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The Rappahannock River Recreational Access Guide

Planning Environmentally Low-Impact Recreational Access on Riparian Lands

Friends of the Rappahannock

Fredericksburg, Virginia 2007

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River Access Guide Contributors Jennifer Allen, Friends of the Rappahannock, Project Manager/Writer John Tippett, Friends of the Rappahannock Dave King, Fredericksburg Public Works Erik Nelson, Fredericksburg Office of Planning and Community Development Hal Wiggins, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jessica DeWitt, Friends of the Rappahannock, Intern

Acknowledgements We sincerely thank the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network for the grant funding the development of this guide. We also are grateful to Kyle Schatz and Carol Brooks for creating much of the artwork in this guide.

Content Draft Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. Low-Impact Recreational River Access: Guiding Principles 3. Smart Access Planning: Practices 4. Corridors for Wildlife: Practices 5. Preserving our Natural Heritage: Practices 6. Healthy Waters: Practices 6.1. General Soil and Erosion Control 6.2. Riparian Buffers 6.3. Wetland Protection 7. Go Native: Practices 8. Scenic Integrity: Practices 9. Respect Historical Resources: Practices 10. Recreational Infrastructure: Design Examples, Specifications and Recommended Resources for Further Information 10.1. Environmentally-Suitable Materials 10.2. Erosion and Sediment Control Measures during Construction 10.3. Trails and Associated Features Trail Corridor Widths Trailbed Surface Water Control on Trails Trails in Wet Areas River Overlooks Vehicle/ATV Exclusion Benches 10.4. 10.5. Primitive Campsites Non-Motorized Boat Landings Site Selection Permits Design Aspects Boat Landing Construction Methods and Materials Access Roads, Parking Areas, and Signs


Content Draft 10. References 11. Appendices Appendix 1: Appendix 2: Appendix 3: Appendix 4:

Observable field indicators of wetland hydrology Native woody plants for stream restoration Virginia plant nurseries and suppliers of native plants Suppliers of geotextile and environmentally-friendly building materials Appendix 5: Sample bench and kiosk designs

Content Draft 1. The Rappahannock River Watershed The Rappahannock River flows swiftly down from its headwaters in the Blue Ridge Mountains, winds through the rural Virginia Piedmont, and gently through our tidewater landscapes to the Chesapeake Bay. Throughout this watershed, the river is valued for its: o Unassuming beauty and offerings of outdoor recreation and spirituality o Plentitude of clean water for agricultural irrigation, livestock watering, and fisheries and shellfish industries o Strength to power various industries such as mills and electricity, and K. Schatz o Historical role as a navigable waterway for consumable goods, a natural feature utilized during the Civil and Revolutionary Wars, and a sustaining resource for Native American tribes. The river freely provides these ecological, scenic, historical and socio-economic services, greatly benefiting Virginias citizens currently and throughout historical times. To continue providing these services, mankind must serve as good stewards of the lands and waters within the Rappahannock River watershed. What does it mean to be a good steward? In the context of conserving our natural resources, being a good steward means to live lightly on the land and to restore impaired natural resources. This river access guide has been created to help citizens plan for future river recreational access that floats lightly on the water. Desired recreational uses include, but are not limited to, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, fishing, and hunting. The goal of this guide is to provide assistance on balancing two common, yet often conflicting natural resource management objectives: providing public recreational access and protecting the ecological, scenic, and historic values of this significant regional resource. Our philosophy regarding public recreational use of the Rappahannock River is Management through Infrastructure public

The Rappahannock River Watershed

Content Draft recreational use can be proactively managed to protect this natural resource by appropriately planning, designing and managing river access points. In The Rappahannock River Recreational Access Guide, we provide guidance in the form of a list of Guiding Principles on planning and constructing low-impact, environmentally-sensitive infrastructure common to river recreational access points, such as river trails, boat landings, and primitive campsites. In separate sections, each Guiding Principle is accompanied by a series of Best Practices, or recommendations, on how to implement these Guiding Principles. Since certain topics, such as trail or boat launch design can be technically involved, we have provided an additional section on the nuts and bolts of more complex topics. This guide provides information about several river recreational access topics, none of which can be fully explored in this guide. As such, we have structured the guide as the starting point when planning a new river access point each section of this guide also includes a Resource Box listing references that will provide more technical expertise for a particular topic. The Rappahannock River Recreational Access Guide is appropriate for river access points above the fall line (the zone between the Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic regions) this geographic scope essentially is the lands and waters upstream of Fredericksburg, Virginia. In particular, this guide will be useful for planning future river access points on Fredericksburgs Watershed Property. Much of this watershed property (4,232 acres preserving 65.7 miles of riparian buffer along the Rappahannock and its tributaries) is protected from future land development under a permanent conservation easement, though certain uses such as low-impact outdoor recreational activities are permitted. The purpose of this easement is to (City of Fredericksburg 2006): (1) Protect the natural environment and habitats, including the viewscape to and from the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers; (2) Protect the water quality of the Rivers and to provide adequate public water supplies; (3) Protect the historic and archeological resources (4) Prevent residential and commercial development; and (5) Allow reasonable use and enjoyment of the Property by the general public. This guide will be useful in encouraging compliance to the goals of this easement. Although the geographic intent of this guide is limited, many of the Guiding Principles and Practices can be used in the lower Rappahannock River basin and in other watersheds.

