Saturday, April 18, 2009

broken forest

Paper companies make good neighbors, except for once every forty years when they visit with the heavy equipment and take the trees.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

broken creek

all the king's horses

all the king's men

Labels: ,

Monday, April 06, 2009

Water Quality

There are individuals and organizations in our midst who carry our water, care for our water, work tirelessly to mitigate 400 years of colonization. Heartfelt thanks Deborah Murray and all her colleagues at the Southern Environmental Law Center!

Washington, D.C. April 1, 2009
A federal court has overturned a permit issued by the Corps of Engineers for a massive impoundment in King William County, Virginia that would have resulted in the single largest, authorized loss of wetlands in the mid-Atlantic region in the last 37 years. The U.S. District Court in D.C. ruled late yesterday that the Corps' finding that the reservoir proposed by Newport News would not cause significant harm to the environment was "arbitrary and capricious."--(read more)


Friday, April 03, 2009


paving the mountain, armoring the river


Monday, October 08, 2007


Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, 1970


Thursday, September 06, 2007


Ben Porter, photographer


Friday, August 31, 2007

palmetto road

This picture is for Jim, on the edge of west 53rd, enjoying a cool day in NYC. The remarkable thing about roads, they start in one place, end in another. This is Jim's starting road.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


this would be risky behavior in Lyme country.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Blue Run, Black Snake

Talked to Emma last night, she'd been walking in the wilderness for a few days, lost her way, back-tracked via her footprints in the snow pack, crossed the US/Canada border, returning to the beginning. I've been missing posts, engaged with projects that demand attention. Like Emma, I end back at the beginning.
In the darkroom, blackdog, darkly.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

phone home

children of the south eastern coast


Monday, October 30, 2006


leaf- One of the expanded, usually green organs borne by the stem of a plant.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 23, 2006

Town Creek

Sunday, October 22, 2006

day of rest


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

water quality

Advice to swimmers? Keep your mouths shut.

For more information on bodies of water in the Rivanna watershed visit Streamwatch

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

visible atmosphere 3

Makah Nation
, most northwest point of the lower 48.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Corvus corax

Emory, E. is home
A wild raven was recorded living for 13 years and 4 months. Captive birds may live much longer, one captive individual was recorded to have lived 80 years and captives at the Tower of London in England live for 44 years or more.-UMMZ

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 01, 2006

pave paradise

With 800,000 acres of pavement, the Chesapeake Bay watershed is more funnel than filter in a rainstorm. Torrents of water have thrown the estuary's salt and freshwater mix off-kilter -- chasing out jellyfish, which love salty water, but stressing crabs and oysters, especially those farthest from the ocean. Washington Post

Impervious surfaces are any surface coverings that do not absorb water. These include roads, roofs, and parking lots. In urban environments, large areas are covered with impervious surfaces. As a result, water cannot infiltrate into the ground, and instead drains into storm sewer systems, and then creeks and rivers, much faster then it naturally would. This rapid drainage and increased quantity of runoff results in high peak flows in waterways, causing severe erosion of stream banks, scouring of stream beds, excessive sedimentation, and flooding. Sediment loading is recognized as one of the greatest threats to the Rivanna River and the Chesapeake Bay; sediment carries pollutants that have bonded to it into waterways, suspends in the water column and blocks sunlight from aiding in the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation, clogs the gills of fish (sometimes suffocating them) and eventually destroys aquatic habitat in streambeds when it settles. Impervious cover also prevents stormwater from infiltrating into the ground and recharging the groundwater supply. This leads to small creeks and streams drying up during prolonged periods of dry weather, contributing to drought conditions.-City of Charlottesville

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 05, 2006


Raccoons are nocturnal, asocial animals. The males and females don't hang out together. They are territorial. But show racoons the money, give them a good steady supply of dogfood, and the rules the species has developed over the past 10,000 years go out of the window.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

waste water

RWSA outlet into Moores Creek, currently running at approximately nine million gallons per day

Missed posting yesterday, was busy assembling materials for the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority board members. They received an excellent technical report from staff regarding the "Compost shed".
A contingent from the Woolen Mills neighborhood spoke before the Board relating the "quality of life effects" imposed by living near the steaming pile, an aspect the technical report didn't specifically address.

