Tidal (lower) Watershed

Tidal Rappahannock

After 26 successful years in the middle and upper watershed, Friends of the Rappahannock is taking the plunge into the deep, brackish water of the Tidal Rappahannock. Once you cross the rocky fall line, the Rappahannock widens, meanders, and grows in depth. Those that call this portion of the river home, treasure every crab feast, rockfish catch, and sunset. The Middle and Northern Neck Peninsulas have generations of watermen, farmers, and business people.

Sign up for our Tidal Spring Clean-up Today!

Join our Rappahannock Restore Corps by Volunteering today!

 Working in the Tidal Rappahannock, we have two natives and one transplant:

Tidal Rappahannock River Steward - Richard Moncure, Jr.
Richard has spent a lifetime on the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.  The former owner of the Seafood Market at The Happy Clam and licensed waterman understands the value of the Rappahannock River from "fisherman to fork", and beyond. Now living in Simonsons with his family of waterpeople, Richard keeps a close eye on the Rappahannock and its fishing industry.  Richard is a graduate of Woodberry Forest School and Hampden-Sydney College.  After college, Richard completed his service in Peace Corps Zambia, working on rural aquaculture projects before returning home to join his family in the seafood business.
Contact Richard if you have any questions about FOR, are interested in getting a project on the ground, or have a concern about the river. Richard works to spread our projects throughout the Tidal Rappahannock while also making sure policies are being followed.

Americorps Tidal Volunteer Coordinator - Lowery Pemberton
Lowery  is a native of the Northern Neck, growing up in the small village of Sharps in Richmond County. Raised in a family full of watermen and having the river in her backyard, Lowery’s interest in the health of the river grew with age. After attending the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Lowery went to the University of Virginia where she received a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Environmental Sciences and a Specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation.
Contact Lowery if you have events you would like FOR to be a part of, if you would like to volunteer, or if you have any questions about projects going on in the Tidal Rappahannock. Lowery works to get volunteers involved in our projects and outreach events.

Americorps Tidal Membership & Outreach Coordinator - Marti Osteyee-Hoffman

Marti Osteyee-Hoffman is a native of the Carolinas. Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachia mountains, nature has always been a part of her life. She first attended Warren Wilson College to pursue a degree in Psychology but later transferred to the University of North Carolina in Asheville and graduated in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in General Sociology. Working for a non-profit organization is her dream job, and she hopes to make a career out of helping and inspiring others. Marti is excited to explore beyond the Appalachian mountains and to discover new places to call home. In her free time she enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, watching 30 Rock, and participating in pretty much any outdoor activity. She is looking forward to being the Americorps Vista Membership and Outreach Coordinator for the Friends of the Rappahannock in Tappahannock Virginia.


Tidal Advocacy Activities:
Water Quality Testing


Water Quality Testing

Coming this summer, FOR will begin testing Dissolved Oxygen Levels in the river. Other parameters will also be measured, but this is one of the key determinants in the health of our seafood market. The Rappahannock River has the largest dead zone in the state of Virginia; it is larger than the three other rivers combined! A dead zone is where nothing can live because there is no oxygen. De-oxygenation of the water is caused by excess nutrients, Phosphorus and Nitrogen. These nutrients are used by algae for food and too much nutrients causes an algae bloom to occur. When the algae eventually dies it then sinks to the bottom where it starts to decompose. Decomposition takes oxygen out of the water and replaces it with carbon dioxide making it impossible to survive. Benthic organisms cannot live without oxygen!

We will be testing the magnitude of the dead zone starting this summer. If you would be interested in volunteering with this testing, email lowery.pemberton@riverfriends.org!

Tidal Restoration Activities:
Tidal Clean-ups
Living Shorelines
Rain Gardens


Tidal Clean-ups

Check out our Rappahannock River Clean-ups Facebook Page! You can add pictures from clean-ups you did with us, on your own, or of crazy things you might have found!

We have two annual Tidal Clean-ups in the Fall and Spring that are always open to new locations and volunteers! Due to the majority of the land along the river being privately owned, clean-ups in the Tidal Rappahannock are relatively dependent on suggested locations. Volunteers can either sign up for a location that we have set or they can gather together as a community to identify their own site. We then approve the site and, if the property owner agrees, we open the site for more volunteer. Many communities and organizations have already joined this force to pick up trash along the river bank. The Tappahannock and Warsaw Rotary clubs, Sharps community, and Simonsons community are just a few. We hope to spread this clean-up effort through the entire tidal portion and we know we can do this with your help! We would like to especially thank Wal-mart for all of their funding toward our clean-ups!

Fall 2012

Help our river prepare for the upcoming hurricaine season by joining FOR for their Annual Tidal Fall Clean-up on September 8th! This will be a great family day of helping our river, showing stewardship, and enjoying a cookout lunch. Everyone will meet at the Tidal Office at June Parker Marina at 9am, Saturday morning. From there, volunteers will be dispersed by boat, car, or foot to specified locations along the Essex and Richmond County riverbanks. At 12pm, all volunteers will meet back at the office where the weight of the trash will be added and lunch will be waiting! If you are able to bring a boat or truck to shuttle people and trash, please let FOR know. Pre-registration is required. Sign-up here or contact Lowery Pemberton.

