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Nonprofit plants rain garden to protect Stony Creek

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

EDINBURG — A Shenandoah County nonprofit hopes a rain garden will help clean Stony Creek and grow the county’s green thumb.

Volunteers with Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River planted 2,000 pieces of greenery along the bank bordering the creek and the Edinburg Mill on Monday.

The plants are part of a bioretention area to prevent the flow of dirt and other sediments from the mill’s parking lot into the creek.

“There’s been a lot of erosion from the riverbed,” said David Hirschman of the Center for Watershed Protection. “This is a way to put a buffer between the mill and the river.

Stony Creek runs from near Lake Laura in Basye to the Shenandoah River’s North Fork east of Edinburg.

The project costs $40,000 and is funded by a $43,615 grant Friends of the North Fork received from the Chesapeake Bay Trust earlier this year. The Natural Garden, an ecological design and landscaping company in Harrisonburg, provided the garden’s plants.

Hirschman said most of the greenery consists of plugs, or deep-rooted plants that grow near water sources and prevent stormwater runoff from eroding riverbanks.

“The roots help the water percolate into the ground,” he said. “It mimics a forest ecosystem and it cleans up the water.”

Edinburg Mayor Dan Harshman authorized the construction contract in March. Hirschman said the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has also helped clean the stream bank and prepare for planting.

“It’s really been a great partnership,” he said.

Nat Kirkland, a Friends of the North Fork volunteer, said the county’s waterways must be protected for – and from – the people who live along them, such as himself.

“The river has suffered a lot from human behavior,” he said.

Alice Findler, a Friends of the North Fork volunteer, has lived in the county long enough to remember when the mill was a restaurant before it was turned into a museum.

She said that despite the parking spaces the project is costing, the garden will benefit the mill as well.

“It’s important to preserve a part of our heritage,” she said.



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