step forward with new projects by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and James River Association (JRA) under two recently announced National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grants.

The projects follow a report issued last year that called for a comprehensive regional plan for mussel restoration to address dramatic declines in freshwater mussel populations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“Momentum is growing in Virginia to bring back these amazing freshwater mussels, but we hear time and again that we need a plan to focus these efforts,” said CBF Virginia Senior Scientist Joe Wood, Ph.D. “Freshwater mussels are an important part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s natural heritage. These projects will set the stage for more freshwater mussels, cleaner water in fishing spots along our headwater streams, and a healthier Chesapeake Bay.”

The efforts by JRA and CBF would lay the groundwork for additional mussel restoration across the region through developing maps, plans, and identifying next steps. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), these grants are supported by the first round of federal funding under the new Chesapeake WILD program.

About 23 species of mussels live in Virginia freshwater rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay, from the James River to the Shenandoah Valley to small mountain streams. But mussels are threatened by pollution, dams, climate change, viruses, and loss of habitat. Mussel populations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are estimated to have fallen by 90 percent since European colonists arrived in the 1600s.

Photo Credit: James River Association (JRA)

A single mussel can filter up to 15 gallons of water per day, which prevents pollutants such as nitrogen from flowing downstream, leading to clearer and cleaner water. Mussel beds create habitat for small aquatic creatures, which in turn become food for fish.

For years, freshwater mussels have been raised and planted in rivers and streams by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). That work has led to recent successes such as the re-introduction this year of the endangered James Spinymussel. But mussel restoration in Virginia has been limited by scarce funding and the lack of a big-picture approach.

Under the grant, CBF is launching the project Establishing a Plan for Freshwater Mussels: Protect, Restore, and Engage. Together with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and DWR, CBF will create an interactive map of Virginia that highlights stretches of streams and rivers with critical freshwater mussel habitat, which will guide future restoration and conservation efforts.

The map will also show where buffers of trees along streams can best protect and revitalize mussel populations. Because work to plant forested buffers is increasing, this map can show where planting trees can most effectively lead to healthy streams.

To raise awareness about the rich diversity of mussels in Virginia, the project will create realistic 3D printed models of mussel shells representing all the species in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, working together with the Smithsonian Institution and Florida Museum of Natural History. The scans will be open-source and available to everyone. A set of mussel models will be used in CBF’s award-winning environmental education programs.

With its NFWF grant funding, JRA will work with experts from universities, state and federal agencies, private industry, and nonprofits on a collaborative project to Establish a Freshwater Mussel Restoration Plan in the James River Basin.

Over the past three years, JRA has partnered with DWR and the USFWS Harrison Lake Fish Hatchery to plant more than 10,000 freshwater mussels in the James River and its tributaries, conduct population assessments, and identify quality mussel habitat. Through the course of this work, JRA recognized the need for a proactive restoration plan to guide planting activities, identify areas for further surveys and investigation, and establish strategic restoration objectives for the James.

“The success of our mussel planting work to date shows that it is possible to bring these unique species back to James River, with all of the water quality and habitat benefits that they provide,” said Erin Reilly, Senior Staff Scientist for the James River Association. “This grant will buoy efforts to bring the experts together and chart a common course for mussel restoration in the James.”

The plan will serve as an important tool for state agencies, federal hatcheries, nonprofits, the state legislature, and other funding agencies to determine where projects will be beneficial, facilitate planning, increase capacity, and drive research. The collaborative process, and the resulting plan, will also serve as a model for other rivers across the state.

These projects are among the first under the Chesapeake WILD program, established by Congress in 2020 to support restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that improve the health of our streams and rivers and the aquatic life that calls them home.

“We are excited to receive one of the inaugural Chesapeake WILD grants. Healthy fish and wildlife habitat are vital to a healthy Bay ecosystem, and projects like these that put boots on the ground restoring habitats across the watershed are vital to saving the Bay and tributaries like the James River. CBF urges Congress to fully fund Chesapeake WILD when lawmakers reconvene in November to finish work on this year’s budget,” said CBF Interim Federal Director Keisha Sedlacek.