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2. Low Impact Recreational River Access: Guiding Principles The Guiding Principles for planning and constructing environmentallysensitive recreational river access are as follows:
K. Schatz

Smart Access Planning River access points are planned from a regional perspective, focused on not only providing non-duplicative recreational opportunities but also on conserving natural and historic resources.

Corridors for Wildlife Riparian forested corridors are protected to provide habitat connectivity for wildlife dispersal, migration, and potentially breeding habitat use.

Preserve our Natural Heritage The conservation areas of rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals is actively avoided to preserve these species and their habitats for generations to come.

Healthy Waters Water quality is protected for recreational uses, aquatic life, wildlife, the production of edible and marketable fish and shellfish, and the drinking water supply.

Go Native Non-native, invasive plants and animals are not intentionally introduced to new sites, and unintentional introductions are quickly controlled.

Scenic Integrity The natural visual quality and the sense of place is preserved.

Respect History Historic features are respected as part of the landscape and are not disturbed.

C. Brooks

Content Draft 3. Smart Access Planning: Practices Smart Access Planning is a planning approach based on a regional perspective rather than a single landowner or county basis. Why plan with a regional focus? A regionally-based plan can balance the desire for additional public river access points while also protecting the ecological, historic and scenic values of the river and its surrounding landscapes.

The placement of canoe landings is best planned from a regional perspective. The graphic on the left represents a lack of regional planning; the other graphic represents a regional approach providing river access while also protecting other river values.

Practice: Promote regional planning to avoid non-duplicative access. An example of duplicative access is adjacent counties or landowners installing boat launches on either side of their boundaries. Practice: Develop regional river access plans from a Green Infrastructure philosophy rather than from a gray (or built) infrastructure perspective. Green infrastructures are our natural landscapes and riverscapes an interconnected network of natural lands and water that supports native species, maintains ecological processes, sustains air and water resources and contributes to the health, quality of life, and recreational opportunities for people.

Content Draft Practice: Develop a plan for the long-term maintenance and management of the proposed recreational infrastructure. Public river access sites need a plan for continual maintenance. Before building new infrastructure, first work on committing the resources (funding and manpower) necessary to keep the future infrastructure clean and maintained. This also applies to volunteer efforts to build improvements such as trails. Plans for future river access sites should not be approved by the jurisdictional authority unless a long-term management plan has been developed and appropriate resources have been committed for maintenance activities.

Erosion beginning on a new trail, designed with no water erosion control measures. Erosion on trail began with the first rainfall after the trail construction was completed.

On the same trail as above, the overlook already experienced moderate erosion three months after construction.

Content Draft Smart Access Planning Resource Box

Internet Resources a joint project between The Conservation Fund and U.S. Forest Service providing information on planning from a green infrastructure philosophy Recreational Planning for Greenways Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Virginia Conservation Lands Needs Assessment: a GIS tool for integrating the needs and strategies of different conservation interests in Virginia; May be useful for regional planning -- Publications Rappahannock River Watershed Plan. 1994. Prepared by the Planning & Community Development Office, City of Fredericksburg, Virginia.


Content Draft 4. Corridors for Wildlife: Practices Corridors are linear strips that differ from the surrounding landscape and connect larger habitat patches (Forman 1995). Forested riparian areas, vegetated areas along river/stream banks, form a natural corridor along waterways that is important to many wildlife and fish populations and to conserving regional biological diversity. Riparian corridor linkage is key for connecting natural areas and features, connecting habitats for wildlife movement, and connecting people to a magical and wild river experience. The function of riparian forest ecosystems in the landscape is dictated by their role as both a transition zone between the aquatic and terrestrial environments as well as a corridor through the landscape.

