“Everybody out of the water!” You might have thought Jaws—cello and all—had entered Lancaster Creek, seeing the panic I’d set loose on my three-year-old son and his troupe of neighborhood dock jumpers, now thrashing the water to reach the safety ladder. But no, this ‘Medusa’ of the Bay was only a simple jellyfish—the first of the season in our creek, bobbing along with the incoming tide, poisonous, barbed tentacles suspended behind.
As part of the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay Watershed, there are six states including the District of Columbia that affect the health and productivity of the Rappahannock River. Across the region, many local delicacies such as a roasted oyster, a fried soft shell crab, or a baked rockfish are a product of the Bay and its tributaries, and are a connection between us and these once bountiful waters.
Before the spring thaw, Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) was able to put some eyes in the sky to see a snow and ice-covered tidal watershed. Southwings, a
non-profit organization that provides a network of volunteer pilots to conservation organizations,community leaders, policy-makers, and the media, worked with FOR to invite Northern Neck Planning District Commission Environmental Planner Stuart Mckenzie for a flight over the frozen Rappahannock, with me and volunteer pilot Jim Stover, who is also the flight instructor at local Shannon Airport.