Well, as we have observed Thanksgiving and head into the Christmas season, and continue to struggle through
the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I would send you a year-end report from the Jackson River Preservation Association for your fireside reading.
Basically, the Jackson River Preservation Association is doing great work. To be sure, we have been slowed on our efforts by the
pandemic but, even so, we have moved along with some of our projects and you can be proud of our accomplishments. Here’s the “scoreboard:”
1. Defeating the ACP – The big fight is over and Dominion has abandoned the project but the long fight is still going on about what Dominion has to do to rehabilitate the land that was disturbed.
Dominion wants to leave the pipe in the ground in West Virginia and leave the cut trees on the ground at both West Virginia and Virginia. The FERC is considering the debate between Dominion and environmental groups (including ABRA ) and will be making decisions soon about what Dominion has to do.
Naturally, Dominion has made a royal mess out of the project, it wants to get out as cheaply as it can. Another issue has
to do with what Dominion must do with all of the rights-of-way it purchased or condemned and how the landowners should be treated. Many landowners want Dominion to simply abandon the land back to them since the project is dead.
I will keep you advised.
2. The Pulses – Although the Army Corps of Engineers, DEQ and DWR think the pulses are wonderful, I am getting more and more complaints about “erosion.”
The water is released once a month from June through October in volumes of 3,500 cfs each. That repeated pounding of the banks is causing large amounts of land to wash away and that, in turn, causes damage to trees and other vegetation. Since the repeated surges are unnatural, they may also be damaging our fish and other critters but the agencies do not admit to that.
The JRPA continues to monitor the situation and I want any of you who have photographs, or other evidence of damage, to report that to me so I can pass it along to the agencies.
3. Impaired River — As you know, DEQ is on a mission to remove the Jackson River below Covington from the “Impaired Rivers” category. Other rivers are also impaired and the project addresses those also. DEQ has collected large amounts of data about pollution sources and eventually will come up with a TMDL (total maximum daily load) for those
DEQ has reached out to cities, counties and industry for co-operation but, so far, I am not aware of much feedback from them. In my view, co-operation of that type is necessary so that DEQ can do its job and so that polluters will not be hit by a TMDL they
I am serving on DEQ’s Technical Committee although my expertise is limited. I plan to write Will Isenberg, who heads the DEQ project, for an update and I will report to you.
4. Lake Moomaw Facilities — Since the Jackson River furnishes the water for Lake Moomaw, the JRPA took on the job of lobbying to get some of the facilities, which are in poor shape, improved.
I am happy to report that progress is being made. I recently learned that the Fortney Branch dock on the south end of the lake has been improved by having bumper guards and other improvements added to make the dock safer and more usable.
The USFS has been very open to JRPA’s suggestions and is on the way to replacing buoy, warning signs, and other things to make the lakes facilities safer and up to the standards that a beautiful lake like Lake Moomaw should afford. As other improvements are made, I will let you know.
Bill Uzzell, one of our JRPA members, has been at the forefront of the
improvement efforts and has been doing great work.
5. Stream Monitoring — John Feldenzer, one of our JRPA members, chairs the Stream Monitoring Committee, but his efforts have been slowed by the pandemic. He and his wife, Karen, are both qualified stream monitors. I
n the spring when the pandemic is, hopefully, over, John will resume his monitoring. He needs help, so any of you who have
the time, energy and interest, give him a call and help him out. My wife, Lang, and I have participated and it is both interesting and fun.
6. New Treasurer — Karen Feldenzer has turned her job of Treasurer of JRPA over to Debra Bolt so Debra will be contacting you about dues from time to time. If any of you are in doubt about what you owe, contact Debra at 540-598-7579 and she will let you know your status. We have E4,012.10 in the treasury at present, which is sufficient for our present needs. Please remember that the JRPA is a §501 (c )(3) organization, so contributions are tax-deductible. In the spring, we may need more stream monitoring
equipment so put us on your ”charity list.”
7. Pollution Spills — Of course, when we are notified of a major pollution spill, we go to investigate. You may remember the fish kill above Cedar Creek and the gasoline tanker wreck which put gasoline in the Jackson River at Mustoe in Highland County. We do not
have pollution abatement equipment, but investigating these incidents and getting the agencies involved is important work for us to do. If you become aware of pollution, please let me know.
8. Toxic Dew – Some of you may have seen the article I wrote recently which appeared in the Virginian Review, and perhaps other media, about the process of chemicals becoming a part of our “dew” through “atmospheric deposition” and creating a kind of toxic cocktail for “critters” and our plants.
This was not a JRPA project but I thought I would share my theory with you since the concept deals generally with the environment and thus the Jackson River. A copy of the article is attached. If you have thoughts, let me have them,
9. The Future of the JRPA — I foresee a bright future for our organization. We have done so much in a short period of time. We have only been in existence since 2014. A big factor is the relationships we have built with the state and federal agencies that have oversight responsibility for the Jackson River. We share information with them and they do so with us.
You may recall that Col. Kinsman and his wife drove all the way from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to join us for our Annual Meeting back in 2019. Col. Kinsman was the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers out of Norfolk. That was special. Other agency leaders have also joined us from time to time. I expect those relationships to
10. New Members — he JRPA is open to anyone who cares about the Jackson River. Some think membership is only for landowners along the river but that is not true.
We have a good blend of landowners, local people who just treasurer the river and people from away from this area who appreciate what a beautiful stream we have and want to keep it that way. When I find someone who wants to protect the river, I say, “Give me $20 and you can belong.”
They almost always give me the money. I then say, “Of course, that’s per person!” They grin and give me another $20 for their spouse. I hope each of you will help solicit new members. Use any method that will work. Please make checks payable to
JRPA and mail to: Ms. Debra Bolt, Treasurer JRPA, 1424 Russell Drive, Covington, Va. 24426
So, and Merry Christmas to all. Hopefully, we’ll get COVID-19 whipped.
Best to all.
Bill Wilson, President
Jackson River Preservation Association