Think of a classic Appalachian brook trout stream and the picture in your mind will be of a meandering mountain freestone creek, plunging from pool to pool, trout dimpling the surface as they opportunistically gobble any bug that happens past.
There are creeks like this among the uppermost tributaries of Virginia’s James River, but there are also streams where the habitat has been severely degraded, for example by bank erosion and channel widening, to the point where the water won’t sustain fragile native brook trout.
Trout Unlimited staff and volunteers are working to turn things around, and two recently announced grants are another big step in the right direction.
Earlier this summer the Virginia Environmental Endowment announced that TU was awarded a $25,600 grant, and just last month NFWF announced TU was awarded a $140,000 Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund grant for its Upper James Home Rivers Initiative Project.
TU’s Seth Coffman said the grant will be used to leverage additional funding to hire a coordinator for the Upper James initiative and have that person on the ground in the watershed by January 2015.
The staffer will help coordinate restoration work, and also work with landowners -- both private and public -- to navigate various cost-share programs available to pay for the restoration efforts.
Specific waters that will benefit from the work include the upper Jackson River, the upper stretches of the Bullpasture River, and Back Creek, a Jackson tributary. Those three streams all feature significant stretches of popular, publicly accessible fishing water.
Other Partners Involved
Virginia Environmental Endowment, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Trout Unlimited volunteers
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