Brent Finnegan -- January 26th, 2011
Smith Creek, the North Fork tributary stream that runs through part of eastern Rockingham county, has been the focus of restoration efforts by several organizations working to reduce pollution in the waterway since summer 2010. Clean-up has been a joint effort between many organizations, including USFS, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and JMU, among several others.
Patrick Cooley reported in Saturday’s Daily News-Record that “the USDA is making $500,000 available to help farmers near Smith Creek to build fences to keep cattle out of the creek, use environmentally friendly no-till fertilizer, develop manure and fertilizer management plans and plant cover crops to prevent soil erosion.”
Smith Creek was chosen because of a public/private partnership in the area dedicated to reducing pollution runoff, said Cory Guilliams, district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Harrisonburg.
Trout Unlimited, the Friends of the Shenandoah River, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and the NRCS, to name just a few, have been working to keep nitrogen, sediment and phosphorus – three common bay pollutants – out of the creek.
One of the successes the group has realized so far has been the regrowth of vegetation on the banks of Smith Creek and better water quality where cattle have been fenced out.
Katrina Hudy shot this video about Smith Creek restoration efforts over the summer of 2010:
Dr. James Herrick, a professor of biology at JMU, said in the video that he hopes the outcome of all this work will be to “get streams that are more like I think our grandparents would have seen.”