Open Source, a new show on WRIR 97.3 FM, dedicated time Friday to our city and region’s greatest natural resource: The James River. Chris French, director of the Virginia Chapter of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Pat Calvert, the Upper James Riverkeeper for the James River Association joined the program, broadcast on WRIR 97.3 […]
Open Source, a new show on WRIR 97.3 FM, dedicated time Friday to our city and region’s greatest natural resource: The James River.
Chris French, director of the Virginia Chapter of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Pat Calvert, the Upper James Riverkeeper for the James River Association joined the program, broadcast on WRIR 97.3 FM. Open Source host Will Snyder wrote:
The mighty James made it into the news cycle this week when it crested at 15.1 feet, which is considered “moderate flood stage.” Richmond residents also received a Consumer Confidence Report on our drinking water this week, which incidentally, comes from the James River. So, what is the state of the river? How are we managing our drinking, waste and stormwater? Are we being good stewards for our downstream neighbors and managing resources accordingly?
Here are whittled down highlights from the broadcast. The podcast is also available.
What are we putting in the James that are the big polluters?
French: “Too much dirt in the water. When it ends up in the water, what does it do to the James? Makes it really choclately looking…eventually ends up in tidal areas and settles out. Covers up underwater grasses, which are a major habitat and a filter for water. While its suspended in the water it will deprive underwater grasses from being able to photosynthesize and grow. Covers up habitat, muddies the water and is a stresser to fish.”
French: “Many of our public utilities throughout the James River, including Richmond, have to increase the amount of treatment they to do as a result of that, and so for taxpayers, it actually increases the cost of having good healthy clean water available for folks. So it impacts the taxpayers directly.”
Calvert: “Silty, sediment-laden water is going to result in higher cost to the taxpayer.”
Is our water clean enough?
French: “Things have been steadily improving. With the implementation of the Clean Water Act in 1970s…our utilities have been doing a miraculous job of upgrading their facilities.”
French: “The James River in this region has recently undergone a very long and extensive process for addressing bacteria. Both from point sources, where you can define where water enters a stream from a pipe or from a landscape. The plan is to look at all sources of pollution and to try to put this on a pollution diet. So, we’re all kind of on ‘The Biggest Loser’ now.”
Are there simple indicators to show a healthly James?
Calvert: “You can’t look at a body of water and tell whether its polluted or not. It might look perfectly clean, but when you get down and look at it, there may be nothing living in there. It depends on what your definition of clean is.”
Calvert: “Turn over a few rocks, and see what’s living in there. The little invertebrates that live there nearly all the time, and they don’t move too far in their lives…like mayflies and stoneflies, if you find those, that’s a good sign. Those are sensitive critters. If you don’t find anything but leaches and black fly larvae, then you might have an issue.”
Both men suggested that listeners should see their website for more best simple management practices.