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  •  » Another call to action..... algae in the Shenandoah River.

#1 Apr-17-12 1:39PM

From: Ashburn VA
Registered: Feb-03-06
Posts: 13087

Another call to action..... algae in the Shenandoah River.

Please take a look below. 1st is Jeff Kelbe's (Shenandoah River) call to action and right below is a sample letter to send.

Please take some action....


Citizens, Fishermen, Paddlers and Landowners

Are you tired of the algae in the Shenandoah River?  I know I am, and I need your help doing something about it. 

Background: Every year I hear endless citizen complaints about murky green Shenandoah River water, snot-grass or filamentous algae covering the bottom and smothering native grasses in the river, floating algae clumps that smell. etc.  Iím told the algaes ruin peopleís time, and diminish their use and enjoyment of the river whether theyíre fishing, swimming, wading, paddling or just picnicing and walking their dogs.  These algae blooms are caused by polluted run-off and I am trying to get Virginia to:
a)    Recognize that the river has this problem
b)    Add it to their 303D/305B list of ďimpairedĒ or unhealthy waters
c)    Develop a plan to solve it, and then solve it.

Please write a complaint letter including the seven pieces of information below and mail it to me by April 15th.
Please follow each number and relay all experiences you have had with these algaes by April 15th.  The details of your experience (when, where specifically and how often or critical) and include the following:

1) Describe when and how often you use the river and describe what you do (fish, swim, walk dog etc)
2) Describe very specifically what algae problems youíve observed where, when, how often and what the impact this has had on your use and/or enjoyment of the river.   I cannot emphasize this enough, please be as specific as possible about specific dates or months of the year, exactly where you were etc.
3) Tell me if the algae makes you less likely to use the Shenandoah River for recreation
4) Tell the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VA DEQ) if the algae has diminished your use or your enjoyment of the river.  Please use the words "has diminished my use" and/or "has diminished my enjoyment" if in fact the algae has impacted your enjoyment or use of the river.
5) Tell me anything else about the algae (ie. dog got sick after ingesting, made your picnic smell etc)
6) Request that VA DEQ include the North Fork, South Fork and/or Main Stem on its impaired waters 303D/305B list
7) You must include your name and address (other contact information could be helpful too)

Email or mail your letter TO ME by April 15th here:
Jeff Kelble Ė Shenandoah Riverkeeper
P.O. Box 405
Boyce, VA 22620

Address the top of your letter to:
John M. Kennedy
DEQ Office of Water Monitoring and Assessment
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1105
RE: Draft 2012 305(b)/303(d) Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report

Thank you all and please email or call if I can help,
Jeff Kelble                Phone: 540-533-6465
Shenandoah Riverkeeper             Email:



March 27, 2012
John M. Kennedy
DEQ Office of Water Monitoring and Assessment
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1105
RE: Draft 2012 305(b)/303(d) Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report

Dear Mr. Kennedy,
I am writing to request that Virginiaís Department of Environmental Quality add the North Fork, South Fork and Main Stem of the Shenandoah as impaired waters on thee 2012  305(b)3/303(d) Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report because of the severe algae problems the river experiences every year.

I fish the North Fork, South Fork and Main Stem of the Shenandoah extensively and I also use all three rivers to take my family canoeing and camping.  However, for much of the year, large sections of each river seems to experience a series of noxious algae blooms that seriously diminish my use and enjoyment of the rivers.

In each of the past six years during late winter a planktonic algae blooms, usually after a high water event, but not always.  Over the course of the year I use the entire river system and have seen this on all three rivers from Port Republic down to Front Royal, from Broadway to Front Royal and from Front Royal to the Confluence with the Potomac River.  This bloom turns the river a dark murky green color, like green paint, from late winter until about July.  When the algae blooms I often choose not to swim or fish and I donít like to take my family swimming because they donít like the off-color murk water.  When I do fish I find the fishing is poor and I donít enjoy the experience as much.  Whenever the river is this murky color, itís disturbing to fish and the fish are usually lethargic and often they donít feed at all.  Activity in the river drops to near zero. For the past two years I simply could not fish the lower south fork or the entire MainStem from July through August because of the plankton green water.

By mid May or June each year as the river clears the planktons seem to die back.  But then a filamentous algae (rock snot) takes hold covers the river bottom and the native grasses which are trying to emerge. The native grasses turn brown and lose their leaves and remain bare the rest of the year.  Additionally, a floating bubbly type of algae (Iím told its Cynabacteria or Blue Green Algae) comes at this time.  Clumps rise up to and float on the water surface and then accumulates on anything sticking out of the river and in back eddies.  This algae smells like sewage or rotting broccoli.  When these algaes are blooming I literally do not want to be anywhere near the river and I often choose to go somewhere else.  When I have no other place to go then it just takes all the enjoyment out of my day.  The fishing is frustrating because you cannot fish without fouling your line on the algae, the fish wonít bite lures or bait with algae sticking to it.  I find being around the river very unpleasant due to the odors and annoyance.  I found this problem in the following areas last year from July through August; Broadway, Lupton, Deer Rapids, Edinburg, Woodstock, Strasburg, Front Royal, Goods Mill, Luray Dam, 211, Alma, Port Republic, Warren Dam, Shenandoah, Route 50, Route7 among other places.

Finally, in the fall each year the  native grasses die back and a bright green filamentous algae again covers the entire bottom of the river from Broadway to Strasburg.  All three of these algaes make it nearly impossible to fish and again diminishes and sometimes eliminates my ability to enjoy the river.

This cycle of algae diminishes both my use and my enjoyment of the Shenandoah River system.  As a result I would like to ask that DEQ include the three sections of the Shenandoah River on 305B/303D list, determine why we are having these algae problems, and to develop and implement a plan to make them go away. 
Thank you for considering my comments,

Mr. Tiredíof Algae
102 East Main Street
Boyce, VA 22620
Phone: 555-555-1234

Time to go fishin' again!



#2 Apr-28-17 4:44PM

Patagonian Toothfish
Registered: Sep-30-09
Posts: 854

Re: Another call to action..... algae in the Shenandoah River.

The river is getting some more attention now. … e._coli432



#3 Apr-29-17 5:16AM

Patagonian Toothfish
Registered: Jan-31-12
Posts: 1076

Re: Another call to action..... algae in the Shenandoah River.

Front page of the Washington Post Metro section this week had an article with Mark Frondorf talking about the poo problems


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