When our LRNow was founded in 2002, only 1% of the Lynnhaven River met the rigorous water quality standard for shellfish harvest. Our other saltwater rivers and creeks in Virginia Beach, Ruddee & Owl Creek and the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River, were in similarly bad shape. Where shellfish harvest is allowed is all about the levels of bacteria harmful to humans and is measured regularly by the Virginia Department of Health.Today, we have made some remarkable progress! In the Lynnhaven 48% of the river meets the shellfish standard and 91% meets the swimmable/fishable standard. Many things contributed to this improvement, but we know from studies that more than half, 60% of the excess bacteria in the river was coming from our pets and birds, ducks and geese primarily.
There are two things that we can do to control the bacteria that enters our waterways from these sources: scoop the poop every time, everywhere and do not feed wildlife.
If we all clean up after our pets in the park, on the beach and in our own yards, we can remove this source of dangerous bacteria in the waters where we swim, kayak, and fish. It is that simple and is that important. Get one of these stickers free from LRNow to put on your big black trash can to remind everyone how important this is. Call our office, 757-962-5398, or email us to find out how to get your free sticker.
The second thing we can do is to not feed wildlife. When we feed sea gulls, ducks, or geese it concentrates them in unnatural numbers in that area and increases the waste that ends up in our waterways.
If we all follow these two practices, our waterways will be safer and we may avoid any beach closures this summer.