Monday, October 3, 2016

Save our Streams Sign Project Nears Completion

The Smith Mountain Lake Area Save our Streams program (SOS) is part of a national effort to monitor the water quality of waters flowing in the form of creeks, streams and rivers.  Rather than making use of chemical analysis of the water, SOS reaches its conclusions from a count of macro-invertebrates and crustaceans.  Since some of the species are pollution tolerant and others not, the tally will help determine whether or not the body of water is healthy. 
The SML area SOS is sponsored nationally by the Izaak Walton League and closely linked locally with the BRFAL Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists and the Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA).  Stream monitors must complete a certification program, which covers both monitoring methodology and a knowledge of related aquatic species.
With more than 20 monitored streams in the area, each of which requires a three-person monitoring team, the program needs to recruit monitors on an ongoing basis.  With that in mind, SMLA awarded the organization a grant to increase the visibility of a high-quality program.  The funding, which is being used to erect signs at the various monitoring points, has a two-fold purpose: to recognize the host landowners and government property administrators who approve our sites; and to create interest in our program and alert the public to our need for volunteers.

                                    Host Cy Dillon, III, with his sister, SOS Monitor
                                          Charlotte Dillon Hubbard, at the placement of their
                                          sign at Dillon's Mill on the Blackwater River,
                                          September 9th.


Torrential rain and high water on September 30th at
                                        Maggodee Creek doesn't delay the placement of our
                                        stream sign.  Pictured, from left, host property owner
                                        Steve Holley (Holley Insurance), Boones Mill Town
                                        Manager Matt Lawless, and monitoring team members
                                        Dick LeRoy and Glenn Siemon (not pictured, team 
                                        member Jim Mann).

Since January of this year, SOS has obtained permission to erect 10 signs along roadways or hiking paths near the actual monitoring sites.  Hosts include the Franklin County Department of Parks and Recreation (the Pigg River in Waid Park); two local farms, Brooks Farm in Glade Hill (Poplar Camp Creek) and Truman Hill Farm in Hardy (North Fork of Gills Creek); the Westlake Country Club (Indian Creek); the Hickory Hill Winery (Hickory Creek); Holley Insurance (Maggodee Creek at Boones Mill); and private landowners Cy Dillon (the Blackwater River at Dillons Mill near  Callaway), Jeffery Tester (Jumping Run off Goodview Road), Sally Newbill (Indian Run off Hardy Road), and Tim Sims and Robin Abshire in Callaway (the Webster Tributary of Blackwater River).

Permission for several additional signs is pending.

Geoff Orth


  1. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog. Keep up the good work.
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