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ABOUT THE JAMES RIVER ASSOCIATION: The James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as a guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works toward its vision of a fully healthy James River supporting thriving communities. The James River Association believes that “when you change the James, the James changes you”. With offices in Lynchburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, and Scottsville, the James River Association is committed to protecting the James River and connecting people to it. For more information visit www.thejamesriver.org.

ABOUT THE CHESAPEAKE BAY FOUNDATION: Founded in 1966, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay. Serving as a watchdog, we fight for effective, science-based solutions to the pollution degrading the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Our motto, “Save the Bay,” is a regional rallying cry for pollution reduction throughout the Chesapeake’s six-state, 64,000-square-mile watershed, which is home to more than 18 million people and 3,000 species of plants and animals.

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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.

Community

Local Star of HBO’s Big Brunch Show Hosting Dumpling Pop-up at the Veil

The dumplings will be popping into mouths starting at noon but stick around until 7 pm for a viewing party of the new HBO show The Big Brunch in the sunroom.

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@youngmotherva the Dumpling popup of Daniel Harthauses aka @danielharthausen will be doing their dumpling pop-up takeover starting at 12 pm at the Veil Forest Hill location this Sunday, November 27th. Sorry taco lovers no @ytumama.mx on Sunday. The dumplings will be popping into mouths starting at noon but stick around until 7 pm for a viewing party of the new HBO show The Big Brunch in the sunroom. Those of you in the know already know Daniel is a competitor in The Big Brunch. Limited seating is available.

The Big Brunch Show is created and hosted by Emmy® winner Dan Levy, The Big Brunch celebrates inspiring, undiscovered culinary voices from every corner of the country. This eight-episode cooking competition series gives ten talented chefs the opportunity to share their stories and business dreams while vying for a life-altering $300,000 cash prize.


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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Punks for Presents Tickets on Sale Now

Punk music shows that provide presents for kids in need is a truly worthy cause.

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A Richmond punk rock Christmas tradition beginning in 2005. Christmas themed punk and metal parody bands putting on shows for charity every year!

You can learn more on Instagram or Facebook. Their still looking for prize donations and sponsors. Head over to one of those social media spots and drop them a DM.

Lineup

December 9, 2022 NIGHT 1 – THE CAMEL $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/5838562/punks-for-presents-at-the-camel-richmond-the-camel
IMAGINARY TOYS (THE CURE)
TOY DIVISION (JOY DIVISION)
X-MAS (X)
JOLLY HOLLY (BUDDY HOLLY)

December 10, 2022 NIGHT 2 – WONDERLAND $10 21+
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/8522910/punks-for-presents-at-wonderland-richmond-wonderland
ROCKET QUEEN (GUNS N ROSES)
SMOOCH (KISS)
MERRYDETH (MEGADETH)

December 16, 2022 NIGHT 3 – RICHMOND MUSIC HALL $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/2384207/punks-for-presents-at-richmond-music-hall-richmond-richmond-music-hall
YOOL (TOOL)
SNO TEMPLE PILOTS (STONE TEMPLE PILOTS)
HIGH VOLTAGE (AC/DC)
SMASHING PRESENTS (SMASHING PUMPKINS
)SNOASIS (OASIS)

December 17, 2022 NIGHT 4 – HARDYWOOD $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/4831118/punks-for-presents-at-hardywood-richmond-hardywood
OPERATION ICY (OPERATION IVY)
DEC.ENDENTS (DESCENDENTS)
MXPXMAS (MXPX)
SALT, SWEAT, SUGAR-COOKIES (JIMMY EAT WORLD)
RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REIN-QUEERS (THE QUEERS)
KRIS LITTLE KRINGLES (STIFF LITTLE FINGERS)

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Weekend Radar: Inlight, Ballpark Warming, The Great RVA Bake-Off, Northside Artists Holiday

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InLight 2022 at Bryan Park
November 18-19th

You light up my life, You give me hope to carry on, You light up my days and fill my nights with song or in this case 1708 Gallery is lighting up my life at Bryan Park.

From InLight a few years ago.

InLight 2022 at Bryan Park

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE INLIGHT 2022 MAP!

INLIGHT HOURS

Friday, November 18 — Saturday, November 19

7 – 11 p.m.

