Grant Aims to Achieve ‘A Restored and Functioning River System’ in North Fork

The North Fork of the Roanoke River originates between two mountain ridges just inside Roanoke County before flowing through Montgomery County just east of Blacksburg. The river is home to a variety of rare and native species, including the federally endangered Roanoke logperch.

Thanks to a second Community Conservation Grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE), we’re able to build on our efforts, with our partners, to restore habitat for this rare species of fish and improve water quality in the river.

This second phase of the project will focus on three privately owned properties at the headwaters of the river. The work will include:

  • Stream restoration
  • Planting trees to establish forested buffers around the river
  • Fencing to exclude livestock

This will reduce erosion, sediment, and pollution from sources such as agricultural and residential runoff.

“VEE is pleased to provide this second grant to NRLT for its North Fork Roanoke River restoration work,” said Joseph Maroon, VEE Executive Director. “NRLT’s work will not only help protect the water quality and habitat of the River but also provide educational opportunities on the importance of river restoration.” With this second grant, VEE has now invested over $418,000 in the North Forth Restoration work.

The first Community Conservation Grant from VEE was used to address two privately owned properties in Ellett Valley near Blacksburg. This included improving instream habitat and stabilizing riverbanks last fall. A native tree and shrub planting on the riverbank was completed in early May (images below, courtesy Christine Verdream), and fencing to keep livestock out of the river will be installed this spring and summer.

The Land Trust is partnering with:

“The Community Conservation Grant from VEE has provided significant lift to the restoration work along the North Fork Roanoke River corridor,” said Corey Kanuckel of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program. “This type of lift is critical to achieving our goals of a restored and functioning river system, as it allows the many conservation partners involved to leverage and stretch our collective dollar.”

To learn more about the restoration projects, you can watch the project videos below.