Note! Brian Wheeler has posted RWSA audio on his website Charlottesville Tomorrow


In 2003, then Mayor of Charlottesville, Mr. Maurice Cox, challenged city leaders and the Woolen Mills Neighborhood, he said:

I think it is long overdue for the Woolen Mills that they have a clear signal of where their neighborhood is going, and (that it) not be done in this piecemeal fashion.
So I guess my hope would be that out of this process, given the talent that they have in their neighborhood, that they get together and decide that proactively:

'we are going to tell you what the future of our neighborhood is going to be,'

and it is not going to continue to be an erosion of the things that they have come to feel anchor their neighborhood, that?s the residential use and some of the mixed use strategies that they have."
-Maurice Cox April 2003

I personally long for the time when businessmen built their residences next to their places of business, when they were members of a neighborhood, sharing the positive and negative effects their endeavors had on the quality of life in the area they called home.

Such was the case 100 years ago when Henry Clay Marchant lived on hill at the intersection of Moores Creek and the Rivanna River. He was the directing force of the Charlottesville Woolen Mills and his house overlooked his place of business.

The neighborhood takes its name from Marchant?s enterprise and as the business was the seed around which a neighborhood coalesced, the Woolen Mills is often considered by people who don?t know better as an ?industrial? neighborhood.

The Woolen Mills is a residential neighborhood, a Mill Village whose residents historically walked to work. Marchant?s industrialism fit well with the arboreal garden at the base of Monticello Mountain.

The industrial park that lines Broadway Street between RWSA and the Woolen Mills neighborhood was, in the time of the Mill?s operation, a recreational park. My ninety-seven year old neighbor, Lola Knight, remembers watching baseball games there. Sixty-nine year old Jean Strauss remembers playing shuffleboard in the park in the mid 1940?s.

One questions the wisdom of the City and County zoning that has located some of the heaviest industry in this region at the foot of Monticello Mountain, in the view-shed of the crown jewel of Central Virginia tourism.

The Woolen Mills neighborhood shares its south-eastern boundary with Albemarle County. Living on an inter-jurisdictional border is a dangerous affair. RWSA?s county Supervisor is Mr. Lindsey Dorrier. Mr. Dorrier?s most distant constituents are the residents of the Marchant house. Does Mr. Dorrier feel and smell their pain?

Visitors to my house in the Woolen Mills neighborhood wonder why I don?t ask my City Councilor to address the smell issue. Indeed, we, as a neighborhood, have been asking the City Council for relief from the corrosive effects we bear from the industry to our South. We have been asking for relief from the cut-through traffic and smells at least since I moved to the neighborhood in 1987.

In 1918 the Woolen Mill bought its first internal combustion vehicle.

In May, of 2005, during a 24 hour period 14 septic-tank pumping trucks short-cut through the Woolen Mills neighborhood accessing the place where they dump their loads. In the same twenty four hour period thirty-two vehicles emblazoned with the RWSA logo made their way through our residential streets. I was busy counting the traffic that day, I failed to note whether the air smelled of ?composting bio-solids.?

In the summer of 1916 the City?s main sewer pipe, a straight pipe running from the City of Charlottesville to the Rivanna, broke...

"Foul odors wafted across the mill village from the leak. The stench ended only with the arrival of the coldest winter in twenty years."
-Andy Meyers ?The Charlottesville Woolen Mills:
Working Life, Wartime, and the Walkout of 1918?

The leak was referred to in the Woolen Mills Board Minutes taken during the summer of 1917 a year later. Apparently the City was in no hurry to repair the failed pipe.

In my opinion, the odor we currently deal with comes close to meeting the definition of a public nuisance, described in state law:

"as an act that is injurious to health, indecent or offensive to the senses and that interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property."

In 1916-1917 the City responded slowly to complaints from the Woolen Mills neighborhood regarding odor. We hadn?t been annexed then. We were Woolies, Lintheads and Albemarle County Residents to boot.

