Protecting the Health of Our Waterways
Charlottesville is located in the Rivanna River watershed, which feeds into the James River, then the Chesapeake Bay, and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.
To protect our community's many waterways, the City has launched a number of initiatives.
'Build Your Own Rain Barrel' Workshops
The City of Charlottesville's Public Works and Parks and Recreation Departments, in partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, have held several "build your own rain barrel" workshops.
To express interest in participating in future workshops, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meadow Creek Restoration Project
The City, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, and with funding from the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (VARTF), undertook a major stream restoration project on Meadow Creek in Charlottesville.
The VARTF is a cooperative program between The Nature Conservancy and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The $3.95 million project involved restoration through a 9,000 foot section of degraded stream and preserving 72 acres of forest and wetlands.
Restoration work began in May 2012 and was completed in March 2013, and entailed reducing the steep height of the stream banks, realigning and adding meanders and habitat structures to the stream channel, and planting trees to enhance the forested buffer along the stream. To permanently protect the stream, wetlands, and forested buffer, conservation easements were placeded over the project area. The conservation easements also protect over a mile of the Rivanna Trail located along Meadow Creek in this area.
Meadow Creek lies within the Rivanna watershed, which The Nature Conservancy has identified as one of the finest remaining freshwater systems in the Piedmont. The Rivanna Watershed Conservation Area Plan, developed by The Nature Conservancy and partners, identified increased sedimentation, due in part to stream bank erosion and the lack of forested buffers in riparian areas, as the greatest threat to the watershed.
This project complements the work done on upstream portions of Meadow Creek by The University of Virginia, which has recently completed a number of stream restoration projects, including one at the Dell and one at the John Paul Jones Arena.
For more information on the Meadow Creek stream restoration project please CLICK HERE.
Stormwater Management Program
Stormwater runoff is rain or snowmelt that flows over the ground and into the City's stormwater system or directly into creeks and streams. As this runoff flows, it can pick up oils and greases, heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, trash and debris, sediment, animal wastes, and other pollutants. Since our storm drains do not connect to water treatment facilities, but rather drain untreated into local waterways, these pollutants are carried along with stormwater runoff into the Rivanna River. As a result, contaminated stormwater runoff is a major source of pollution to our local waterways. Excessive contamination of runoff can cause sedimentation and erosion of our streams, water quality degradation, and unhealthy water conditions for humans and wildlife.
For further information on Charlottesville's stormwater program, please CLICK HERE.
Establishment of Vegetated Riparian Buffers
Planted vegetated riparian buffers offer waterways critical protection. This vegetation along a stream's banks help to filter out pollutants in stormwater runoff before reaching the waterway, and also reduce the velocity of stormwater flow towards the stream. This slowing of the velocity of water flow helps to prevent erosion and stream bank scouring. For more information on Riparian Buffers, please CLICK HERE.
A raingarden is a low impact development stormwater management technique designed to improve water quality by filtering out and uptaking pollutants, promoting on-site infiltration and groundwater recharge, and reducing peak stormwater flows. By slowing water flow, a raingarden allows greater infiltration into soils, and gives plants in the garden time to process and remove pollutants from the water before it flows into local waterways.
For information on the raingarden in Greenleaf Park, please CLICK HERE.
For details on water conservation efforts within the City, and for tips on personal and household water conservation, please CLICK HERE.