About Friends of the Middle River
» About Friends of the Middle River
We are a non-profit organization of folks concerned about the health and future of the Middle River. We live, work and play on the river, and we care deeply about its future.
A Message From the Chairman:
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.
Altogether, 2018 was a good year for FOMR. I will borrow a line from A Tale of Two Cities , “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” to describe this year. While this may seem a bit dramatic, we definitely experienced highs and lows this season. We continued our monitoring efforts, albeit on a reduced schedule, sponsored three Paddle America Club Middle River Float Trips, and continued our River cleanup efforts. But, on the downside, we had to cancel our Splash ‘n Dash Canoe/kayak Race as well as several additional float trips. We were able to hold our first ever full moon float trip – an unqualified success! Our annual river cleanup was very successful, with over 60 people plying the river to remove debris and maintain access sites, despite the near record rainfall that produced challenging conditions to say the least.
We completed our eighth year of benthic monitoring but had to cancel the autumn session due to high water. Our monthly E. coli monitoring in the Upper Middle River area has entered its fourth year and continues to run smoothly. We initiated a Salt Watch Program to monitor salt runoff from area roads. We are maintaining a dedicated access site at the bridge over the Middle River in Verona, thanks to a lease agreement with the landowner. We have leveraged this access location with several others to institute a River Access Program (RAP) for members. By year’s end we had 86 individuals sign up for the RAP. And finally, the Film Contest, that was created for local high school students in 2017, was won by the Fort Defiance High School Envirothon Team.
Kate Guenther has rounded out her first year as our Watershed Administrator. She has been most welcome and is a valuable asset, allowing us to branch out in new ways, including social media, while freeing up the remainder of the board for non-administrative tasks.
We look forward to many exciting events in 2019, where we will again participate at Earth Day Staunton and at Kites & Critters. Benthic Monitoring will resume in April. Plan to join us for a float down the Middle River this summer and/or for our annual Middle River Cleanup later this summer. Don’t forget to get your raffle tickets for the new kayak which will be given away at our Friends Fest barbecue picnic! Make this the year that you resolve to “Get on the River!”
We hope you will join us to help make 2019 the best year yet for FOMR. We give many thanks for our corps of donors and volunteers – the engines that drive the FOMR train. We invite you to join them in 2019 to help provide the manpower and financial support necessary to keep FOMR strong.
Dave Mangun, Chairman