Tiger Swallowtail (C. Brooks)

Intact riparian corridors provide biodiversity protection by serving as dispersal routes between natural landscapes for migratory birds, herptiles, fish, and butterflies and by providing habitat for many common and unique plants and animals. Without these dispersal corridors, wildlife populations may decline and isolated populations even may experience loss of genetic diversity. These riparian corridors also mitigate flood impacts, control erosion and sedimentation rates, and filter out many pollutants before they reach waterways, thus protecting clean water.
Painted Turtles (C. Brooks)

Additionally, natural corridors offer many recreational opportunities in our increasingly suburban and urban environments. Many cities and towns choose to protect their greenbelts as a valued community resource and include riparian corridors as part of their cultural identity and natural heritage. Practice: Preserve the connectivity and width of existing riparian corridors, characterized by natural linear patches of forests, shrublands, wetlands, and natural grasslands. Practice: Prevent the loss of corridor connectivity by prohibiting clearing of natural habitat, minimally within a 30-m buffer on both sides of waterways to protect water quality, but preferentially within a 100-m buffer zone to provide a wildlife corridor. Practice: When necessary to build recreational infrastructure within a 30-m riparian buffer (e.g., a canoe landing), minimize the width of open area along the waterway to 20 feet.


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A 30-m riparian buffer is recommended as the minimum standard to protect water quality. Ideally, conserve a 100-m forested buffer along rivers and streams to support key ecological functions such as providing a wildlife corridor (K. Schatz).

Practice: Ideally, build new infrastructure within existing recreational access sites rather than developing unfragmented natural habitat within the riparian corridor. Developing natural habitat causes forest fragmentation, destroying habitat for many wildlife species and breaking corridor connectivity.

Forest fragmentation caused by sprawl is evident in this image of Stafford County, Virginia (digital orthophotographic quarter-quadrangle imagery).


Content Draft Wildlife Corridor Resource Box

Internet Resources American Wildlands description of a corridor - CorridorDesigner: free GIS tools to design and evaluate wildlife corridors (Spring 2007 software release date) - Book and Publications Forman, R.T.T. 1995. Land mosaics: The ecology of landscapes and regions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


Content Draft 5. Preserve our Natural Heritage: Practices What is our Natural Heritage? Our Natural Heritage is the biodiversity of the natural environment surrounding us, such as the plants, animals, and ecological communities that characterize the lands and waters of Virginia. Humans are also part of the natural part of our environment but our modern impacts, such as land development for shopping malls, are not. Potentially, the way we live on the Bald Eagle (K. Schatz) land can cause habitat loss, and this habitat loss is often the leading cause for population declines of many types of plants, animals and ecological communities. Many species or ecological communities Did you know? have become rare in recent times, and thus there are many organizations and government agencies The Rappahannock River provides worldwide that work to protect them from future some of the best nesting habitat extinction. For instance, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife for Bald Eagles in North America Service (USFWS) is the federal agency responsible for USFWS prohibits land listing fish, wildlife and plants as endangered or development or clearing within a threatened in the United States, and then implementing 750-ft radius from an eagles strategies to conserve and restore their populations in nesting. the wild. In Virginia, the Natural Heritage Program, a division of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, works to save native plants and animal life across the Commonwealth. When planning for new river recreational access points, minimally consult with regional offices of USFWS and the Virginia Natural Heritage Program to evaluate whether potential river access sites may harbor rare, threatened, or endangered life or the habitat upon which they depend. If potential sites do harbor rarities, avoid these sites completely. Practice: Prevent or minimize impact to species listed as threatened or endangered by federal/state authorities by requesting guidance from USFWS, VDACS-Office of Plant and Pest Services, and other government agencies. Practice: Prevent or minimize impact to sensitive habitats of rare plants, animals, and ecological communities by requesting guidance from the Virginia Natural Heritage Program and other state agencies.

Green Floater, a freshwater mussel at risk in the Rappahannock River watershed (North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission)


Content Draft Natural Heritage Resource Box

Agency Resources U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Field Office, 6669 Short Lane, Gloucester, Virginia 23061; 804-693-6694; authority for federally-listed threatened and endangered species Virginia Division of Natural Heritage, Chesapeake Bay Region, 217 Governor Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219; 804-225-2303; expertise on global and state rare species and natural communities - Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Plant and Pest Services, Endangered Plant & Insect Program, 102 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219; 804.786.3515; authority for state-listed threatened and endangered plants and insects Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Region V, 1320 Belman Road, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401; 540-899-4169; state-listed threatened and endangered wildlife and fish -

Book and Publications Stein, B.A., L.S. Kutner, and J.S. Adams. 2000. Precious Heritage: the status of biodiversity in the United States. The Nature Conservancy and Association for Biodiversity Information. Oxford University Press, New York. Terwillinger, K. 1991. Virginias Endangered Species. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg, Virginia.


