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The Friends of the Shenandoah River Celebrates 30 Years of Science

Dear Friend.

In 1989, a group of people who love the Shenandoah River came together. Concerned about the river’s degradation and lack of awareness about the river, they had an idea; Combine the forces of science and volunteers to monitor the river’s health, and then share the story of science throughout the Valley. Knowledge, they said, is power. The Friends of the Shenandoah River was born.

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary this year, we take pride in that we are the longest-term continuous citizen-scientist volunteer source for water quality data in the watershed.   Our data is utilized by local state and federal agencies, educators, other NGOs, and the public. Our laboratory at Shenandoah University sets the gold standard for testing and analysis. Partners that include Friends of the North Fork, Friends of the Middle River, and the Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition rely on us to make sure the quality of our data is unassailable. Our citizen-scientist volunteers monitor sites from, Stuarts Draft VA., to Harpers Ferry, W.VA, once a month!

Little by little, the river is recovering from the industrial pollution of the last century. Although the threats have changed over time, there is still so much to do. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus from both agriculture and population growth can cause excessive algae growth. When the algae die, the decomposition process steals life sustaining oxygen from the water and can release toxic chemicals that pose a threat to fish, other aquatic organisms, wild and domestic animals, and humans.

During the summer months, people are enjoying recreational activities in rivers and streams.  There is the possibility that pathogens that are dangerous to human health are present in these waters.  These pathogens come from agricultural practices, overland run-off, dated and failing septic systems, and overwhelmed wastewater treatment facilities.  Under the recently passed Virginia Code for both the State Water Control Board and VA Dept. of Health, there is no longer any Virginia State agency responsible to inform the public of potential exposure to elevated E. coli levels in freshwater streams and rivers in Virginia! We, however, do perform this important service.

The Friends of the Shenandoah River monitors 16 public recreational and access points along the river weekly during these months for E. coli, which is an indicator for a host of harmful organisms. We then make real-time posts to social media to alert recreational users of potential danger.

We can’t do this without you. Our wonderful river needs the Friends of the Shenandoah River, and the Friends need you. We need your support to be able to continue to provide you with this critical information when recreating in the Shenandoah River.  We need Friends like you, people who want to support our efforts to provide timely, accredited water-quality data that helps to tell the story of the river’s health.

I hope you will join me, along with other Friends of the Shenandoah River, in making a tax-deductible contribution today.    Donations can be made using the following link with PayPal: http://fosr.org/join-us/join/

Your friends on the river,

The Friends of the Shenandoah River Board of Directors

Virginia no longer provides critical water-quality information

Remember this post from July 24, 2019? 

Under the recently approved Virginia Code for both the State Water Control Board and VA Dept. of Health, there is no longer any Virginia State agency responsible to inform the public of potential exposure to elevated E. coli levels in freshwater streams and rivers in Virginia! The Friends of the Shenandoah River (FOSR) need your support to be able to continue to provide you with this critical information related to your and your family’s health when recreating in the Shenandoah River.

Donations can be made using the following link with PayPal: http://fosr.org/join-us/join/

or donations can be sent to:

Friends of the Shenandoah River
1460 University Drive
Winchester, VA 22601

Thank you for supporting the work of the Friends of the Shenandoah River!

FOSR 2019 Summer E. coli Results through 09.17.2019

This week we collected the  water samples from the sites located in Clarke County on the Main-stem of the Shenandoah River and the one water sample from Opequon Creek on Monday, September 16 for the E. coli testing program.  We then collected the rest of the water samples on Tuesday, September 17.   Below are the E. coli concentration results for the water samples that were collected on both September 16 and 17.  In a freshwater system, these data represent a snapshot of the water quality on the date, time, and under the conditions that the water sample was collected.

FOSR 2019 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 09.17.2019

At 1 of the 15 sites tested on September 16 and 17, 2019 the E. coli levels exceeded the Virginia Water Quality Standard threshold level of 235 colony forming units of E. coli per 100 ml of sample for freshwater beaches.  This site was:

  • FW36, Manassas Run, a tributary the feeds into the Main-stem Shenandoah River just upstream of the public boat landing at Morgan’s Ford Bridge on Morgans Ford Road, Warren County

The FOSR is celebrating 30-years

FOSR 2019 Summer E. coli Results through 09.10.2019

These are the E. coli concentration results for the water samples were collected yesterday, Tuesday, September 10, 2019.  In a freshwater system, these data represent a snapshot of the water quality on the date, time, and under the conditions that the water sample was collected.

