“Reducing the Effect of North America’s Hardened Landscapes” – article in Journal AWWA



“The fields and buildings that have replaced much of North America's forested landscape are causing unnatural erosion in rivers and streams – and excessive sedimentation in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.”

– Ridge Schuyler, June 2008


To confront this ecological challenge, the four jurisdictions that make up the majority of the Rivanna watershed  (which encircles Charlottesville, VIrginia) formed the Rivanna River Basin Commission (RRBC).

Virginia’s General Assembly passed legislation in early 2004 authorizing the Rivanna River Basin Commission. One of the Commission’s most critical responsibilities will be to develop and disseminate comprehensive science-based information to local governments and residents.

The Commission recognized that it could not address the threat posed by excessive sedimentation without first understanding the source. It concluded that the most significant sedimentation appeared to come from in-stream erosion. The Commision further concluded that this unnatural erosion is the result of major changes that successive generations have made to the landscape.

Rivanna river, virginiaBecause excessive stream channel erosion is the end result of converting land cover from its natural condition, the Commission is working on solutions that include management practices that replicate as closely as possible how rainwater travels to a stream under natural forested conditions.  



To Learn More

To learn more about the Rivanna River Basin Commission and its work, read the June 2008 issue of the Journal AWWA, published by the American Waterworks Association. This issue includes an article titled Reducing the Effects of North America's Hardened Landscapes, and written by Ridge Schuyler of The Nature Conservancy. The article is located in the Eco-Logic Department of the Journal AWWA.

To access a podcast of Mr. Schuyler making a presentation to Charlottesville City Council, please click here. He can be contacted at rschuyler@tnc.org


Posted June 2008