Content Draft 6. Healthy Waters: Practices Simply stated, healthy waters can be defined as waters that are swimmable and fishable. Clean, unpolluted water is not only necessary for our drinking water supply, but also supports the biological health of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic life. Healthy waters depends on both good water quality and water quantity. In this guide we focus on aspects of protecting water quality since this is the ecological attribute of river systems that is more likely to be affected by recreational river access features.

Did you know?

The State Water Council Board is mandated to protect water quality for recreational uses, aquatic life, wildlife, and the production of edible and marketable fish and shellfish. By protecting these designated uses, other uses such as water supply, irrigation and navigation are usually protected (VDEQ-

SWCB 2006).


General Erosion and Sediment Control Practices

Practice: Protect existing riparian buffers from habitat destruction and degradation by placing most recreational infrastructure features upland of this zone. For further guidance on protecting riparian buffers, see Section 6.2. Practice: Design an infrastructure site plan focused on minimizing the development footprint and thus impervious surfaces.
Streambank erosion in Massaponax Creek Watershed.

Development footprint is the total area disturbed by the cutting of trees, the grading, landscaping or other permanent altering of land, and the erection, construction, or installation of any building, structure, equipment, improvement or facility. An impervious surface is an area where infiltration of water into the underlying soil is prevented, such as a parking lot. As the amount of impervious surface increases in an area, the volume of surface water runoff into streams increases, causing soil erosion and excessive sediment loading in waterways.

Sediment pollution is evident next to an eroded bank and a nearby road.


Content Draft Practice: Limit footprint of a developed recreational site to no more than three acres, not including acres disturbed for unpaved hiking trails and primitive campsites. For the Fredericksburg Watershed Property (river easement lands), its easement language stipulates that the recreational site cannot exceed this 3-acre threshold. Practice: Use Low Impact Development (LID) site design strategies to reduce impacts to water quality. LID is focused on replicating the pre-construction natural surface water runoff rate by reducing the amount of impervious surface. See Resource Box for more information.

Example of a LID site (Graphic credit: Low Impact Development Center, Inc.)

Practice: Use Erosion and Sediment Control Measures such as silt fences, filter strips and temporary vegetation cover, to prevent sediment from entering wetlands or open water. See section 10.2 for more information. Practice: Restore eroding stream/riverbanks adjacent to the river access point. Otherwise, these eroding banks will continue to worsen, threatening the health of the river, potentially the structural-integrity of infrastructure such as boat landings, and may pose as a human safety-risk.

An eroding bank along the Rappahannock River restored by Friends of the Rappahannock. The top photograph shows the site pre-restoration, and the bottom illustrates a successful restoration effort.


Content Draft Healthy Waters, Erosion/Sediment Control, and Low Impact Development Resource Box
Agency and NGO Resources The Low Impact Development Center, 4600 Powder Mill Rd, Suite 200, Beltsville, MD 20705 Friends of the Rappahannock: staff expertise on Low Impact Develpment, 3219 Fall Hill Avenue, Fredericksburg, VA 22401; 540-373-3448 Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District, 4805 Carr Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22408; (540) 899-9492, ext 3 Soil and Water Conservation Division, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, York-Rappahannock Watershed Office, P. O. Box 1425, Tappahannock, Va. 22560; (804) 4436752; Internet Resources Healthy Waters and Erosion/Sediment Control A Virginians Year Round Guide to Yard Care, VDCR, Soil & Water Conservation Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District: information about water and protecting water quality - Friends of the Rappahannock: how to help protect water quality Low Impact Development LID Center, Introduction to Low Impact Development Friends of the Rappahannock: publications on low impact development American Planning Association: Low Impact Development: An Alternative Approach to Site Design - Whole Building Design Guide: Low Impact Development Technologies United States Environmental Protection Agency, Field Evaluation for Permeable Pavers: Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District: LID info - Publications VDCR-Soil and Water Conservation. 1992. Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. (This handbook provides technical details on implementing many Erosion and Sediment Control Measures.)


