RCA grades health of the Rivanna River

If our collective efforts to guard the health of the Rivanna River were graded, we’re doing about average. The Rivanna Conservation Alliance has presented their first Rivanna River Report Card by sifting through five years of data from the 50 monitoring sites they have throughout the watershed to look for the presence of E. coli bacteria. 

“A stream’s biological health is measured by catching, identifying, and counting the different small organisms that live in it,” reads the report card. 

The RCA has been monitoring water quality since 2003 when part of it was known as StreamWatch. Monitoring sites closer to developed areas tend to register as poor or fair. 

The RCA further breaks the watershed down into five subwatersheds. The Lower Rivanna in Fluvanna county scored the highest with a health rating of 63.7 and South Fork Rivanna subwatershed #1 in western Albemarle scored second at 62.4. Anything over 60 meets the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s water quality standards. 

The South Fork Rivanna subwatershed #2 is at 57.8. The North Fork subwatershed covers portions of Greene and Orange counties as well as northeastern Albemarle and is at 54.9. The Middle Rivanna which includes Charlottesville and southern Albemarle is at 51.9. 

To learn more about the RCA’s monitoring efforts, visit their website at rivannariver.org

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The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the October 4, 2021 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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