Sunday, October 8, 2017

October Newsletter

Lots of news this month, including an update on the Aqua Virginia negotiations that affect the Indian River Shopping Center.  We've had many meetings with our partner organizations and the City and the Friends sent a letter to the City Council outlining our long term planning priorities.   At the lasted implementation meeting for the Eastern Branch Restoration Plan, we got new evidence that dog poop is one of our major water pollutants.   See Other News below for more details on these and other items.

Turning to the weather, sometimes it seems like we haven't seen a low tide in weeks.   Which brings us to a timely discussion with Wetlands Watch about sea level rise and persistent flooding in our community.  Join the discussion  at our monthly meeting on October 19th and learn how you can participate in an effort to map the flooding.    

We'll also be doing a volunteer event to spruce up the entrance area to Indian River Park on Saturday, the 21st.  And on the following Saturday, the 28th, we'll have a guided hike of the park.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the history of this century old park and its importance as critical wildlife habitat.  Join our events and learn more about your community.

Rogard Ross
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Monthly Meeting - Wetlands Watch

Date: Thursday, October 19th, 7 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Skip Stiles will talk with us about Wetlands Watch's work to help communities plan for and adapt to sea level rise and persistent flooding events. We'll also learn more about the King Tide monitoring effort in November and get all the latest community news. 

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

Adopt-A-Park Volunteer Work Day

Date: Saturday, October 21st, 9:30 am to Noon
Starting Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Ave.

We'll be doing work around the park entrance, trailhead, and along the trails including some trail work, pruning, weeding, and cleanup.

Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. If you can, bring shovels, rakes, pruners, saws and other gardening tools. We will have water and lots of snacks. (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.

Indian River Park Nature Trail guided walk

Date: Saturday, October 28th, 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Starting Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Ave.

Join us for a hike along the nature trail and through the park.  Learn about the history of the park, the native trees and plants in this century old forest on the Indian River flood plain, and its value to maintaining the health of local butterfly, bird, and wildlife populations.    

Catch the King Tide

Date: Sunday, November 5th
Starting Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Ave.

We are forming a local team to "Catch the King Tide". The King Tide is one of the highest astronomical tides (not counting weather affects) of the year and folks will be out to map the high tide mark on that day and collect data related to flooding events using a downloaded phone app.  If you are on the river, you can do this right in your backyard.  Respond back to this e-mail if you are interested in participating!  Learn more at 

Other News
  • Last month, the City Council held a strategic planning retreat and the Friends of Indian sent them a letter with our input on long term planning.  We urged the council to find a better balance between new development and revitalization efforts in our existing neighborhoods. Key topics addressed in our letter included the need to:
  1. Budget to Support Incremental/Infill Development
  2. Create Safe and Welcoming Streets
  3. Address the Infrastructure Maintenance Backlog
  4. Develop a plan to respond to a changing retail landscape
  5. Establish a new balance between Revitalization vs. New Development
  6. Re-focus on our Sustainability Plan
            • See our full letter to the City Council at
            • Aqua Virginia negotiations with the City are progressing.  Aqua has been presented with a City-approved service contract that would enable enable a connection between the City and Aqua for the City to provide water for emergencies and for flushing of the Aqua water pipes.   The City would also be able to provide water to the Indian River Shopping Center for fire suppression which would enable redevelopment at the site.  Aqua is now reviewing the contract.  We hope to have updates in time for our October meeting.
            • Voter Registration Deadline is almost here.  Register by Monday, October 16th to vote in November's Election for our Governor and State Legislature.
            • Clean Water Alert: Scoop That Dog Poop!  Even in your backyard.  We had a status meeting on the Eastern Branch Restoration efforts and the Indian River is still getting a failing grade on its water quality due to excessive nitrogen and phosphorous (from fertilizer) and high bacteria levels. The Elizabeth River Project and HRSD have been doing studies to identify the sources of the bacteria and 85% to 90% of the samples indicate they are from dogs.  Dog owners, if you want Clean Water, we need you to do your part. Take the Scoop the Poop Pledge:
            • Thank you to the seven volunteers who came out for our Adopt-A-Road Cleanup on Saturday! There diligence helped us remove 10 bags worth of trash from along our "Main Street" and ultimately keep that trash out of our waterways too.
            • You can now also become a member of the Friends of Indian River, renew your membership, or make a donation online at

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