Friday, August 30, 2019

September Newsletter and Events

We hope everyone had a great summer.  But cooler weather is approaching and the Friends are ready to get back into full swing.

In this month's issue, we have:
- Indian River Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak, Saturday, September 14
- Monthly Meeting - Hooked on Butterflies and Moths, Thursday, September 19
- Other News
   - Update on Water and Sewer Lines at Indian River Park
   - Sanitary Sewer Pump Station Upgrade on Providence Road
   - Norfolk Highland Civic League meeting, September 5
   - Rokeby Garden Club meeting, September 18
   - And more

Indian River Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak
Date: Saturday, September 14, 9 am to Noon
Location: Please RSVP to for details

This is a "Bring Your Own Boat" event.  If you plan to participate, it is important to let us know so that we can plan appropriately and provide additional information on logistics and where we will gather.  

If you have a boat but nowhere to put in along the river, contact us to make arrangements on where to put in.  If you'd like to participate but have no boat, contact us as we may have a limited number of extra spots on other boats.

Please see safety information at and

Rain Date is September 28 

Monthly Meeting - Hooked on Butterflies and Moths
Date: Thursday, September 19, 7 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive, Chesapeake, VA

Join us for a wonderful program "Hooked on Butterflies and Moths" to learn about the behavior and traits of these winged marvels - and their caterpillars.  Presented by Karen and Steve McCurdy, co-Presidents of the Butterfly Society of Virginia.

There will be light refreshments and door prizes after the meeting.

Water and Sewer Lines at Indian River Park

At this point, the land for the new Fieldstone Condos next to Indian River Park has been fully cleared.  There has been some progress regarding the location of the water and sewer lines for the complex.  The original proposal was to cut a 40' wide easement through the forested area of the park, on the north side of the Dominion Power Lines.  As a result of our urging, the developer and the city have mapped out an alternative, reduced, 16' wide easement on on the south side of the power lines, as close to the power lines as allowed by Dominion Energy.  Although the location of the tree line varies, about half of this easement is on already cleared land, i.e. outside of the existing tree line.  This should reduce the tree loss significantly.  It looks like few, if any, large old trees would need to be cut down along this route.  The Friends have a meeting with the City Manager and staff in September to discuss and we will report the outcome.

Sanitary Sewer Pump Station Upgrade on Providence Road

In a separate project in 2020, the City will also be replacing and upgraded the sanitary sewer pump station located along Providence Road between Rokeby Avenue and Paramont Ave. This new pump station will serve about 2000 homes in the area.  The upgraded is much needed to improve safety and reliability of the system.  But construction will disturb about 7000 sq. ft. in Indian River Park and the Friends submitted various comments related to the landscaping and post-construction remediation.  The project will be going to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Board for review in the coming months.  Read more about our comments at

Rokeby Garden Club, starting on September 18, will be holding monthly meetings at the Rokeby Center on the 3rd Wednesdays of the month from 1 pm to 3 pm. This is for residents "55 and better" who love plants and gardening.  For their September meeting on the 18th, the group will be learning how to make herbal ice cream and sorbet. No registration is required. The group will also help maintain the gardens around the Rokeby Center. For more information call or visit the Rokeby Center at 757-822-6259.

Elizabeth River Project has multiple programs to help local homeowners make their yards both more beautiful and better for the local environment.  These includes lawn makeovers, rain gardens, stream side buffers, living shorelines, and rain barrels.  If you become a River Star Home by pledging to be a good steward of the environment, there may even be funding assistance available.  Learn more at

Chesapeake Environmental Improvement Council has two contests running right now.  First is the Keep Chesapeake Beautiful Calendar Photo Contest.  They are  looking for photographs that highlight the beauty and splendor of parks around the City of Chesapeake; entry deadline is this Friday, September 6.   And they are also looking for nominations for their Business Beautification Award which  recognizes a business in Chesapeake that takes pride in the visual impression it leaves on the surrounding neighborhood and shows an awareness of the environment; nominations due by September 30.  Entries for both can be made at

Norfolk Highlands Civic League is holding their next meeting on Thursday, September 5, 7 pm at the Indian River Baptist Church.

