Sunday, February 7, 2021

February Newsletter

 We have some good news to report this month.  The Indian River got a significantly improved score on the latest Elizabeth River "State of the River" report.  Improving from a Failing "F" grade in 2014 to a "C" in 2020.  Read all about it below!

Also in this month's issue, we have:

  • Upcoming Events
    • Great Backyard Bird Count - 2/12 - 2/15
    • Virtual Monthly Meeting - Guest speaker, Mary Russo Riley, Chesapeake Community Programs Administrator - Thurs, 2/18
  • Other News
    • State of the River Report
    • Indian River Small Area Plan Update
    • Chesapeake Environmental Awards Nominations
    • Chesapeake Clean and Green Poster Contest
    • Conservation Landscape Funding

Great Backyard Bird Count

Date: Friday, 2/12 thru Monday 2/15
ion: Everywhere and Anywhere

We won't be holding our usual guided hike for the Great Backyard Bird Count this year.  But you can still participate, right from your backyard or anywhere you are next weekend.  Reporting birds you see is fun, easy, and provides very useful science data.  To learn how to participate using your phone, tablet, or computer, visit

We'll also have a post open on our Facebook page and we'd love to see comments reporting your bird sighting, including photos if you have them.  Keep a watch on our page at

Monthly Meeting - Guest speaker, Mary Russo Riley, Chesapeake Community Programs Administrator

Date: Thursday, February 18, 7 pm
Location: Zoom Meeting, Pre-register

Our guest speaker is Mary Russo Riley from Chesapeake Division of Community Programs. We'll be discussing services offered by the City to support the homeless, community development, youth programs, and more.

We'll have updates on the latest community news.

Please pre-register for the event to get the Zoom meeting URL.

Other News
River Health Improves: The Indian River got a significantly improved score on the latest Elizabeth River "State of the River" report, improving from a Failing "F" grade in 2014 to a "C" in 2020.  The Indian River has seen a significant reduction in Nitrogen pollution (from excess fertilizer) and a corresponding improvement in levels of Dissolved Oxygen (vital for marine life) and  Phytoplankton. 

But there is still lots of work to be done: we're still seeing a failing score on Bacterial Contamination.  Past testing as shown that this contamination, which makes the river unhealthy for recreation activities that involve water contact, is mostly due to pet waste.  So congrats to us all on the progress - and scoop that poop!  

Indian River Small Area Plan is starting to wind its way through the approval stages and formal public hearing at City Hall.  The first step was a presentation by the city staff from the Planning Department to the appointed members of the Planning Commission.  You can see the 
pre-recorded presentation at and a copy of the presentation material at  Work is underway to finalize the plan document, which will kick off public hearing before its final approval.

Chesapeake Environmental Improvement Council (CEIC) is accepting nominations for its Annual Awards Program to recognize those individuals, groups, or organizations that have been involved in outstanding recycling, beautification, litter control, and environmental projects in Chesapeake.  You can learn more and submit nominations at

The CEIC is also holding its annual Clean and Green Poster Contest, open to students in grades K-12.  A great opportunity for youngest to show off their artist abilities.  Lean more at

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The 
Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $4000), buffers (up to $1500), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at

Thank you to the team that went out and cleaned up under and around the Indian River Oaklette Bridge last week.  Reports are that the area was quite a mess and the family group that went out removed 10 bags of trash.  There efforts are very appreciated!

While our regular Adopt-A-Road cleanups are suspended, we always encourage you as individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the first place.  Take The Pledge to keep Virginia Litter Free at

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