Show us that times have changed. Give us action to address the smell issue in the current year. Fast track enclosing the compost shed. Transform this mother of all outhouses from a source of community pain to a source of regional pride.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 06, 2006

Moore's Creek

Walked 2.7 miles along the south bank of Moore's Creek Saturday morning. The walk made possible by the superb effort of the Rivanna Trails Foundation. These fine people and their volunteers have constructed walking trails around the City of Charlottesville.

Moore's Creek is listed by the Virginia DEQ as an "impaired waterway", it is burdened by organisms and chemistry that it is not supposed contain and it is missing the good stuff (living critters) that it used to contain. (Massive efforts are underway to repair).

The thing I love about the walk, there is a wildness in the midst of our urban environment and with effort it can be preserved and enjoyed, burning a gallon of gas to get to the Shenandoah National Park isn't strictly necessary.

The trail section ends abruptly at the point where Moore's Creek joins the Rivanna River. Hmmm. In former times this is the spot where Th. Jefferson was rumored to cross, course he was riding a horse. In more recent times (1913) there was a footbridge (note: you must check out the Holsinger photo!!!)

We were on foot. Waded from the base of Monticello mountain through Moore's Creek to Sand Island. From Sand Island we waded again to the south bank of the Rivanna and the terminus of Woolen Mills Road.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Piscataway Creek

37 52.498N 76 54.295W
Moving by this point at 88 ft/sec there is the slightest hint of beauty. Parked a couple hundred yards up the road. Walked into the east wind generated by 18 wheeled vehicles. No where safe to stand.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 30, 2005

29.31.032N 82.13.318W


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

transcendental sierra

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

33 years later

I asked candidate Toscano whether he'd support "scenic river" designation for the Rivanna River in Charlottesville and he sounded genuinely enthusiastic.

Key to improving water quality is self interest. We need people in the water, by the water, on the water, recreating, becoming aware of this resource.

(33 years after the clean water act)

Labels: , ,

Saturday, August 20, 2005

industrial silvaculture

resource extraction tools
I am used to seeing pulpwood cutters working with rolled up sleeves, chain-saws and pickup trucks.
Biking through the Mattaponi watershed, saw my first tree snipper. I wonder what the silvaculture industry calls this item? The Annihilator?
Looks like a mechanized Hercules beetle.
The Anni grabs a tree with clamps, guillotines its subject at ground level, then loads the log on a truck. One two three.
There are laws that govern resource extraction.

C. If the State Forester finds that any owner or operator is conducting any silvicultural activity in a manner that is causing or is likely to cause an alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of any state waters resulting from sediment deposition presenting an imminent and substantial danger to (i) the public health, safety or welfare, or the health of animals, fish or aquatic life; (ii) a public water supply; or (iii) recreational, commercial, industrial, agricultural or other reasonable uses, the State Forester may issue, without advance notice or hearing, an emergency order directing the owner or operator, or both, to cease immediately all or part of the silvicultural activities on the site, and to implement specified corrective measures within a stated period of time.

Has this law ever been applied?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

seven lean years

parking lot drainage

Vision Statement:

The Rivanna River Roundtable has developed a vision for the future of the basin based on the understanding that a healthy landscape, diverse ecosystem, clean air, clean water, and beautiful scenery add value to the local economy, and sustain the quality of life.

We envision:
? a river treasured as an investment in the future of the region, a resource worthy protection;
? a river occupying a vital place in the continuing history of the region;
? creeks and rivers which define what it means to be part of a special place, reinforcing residents sense of place and community;
? streams and rivers as accessible recreational resources, providing inspiration and educational opportunities for future generations;
? a river closely integrated into the cultural life of the region;
? streambeds providing habitat for river life and containing less silt, more rocks and riffles;
? forests and trees providing habitat and shading the streams and rivers, thus providing a habitat for fish and birds;
? a landscape that allows rainwater to seep slowly through the ground, providing recharge for summer creeks, while limiting flooding;
? swimmable, fishable streams for our future generations;
? clear and clean waters bound by fully vegetated stream banks, with topsoil in place;
? a future created by interested citizens working together and celebrating our need to return to the river as a source of daily pleasure, a place of commerce, and a place of occupation, and as a reminder of our history.

The Rivanna River Roundtable Report was released in May of 1998.

Meanwhile, the Rivanna has been busy transporting its silt and bacteria load downstream.

Labels: ,