Stormwater Impairs Much of Central Virginia's Rivanna River Basin

There was both good news and bad news in a report issued last week by the area non-profit StreamWatch. In the Streamwatch report the percentage of failing streams hasn’t changed much compared with surveys of years past.

Nearly 3/4 of the streams examined in the StreamWatch report were found to have water quality levels below those set by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

The report was issued to expand upon the correlation between land use and stream health. Experts already understand that streams that aren’t surrounded by adequate stormwater management systems and buffers of undeveloped land are subject to increased levels of stormwater runoff, carrying pollutants from parking lots, rooftops and streets. Getting this news out to the broader public and local policy makers is a goal of the group. The study was funded by the City of Charlottesville, the counties of Albemarle and Fluvanna, the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority, non-governmental organizations and individual donors. The next step will be to present the findings to local government bodies in the area. While StreamWatch doesn’t make policy recommendations, the Rivanna River Basin Commission, which is composed of area officials, plans to use the findings to make recommendations to local governments. The silver-lining of the study is that only 5 percent to 10 percent of streams are severely degraded, and many of the subpar streams are just shy of meeting state water quality standards.

How well do you understand the impact that land use policy has on your local streams and rivers?

Read more about this story from the Charlottesville Daily Progress at

For more information about StreamWatch and to read the full report, visit them at