Mossy Creek Revisited

RoxAnna Theiss

mossycreek2It’s been almost a year since our last outing with Seth Coffman of Trout Unlimited to the Mossy Creek restoration site.  Last April our Basic Training class saw “before restoration” of the 2500 foot length of this unique and nationally known spring feed creek just south of the turn off from Route 42 onto Mossy Creek Road.  The restoration process scheduled for that summer was outlined then.  This year, on the last Saturday in February, Seth took several of the current class: Kelly Rourke, Sue Eckroth, Ginny Hoffman and Bob Forrest, in addition to a representative from last year’s class, Chip Brown, and our Charter class of 2011: Betty Forrest and RoxAnna Theiss, to the same site to see the amazing difference a year can make.

Watch this informative WLCS news report about the Mossy Creek restoration.

Click on the image to watch an informative 31/2 minute WSLS news report about the Mossy Creek restoration project.

In July of 2013, heavy equipment and funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation restored this area to a more natural meander and flood plain form.  We saw the results first hand on this unusually warm and sunny February weekend.   Seth explained the differences between spring fed creeks such as Mossy Creek and free stone creeks fed by run off.  He highlighted what colonial settlement and farming practices had done to dramatically change this local stream system over the past 100 years.  After extensive archeological documentation of the site, the old dam that had served several different mill works was partially demolish to restore the natural flow of the stream.  This year the project will work to stabilize the restored stream banks to prevent new erosion and reintroduction of sediment to the streambed.

Although Mossy Creek is on private land, the overall project called the North River Watershed Restoration Project under which Mossy Creek falls is partnered with local, state and federal government as well as with private agencies such as the Virginia Conservation Network and the Valley Conservation Council.  The benefits of such stream restorations go far beyond the local level – all the way downstream to the Chesapeake Bay.  Mossy Creek is well worth our volunteer efforts.  After all, the old adage is indeed true: We all live downstream!

photos courtesy of Chip Brown