Poague Run – Sterling Example of Watershed Restoration

Poague Run farm day

I watched the children carry their jars with native Brook Trout fingerlings to the edge of Poague Run.  They carefully stepped close to the water and tipped the jars over releasing the fish into the stream.  This simple act is a conservationist’s “Mount Everest”.   Together, we climbed the mountain.  Together we restored a stream. [...]

Why Do Farmers Fence Their Livestock Out of Streams?

Dr. John Wise, large animal vet, beef cattle farmer and co-founder of Westwood Animal in Staunton, VA.

Why do farmers fence their livestock from ponds, streams and wetlands?  Of the hundreds of farmers I have talked to that have done it these are the top four reasons: 1. They need more water and better water distribution over the farm. 2. To improve herd health and reduce bio-security risks. 3. To eliminate calving [...]

Progressive Farmer Magazine Features Valley Farmer, Conservation and CBF

Click on this image to read the full story in Progressive Farmer.

Deborah Huso, Free Lance Writer for the Progressive Farmer Magazine called me back in July.  “I’d like to do a story on stream fencing, the Farm Bill and conservation.  Do you have any farmers in mind that I could interview”, she said.  This was music to my ears. I didn’t have to think twice.  For [...]

This is What a Well Functioning Riparian Buffer Looks Like

There are many definitions of riparian buffer.  In this post and the video linked here we offer the elements of a well functioning buffer and show what they look like.  Riparian buffers are one of the most effective Best Management Practices to abate non-point source water pollution.  The word “riparian” comes from Latin and means “adjacent to [...]

Well Managed “Open-Space” Should Not Be Taxed

Hugh Hammond Bennett, father of soil conservation in America.

“Well-managed” farmland and other working “open-spaces” should not be taxed when they provide ecosystem services  exceeding the cost of  public services for the land. In many states including Virginia, local governments have a special way of collecting revenue from their constituents that have farmland or “open-space” called “land-use” taxation.  It’s a method of calculating a tax [...]

Harpers Ferry – a History Steeped in Irony

View of the mouth of the Shenandoah taken from the bridge over the Potomac River at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

I’m standing in the middle of the footbridge across the Potomac River at Harper’s Ferry looking downstream.   Beneath me flows the nation’s river that at this point in its journey, drained six million acres of land. Just downstream to my right the waters from another two million acres join the Potomac – it’s the Shenandoah [...]

Enthusiasm Gas Tank for Riparian Forest Buffers Refilled at Stroud

Stroud's "Moorhead Environmental Complex" received "Platinum LEED" certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2013.

I recently attended a “Stream and Buffer Ecology Workshop” at the Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pennsylvania.  Stroud is a world-class research facility for fresh water science.  This year their “Moorhead Environmental Complex” was awarded a “Platinum LEED” rating, which is the nation’s highest certification for green construction. The Stroud Water Research Center is by [...]

Monsoon Hits Middle River Watershed – Flood Plains and Soil Regulate the Water Cycle

Middle River at our gate looking upstream.

Here in Swoope it’s been raining for three days – we’ve had 10.5 inches of rain. Our Middle River has been out in its flood plain for the third day in a row.   Flood waters have completely covered much of our pasture and our single strand of electric fence that keeps our cattle out [...]

“Oh Shenandoah!”

Dr. Tracy Fitzsimmons, President of Shenandoah University addresses the crowd at the ceremony.  James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust is to her left.

A watershed moment for the Shenandoah River and the Chesapeake Bay occurred on Tuesday the 23rd of April.  Ownership of the former Virginia National Golf Course located on the banks of the Shenandoah River in Clark County was handed over to Shenandoah University .  Dr. Tracy Fitzsimmons, President of the University said during a press conference at [...]

In The Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Agriculture is Half Way in Doing Their Part to Restore the Bay.

Kaye and Tom Eavers of Morningside Farm in Mount Sidney, VA

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation asked me to write several articles about farmers doing their part to improve the soil and water resources on their farms.  These articles are designed to showcase how and why, these farmers installed Best Management Practices such as “stream-side fencing” to exclude livestock from streams. The article on this post is [...]