We posted a map of planned street re-paving in our area between now and June 2020 at

Chesapeake Recycles Day is on Saturday, September 7, 9 am to noon, at Sam's Club Western Branch.  Learn more at

Now is a great time to become a member or renew your membership, or just make a donation online at

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

August Newsletter and Events

In this month's issue:
- National Night Out , Tuesday, August 6
- Rokeby Garden Club, Monday, August 19
- Construction starts at Fieldstone Condos 
- Fall Calendar
- Other News - Adopt-A-Road Cleanup and Clean the Bay Day results

National Night Out
Date: Tuesday, August 6, 6 pm to 8 pm
Location:Indian River Baptist Church, 1600 Laurel Ave

The Norfolk Highlands Civic League and Indian River Baptist Church will be hosting their second annual National Night Out.  Circumstance permitting, there should be a Fire Truck from Station 3 and the Chesapeake Police K-9 unit.  There will be a Bounce House for the kids and information tables from the Civic League, Friends of Indian River, the Chesapeake Medical Reserve Corp, and others.  Refreshments available include Hot Dogs, Snow Cones, and Popcorn.  This should be a great family event.  Bring the kids.  Meet your neighbors.

Rokeby Garden Club
Date: Monday August 19th, 1 pm to 2 pm
Location: Rokeby Center, 1709 Rokeby Avenue
Who:  Residents “55 and better”

A new gardening club is starting up at the Rokeby Center for area residents "55 and better".  The purpose of the club is to bring plant lovers and gardeners together to learn about indoor and outdoor plants, plant care, and indoor and outdoor gardening techniques. There will be a short discussion about a different topic every month by garden experts.  The first meeting on August 19 will include

  • an overview of the plants in the Rokeby outdoor herb garden and the outdoor shade garden.  
  • discussion of future plans such as a future winter vegetable garden 
  • schedule of future monthly topics 
  • 🍨 samples of herbal ice cream will be served for refreshment
  • door prizes will be given away at every meeting.
For more information call or visit the Rokeby Center at 757- 822 - 6259

Construction starts at Fieldstone Condos adjacent to Indian River Park.  Starting on July 19, the developer cleared the trees from the land next to Indian River Park for the construction of the Fieldstone Condo development.While the area cleared is and has always been private property, we're still extremely sad to see the loss of these 17 acres of woods. While the new development of 182 townhomes will plant the required number of trees toward restoring a 20% tree canopy inside the development, that will never replace this lost forest.

Since then we've had a couple of meetings with Chesapeake Parks, Recreation & Tourism to discuss mitigation steps. The Parks Department has started the process to put new bridges across the creek flowing out of the affected property in order to re-establish the park outer loop trail which was disrupted by the construction. We hope to see those bridges built in the coming month. We also discussed longer range plans which we will report on as they solidify.

We are still waiting for the final disposition of the water and sewer lines associated with this development.  As mentioned last month, water and sewer pipelines will be run across the park to connect the condo development to the utilities lines on Paramont Avenue.  The initial plan was to run them on the north side of the existing Dominion Power lines, cutting down another 20,000 to 32,000 sq. ft of forest.  We've been fighting this and, as of this writing, Dominion Power is doing an engineering study on whether the pipelines can be run within the existing power line easement.  Results of study are due soon.  If the city and developer can use use the existing easement, at least we'll save these trees in the park.

Location of Fieldstone Condo development.  Indian River Park is the
forested area running from the upper left to the lower right of the aerial image

Fall Calendar

We've got an exciting calendar starting in September with the International Coastal Cleanup which will include our 2nd annual Bring Your Own Boat canoe/kayak cleanup along the Indian River.  Upcoming guest speakers include the McCurdys from the Butterfly Society in September and Dana Lusher will bring owls to our October meeting.

