Bellemeade-Goodes Creek RiverWise Community
The Bellemeade Goodes Creek RiverWise Community has their local creek flowing through Bellemeade behind Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School into Goodes Creek, which empties into the James River just south of downtown. Some of the visible problems the creek experiences include eroded banks, sediment and trash. Other major problems are E. coli bacteria, PCB’s (Polychlorinated biphenyls), and excess algae growth. Formed in 2012, the Upper Goodes Creek Watershed Coalition is working to help make the community clean, green, safe, and enjoyable through education and on-the-ground projects. Coalition members represent key groups in the watershed and partners from the government and nonprofit organizations, including Oak Grove Civic Association, Bellemeade Civic Association, Gene’s Supermarket, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the James River Association, and the Green Infrastructure Center. To learn more about the Coalition and our strategies please visit this page: http://www.gicinc.org/projectbellemeade.htm.
Since 2012, six cleanups with over a 140 volunteers have taken place. Over 280 bags of trash have been removed from the creek and neighborhood streets. Volunteers have also marked 83 storm drains with markers to help remind neighbors that trash on the street end up in the creek. In October of this year, the stream and park restoration project behind Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School saw 40 new trees and a pathway go in with the help of volunteers from the neighborhood and beyond. Additional buffer planting, a bioswale, and bridge are to be installed in the next few months.
“Be RiverWise and become a RiverHero”
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and James River Association are working together to help homeowners in the Goodes Creek watershed to install BMPs in their yards to help “clean-up” the stream.
The James River Association is offering free rain barrels to residents through their RiverHero Home program. They will install your rain barrel and help you sign up to be a RiverHero Home, which will give you some great benefits – discounts at local garden centers, a garden flag for your yard, and an invitation to their annual party.
The Alliance is offering free RiverWise assessments. A “RiverWise expert” will come out to your property and take a look at your yard, noting where the rainwater flows, where your downspouts are directed, what kind of plants you have in your yard, your gardening and lawn care practices, etc. We will then give you recommendations on what easy changes you can make to be more “RiverWise” (i.e. creek-friendly). If your yard is a good candidate, we will also recommend some “best management practices” such as BayScapes (basically a landscaped area with native plants), rain gardens and tree plantings.
If you live in this neighborhood and would like to install one of these practices, we currently have funds to help you! This requires you to have a free assessment and be approved for either a rain garden or BayScape. Once approved you will pay a $25 fee and turn in an agreement form. From there, you will choose from one of our landscaping plans that has multiple native plant options. We will work with our contractors to install either a rain garden or BayScape on your property (you can only choose one, and can only get them installed if they are recommended). If you are also eligible for tree plantings, we can provide a native tree to you, which you can plant on your property.
We do ask that you sign a “maintenance agreement”, so that we can make sure these practices are being taken care of in the long-run. We’ll provide some simple maintenance guidelines for you.
To sign up for a RiverWise Assessment please click HERE to fill out the pre-assessment questionnaire.