14 October 2014
Almost half of the sampling sites in Fluvanna County both on the river and along the streams that feed it failed to meet the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) standards for aquatic life.
StreamWatch released its report, “The Biological Health of Streams and Rivers of the Rivanna River Watershed,” in June of 2014.
“Water quality and stream health are vital community interests,” reads the report. “The Rivanna River itself is a heavily used waterway, providing drinking water to many thousands of Central Virginia residents while also receiving stormwater runoff and treated wastewater.”
Data collected from 2011-2013 is compared with information going back to 2003 to illustrate both the current state of the watershed and historical trends.
Sites rated as “fair” or worse fail state standards; of 11 sampling sites in Fluvanna, five rated “fair”, five “good”, and one “very good.” Two of the sampling sites have improved since the last sampling period. While the statistics in Fluvanna County are better than those for the entire watershed, there is concern about the sites that received a “fair” assessment. “Many of the streams rated in ‘fair’ condition are located in rural or sparsely developed areas. Previous studies by StreamWatch and others suggest that some ‘fair’ streams can recover good health with modest changes in management practices,” the report stated.
StreamWatch relies heavily on volunteers – “citizen scientists” – to help assess the sites along the Rivanna River watershed. Groups of volunteers use a fine-mesh net to seine aquatic insects, and then identify and count these insects as indicators of the quality of the site.
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