Image result for virginia department of forestryFriends of the Rappahannock is pleased to announce the recent award of $7,000.00 from the Virginia Department of Forestry’s (DOF) Trees for Clean Water grant program to support our Headwater Stream Initiative.

This funding will help FOR plant over 1,300 trees and shrubs along the Robinson River in Madison County in areas called riparian buffers. These areas are among the most important ecosystems we have in the Rappahannock River watershed and provide a wide range of ecosystem services.

Riparian buffers act as filters and remove nutrients and other pollution before they are able to enter our streams and rivers. They also grow tall and shade the waterways which helps to keep the streams cool and healthy for fish and other aquatic critters.

The dense root systems of the larger tree and shrub species stabilize river banks which holds soil in place and prevents erosion. Not only does this prevent sediment from clouding the water, but it reduces land loss for property owners.

Another great benefit is that these buffers act as natural migration highways for all kinds of wildlife ranging from migratory song birds of every possible color to large mammals like white tail deer and black bears.

Planting all of these trees is going to be a lot of work. Fortunately this new funding is going to allow us to work with several local schools and volunteer groups to provide environmental education lessons and the opportunity to work and learn in an outdoor classroom. We will investigate water quality, learn about the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay, and introduce the students to our incredible conservation partners that work to protect and restore natural resources throughout the region.

Big thank you to the Virginia Department of Forestry for selecting FOR as a recipient of the 2018 Trees for Clean Water Grant!

This grant program is made possible by the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Urban Forests Program.

For more information on this grant award, the headwater stream initiative, or to learn how to get involved, please contact FOR Restoration Coordinator Adam Lynch