Saturday, Sept 14 – International Coastal Cleanup 
River Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak (“BYOBoat”)
9 AM to Noon  – contact for more info
Rain Date: Saturday September 28,  9 AM to Noon

Thursday, Sept 19 – Monthly Meeting – Karen and Steve McCurdy, Butterfly Society, presenting  “Hooked on Butterflies and Moths”.      
7 pm at Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Thursday, Oct 17 – Monthly Meeting – Dana Lusher of Nature's Nanny Wildlife Rehabilitation will present "Living Harmoniously with Owls"  (visit with live owls)
7 pm at Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Saturday, Oct 19 – Adopt-A-Park at Indian River Park Trailhead
9:00 am to Noon at Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Avenue

Oct TBD – Member Field Trip to Cherrystone Aqua Farms, Cape Charles
Date and details to be announced

Saturday, Nov 2 – Nature Hike at Indian River Park
8:30 am to 10:30 am at Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Avenue

Thursday, Nov 21 – Monthly Meeting – Guest City Council Member TBA
7 pm at Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Saturday, Nov 23 – Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road
9:00 am to Noon – starting location TBA

Tuesday, Dec 3 - City of Chesapeake Town Meeting
      7:00 pm at Indian River High School, 1969 Braves Trail

Saturday, Dec 14 – Adopt-A-Park Work Day @ Indian River Park
9:00 am to Noon at Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Avenue

Thursday, Dec 19  - Holiday Party and Silent Auction
7 pm at Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Wednesday, Jan 1  - First Day Hike @ Indian River Park
1 pm to 3 pm at Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Avenue

Thursday, January 16 – Annual Meeting

7 pm at Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Other News

Adopt A Road Cleanup: We had perfect weather for our cleanup on JUne 22. Eight volunteers came out and removed 13 bags of litter from along Indian River Road and around Oaklette Bridge. If you're out fishing, please have some respect and carry out your trash! We found a mess of fishing line, raw chicken packaging (from trotline bait), and other litter along the waterfront.

And we have to send some love to Papa John's Pizza on Indian River Road. They saw us working hard at our cleanup and to say thank you, they treated our volunteers to free fresh pizza after we were done. If was very much appreciated - and tasty!

Clean the Bay Day: The weather was less ideal for Clean the Bay Day on June 1st.  Nonetheless, we had about 20 volunteers brave the rain to come to our cleanup around the lake at the Indian River School Complex. Our start was delayed about 30 minutes as we waited for the rain to abate.  We also took a moment to remember those lost the Virginia Beach shooting the prior day. But everyone was also motivated to get out there and make a positive impact. Overall we removed about 550 lbs of trash including a terrible quantity of plastic bottles. And by the end of the morning, the sun came out and we were treated to a fishing demonstration from the osprey nesting above the ballfields. We extend a huge thank you to everyone who came out to help.

Now is a great time to become a member or renew your membership, or just make a donation online at

Monday, May 27, 2019

June Newsletter and Events

In this month's issue:
- Trouble at Indian River Park
- Clean the Bay Day, June 1
Monthly Meeting - Brent James on Notable Trees, June 20
- Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road /Community Cleanup, June 22
- RiverFest, June 23
- Other News - BioBlitz, Oyster Gardening, Business Beatification Program

Indian River Park: In the past few weeks the Friends of Indian River were distressed to learn that the City is planning to run water and sewer lines across Indian River Park to enable the construction of the Fieldstone Condo Development adjacent to the park.  The alignment, which has been approved by Development and Permits, would clear cut a 40' wide, 800' long easement through the middle of the park, destroying approximately 32,000 square feet of mature forest.  This section of the park is also in the designated Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CBPA) and the construction easement crosses the Indian River.  In response we have sent the letter below to the City Manager and City Council and addressed the City Council at their meeting on 5/14.  City staff met on 5/20 to review the issue and is now actively considering possible alternatives including running the water and sewer lines within the existing power line easement.  

