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Return to the Hughes River Next Week

We have a great crew this summer. After spending a very long week learning all the science (social and physical) behind the StreamSweepers program, caring for each in other in mock first aid scenarios during Wilderness First Aid training, and learning how to identify macro invertebrates, invasive plant species and dangerous river hazards they began work on the Hughes River. The first time river health assessment and cleaning of this beautiful river has been completed from Route 231 to Reva Road.

We opted to float as much of the river as possible before the mid-summer low water level set in so we began mid-river. We spent a few days dragging boats and walking with some intermittent floating and were encouraged by the support of riverside landowners and the beauty and solitude of the Hughes. We found about a dozen tires, tents, tarps, a cattle feed trough, a table top, some bottles and cans, metal signs, buckets, shopping basket, barbecue grate, floats, tarps, tent, chair, large plastic tub, a hose and other small items. Boaters should be alerted to the car embedded in the bank as it protrudes into the stream channel.

We will begin next Monday to assess and clean the upper stretch beginning just outside the park boundary. We will be alongside the road at several locations and invite you to stop by and say hello. When we’ve completed the assessment and cleanup on the Hughes we will move to the Robinson headwaters to provide a first time assessment down to Route 231.

For the past few weeks after finishing the lower portion of the Hughes we’ve been working on maintenance cleaning of the Rapidan and Robinson Rivers. We’re basically removing anything we may have previously missed and anything new that has appeared.

Enjoy some photos from the Hughes (any ideas whose paw print that is)?

Whose Paw Print?
Whose Paw Print?
Hughes River Cleanup
Hughes River Crew
Hughes River Solitude
Hughes River Solitude
Hughes River Embedded Car
Hughes River Embedded Car


Capitol Hill Visit

2016 StreamSweepers Meet with Staff of Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine in DC
Senator Mark Warner StreamSweepers
Frank Balint (Center for Natural Capital Board Member), Emily Dieckhoff, Senator Mark Warner, Kira Lander, Betty Dixon (Center for Natural Capital Staff), Buzz VanSantvoord (Center for Natural Capital Staff), Taylor Dawson, Conner McGhee, Daniel Squietieri, Spencer Goodwin, Michael Collins (Center for Natural Capital Executive Director), Mac Klackle, Austin Garr, Debbie Manzari (Center for Natural Capital Staff), Brian Becker (Center for Natural Capital Staff) (left to right)

The 2016 crew had a great opportunity last month to visit with Senator Mark Warner and his staff as well as the staff of Senator Tim Kaine.  The Senators’ staff offered several ideas on how we can expand services throughout Virginia and into the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.  They are in agreement that there needs to be a public-private partnership to restore Virginia’s rivers and we look forward to working with them to increase the capacity of StreamSweepers to reach beyond the Piedmont.  It was a great day to be a StreamSweeper!



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!

Restoring People and Nature, One River at a Time

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