CULPEPER, VA— On Friday January 22, 2021 staff members from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Rappahannock Rapidan Regional Commission (RRRC), Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR), and the Town and County of Culpeper met at multiple sites along Mountain Run to discuss opportunities for non point source pollution reduction projects and public outreach and education programs focused on urban and developed areas. This meeting was to support the current development of a TMDL implementation plan for Mountain Run, Muddy Run, and the Lower Hazel Watersheds in Culpeper County.

Mountain Run flows through multiple public parks in Culpeper and is listed as impaired due to high levels of E. coli bacteria. The total maximum daily load or TMDL is a planning process that engages community stakeholders in a effort to adopt policies and install projects that reduce the pollution loads to safe levels for recreation and to support aquatic life.

“We are most concerned with water quality and its impact on the health and safety of the public and users of local streams.” Said October Greenfield, Upper Rappahannock River Steward with Friends of the Rappahannock. “This process will provide a framework for solving pollution issues and we look forward to supporting that work with our Mountain Run Initiative.”

Friends of the Rappahannock has launched a Mountain Run Initiative that will work with local partners to provide environmental education programs, outreach and interpretative opportunities, and a variety of best management practices (bmp) to the communities of the Mountain Run watershed. This includes free trees, rain barrels, pet waste stations, river cleanups, guided paddle trips, youth education, water quality monitoring, and more.

In 2020, FOR opened an office in Culpeper and expanded its staff of scientists and educators to serve the upper Rappahannock River. Since then, they have teamed up with lots of partners to plant over 1,300 trees in Culpeper County and gave away another 300 trees in partnership with RRRC, Culpeper Parks and Recreation, and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. They also host guided paddle trips, nature hikes, and can offer a wide array of education programs for youth and adults. In 2021, be on the look out for more free trees, rain barrels, self guided education programs, workshops, and some great events!

For more information or to get involved with the Mountain Run Initiative, contact FOR’s Culpeper office at October.greenfield@riverfriends.org or 540-287-0226

Friends of the Rappahannock’s Mountain Run Initiative is made possible through support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, Virginia Department of Forestry, Campbell Foundation, PATH Foundation, Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, Arbor Day Foundation, and the sale of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay License Plates.

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