Cowpasture River Preservation Association Offers Summer Rain Barrel Workshop

Monterey, VA – A dedicated group of Allegheny Highlands residents came together nearly 40 years ago to protect and celebrate the Cowpasture River. The members of the Cowpasture River Preservation Association work to educate people about the value and importance of watersheds. With its headwaters in the northeastern corner of Highland County, the Cowpasture River cuts a winding path through Highland, Bath and Alleghany Counties before joining the Jackson River near Iron Gate to form the James River, one of America’s great historic rivers.

Now, more than ever, people of the Alleghany Highlands will be called upon to take action to keep streams and rivers clean. The Cowpasture River Preservation Association has a program of events and workshops to educate and mobilize area residents. CRPA Director Polly Newlon, talks about the challenges our communities face managing storm water runoff.

“In both urban and rural areas, citizens complain about flooding caused by runoff and it is also reported as a contributor to excess nutrient enrichment that promotes algae and invasive plant growth in our waterways” says Newlon. “As we have all witnessed in the recent spring rains and associated flooding in our area, heavy rains, as well as overflow of streams and creeks in the pastures and meadows, can pick up fertilizers and other chemicals used on farms. Debris from streamsides can pile up downstream and disrupt flow and soil sediment that can smother animals that live on the river bottom and are a major food source for fish.”

Ms. Newlon goes on to detail how people can get involved in this important conservation work, such as animal waste management, protecting river banks from erosion, and minimizing the use of chemicals on the farm.

“Another method that individuals can employ is to capture some of the rain that falls on roofs” she says. “Rain barrels connected to one’s gutter can delay that rain water from entering the water runoff cycle. An added benefit of collecting rain in these barrels is that one can then use it for watering the garden, washing the car or the dog, and other uses around the house; there’s nothing better for plants than rainwater.”
The CRPA is conducting rain barrel workshops this spring thanks to a grant from the Beirne Carter Foundation. These workshops are open to the public and allow individuals to learn a little more about watershed protection. They will also actually make a rain barrel at the workshop and take it home.

The May workshop has already filled up, but there is space in the workshop being held on Saturday, June 4th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Blue Grass Ruritan Building in Blue Grass. Registration is required and anyone interested should call 540-474-2858.

For more information about the Cowpasture River Preservation Association visit their website at www.cowpastureriver dot org.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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