Check out “Voices of the Shenandoah”

The Downstream Project proudly presents Shenandoah: Voices of the River  Nearly two years in the making, this 52-minute documentary film examines the history, ecology, and beauty of this treasured natural resource—and the potentially devastating impacts on its future. With TDP founder George Ohrstrom as Executive Producer, and just one of many passionate “voices” to tell her story, “Shenandoah” comes to life through the masterful lens of documentary cameraman George Patterson and crew. This film was co-produced by Thaxton Green Studios and Barnyard Productions.

We Can End Excess Poultry Waste!

Did you know that 80% of all poultry waste created by growers in Virginia is sold or given to neighboring farms which are not subject to regulation? This is the biggest environmental loophole in the Commonwealth and we’re trying to close it, but we need your help! A proposed regulation will require all significant poultry waste end users and poultry brokers to test soil and prevent the accumulation of phosphorous. It will also end the practice of storing litter in huge piles out in the rain and applying litter right down to the stream banks.

These are important and necessary changes that are long-overdue, but unless we hear from you they are never going to become law. The proposed regulation will be open for public comments beginning on June 8th. We all know lobbyists for the factory farms will be out in droves representing their interests, which is why we need your help to represent the interests of everyone who enjoys the river, receives drinking water from the river, and wants to protect this natural resource for future generations.

Want to submit comments? You can send them to me and I will make them part of the official record. Email me and be sure to include:
1. Your name
2. Your full address and telephone number
3. How you are connected to rivers affected by poultry in Virginia
4. What you think about the pending regulation

Pass this along to everyone you know who fishes. This is the #1 issue among anglers in Virginia–and may be our biggest chance to improve water quality this year. We need as many comments as we can get! As soon as the proposed regulations are posted, we will get them to you!

Public Hearing on South Fork May 18

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will present the findings of its latest study of the impaired South Fork of the Shenandoah River at a public meeting later this month.With the findings as a guide, the department hopes to enlist the public’s help in reducing the pollutants that have harmed aquatic life within the waterway and limited recreation on the river.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. May 18 at the Shenandoah Community Center, 311 Second St., in Shenandoah. The Central Shenandoah Planning District will provide refreshments. More info

I Need Your Help Reporting Sick & Dead Fish

It is spring-time which can also mean fish kill time in the Shenandoah waters. I’m asking everyone to keep an eye out for sick or dying fish and to report to me — call 540-837-1479 or email

Here are some photos of what to look for (from my blog in 2007).

From a April 20, 2009, tv news interview

There have been no widespread issues this spring of fish kills in the Shenandoah River. Around April and May is when the kills are found.

Shenandoah Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble says there were a few small events on the radar at the end of March, but since then none have been reported. The investigation into the cause of the fish kills continues. One theory is that a certain fish bacteria is to blame. The other theory is that contaminants found in the river are causing an immune system problem.

Kelble says not all of the fish develop skin lesions before dying. “Being one of the few people that have been on the river during the kills and observed thousands of fish sick and dead, or healthy, I’ve seen enough variation between those to be very skeptical of the one bacteria theory and nobody has yet been able to explain to me why those differences would occur if it was just one bacteria,” says Kelble.

The kills are most severe among smallmouth bass and sunfish.

Andy Thayer’s Journey down the Shenandoah

Andy Thayer hiked and canoed the 180+ miles of the North Fork of the Shenandoah this past month. Check out his blog and photos of his journey

Latest News on Merck’s Pollution Limits

The State Water Control Board met on April 27 and made a final decision on Merck’s pollution limits. See this article for details.

Save the Date! 2nd Annual Shenandoah River Rodeo

Join us once again on Saturday, September 12 to celebrate the river and support Shenandoah Riverkeeper. We will be on the banks of the river at the Low Water Bridge Campground in Bentonville, VA, for some fishing, good food, lively music and camping. More details to follow so stay tuned. If you would like to sponsor the event, email Robin at

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