Event to put focus on watershed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 17, 2008

FRANKLIN—Going green is on the upswing.

And state agencies and local governments are making an effort to raise awareness about our environment.

The Albemarle-Chowan Watershed & Rivers Day, slated for Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the boat landing near Barrett’s Landing in Franklin, has a three-fold goal, according to Franklin City Planner Amanda Crocker, who also serves as a member on the planning committee for the first-time, free event.

“It’s a watershed awareness day,” Crocker said. “The focus will be on preserving wildlife habitat, forestry resources and water quality.”

Welcoming remarks are to be delivered by Franklin City Mayor Jim Councill and Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson at 10 a.m., followed by a special guest speaker.

Crocker said that state agencies, such as the departments of Environmental Quality, Conservation & Recreation and Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Resource Conservation & Development Council are to have informational booths set up during the awareness day. Other organizations will participate as well.

“Stacey Brown with Virginia Save Our Streams will be conducting a stream-monitoring session at noon,” said Crocker.

The occasion will feature a fishing tournament, sponsored by the Franklin Parks & Recreation Department.

According to Waverly Lawrence, the public and parents of children are welcome to participate; however, honors will only be awarded to those 18 and under.

“We’ll have trophies for the most fish caught and the biggest fish,” Lawrence said. “Any organization who has the most participating also receives an award.”

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. When signing in, participants note what group they are with, if any. If one is a student, for example, at S.P. Morton Elementary, the school can be used as the person’s affiliation.

There will be a limited number of rod and reels, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We are going to stop at 11:30 a.m. so we can give out the awards,” he said. “We still need adult volunteers. If anyone who is interested could let me know ahead of time, I have a T-shirt for them to wear, so that they can be recognized during the tournament.”

Also needing more volunteers is Riverkeeper Jeff Turner, as the event is also in conjunction with the annual Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Program’s Clean Rivers Day, focused on removing trash and debris from local waterways.

“I still need teams or groups in Franklin, and some boat teams to get out on the river,” Turner said. “A couple of boat landings in the county need teams, too.”

He said that he has large, heavy-duty trash bags and litter getters available.

The watershed awareness day is sponsored by Albemarle-Chowan Watershed Roundtable, under the leadership of the South Centr\u00E9 Corridors Resource Conservation and Development Council.

The Roundtable is made up of about 40 partners, and includes Southampton and Isle of Wight counties, and the cities of Franklin and Suffolk, and the Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Program (BNRP).

The Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are funding the new event.

To contact Lawrence about the fishing tournament, call 562-8789. To contact Turner about Clean Rivers Day, call 562-5173, or email blknotkpr@earthlink.net.