Content Draft 6.2. Riparian Buffer Practices

Riparian buffers are naturally vegetated lands stretching along rivers and streams, such as a riparian forest. These riparian buffers provide several ecological services: o Filter stormwater runoff pollutants and sediments are removed before the runoff from adjacent lands reaches the waterway o Reduce flooding of developed Forested riparian buffer on Massaponax Creek near the confluence areas flood waters spread into with the Rappahannock River. the riparian buffer forests, losing energy o Reduce erosion problems the vegetative roots hold soils on streambanks against the erosive force of moving water o Shade streams streams lacking shade-giving vegetation on its banks suffer higher water temperatures, detrimentally impacting aquatic life; shaded, cooler waters also can absorb higher levels of oxygen and thus, critical to supporting aquatic life, and o Provide corridors for wildlife wildlife often use natural corridors, such as forested riparian buffers as dispersal or migratory routes. These ecological services vary by the Potential ecological benefits of riparian buffers of different widths width of the riparian buffer, with (ELI 2003). generally wider buffers along a Buffer Width Potential Benefit or Purpose stream or river having greater 25 m Nutrient & pollutant removal ecological benefits for the aquatic 30-50 m Temperature & microclimate system and for the adjoining regulation, sediment removal; Detrital landscape. Minimally, riparian input and bank stabilization buffers should at least be 30 m (100 100 m + Wildlife habitat functions, such as feet) wide to provide water quality dispersal corridors benefits, but to provide wildlife habitat functions, buffers should be at least 100 m (300 feet) wide (Cohen 1997; Wenger 1999; ELI 2003). Additionally, the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act of 1988, and section 3C of the conservation easement for the Fredericksburg Watershed Property (City of Fredericksburg 2006), mandates the protection of a 100-foot buffer landward of the mean high water mark of the River and its tributaries from development to the greatest extent practicable. Practice: Prohibit building recreational infrastructure within a 30-meter (100-foot) critical riparian buffer zone, as measured from the mean high water mark of a river or stream. The only structures that may be permitted within this 30-m buffer are unpaved hiking trails and nonmotorized boat landings designed to minimize erosion and destruction of natural vegetation.


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Practice: To the extent practicable, minimize placement of recreational infrastructure within a 100-meter (300-foot) wide riparian buffer along rivers and tributaries to provide both water quality and wildlife habitat protection.

A conceptual riparian buffer (K. Schatz).

Riparian Buffer Resource Box

Agency Contacts Soil and Water Conservation Division, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, York-Rappahannock Watershed Office, P. O. Box 1425, Tappahannock, Va. 22560; (804) 4436752; Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District, 4805 Carr Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22408; (540) 899-9492, ext 3; Internet Resources US Army Corps of Engineers Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research Program Comprehensive examination of the importance of buffer zones: Virginia Department of Forestry, Riparian Forest Buffers: Publications Welsch, D.J. 1991. Riparian forest buffers: function and design for protection and enhancement of water resources. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Area, State & Private Forestry, Forest Resources Management. Wenger, S. 1999. A Review of the Scientific Literature on Riparian Buffer Width, Extent and Vegetation. University of Georgia, Athens, GA. 59 pages.


Content Draft 6.3. Wetland Protection Practices

The goal of any development project should be to not only minimize environmental impacts, but to completely avoid sensitive areas such as wetlands. What is a wetland? The term wetlands means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas (USACE 1987). Wetlands provide many human health and ecological functions, including water purification, discharge/recharge of minimum baseflows for streams and rivers, protecting shorelines from wave action and storm damage, buffering nearby lands from the effects of flood events, and wildlife and fisheries nursery habitat. All planning for river access projects should include the delineation of wetlands and streams and avoidance of these sensitive areas to protect not only the wetland but also these public and ecological functions.

An Equisetum (horsetail) marsh found within a riparian forest (Hal Wiggins, USACE).

Did you know?

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344) authorizes the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, to issue permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States including wetlands. This gives the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the authority to regulate many impacts to wetlands through a permit review process.

Practice: Identify wetland habitats and design the location of infrastructure to avoid wetlands. For example, route a trail around the boundaries of a wetland habitat. Wetland delineations should be conducted using the Corps 1987 Wetland Delineation manual (USACE 1987). To aid in identifying wetlands, always consult federal and state authorities during the project planning stage and to obtain permits (see Resource Box below). Appendix 1 lists field indicators that will help untrained observers identify potential wetlands. Practice: Provide a 10-m minimal natural buffer between an unpaved hiking trail and a wetland boundary and a 30-m minimal natural buffer between an access road/parking lot and the wetland. Practice: For infrastructure that may affect wetlands such as foot trails, build elevated boardwalks over wetlands.


