Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paddling Thomas Jefferson's River

The Rivanna River is often referred to as "Mr. Jefferson's River" because Thomas Jefferson grew up on the shores of the Rivanna and later built his Monticello home along its banks. 
We were able to paddle this historic river as part of the VM Naturalist Statewide Conference
Sharing Mr. Jefferson's appreciation for this historic river, a group of Fluvanna County residents established The Rivanna Conservation Society (RCS) in 1990.

The Rivanna River, the largest tributary to the upper James River, was named for Queen Anne, as it was the custom in early Virginia history to name streams for royalty. Its headwaters originate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia, in both Albemarle and Greene Counties. The river meanders through the City of Charlottesville and stretches south through Fluvanna County, joining with the James River at Columbia. The confluence of the North and South forks, just upstream from Darden Towe, forms the Rivanna’s mainstem, a total of 50 miles in length. The 766 square miles of watershed is home to a variety of terrestrial and aquatic species, including the rare and endangered James Spinymussel (Pleurobema collina). Remarkably, sixty-five percent of the Rivanna Watershed is forested, which helps retard pollution.

Historically, the banks of the Rivanna River were home to the Monacan Indian Tribe. And, with the establishment of the European settlements, the Rivanna became an essential resource for early agricultural activity. Thomas Jefferson enhanced the river’s usefulness by improving navigation, in large measure to accommodate the transport of wheat and tobacco from Monticello and other regional farms. For more on the Rivanna River’s history, please read Mr. Jefferson’s River: The Rivanna by Minnie Lee McGehee and William E. Trout III. (2001)

Rivanna Conservation Society

Preserving Mr. Jefferson’s River

From the RCS Calendar
October 8, 2011 (10-1pm) – More than 120 volunteers worked together to cleanup four locations along the Rivanna (Palmyra, Reas Ford Bridge, Riverview Park and South Fork Rivanna Reservor. With help from the UVA Ladies Basketball Team, the UVA Football Team (including Coach Landon) the Key Club at Albemarle High School, Oakland Schools and dozens of dedicated and loyal RCS Volunteers, we were able pull hundreds of pounds of debris from the Rivanna. Thanks to one and all for your help and support.

Click here for a map of the Rivanna River, and here for the RCS website.

Learn more about the Virginia Master Naturalist program here!  BRFAL Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalist wants you to get outside, explore and learn something new today. 

Get involved in something cool, our next basic training will be held at The Franklin Center in Downtown Rocky Mount beginning March 2012, feel free to email us for more details:

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