Blacks Run, Stream Health

Thanh -- January 25th, 2007

  • Blacks Run Stream Health Q&A Session
  • Thursday February 1, 2007
  • Come anytime between 4:00 – 6:30pm
  • Gilkerson Community Activities Center
  • S. Dogwood Dr. Harrisonburg
  • Adult & Kid-friendly event!

I have discovered that nearly everywhere I’ve lived too many people are not aware that their local waterways are unhealthy and “impaired.” Those that know the problems facing their waterways may not know of the resources available to help them take action.

Here in Harrisonburg, Blacks Run is on Virginia’s 303(d) list of impaired waters as “moderate to severely impaired” for fecal coliform bacteria, which means bacteria levels are so high in the stream that people and children should not be swimming or wading in it; and should definitely not be drinking from it! Bacteria comes from a combination of possible sources including, septic systems that are not properly maintained, overflowing/ broken sanitary sewer lines, pet waste left on the ground and washed into the stream by rainwater, and natural wildlife.

Blacks Run also suffers from too much sedimentation. Over-sedimentation in the stream comes from a combination of erosion of stream banks, loss of riparian buffers, both large & small land disturbing activities, and dirt and grit from the roadways. Pollutant-laden sediment build ups and changes the stream’s habitat in such a way it harms and possibly kills fish and other critters that live in it.

Although Blacks Run is still listed as impaired, I believe that it has come a long way – there have been a lot of improvements in water quality over the last few decades in thanks to the commitment and support of Harrisonburg City staff and the local community… but more still needs to be done.

If you are interested in…

  • Learning more about the health of Blacks Run and the Shenandoah River and how their health impacts your health, wildlife, recreation, and local tourism;
  • Discovering available resources, such as volunteer opportunities, local demonstration projects & model homes, and how the City’s Stream Health Coordinator can help you become a “solution to water pollution”;
  • Talking to City staff from various departments about what they are doing to help improve the health of Blacks Run (e.g. stormwater management program, street sweeper program, stream health campaign, raingardens, Purcell Park stream restoration project, adopt-a-street programs, etc); and/or
  • Sharing your studies, monitoring data, and ideas with us…

You should attend the Blacks Run Stream Health Q&A Session on Thursday February 1, 2007. City staff and local organizations will be setting up display boards and sharing literature about Blacks Run, local water quality, and City programs that help improve water quality. Several groups such as Friends of Blacks Run Greenway, Valley Conservation Council, Shenandoah Valley Soil & Water Conservation District, and students from Harrisonburg High School have also been invited to highlight their work and commitment also.

Click here for additional information & a printable flyer.

Related notes –

City staff and members of the community are also in the planning process for the 10th Annual Blacks Run/ Downtown Clean Up Day, scheduled for April 14, 2007! For more information about local stream health and these events please visit

This is a great website by the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation on how The Health of Virginia’s Waterways Begins in Your Backyard.

– Thanh

One Response to “Blacks Run, Stream Health”

  1. finnegan says:

    Thanks for the info, Thanh. I participated in a cleanup day years ago. I’ll do my best to be there Feb 1st.

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