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A wetland violation, an unpermitted road construction activity, on a wetland adjacent to Ni River, Virginia. This site was a wetland violation. (Photo: Hal Wiggins, USACE)


Content Draft Wetlands Protection Resource Box

Agency Contacts for Project Review and Permits Federal Wetland Permits U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1420 Central Park Boulevard, Suite 210, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401; (540) 548-2517; State Wetland Permits Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Northern Regional Office, Water Division, OWRM 13901 Crown Court, Woodbridge, Virginia 22193; (703) 583-3828; Emergency Pollution Response Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Northern Regional Office Department of Emergency Management 1-800-468-8892; Pollution Response: (703) 583-3864; DEQ Main Office Number (703) 583-3800 Federal and State Wetland Regulation Information Federal Section 404 of the Clean Water Act: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States including wetlands. Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act: Regulates dredging and the placement or construction of piers, wharfs or other obstructions into navigable waters. State Wetlands Permitting Program: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality regulates fill material in state waters (authorized by the Code of Virginia). Internet Resources EPA webpage about wetlands: Restoring Virginias Wetlands, a Citizens Toolkit: USACE information about recognizing wetlands: Publications Mitsch, W.J. and J.G. Gosselink. 2000. Wetlands, 3rd ed. Wiley. Tiner, R. 1999. Wetland Indicators: A Guide to Wetland Identification, Delineation, Classification and Mapping. CRC. Tiner, R. and A. Rorer. 1993. A Field Guide to Coastal Wetland Plants of the Southeastern United States. University of Massachusetts Press.


Content Draft 7. Go Native: Promote Natives, Not Invasives "On a global basis...the two great destroyers of biodiversity are, first habitat destruction and, second, invasion by exotic species." - E.O. Wilson Invasive species are any plant, animal, insect, or other organism that is not native to an area, and whose introduction causes economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. For example, West Nile Virus, carried by mosquitoes, is an invasive virus first identified in the United States in 1999 and it is a human health concern.

Redbud, a native tree on the Rappahannock (C. Brooks)

Ecologically, invasive organisms can cause near extirpation of native plants and animals, such as the loss of American chestnut trees in the early 1900s due to the Chestnut blight fungus, and alteration of natural communities, as the snakehead fish is impacting fish communities now in the Potomac River (VISC mgmt plan). The economic cost of researching, eradicating and controlling invasive species in Virginia for natural areas, health concerns, and for agricultural, forestal, and fishery industries is $1 billion annually (Pimental et al. 2000). Generally, the best strategies to combat invasive species are the ones focused on prevention, i.e., preventing them from spreading to new areas in the first place.

Northern snakehead fish, an invasive fish from Asia (photo: VDGIF).

Practice: All river recreational access projects should include a brief plan for controlling and monitoring invasive plants and/or animals because land disturbance activities often create prime conditions for intruders to easily invade. Practice: Clean all construction equipment and vehicles before beginning work at a new site -remove all dirt, mud and plant material from equipment. Practice: Clean boots before entering and leaving a site to get rid of hitchhiking weed seeds and pathogens. Practice: Before ground-breaking activities, survey for invasive plants in the vicinity of the site and control infestations. The most common control methods for invasive plants are handpulling, cutting/mowing, and herbicide use. The best method to use often is dependent on a plants biology or the conditions specific to a site, and the latter method (herbicide), involves technical knowledge for effective and safe implementation. For invasive plant control near or in wetlands and waterways, only herbicides that are approved by the EPA for aquatic use can be used. For example, the common and generally effective herbicide called Roundup cannot be


Content Draft used in wet environments because it can cause mortality of aquatic animal life; alternatively, Rodeo is an EPA-approved aquatic use herbicide that can be used in wetlands and near waterways when Roundup cannot. A wealth of information about invasive plants and control methods can be found in the links in this sections Resource Box. Practice: Minimize soil disturbance to the extent practical because soil disturbance creates opportunities for invasions. Practice: Provide temporary cover on exposed soils to help prevent invasive plant establishment and to minimize soil erosion. Appendix X lists native plant recommended by VDCR for this purpose. Practice: After construction, annually survey the site for 2-3 years for invasive plants and immediately control new infestations. Practice: If habitat restoration is necessary, plant native trees and australis), an invader of shrubs. You can also allow natural regeneration of native plants, but wetlands such as marshes (K. Schatz). it still will be necessary to control any invasive plants that colonize in the area. See Appendix 2 for a list of recommended native woody plants to use for riparian restoration and Appendix 3 for a list of Virginia nurseries selling native plants. Practice: Clean boats and equipment thoroughly before transporting them to a different body of water: Removing any visible mud, plants, fish or animals (such as freshwater mussels) that may be attached to the boat. Eliminate water from equipment before transporting Clean and dry anything that came in contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, clothing, etc.)
Common reed (Phragmites

