Friends formally belongs to the Choose Clean Water Coalition, which works on federal and state policy and to the Virginia Conservation Network, focused on Virginia state policy. In addition, we work closely with more local groups such as the Shenandoah Riverkeeper and the newly formed Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley They provide us with solid information, training, and collaborative opportunities. We encourage you to follow and learn from these groups as we do.
A small group such as Friends cannot address every issue that crosses the transom. Therefore, Friends focuses on issues most important to the health of the river. These are:
- Achieving reductions in river pollution related to nutrients, sediment, bacteria, and man-made chemicals; and
- Maintaining adequate water flow (quantity) to support healthy aquatic resources.
We address these issues by:
- Promoting ordinances at the town and county levels as well as state and federal regulations affecting water quality or quantity in the watershed;
- Using information on pollution levels, sources, and incidents to inform the public, community decision makers, and government;
- Promoting best management practices, stewardship, and increased awareness through grassroots education and volunteer engagement;
- Working through partnerships with other organizations to influence policy and decisions at the local, state, and federal level as appropriate and sustainable.
SOME ISSUES of concern to the North Fork include:
- Potential natural gas exploration and pipelines
- Large-scale road building
- Poorly planned development
- Spreading of biosolids
- Attacks on regulatory authority
- Weakening of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act
- Reduction in funding for agricultural “best management practices”
- Recreational access on the river
- Unregulated discharges to our waterways
- Discharge permit violations
- Excessive withdraw of water from the river
- Groundwater mining and contamination
- Poorly managed farmland
- Excessive nutrient applications from homes and farms
- Thermal pollution from large-scale discharges
WE SUPPORT . . .
positive public policy dialogue that puts the river, clean water, and a well managed watershed front and center in decisions at all levels. Friends is for:
- Strong recognition of the North Fork and its tributaries as the key economic, social and natural asset of our region
- Sensible development strategies that reduce the impact of new growth while encouraging a strong economy
- Active engagement of the entire watershed community in decision making processes
Friends members and staff help to monitor policy decisions by local boards of supervisors and town councils that might impact water quality, river access, and growth and development. Friends sits on the Shenandoah County Water Resources Advisory Committee and the Woodstock Source Water Protection Committee.