Welcome back to the marsh!
Today, we will be visiting one of the James River Association’s newest projects, located near the very mouth of the river. JRA has partnered with the City of Hampton to help restore Bright’s Creek, a small, tidal tributary to the Hampton River.
A vacant field next to Interstate 64 has been converted into a “wetpond”, allowing stormwater from the highway and neighborhoods to be slowly absorbed, instead of rapidly carrying runoff into the River. Native plants will take hold, eventually creating marsh habitat where it would historically be located. Fauna such as blue crabs, juvenile red drum, and great egrets will all benefit from Bright’s Creek being cleaned up.
But aren’t nutrients a good thing? Why are we worried about high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous getting into the James River and its tributaries? In small amounts, these elements can form compounds that are very beneficial to plant life, promoting healthy growth. However, in very large quantities, called eutrophication, large amounts of algae can “bloom.” As this algae dies and decays, dissolved oxygen may be depleted from the water, creating “dead zones” that can kill most species that enter them.
We can combat dead zones and limit nutrients getting into the James by doing river friendly practices in our daily lives! You can take the pledge today to join our River Hero Homes program. It is a completely free way to help. Would you like to learn more? Visit www.JamesRiverHero.org to see what you can do!