By Mary Reid Barrow
Join LRNow next Saturday for a Discover Virginia Beach walk to get a feeling for the Northwest River Watershed, the city’s smallest watershed where just a tiny bit of our water flows.
The walk will be from 9:30 to noon in Northwest River Park, 1733 Indian Creek Road in Chesapeake. Find out more at https://www.lynnhavenrivernow.org/events/
Wait, you might say! A Virginia Beach walk in Chesapeake?
Yes! You have to go to Chesapeake to get to know this beautiful little river that gives our watershed its name. On the walk you will see that the Northwest River habitat is a lot like that of the North Landing River in Virginia Beach.
The Northwest is bordered for the most part by trees, wetlands or farmland. Though the North Landing River’s headwaters are in busy Kempsville, it, too, becomes a bucolic river flowing by forest, wetlands and farm land as it flows south through the city.
Both rivers have some of the same special habitats where a number of Virginia’s rare and unusual plants and animals dwell. And because of that, there are areas along both rivers that are protected by the State, the North Landing River Natural Area and the Northwest River Natural Area
For example, Sawgrass with its mean saw-toothed stems grows further south for the most part, but it also grows along both rivers.
And the shy canebrake rattlesnake, akin to the timber rattlesnake in the western part of the state, lives primarily in this little corner of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. The snake is so rare, it is on the state’s endangered species list.
Both rivers flow into Currituck Sound. And both lend their names to Virginia Beach watersheds.
But the similarities end in the size of the watersheds. The North Landing River watershed stretches north to south primarily along Virginia Beach’s western border and is one of our largest watersheds encompassing about 32 percent of our city.
On the other hand, only the very most southwestern corner of Virginia Beach, about one percent of our city, makes up the Northwest River Watershed. And then, the watershed drains across the Chesapeake -Virginia Beach line and westward to the river. You can’t see the river in this watershed map, yet this tiny little red shape in the bottom left is the Northwest River Watershed right on the Virginia Beach border..
And that’s why we have to go to Chesapeake to see the river for which our watershed was named.
As LRNow Director Karen Forget said, “Watersheds know no boundaries.”
Do you have a favorite tree or plant with a story to tell? What relationships have you observed between plants and critters? Who eats whom? Who has babies where? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org