FOSR 2019 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 09.10.2019

This is the first time in awhile the E. coli levels at all of the sites tested were below the Virginia Water Quality Standard threshold level of 235 colony forming units of E. coli per 100 ml of sample for freshwater beaches.

It was observed that the flow levels at the sites visited on Tuesday were below the USGS recorded median (spanning 58 – 105 years) for this time of year.

 

Peace and Tranquility on the Main-stem of the Shenandoah River

This tranquil scene on the Main-stem of the Shenandoah River in Clarke County was captured by Bud Nagelvoort on August 30, 2019.

FOSR 2019 Summer E. coli Results through 09.03.2019

These are the E. coli concentration results for the water samples were collected yesterday, Tuesday, September 03, 2019.  In a freshwater system, these data represent a snapshot of the water quality on the date, time, and under the conditions that the water sample was collected.

FOSR 2019 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 09.03.2019

At 1 of the 15 sites tested on September 03, the E. coli levels exceeded the Virginia Water Quality Standard threshold level of 235 colony forming units of E. coli per 100 ml of sample for freshwater beaches.  This site was:

  • FW36, Manassas Run, a tributary the feeds into the Main-stem Shenandoah River just upstream of the public boat landing at Morgan’s Ford Bridge on Morgans Ford Road, Warren County

FOSR 2019 Summer E. coli Results through 08.29.2019

We collected the water samples to test for E. coli levels at the 15 designated public access and recreational use sites yesterday afternoon to be able to provide you with the most current E. coli concentration results for you to make an informed decision about potential associated health risks when recreating in the areas of the river tested going into the holiday weekend.

These are the E. coli concentration results for the water samples were collected yesterday, Thursday, August 29.  In a freshwater system, these data represent a snapshot of the water quality on the date, time, and under the conditions that the water sample was collected.

FOSR 2019 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 08.29.2019

At 1 of the 15 sites tested on August 29, the E. coli levels exceeded the Virginia Water Quality Standard threshold level of 235 colony forming units of E. coli per 100 ml of sample for freshwater beaches.  This site was:

  • FW36, Manassas Run, a tributary the feeds into the Main-stem Shenandoah River just upstream of the public boat landing at Morgan’s Ford Bridge on Morgans Ford Road, Warren County

 

FOSR 2019 Summer E. coli Results through 08.22.2019

These are the E. coli concentration results for the water samples that I collected on Thursday, August 22.  In a freshwater system, these data represent a snapshot of the water quality on the date, time, and under the conditions that the water sample was collected.  After the water samples were collected yesterday, it rained in many of the areas that the sites are located.  The rain flushes contaminants, including E. coli bacteria,  from all of the exposed surfaces in the urban, suburban, rural, and agricultural areas into the streams and rivers.

FOSR 2019 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 08.22.2019

At 1 of the 16 sites tested on August 22, the E. coli levels exceeded the Virginia Water Quality Standard threshold level of 235 colony forming units of E. coli per 100 ml of sample for freshwater beaches.  This site was:

  • FW36, Manassas Run, a tributary the feeds into the Main-stem Shenandoah River just upstream of the public boat landing at Morgan’s Ford Bridge on Morgans Ford Road, Warren County

 

 

FOSR 2019 Summer E. coli Results through 08.15.2019

These are the E. coli concentration results for the water samples that I collected on Thursday, August 15.  Check out the E. coli levels for the water samples collected yesterday shortly after a localized heavy down pour that fell in portions of Clarke County VA.

FOSR 2019 Summer Quantitative E. coli Concentration Results through 08.15.2019

At 5 of the 16 sites tested the E. coli levels exceeded the Virginia Water Quality Standard threshold level of 235 colony forming units of E. coli per 100 ml of sample for freshwater beaches.  These sites were:

FC08, Main-stem Shenandoah River, at Castleman’s Ferry public boat ramp, Route 7 bridge, Clarke County

FC05, Main-stem Shenandoah River, at Lockes Landing public boat landing, Clarke County

FC01, Main-stem Shenandoah River, at at Berry’s public boat ramp, Route 50 bridge, Clarke County

FW36, Manassas Run, a tributary the feeds into the Main-stem Shenandoah River just upstream of the public boat landing at Morgan’s Ford Bridge on Morgans Ford Road, Warren County

FW35, Main-stem Shenandoah River, in the Main-stem Shenandoah River at Morgan’s Ford Bridge public boat landing below confluence with Manassas Run, Warren County

 
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