Spring 2012

On May 5th from 9am to 1pm, we had our very first Rotary Clean-up that included Rotary clubs along the entire Rappahannock. The Rotary Club and Friends of the Rappahannock have a common mission; strengthen and be an active force in the community. Spending the day together beautifying our Rappahannock River is the perfect way to spread our mission and show our compassion for our river and community. The Rappahannock (Fredericksburg), Tappahannock, and Warsaw Rotaries participated in this great day! We have some great photos of the day that you can see on our Rappahannock River Clean-ups Facebook Page!

On June 2nd from 9am to 1pm, we had our Annual Spring Clean-up! We partnered with Belle Isle State Park, the Warsaw-Richmond County Main Street Program, the Warsaw Methodist Green Team, and local students for Clean the Bay Day. Together we collected 900 lbs of trash along Main Street and Rt. 360 in Warsaw! We found many interesting items including christmaas lights, a kitchen knife, and even a driver's license! Clean the Bay Day was a great success and we are looking forward to more partnerships and more trash being collected! Check out our Facebook page for more photos! Rappahannock River Clean-ups!

Fall 2011

For our first Fall Tidal Clean-up we had 35 volunteers who collected over 750 pounds of trash! Four locations joined with FOR in this clean-up effort: June Parker Marina, St. Margaret's School, Simonsons community, and Christ Church School. It was a great starting effort with three sites determined by FOR and one volunteered. Volunteers were able to use canoes to collect trash along the shoreline while others walked with trash pickers. Everyone enjoyed our first clean-up!

Living Shorelines

According to VIMS, living shorelines address erosion in lower energy situations by providing long-term protection, restoration or enhancement of vegetated shoreline habitats through strategic placement of plants, stone, sand fill and other structural or organic materials. It is a natural buffer between your yard and the water that provides habitat for juvenile marine organisms. Bulkheads and rip rap sever this connection prohibiting these organisms from having protection along the banks. If you would like to learn more about living shorelines and if it would work where you live, email richard.moncure@riverfriends.org or check out the VIMS website.

Deltaville Yahting Center
In September 2010 we funded and helped construct a demonstration "Living Shoreline under a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  The site is the beginning of our Living Shorelines initiative in the tidal Rappahannock where we hope to use a "pay it forward" model to involve riverfront homeowner volunteers in restoring shorelines across the tidal Rappahannock.

We are currently working with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Department of Recreation and Conservation, local officials, and Master Gardeners to develop this program to better fit the homeowner. We are looking for waterfront property to put another living shoreline on the ground! We have funding to do another project and are open to any ideas. This is a great way to protect your own shoreline as well as create habitat for juvenille marine organisms. If you have property you would like for us to come look at, email richard.moncure@riverfriends.org.

Rain Gardens

Placid Bay Community Center 2012
During Tropical Storm Lee, Placid Bay in Westmoreland County was hit with 29 inches of rain in 24 hours. The community was built upon 4 dams that created water front property for the residents of Placid Bay. With 29 inches of rain, three out of the four dams blew out leaving the community with massive yard drop offs, homes that are destroyed, and half the community stranded without a road to get out. This storm was categorized as a 500 year storm that no one could have prevented, but FOR, Northern Neck Soil and Water, Master Naturalists, and the Placid Bay Community came together to teach the community ways to prevent some of the damage. Together we built a rain garden that was on demonstration at the After the Storm Event. This is one way you can manage larger amounts of rain.

Lancaster Primary School 2010
We constructed 4 bioretention cells (rain gardens) at Lancaster Primary School.  The school drains to the Currutoman River, a tributary to the Rappahannock.  The project was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and was a partnership with the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District and the Northern Neck Master Gardeners.

Tidal Education Activities:
Healthy Rivers Start At Home

Healthy Rivers Start At Home

Healthy Rivers Start at Home is a new and improved version of Livable Neighborhoods, a program meant for river people who still want to utilize its resources! Many of the techniques in this new edition are the same, but are modified to include rural communities and better methods to do easy tasks around the house. The notebook is user friendly, broken into indoor and outdoor activities, and comes with an action log to track your progress. You can do something as simple as turning the water off when you brush your teeth or as complex as putting in a Living Shoreline. This program enables you to do what you have been doing, but with more environmental benefits. Many of the tasks won't take you any more time, but will also help save the crabs you like to eat every Sunday or that big rockfish you like to catch in December. We all love our river and what we get out of it; with these tricks we can live the lifestyle we are used to while also benefiting from the river's resources.

Several communities have already done the program or are signing up now! We will work with you to set up a time and date. We will then come to you and talk to your friends about the Rappahannock River and Healthy Rivers Start at Home. Every household will take home a workbook to use and new skills that can be used as soon as they get home. It's a great way to have a social gathering with your friends and neighbors while also learning great techniques for your home and yard! If you would like FOR to come to your community and explain the Health Rivers Start at Home program and techniques, email lowery.pemberton@riverfriends.org.

Check out Healthy Rivers Start At Home on Facebook! You can post about hosting a program, techniques you have used, pictures of projects you have done, and ideas for others! It's a way we can all share what we are doing and learning!

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