Zebra mussel, a non-native invasive freshwater mussel, can attach to just about any substrate, including other organisms such as this crayfish (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries).


Content Draft Practice: Do not dump water from another water source into the waterway near the construction site otherwise, you may unknowingly introduce non-native and potentially invasive aquatic organisms into this waterway.

Go Native Resource Box

Internet Resources Native Plant Information: Native Riparian Plants in Virginia Virginia Native Plant Society both native and invasive plant information Invasive Plant Identification: The Nature Conservancy Global Invasive Species Initiative Species Photos and documents Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide good source for invasive information and images Virginia Invasive Species Council Invasive Plant Control Methods: Weed Control Methods Handbook: Tools and Techniques for Use in Natural Areas. The Global Invasive Species Initiative, The Nature Conservancy. Control information for 97 invasive plant species in the Eastern U.S. Invasive Aquatic Species Information: Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Protect Your Waters: A site for recreational users on stopping the spread of aquatic nuisance species -- Aquatic Nuisance Species Taskforce - National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System Chesapeake Bay Database Publications Miller, J.H. 2004. Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests: a field guide for identification and control. USDA, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. General Technical Report SRS62.


Content Draft 8. Scenic Integrity: Keep the Natural Environment Natural Eighty-six miles of the Rappahannock River, from the headwaters near Chester Gap to just below Fredericksburg, have been designated as a Virginia State Scenic River. The Rappahannock is a highly desirable destination for paddlers and river lovers from Virginia and neighboring states because of its beautiful scenery and long stretches of wilderness waters. There are few places on the urbanizing coast of the Mid-Atlantic Region where people can float down a pristine, wild river with few scenic intrusions by manmade structures the Rappahannock is one of these few.
Great Blue Heron (C. Brooks)

As such, the goal for any future river recreational access points is no building, structure, equipment, improvement or facility shall be visible at any time of year from the River, which is consistent with section 3B(5) of the conservation easement land for the Fredericksburg Watershed Property (City of Fredericksburg 2006). Practice: When designing recreational infrastructure, plan for the leaf-off season to best minimize visual impacts year-round from the vantage point of a river-user. Practice: Conduct a visual analysis to verify that the viewshed is protected. For example, use a large balloon during the leaf-off season to assess whether infrastructure, such as a sign, can be seen from the river. Three to four paddlers on the water, located at different vantage points, can communicate via radio to the person holding the balloon and can indicate where the placement of the infrastructure, such as an interpretive sign, is not visible. The person on land then flags the right location. Each paddler also can take pictures, from their unique line of sight, of where the balloon can be seen and not seen to help relocate the appropriate location for the infrastructure during construction phase. The balloon in the picture was used to protect the scenic integrity of the river from potential visual impacts from a nearby golf course development. Practice: Avoid or limit the need for access roads, parking lots and utilities such as electricity at river access points to reduce noise and light pollution Keep the Natural Environment Natural Practice: Any interpretive or directional signage should be minimal and unobtrusive. To the extent practical, do not include any unnecessary signs. Let people discover natural and historic features for themselves so they may be enchanted by their own river encounters.


Content Draft Practice: Use off-sets, curving and set-backs of recreational features from the river to hide these features from the viewpoint of a river-user.

An example of a canoe landing where the access path to the parking lot is curved and the parking lot is set-back into the woods to block its view from the river (K. Schatz).

Scenic Preservation Resources

Agency and NGO Resources Friends of the Rappahannock: Visit the Rappahannock River Orientation Center to view river sceneries, to walk to the river, and to learn about river conservation, history and recreational opportunities; 3219 Fall Hill Avenue, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401; 757-373-3448 Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Recreational Planning, Scenic Rivers Program, 203 Governor Street, Suite 326, Richmond, VA 23219; 804-786-5046 Publications Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. 2002. Virginia Outdoors Plan. VDCR, Division of Planning and Recreational Resources. 440 pages. Palmer, T. 1993. Wild and Scenic Rivers of America. Island Press. 338 pages.


