The South River in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is home to an extensive ecosystem of fish and plant life. In this video series, South River Currents, we explore how the watershed influences the river and our communities.
The South River Watershed encompasses 234 square miles in parts of Augusta County and Rockingham County. It includes the communities of Greenville, Sherando, Stuarts Draft, Lyndhurst, the City of Waynesboro, Dooms, Crimora, Harriston, Grottoes and Port Republic. The South River Watershed is widely known for outdoor recreation and natural areas, agriculture and forestry, a diversity of manufacturing and industry, and especially a unique blend of cold- and warm-water fishing opportunities.
The Coalition aims to work with others to support a watershed-wide perspective, promoting a healthy watershed and healthy community. The organization strives to educate and build connections through community events, outreach and sharing of watershed facts that inspire further interest, participation and collaboration.
Fishing on the South River: Economic Benefits
For years the South River was seen as an unfishable stream by anglers. After regulations and restitution for damages curbed the effects of pollution, local efforts from organizations, businesses, and individuals have helped turn the tide and make the South River one of the premier trout fisheries in the state.
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Navigating Our Watershed
Welcome to the first installment of our video series South River Currents, Navigating Our Watershed (created by DV Entertainment). Join host Leighton and her assistant, Southy the Mouthy, on their adventure through the watershed and its treasures and challenges. You may even figure out your very own “watershed address.”
Cowbane Prairie Natural Area Preserve
Tucked along the western slope of the Blue Ridge, the 147-acre Cowbane Prairie Natural Area Preserve is located in Stuarts Draft in Augusta County, Virginia and is part of the South River Watershed. In this video, Peter Van Acker of the Augusta Bird Club shares the unique qualities of this area, which provides a sanctuary for prairie habitats, a spring-fed marsh, and regionally rare plants that exist only at a handful of locations in this part of Virginia.
NOTE: Currently, no parking is available at the Preserve. Do not park near the entrance and gate area of the Preserve; this area is private property. The police are issuing tickets for trespassing and illegal parking in this area.
Industry Along the South River
Over the last few centuries, the development of industry has shaped the character of the South River Watershed. The river was once the main source of water and energy for farms, orchards, mills, and then factories. Today, we still rely on the river for many uses, and it provides benefits to our quality of life and community health. In this short video, you can get a glimpse of the South River’s role in the local industry, starting in the South River Watershed and spreading far beyond it.
Only Rain Down the Drain
In this video featuring Jennifer Allen-Key, Stormwater Program Manager for the City of Waynesboro, you’ll see why it is important that only rain goes down the drain. Here we talk about all the drains along city streets, yards, and parking lots that carry runoff through a series of pipes directly to the South River. Everyone in the watershed has a role to play in keeping the river clean, and that starts with how we consider stormwater runoff right at our home, place of business, and the community at large.
The Story of Mercury
You may be familiar with the fact that the chemical mercury has been found in the South River in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Mercury was used at the former DuPont Plant in Waynesboro from 1929 to 1950. The element was used as part of the production process for Rayon, a fabric used widely in consumer products. But there is more to learn about the intertwined stories of the former DuPont Plant, Rayon, mercury, the South River, and, importantly, efforts to clean up mercury in the river and its habitats. This video highlights important aspects of this ongoing story.
Farming in the South River Watershed
Farmers like Mac Swortzel find ways to protect our waterways by fencing our rivers and streams from livestock. It’s all in a day’s work making a living for their family producing the food we eat in the Shenandoah Valley along the South River Watershed.
Tourism and Recreation: South River Watershed
A healthy watershed nurtures not only natural resources but opportunities for tourism, recreation, and a healthy economy. This video shows how restoring the river also allowed for safer canoeing and kayaking, attracting people to the area. The video also highlights one of the nation’s premier show caves and how it contributes to and benefits from a healthy watershed.