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Edinburg Mill Site of Major “Rain Garden” Project


Historic Edinburg Mill (1848) has always been tied to Stony Creek. Water powered the Mill, which was spared “The Burning” that destroyed so many similar buildings during the Civil War. You can learn more about that connection at the Shenandoah Valley Cultural Heritage Museum housed in the sprawling structure.

All those roof tops and the large parking area surrounding the Mill site have caused problems for Stony Creek for many years. Polluted runoff from the parking area and the fast wash of water during heavy rains eroded the streambanks significantly.

In 2015, with the help of the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP), the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), and the Town of Edinburg which owns the Mill, Friends of the North Fork was able to secure grant support to help solve this ongoing problem.

Streambank before
Erosion of the streambank made this project urgent.

With funding coming from the “Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns” program at EPA Region 3, the Chesapeake Bay Trust supported construction with a grant to Friends of the North Fork. This was matched by volunteer labor and tremendous support from our many partners.

David Hirschman with CWP worked out the design and Louise Finger with VDGIF directed the restoration. Bushong Contracting did a great job with the excavation and construction which is detailed on their website here. Crews from the Town of Edinburg were invaluable in helping with all phases of the project and will be responsible for ongoing maintenance.

Streambank after
Restored streambank ready to sprout new grass.

The solution was to create a long swale that would capture runoff along the top of the bank and channel it into a deeper “biofiltration” area. Special soil medium there, working with hundreds of plants, will help clean up the water which then filters into the soil. The structure is designed to handle heavy rains in case it overflows.

Final planting began on June 20, 2016 with native species provided by The Natural Garden in Harrisonburg. There will be some additions and adjustments to the planting through the summer. The streambank, which was cleaned up and replanted, is  already green with new grass and keeping more sediment from washing away.

Edinburg Mill project from above 1
View of Stony Creek from the top of the Mill shows long, narrow design to capture and filter stormwater runoff.


Duck inspection web
The many local ducks seem to be adjusting.


Edinburg Mill planting hands
Edinburg Mayor, Dan Harshman, plants one of the hundreds of sedges that will help clean up polluted runoff.
Edinburg Mill Hirschman planting
Designer David Hirshman with Center for Watershed Protection lays out plants for the garden.


Finger and Findler planting
Louise Finger (left) of VDGIF and Alice Findler with Central Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners Association work on placing hundreds of native plants.


Day 5-complete-reduced
Ready for Planting


Funding partner, Chesapeake Bay Trust, provided support from EPA Region 3 in the form of a $43,615 grant.