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Maria Pace Designs StreamSweepers 2016 Art

StreamSweepers 2016 Art
StreamSweepers 2016 design by Maria Pace

Maria Pace graciously designed this amazing artwork on behalf of StreamSweepers for the 2016 season.  During the ecological assessment phase of their work, StreamSweepers count the River Chub Minnow nests they find in the riverbed (check out this video of chub making a nest).

Maria’s “minnows” are just a glimmer of the nature inspired art she creates daily.  It’s wonderful to walk past her storefront when one can’t be out enjoying nature as Maria brings nature to us through her work.  Her designs are printed on everything from dish towels to wall paper and nightgowns.   To see more of Maria’s work you can look at her website, but better yet, stop by her store and you’ll get to meet a wonderful person.  Thanks Maria!

StreamSweepers 2016 note cards and t-shirts are available for purchase by calling our office at (540) 672-2542.  They will be available at the Picnic this Sunday, May 22nd.  Supporters who donate $100 will receive a set of note cards and those who donate $250 will receive a t-shirt.

Original Designs by Maria Pace, 132 West Main Street, Orange, VA, 22960.

Picnic at Rounton Farm Sunday May 22, Noon – 2

Join us for a picnic lunch in the Restored Barn at Rounton Farm on Sunday May 22nd from Noon – 2 pm.  Meet your fellow riverside landowners and join the conversation on floodplain restoration options for properties of any size. Learn about our new endeavors, including a partnership with Virginia Working Landscapes of the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute .

Lunch catered by Elmwood at Sparks and music provided by Scuffletown.  Please register by May 10th by calling Debbie at (540) 672-2542 or email at  You can also  purchase tickets below on our secure service ($20 each).rounton farm orange

Since 2013, StreamSweepers has assessed and cleaned the entire Rapidan and most of the Robinson River.  We’ve developed first-hand knowledge of what the greatest prospects are for increasing the health of these rivers and we look forward to sharing this information with you.  See you on the 22nd!
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Give Local Piedmont-EXTENDED UNTIL 7PM MAY 4

give local piedmont streamsweepers


This coming Tuesday, May 3, is Give Local Piedmont — a day to support the local non-profit organizations that strengthen and enrich our communities.

Give Local Piedmont  empowers every person to give back to their local community by supporting the organizations they care about with donations of $10 or more.  Last year, nearly 3/4 of a million dollars was raised through Give Local Piedmont for the 135 participating groups, in just one day!

Donations will be amplified with ongoing awards (power hours 6-7 am, 12-1 pm, 7-8pm) and bonus prizes .  Again this year, the PATH Foundation (formerly the Fauquier Health Foundation) has agreed to match funds up to $100,000, so make sure you donate early in the day (starts at 12:01 am) to guarantee your contribution will be included in this match.

Please share this link and support StreamSweepers to train and employ our local youth to do the hard and important work of cleaning our rivers.  Thanks!

StreamSweeper’s Give Local Piedmont link

StreamSweepers River Maintenance
StreamSweepers River Maintenance

StreamSweepers will be one of thousands of nonprofits across the nation raising money to improve the long-term outlook of our communities.

Dave Matthew’s BAMA Works Fund Keeps StreamSweepers Rolling

StreamSweepers and the Center for Natural Capital, its parent group, and its Board of Directors thanks the Charlottesville Area Community Foundations Dave Mathews Band BAMA Works Fund for selecting StreamSweepers to receive financial assistance for 2016 Central Virginia river cleaning, assessment, and maintenance work. “Rivers are our life blood –thanks for supporting the continuous cleansing of them”, noted our Chairman Ed Bain upon hearing of the Foundation’s award.

We really appreciate the support of this wonderful foundation.  Go BAMA!

Kira and Emilie Taking Tires to the Dump – 2015

Here is Where our Hope for StreamSweepers 2016 Begins

2015 Crewmembers Celebrating Rapidan Completion!
2015 Crewmembers Celebrating Rapidan Completion!

In 2015 StreamSweepers finished the promise begun 3 years ago to train and employ dozens of local young adults to sweep up garbage from the historic Rapidan River – all the way from Shenandoah National Park to Fredericksburg. This unprecedented achievement is the first time a corps of local high school and college students has comprehensively cleaned and assessed the health of an entire river valley in Virginia history.  These Sweepers are paid and insured employees and not volunteers . Their salaries are paid by “customers” or riverside landowners and donors that care about meaningful young adult employment opportunities and their local rivers.

StreamSweepers 2015 Crew
As we prepare to store our boats and equipment for winter, we’ve dreamed of what might lie ahead for the 2016 season.  After years of river work, we now know that ongoing maintenance is needed because as unbelievable as it sounds, people continue to use our rivers as a dump.  Therefore, we propose to transition to river maintenance, with Sweepers completing “light cleaning” of the 100 miles of both rivers in their entirety– in just one season! This is in contrast to the “deep cleaning” of past years, where we were only able to finish 40 miles in a season.  Maintenance is also needed because we now know that tires and other trash leach harmful chemicals and our rivers are drinking water sources for thousands of Virginians. We also hope to tackle the beautiful Hughes River (a Virginia Scenic River) from its origins at Old Rag Mountain in Rappahannock County to its confluence with the Hazel River in Culpeper County.

Please consider supporting our river restoration job corps program by making a tax deductible donation (online link below or by check).   StreamSweepers is a program of the Center for Natural Capital, a 501 c-3 charitable organization in Orange, Virginia. And finally, we can never say enough how grateful we are to all the Supporters from past years that make this work possible.

Thanks from StreamSweepers Crew!
Thanks from StreamSweepers Crew!

