2020 Message from Board Chair

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The Friends of the Middle River was started in 2010 by a group of citizens who had been influenced and inspired by a conference in 2009, sponsored by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  The organizers of FOMR felt that the community of residents who were interested in the welfare of the Middle River needed a collective voice. Since 2010, FOMR has sponsored activities to heighten awareness of the Middle River’s recreation opportunities as well as its water quality challenges.

The Board and staff of FOMR want to thank all of our “Friends” who helped make 2019 a very successful year.  A total of 205 “Friends” volunteered with us in 2019, many of whom volunteered multiple times. 

Think of our volunteers as the spine of the organization with arms and legs branching out  – organizing the E. coli and benthic monitoring programs, removing 154 tires while cleaning debris from the River, selling raffle tickets, making presentations to civic groups, offering access to the River through their property,  serving on our Board, and promoting the welfare of this community resource we call “The Middle.”

Our Sponsors and Donors supported us again in 2019 in a dramatic way.  Thanks to them, FOMR’s revenues increased 30% from 2018’s, allowing us to meet all our expenses, breathe easier, and add twelve new E. coli monitoring sites along Christians Creek and examine sixteen miles of Middle River using a comprehensive assessment program called StreamSweepers.

A big “Thanks” goes out to the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge for their generous financial support.

In last year’s Chairman’s Message, Dave Mangun encouraged you to make 2019 the year that you “Get on the River!”  You responded!  The number of Friends who requested access permits in our River Access Program increased by 70% from 2018. 

We are all indebted to the landowners who allow us to use the River.  Without them, we would have no alternative but to trespass! Thank you also to Rev. and Mrs. Doyce Ford, whose generosity allows us access to the River at the Rt. 11 bridge in Verona.

If you have been reading our newsletters, you already know that FOMR has a talented Watershed Administrator in Kate Guenther. She is the brain on top of the spine I mentioned earlier – making sure the feet know what the hands are doing!

What new can you expect from FOMR in 2020?  Pete Cooper will be spearheading the effort to upgrade our Benthic monitoring to Level III with DEQ.  This is the highest level of citizen monitoring in Virginia, and we’re headed there.

Six Board members have retired, but five new Board members have taken their places. 

We will try to upgrade this website, but no guarantees. 

This year is the tenth anniversary of FOMR.  Hmm – wonder what that will mean?

We encourage you to serve your community by volunteering with FOMR. Together we will continue to build awareness of the River as a valuable public resource.  Not sure what to volunteer for?  We can help you decide – just call or email us.

Thanks for your interest in FOMR,

Joe McCue, Chairman

January 21, 2020