Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s program RiverTrends and Friends of Rappahannock develop report on Hazel Run bacteria issues.

Hazel Run is a tributary of the Rappahannock River that is impaired due to high bacteria levels. This small watershed is located in the mostly urbanized area of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County, where polluted stormwater runoff and streambank erosion contribute to a decrease in water quality. In an effort to document bacteria levels and pinpoint potential sources, trained volunteers with Friends of Rappahannock collected bacteria data at 6 sites in the Hazel Run watershed in 2009-2010. Collected data showed that higher counts of E. coli occurred during storm events, confirming that bacteria are carried to the streams via runoff. While further research needs to be conducted to determine actual sources, we do know that pet waste and sewage treatment overflows are possible contributors. Furthermore, efforts to reduce stormwater runoff will help with reducing bacteria levels as well as preventing streambank erosion. Check out the report – Hazel Run: A Watershed at Risk – for more details on the data as well as suggestions for reducing stormwater runoff and bacteria. Also, read the associated news article.

In 2011-2012, Friends of Rappahannock and the Alliance will be working together to collect and analyze high-quality nutrient samples and more bacteria samples in Hazel Run in an effort to increase public awareness and encourage restoration and protection of this impaired watershed.