LANTERN MAKING & PARADE

InLight kicks off with the Community Lantern Parade. We will gather at 7:00 pm at Gabriel Prosser Circle by the vehicle bridge (near the InLight info booth) and the procession begins at 7:30 pm. Need a lantern? Join us on Friday, November 18th at 6:30 pm at the Parade gathering site to make one!

PARKING

The main entrance to Bryan Park will be closed to vehicular traffic. Please use the Bellevue Ave entrance to park in the parking lots inside Bryan Park. A TukTuk shuttle will be running from these lots to the site for those who need assistance. Auxiliary parking will be available at the Virginia Repertory Theatre (formerly Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center) located at 4202 Hermitage Road with shuttles running continuously from 6:30 – 11:30 pm to the main entrance of Bryan Park. There is limited on-street parking in the surrounding area and the park can be entered on foot or bike through all the entrances (Bellevue Ave; Bryan Park Drive; and the main park entrance).

FOOD & BEVERAGE

InLight 2022 will feature local food trucks, including Monique’s Crepes, Four Brothers, and Boka Tako, Momma’s BBQ, and Alchemy Coffee. Hungry for more? Check out one of the great restaurants in the neighborhood! Just thirsty? Wine and local brews by Brown Distributing Company will be on tap.

Ballpark Warming Party at the Diamond
November 19th

Take me out to the ballpark and I’ll donate a coat and eat a hot dog.

Saturday, Nov 19th 11am-2pm the Flying Squirrels and WTVR CBS 6 invite all their friends and fans to donate coats in support of Puritan Cleaners Coats for Kids program at the Ballpark Warming Party.
Come out to the Diamond and enjoy family fun including: live music from The Hit List, hot dogs, bounce houses, kids activities, monster trucks, vehicles from Richmond Fire Department, Virginia State

Police, Richmond Ambulance Authority, Richmond Raceway and more.

Special giveaways while supplies last.

While warm coats for every member of the family are welcome, we especially need kids coats. You can help by donating any gently used or new coats you no longer need.
Puritan Cleaners will clean and repair each donated coat before delivering them to the Salvation Army to be distributed to local families in need this season.
Thank you for supporting our neighbors in need through Coats for Kids.


The Great RVA Bake Off – FUNdraiser & 1st Anniversary Celebration at Tablespoon
November 19th

You had me at bake. Tablespoon does awesome work and y’all should give them some love and money.

This fall, our first annual “Great RVA Bake Off” (a play on the very popular Netflix series) will be held on November 19, 2022, from 12:00-2:00 pm at our Bakery’s location – 1707 Westover Hills Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23225.

Your favorite RVA Celebrities will team up with the Tablespoons’ Cookie Crew in the ultimate challenge to take home the trophy: Katie Ukrop & Shelley, Bill Martin & Chris, Marc Cheatham & Kemani, Robey Martin & Haley, and Todd Waldo & Cheyenne.

The event will involve a live judging component with judges from Richmond’s Culinary Scene: Jared Golden, Co-Founder of Richmond Restaurant Group; Eileen Mellon, Food Editor for Richmond Magazine; and Ken Lowrie, Executive Chef of The Westwood Club.

We will have Caroline Coleburn of CBS 6 serving as our emcee, Nutzy from the Flying Squirrels assisting with awarding prizes, and live music from The Sugar Hollows and Matt Lomaka.

November 19th marks the return of this signature fundraiser (since pre-COVID days) and celebrates our 1-year anniversary since the Bakery’s grand opening to the community.

Operating under the larger nonprofit, Next Move Program, Tablespoons Bakery allows us to carry out our mission each day – working to directly combat the 70% unemployment rate for young adults with developmental disabilities here in the Commonwealth. Tablespoons serves as both a supported employment site for young adults in the community and an internship site for area high school students with diverse abilities.

Your support of this event allows us to provide life-changing vocational education and employment services to our students and bakers, at no cost to them or their families.

Northside Artists Holiday Show at Lewis Ginter Recreation Association
November 19th

Tis time be crafty or at least check out those that are crafty.

More than 30 Northside Richmond artists are presenting a holiday show and sale benefitting FEEDMORE, November 19 from 11 am to 5 pm, at the Ginter Park Recreation Center, 3421 Hawthorne Avenue, Richmond 23222. Jazz will be featured on stage throughout the day, and bar proceeds, in addition to 10 percent of sales, go to FEEDMORE.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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