We have precious little woodland left in the Indian River area and we are fighting to save every square foot of forest and every tree that we can.  The City and the State both have ambitious plans to increase canopy coverage to deal with pollution and flooding issues, efforts that we support.  To discover that 32,000 square feet of irreplaceable, century old forest has been approved to be clear cut - on public land, in our park, in the CBPA - is devastating.    We are awaiting the outcome of the City staff review of alternatives and ask everyone to stay tuned as we may need folks to make additional outreach to the City Council.   

Learn more at

Clean the Bay Day
Date: Saturday, June 1, 9:00 am to Noon
New Location: Lake at the Indian River High School Lake/Chesapeake Alternative School, 605 Providence Road (just past Indian River Library on Providence).

This year's location for Clean the Bay Day will be around the 20 acre lake nestled between Indian River High School and Indian River Middle School.  This is a location that needs some TLC.  Come discover this new site and help us get it cleaned up.  Meet at the side parking lot of the Chesapeake Alternative School (the old Indian River School Annex) at 605 Providence Road.  Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. We also always encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles. Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.   Please RSVP to  

Monthly Meeting - Brent James on Notable Trees
Date: Thursday, June 20, 7 pm 
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive, Chesapeake, VA

Brent James, with Lynnhaven River Now, founded the Notable Trees program to identify those large Old Growth trees -  trees that may be huge, beautiful, interesting or have a rare story to tell in their own right - that pre-date the waves of development of our cities.  Learn about the program, the value of trees, and how trees qualify for Notable Tree program.

There will be light refreshments and door prizes after the meeting.

Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road /Community Cleanup
Date: Saturday, June 22, 9 am to 11 am
Location: Post Office side parking lot at 3810 Indian River Rd

We need your help for our quarterly cleanup.   Join us for a few hours to clean up the mile of Indian River Road from the city limits at Wingfield Avenue all the way to MacDonald Road. We are also asking all business owners along Indian River Road - and everywhere really - to make sure they sweep up in front of their storefronts as part of the effort.   And if you can't make it out for our organized cleanup please take 15 minutes and clean up the street and ditches in front of your home; pass the word to your neighbors!

For our main cleanup on Indian River Road, the city will provide garbage bags and orange safety vests. We'll have water and snacks available. We also always encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles.  Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves and other items that may be useful. Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.

RiverFest 2019
Date: Sunday, June 23, 11 am - 4 pm
Location: Back Bay's Farmhouse Brewing Co.
1805 Kempsville Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23464

This year's RiverFest is happening in June and in Kempsville.  Come out to celebrate the Elizabeth River with activities including the Science Dome & Aquariums, Free Children’s Activities & Games, Live Music, the Chesapeake Mermaid, and Food Trucks.  Visit the many information tables including ours, and learn about efforts to restore the Eastern Branch. Earn your free River Star Home Flag.

Other News

Indian River Park BioBlitz: About 65 volunteers and guests spent the day exploring Indian River Park and learning about the local flora and fauna. Thank you to our expert guides, volunteers, and everyone who came out. Thank you to Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism for supporting this event and to the Chesapeake Master Gardeners, Tidewater Master Naturalist, Elizabeth River Project, and Boy Scout Troop 320 for tabling at the event. We'll be putting together of full report of what we found over the next few weeks!

Oyster Gardening: Live along the river?  You can help restore oysters and clean up our waters by becoming an oyster gardener with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Orientation sessions start in June, for more info see

Business Beautification Program: 
The objective of the Friends of Indian River Business Beautification Program is to beautify our community, promote attractive streetscapes that encourage increased patronage of local businesses, energize local business development, and ultimately provide local residents with more and better choices for shopping, entertainment, and services.   One program that we have implemented is installing planters at local businesses to enhance to the visual appeal of the street and break up areas of hardscaping.  There is a limited number of planters and plants avaialble; to learn more about eligibility, terms and conditions on how to participate, visit or contact us at

Now is a great time to become a member or renew your membership, or just make a donation online at