Restoring the Chesapeake Bay One Small Watershed at a Time

Page 18 of the March/April edition of Virginia Wildlife

Virginia Wildlife magazine published my article “Poague Run: Restoring Trout, Restoring Hope” in the 2016 March/April edition.  It’s the story about the people that restored a 3,000-acre watershed.  More information about Virginia’s premier wildlife magazine and to subscribe, check them out at It’s happening.  Throughout the 64,000 square miles of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, […]

Improve Herd Health with Abundant Clean Water

Cryptosporidia emerging from their protective "crypts".  Photo from the Center for Disease Control website.

Livestock Drinking Dirty Water is Not Good For Herd Health Humans don’t drink dirty water and neither should your livestock. Aristotle recognized the value of boiling water and burying feces to prevent disease back in 350BC. We’ve been learning ever since.  Just as with human health, herd health improves with abundant clean water. At Least […]

Bobby’s Free ebook: Selling Riparian Forest Buffers


How do we accelerate the planting of riparian forest buffers? All the states in the Chespaeake Bay watershed are falling behind their targets for excluding livestock from streams and planting riparian forest buffers. I’ve spent a lifetime “getting more on the ground” and I want to share how we made it happen in the Shenandoah […]

Brook Trout – Environmental Refugees From the Middle River

Version 2

Middle River flows through our land.  Brook Trout, Virginia’s state fish, used to thrive in it.  They migrated or died long ago, environmental refugees from the sediment laden waters of the river.  The river is slowly being restored and one day, we will re-introduce this native fish to the waters that flow through our farm. I […]

The Pope on Climate Change and Monks on Water Quality


The environmental world got a boost last week when the Vatican released the Pope’s Encyclical on climate change.  So now we have science and religion on the same side; no big-bang theory v. evolution on this issue.  Who can deny climate change now?  Here’s a link to a youtube trailer “Pope Francis: The Encyclical” which […]

Leaves from Native Trees – The Foundation of Freshwater Ecosystems

Click on the image of the front cover of the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Virginia Wildlife Magazine to read the article.  Permission to post this image and the article was granted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Virginia Wildlife Magazine published my article “Fish Need Leaves” in their Jan/Feb 2015 issue.  More information about Virginia’s premier wildlife magazine can be found here: Excluding livestock from streams is a first big step for agriculture in restoring water resources and complying with the law that the US Congress passed in 1972 – The Clean […]

Lake Erie Needs a Pollution Diet

Lake Erie algae bloom.  Photo by Peter Essick of National Geographic.

This is an OPED piece I wrote for the Bay Journal News Service which was published on 8/19/2014.  I have added photos and links.  Here’s a link to the Downstream Project’s Amy Matthews Amos blog about it. Surviving a heart attack is a huge wake up call that usually warrants a change of diet. Toledo, […]

Swoope Almanac – Summer 2014: Tomatoes, Bobwhites and Middle River Flowing Like Chocolate Milk

Male Northern Bobwhite in the backyard at Meadowview.

I love the smell of hay…and putting it away for the winter.  It’s a good feeling; knowing all the winter feed for the cows is ready. Jeanne is now in the throws of bush hogging the pastures with her new fifteen foot wide “bat-wing” mower. We mow the pastures to cut the seed heads off […]

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 […]