~ Press release issued by Shenandoah National Park
LURAY — The National Park Service (NPS) would like your input regarding the restoration of the Meadow Run watershed in the south district of Shenandoah National Park, northeast of Crimora, Virginia.
Decades of acid rain from regional air pollution has affected soil and water quality in this wilderness watershed resulting in negative impacts to aquatic species and overall forest health. While air pollution has decreased in the last two decades, many sensitive watersheds like Meadow Run do not have the capacity to restore themselves naturally.
The NPS is requesting the public’s assistance in evaluating several options to improve ecosystem health in this degraded watershed with Meadow Run listed as pH – impaired under Section303d of the Clean Water Act.
Options include applying limestone sand (referred to as “liming”) across the landscape to reduce the negative effects of acid rain. Liming has proven to be an effective method for improving soil and water chemistry where it has been applied in similar forested landscapes of the Mid-Atlantic. This proposal should restore terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and benefit plants and wildlife.
Liming would be conducted by helicopter due to the large amount of limestone sand needed for the 2,150 acres and because the Meadow Run watershed is steep and remote. Using a helicopter to perform the liming operation would be similar to wildfire response operations recently experienced within the park where helicopters were used to disperse water.
As part of the planning process, three options (alternatives) will be evaluated. We invite you to learn more about the science behind this project through an interactive story map at https://arcg.is/1Cam8e and/or visiting the project website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MeadowRunRestoration.
A public comment period will begin on October 30 and run through November 15, 2020. During this time, we are accepting comments by the methods described below. Your participation is vital to the success of our planning process.
How to Comment
1. Submit comments electronically at the project website link (preferred method): https://parkplanning.nps.gov/MeadowRunRestoration
2. Submit written comments to the park’s headquarters in Luray, Virginia, by mail to:
Meadow Run Watershed Restoration Project
Superintendent Patrick Kenney
Shenandoah National Park, 3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835
This public comment period ends on November 15, 2020.