2009 a watershed year for watershed

Published 9:19 am Friday, February 19, 2010

FRANKLIN—Supporters of the effort to preserve and protect the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers were treated to a slide show of images as they gathered for the annual Riverkeeper Banquet at the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center on Wednesday night.

They saw pictures of the many groups of volunteers hauling trash out of the rivers. Riverkeeper Jeff Turner’s eco-tours. State and local officials paddling down the Blackwater and the things they saw along the way. Massive trees. Beaver dams. Bald eagles.

And then they saw Moonpie — Turner’s dog and constant companion who passed away last year — in a final slide show segment that left few dry eyes in the house.

“2009 certainly had its high points and low points,” Turner said. “This past year we lost Lon Marks — whom our conservationist of the year award is named for — and, of course, Moonpie. It made it pretty difficult to keep focused. But we’re going to go forward. The mission of the BNRP is to make our rivers a safe and clean environment, and that mission must continue. It has and it will.”

Turner then gave the podium to Lynn Crump, the environmental programs planner for the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation. She explained to the 100-plus people in attendance what the state scenic river program would mean to the Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers.

Afterwards, Turner presented Crump with the new Lon Marks Conservationist of the Year Award.

“This is for the awesome work you’ve done this year,” Turner said.