Rain gardens like this one will soon be popping up around the Broad Rock neighborhood of Richmond. Photo by Kim Jurczyk/CBF Staff
Broad Rock Creek Community Project
CBF is working with the Broad Rock neighborhood of Richmond, Va. to help implement a holistic watershed implementation project, called Restoring Southside Richmond Watersheds. The project is being funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, REI Outfitters, and The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia.
The Broad Rock neighborhood contains the Broad Rock and Grindall Creek watersheds, as well as a small portion of the Goodes Creek watershed, all of which drain into the James River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. Not only will this project help the local community, it will also assist the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Richmond in meeting their target pollution reduction goals identified in their Phase 1 and Phase 2 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs).
The Broad Rock neighborhood is older, urban, and under-served, with many aging commercial corridors that were constructed before stormwater management requirements were established. As a result, large expanses of pavement and little to no corrective measures to relieve stormwater pollution have taken their toll on the health of local waterways. Add to that decades of commercial use and a lack of new investment in the local economy and it's no surprise local creeks have little environmental or aesthetic appeal for residents.
The project's proposed efforts will help reduce street and ditch flooding that is currently a neighborhood nuisance and restore local creeks to the welcoming havens they should be. CBF and its partners hope that as residents become more familiar and involved with stormwater management solutions—such as rain barrels, rain gardens, riparian buffers, and permeable paving—the community will continue to pursue more such "green infrastructure" practices.
CBF is working on many activities to enhance the Broad Rock neighborhood and water quality, including:
- Installing 'scoop-the-poop' stations, reducing the amount of bacteria entering local waterways.
- Installing one large-scale stormwater solution. Possible projects include installing bioretention areas, installing retention planters, "disconnecting" downspouts (redirecting downspouts so water can seep into the ground at a safe distance from the building), creating curb "cuts" (ramps from sidewalk to street), and using cisterns to capture rainfall. The location will be selected in accordance with the City of Richmond's Stormwater Master Plan.
- Hosting educational and hands-on activities to engage members of the Broad Rock community. Some examples are:
- neighborhood walks for citizens to get outside and experience their watersheds;
- stream and street cleanups;
- invasive species removal events to prevent debris and invasives from clogging local waterways and stormwater outfalls;
- installation of stormwater medallions to be placed at sewer outlets to remind residents that stormwater and debris go untreated into their sewers, causing clogs, flooding, and poor water quality.
- Inviting local decision-makers aboard one of CBF's educational vessels and on a "stormwater" walk through the local community to learn more about the issues and see how green infrastructure can be implemented cost-effectively.
In 2014, as part of the project, CBF:
- Hosted CBF's Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards (VoiCeS) adult education class. During classes held weekly for eight weeks, participants were provided with a thorough understanding of water quality issues. Our VoiCeS graduates are now completing a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service on a water quality-related project. VoiCeS graduates become local spokespeople for water quality improvements, habitat restoration efforts, environmental education initiatives, and other community-based projects.
- Assisted five homeowners with installation of rain gardens that will reduce stormwater runoff and, ultimately, their stormwater utility fees. Read about the rain garden installations on our blog.
- Planted a buffer around the stormwater retention pond at Oak Grove Bellemeade Elementary School.
- Hosted a school group aboard one of our educational vessels so students could learn more about what they can do to restore their urban watersheds.
- Offered four scholarships for community members to attend leadership training through Non-Profit Learning Point, where they will learn how to effectively work with local government bodies to address water quality issues. CBF will encourage these leaders to be a part of a Broad Rock neighborhood coalition group tasked with sustaining water quality improvement efforts within the watershed for years to come.
For more information about how you can get involved with any of these activities, contact Blair Blanchette at [email protected] or 804-780-1392 x3150.