2012 was a truly incredible year for the Rappahannock Restore Corps. Volunteers rallied to plant trees, restore streambanks, pick up trash, build rain barrels, and dig rain gardens. The year started with a phenomenal Student Stream Team project. Forty students from Colonial Forge High School helped to implement a streambank restoration along the Priestly Farm near Marshall, Virginia. The students planted nearly 1500 trees in a matter of hours and helped to restore nearly three acres of streambank.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2012, another 3,200 trees, shrubs, and sub-aquatic plants were planted along the Rappahannock and its tributaries as well as within Lake of the Woods in Orange County. FOR volunteers also joined up with Fredericksburg’s Watershed Property Manager, Lee Sillitoe, to help repair an ATV-damaged riparian buffer zone along the upper Rappahannock using a innovative method of restoration called mycorestoration. The project used logs and mulch inoculated with mushroom spores to stabilize and rebuild damaged and eroded areas.

When Restore Corps volunteers weren’t busy planting trees or repairing riparian buffers, they managed to pick up over 13,000 pounds of trash from along the Rappahannock and its tributaries while taking part in FOR’s river cleanups. Volunteers also participated in rain barrel building workshops to help keep FOR well-stocked with rain barrels. It takes a small army of volunteers to keep up with the demand for these hot items!

In the fall of 2011, FOR kick started its Rainscapes Retrofits program and, since then, the program has grown more than we could have imagined. Thanks to the support of the Rappahannock Restore Corps volunteers, we were able to design and construct nine raingardens throughout the watershed in the program’s first year, reducing the amount of stormwater runoff that reaches the Rappahannock by an estimated 5,000 gallons!

FOR would like to thank all of the amazing volunteers who made these projects happen. A big thank you also goes to Tom Turner and the John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, REI, Virginia Dominion Power, and Cynthia Lucero-Chavez and Stafford County Learn & Serve.

Written by Sarah Hagan, FOR Volunteer & Stewardship Coordinator

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