General County News
Friday, January 8th, 2021
Are you interested in improving stream health in Albemarle County?
Participate in the Stream Health Initiative
Healthy streams & riparian corridors are very valuable and provide many benefits to our county including the supply of clean drinking water, flood protection, wildlife habitat, recreational activities, and supporting agriculture & other industries. Unfortunately, 56% of the stream/river miles that Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has tested in Albemarle County are currently impaired. The goal of the Stream Health Initiative is to develop recommended strategies for improving stream health in Albemarle County using a collaborative and inclusive process.

Let's Discover Stream Health Together
The first stage of this project is all about discovery. We've designed a questionnaire to help us learn about you (your interests, how best to share information with you, etc.). Your responses will help us develop programs (like virtual lunch & learns and tours) that will enable our community to build a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with stream health in the rural area.

Visit the project website to watch our Stream Health 101 video, answer the "discover" questions, and sign up for project updates.
photo: David Hannah
Did You Know?
Riparian buffers function as a natural flood management system by providing an area to safely store and convey floodwater, resulting in a decrease of damage to property and infrastructure.

By absorbing rainwater, buffers slow the movement of stormwater runoff and allow for recharge of groundwater supplies. This reduces the frequency and intensity of flooding while allowing for more water flow in streams during dry periods.

Background about the Stream Health Initiative
In 2017, the Board of Supervisors directed County staff to develop strategies for improving stream health and water quality in the county. The project, referred to as the Stream Health Initiative, supports the objectives and strategies of the county’s Comprehensive Plan, which has a strong focus on protecting and improving water resources. It was borne out of the first objective of the county’s Natural Resources Program: to conduct a thorough public review of the stream buffer requirements of the County’s Water Protection Ordinance (WPO); as a result, the Stream Health Initiative has a strong focus on stream buffers and the WPO.

The Stream Health Initiative was divided into two phases. Phase 1, which is still ongoing, has focused on development-related issues and strategies for improving stream health in the county. Thirteen specific proposals were developed, some of which have been implemented; work on others is ongoing.

Phase 2 of the Stream Health Initiative will focus on issues and strategies for improving stream health in the Rural Areas.