As the summer sets in on the North Fork, we are already seeing low flow conditions and algae beginning to take hold. Stay up to date with current conditions and Virginia Department of Health’s communications by visiting this page throughout the season. Also, let us help keep our public health officials and conservation partners updated on what you are seeing on your stretch of the river by emailing your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you see an algal mat, do not enter the river and keep your pets away. Not all mats are toxic, but when in doubt, stay out! Algal mats are especially prone to releasing toxins as they wash up on shore and begin to die. Be especially vigilant in keeping your children and pets away from these mats.
As we enter another summer, you can help Friends keep an eye on this problem by emailing us a photo of the river around where you live or like to recreate to AlgaeWatch@fnfsr.org. We are also looking for folks to document local sites weekly to track the progression of blooms. Please include the location of your photo (latitude and longitude are especially helpful, but not totally necessary), include a close-up of a mat as well as a photo showing the density of mats in your area, and any other observations you have, i.e. wildlife, fish, odor, litter, river flow, etc. If you are able to send a weekly photograph to monitor your spot until the fall, your observations can help VDH to know when further water testing may be needed.
Check out the map below for photos collected from around the North Fork in the summer of 2023. Click on the icon in the upper left corner to expand the map’s legend.