What It Takes

This summer was another wonderful opportunity to witness a group of dedicated and amazing young adults working to complete the efforts started by another amazing group three years ago.  By the end of the 2015 summer season the entire Rapidan River had been assessed to determine bank characteristics, buffer quality, erosion, tree canopy and more.  In addition, a thorough cleaning of the entire river was completed.  This accomplishment was only possible with the cooperation and partnership of many individuals.

We invited all our supporters to celebrate this combined achievement at The Arts Center In Orange on the evening of September 17.   A special presentation of an autographed bowling ball (removed from the river by a Sweeper) was made to the Germanna Foundation for their willingness to assist on numerous occasions.  You will find the slide show presented at this event below.  You’ll notice at the end of the presentation that there are 6 pages of names of individuals that have supported the program over the last three years -THANK YOU!


Mac at Arts Center

StreamSweeper Mac Klackle (center) speaking about his experience during summer 2015 at year end celebration at The Arts Center In Orange pictured with watershed supporters.  (Photo courtesy of Jeff Poole of The Orange County Review)

Staff of Germanna Foundation and StreamSweepers 2015 Crew, Locust Grove, VA

Staff of Germanna Foundation and StreamSweepers 2015 Crew, Locust Grove, VA

Below is a list of the landowners who granted access to their property this summer as well as a list of a folks who lent exceptional program support this year.

Landowners – RA Lillard, Rodney Lillard, John Whiteside, CR Tanner, Bruce and Ann Bowman, Todd Sansom, Doug and Bonnie Coffey, Laneway Farms, Taylor White, Barbara Miller, Beth Seale, Randy Merrick, Adrianne Foshay, Belair Farms, Joan Ducker, Ronnie Sexton, Germanna Foundation, Wilderness Shores, Rapidan Service Authority and Friends of the Rappahannock

Beth Seale, American Canoe Association (ACA) Instructor and Owner of Rapidan River Kayak Company

Dr. Randy Merrick, Merrick Family Medicine and Laser Therapy

Ruth Douglas, Master Naturalist and member of Virginia Native Plant Society and Blue Ridge PRISM

John James, ASLA – John James Landscape Architect 

Program SupportersColeman Andrews responded to our mid-summer plea for boats with the donation of “Proud Mary”.  Rhonda from the Shelby Kwik Mart in Rochelle, VA (helped us out with a gas emergency). The Houck’s of Belair Farm (which became a second home for trash removal operations).  Baker’s Store.  Rod and Colin Bowers who helped our fleet grow. Thunder Lane of Culpeper for a boat donation.  And we are very grateful for the mid-summer infusion of additional program dollars by an anonymous donor to purchase boats.  We thank all of you who have supported us this season and over the past three years!

Photos of two new additions to the StreamSweepers fleet.

Proud Mary

Youth Visions Canoe Photo

Hometown Heroes

Help From Our Friends Results in Removal of a Tire Weighing 2100 Pounds

In mid-July as the StreamSweepers crew was moving down the Rapidan River in the area near Raccoon Ford they discovered a tire like they had never seen before.  On first glance it looked much like the large tractor tires they routinely find, but on further inspection and digging, it became apparent that this tire was over 6 feet in diameter and about three feet wide and mostly submerged in unyielding sediment and heavy muck.  After spending about a half hour sizing up the situation and knowing that there was a lot more river to cover that day the StreamSweepers crew knew that this tire would have to be revisited.  A plan was developed and a day was scheduled to go after the big tire.  Needless to say after 5 hours of work with 5 people the crew was only  able to get it to budge about an inch.

Determined to have this tire removed from the river, the crew began to consider who they knew that might have the proper equipment to get the job done.  StreamSweepers called on Dominion Energy as their Foundation has been a supporter of the program.  Their construction crew based in Orange was eager to help!  Below are some photos and videos of their skilled efforts which resulted in a big clean up for the Rapidan.   We’re grateful for the can-do spirit of this group who worked voluntarily to get the job done!

Dominion Crew based in Orange Helps StreamSweepers
Dominion Crew based in Orange Helps StreamSweepers Crew
Heavy Equipment and Willing Partners Make a Difference
Heavy Equipment and Willing Partners Make a Difference



StreamSweepers Crew Thanks You!
StreamSweepers Crew Thanks You!





StreamSweepers Complete Historic Assessment and Cleaning of Entire Rapidan River

Today, the 2015 StreamSweepers completed the first comprehensive assessment and cleaning of entire major river valley in Virginia. This vision, conceived by a small group of residents from Orange, VA to assess and clean the entire Rapidan River from Shenandoah National Park to Fredericksburg, was made possible only through the generous support of Rapidan and Robinson River Landowners and StreamSweepers Supporters throughout Virginia. After 100 miles of work spanning three years, Sweepers came to the end of their journey, at the confluence of the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers.


In this year alone, 11 area college and upper high school students were employed full time during the summer to assess the condition of the river valley and sweep junk from the river’s bed and banks. Over $13,000 in training and fieldwork payroll was provided to these young men and women.

In the weeks ahead, information on the health of the Rapidan River Valley will be published and presented to landowners and other supporters of this job corps program.


Despite Rain, Heat, and Blackflies, Sweepers Nearly Halfway to Goal of Completing Rapidan River

No matter the effort, it’s always the last 10% that is the back breaker. This year has been the toughest we’ve ever had. Perhaps its because we’re so spread out this season, from the boldery headwaters to the wide rock gardens of the confluence, we are dealing with more logistical and weather difficulties than ever before. At times it’s just one foot in front of the other, and after months, one day we will end up at the glorious Rappahannock.