Content Draft 9. Respect Historical Features The Rappahannock River is rich with historical history, dating back thousands of years. Historical remnants still can be found from Native American sites, early American industrial enterprises, the Civil War period, and canals and locks (City of Fredericksburg 1997). Preserving these historical resources at their original location allows interested enthusiasts and scholars to continue to discover these traces of human occupation on their own. We recommend that river recreationists respect that historic resources are part of the landscape leave these features undisturbed for future explorers.

An artists rendition of a Rappahannock River Batteaux boat used in the historical canal system of the early to mid-1800s (C. Brooks).

If the construction of a river access feature might disturb or impact a historical resource, the project may require a permit from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) and/or the county/city planning department. For any project on Fredericksburgs Watershed Property, the project must be reviewed and permitted by the City of Fredericksburgs Office of Planning and Community Development in consultation with DHR. Private owners of historic properties are not required to submit projects to DHR for review unless they receive state/federal funds, permits/licenses for the property improvements, or are applying to the historic rehabilitation tax credit program administered by DHR. Practice: Do not disturb, alter, remove, or dig at any historic resources on publicly owned lands or certain private lands, specified above, without permission from DHR and local city/county planning department. Practice: Leave historic resources for others to discover do no harm. Practice: Do not restore historical resources unless a permit is granted by the local city/county planning department and/or DHR.

A lock on the historical canal system along the Rappahannock River still stands today.


Content Draft Historical Preservation Resources

Agency Resources Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Capital Office Serving central Virginia 2801 Kensington Ave, Richmond, VA 23221; (804) 367-2323 Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Tidewater Office serving Northern Neck 14415 Old Courthouse Way, 2nd Floor, Newport News, VA 23608; (757) 886-2807 Fredericksburg Office of Planning and Community Development, 715 Princess Anne Street, Room 209, P.O. Box 7447, Fredericksburg, VA 22404, (540) 372-1179 Internet Resources Virginia Department of Historic Resources: information on seeking a project review and permit, state/federal regulations, and how to research historical information for a property Publications City of Fredericksburg. 1997. Historic Resources along the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers. Office of Planning and Community Development and the Graphics Department, City of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Rappahannock Water Trail Guide (Friends of the Rappahannock): Self-guided paddling guidebook highlighting conservation and historical sites; Order at 540-373-3448 or Trout III, W.E. 1992. The Rappahannock Scenic River Atlas: Historic sites on the Rappahannock and its branches, the Quantico Canal, and the Dragon Swamp Navigation. Virginia Canals and Navigations Society.


Content Draft 10. Recreational Infrastructure: Design Recommendations and Examples This section, along with the Appendices, provides additional information on designing and constructing common recreational infrastructure features on a river, such as trails, boat landings and campsites.

10.1. Environmentally-Suitable Materials Practice: Use environmentally-friendly building materials to prevent toxic pollution to soils and water. Historically, CCA (chromated copper arsenate) treated wood has been the material of choice for many outdoor applications. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled that CCA treated wood is a human health hazard if it comes in contact with the skin, and CCA wood should not be used in freshwater environments. Here are a few alternatives: Plastic lumber engineered from recyclables EnviroSafe treated lumber Naturally-rot resistant wood such as untreated cedar, redwood, and hemlock (For structures below the average annual high-water mark, such as the supports for a boat launch, cedar or hemlock timbers will last a lifetime.) Appendix 4 lists a few suppliers for finding these products. Also, visit your local lumber/building supplier and request these environmentally-friendly materials if not in stock, they should be able to order the supplies for you.

Practice: Use permeable materials for trails, campsites, boat landings, access roads, and parking areas (dirt, gravel, stonedust, permeable paver).

Install permeable pavers in lieu of asphalt or concrete.


Content Draft 10.2. Erosion and Sediment Control Measures during Construction We recommend that all river recreational access construction projects include sediment and erosion control measures to avoid or minimize soil loss and erosion, leading to sediment pollution in nearby waterways. This section provides an overview of a few straight-forward methods that can be used for most land disturbance activities: Silt Fences Silt fences are effective when temporary sediment retention is necessary until permanent vegetation can be established. Guidelines for proper installation and use: o If wooden stakes are used for fence construction, oak must have a 2 diameter and pine a 4 diameter. o Purchase the filter fabric in a continuous roll at a building supply store and cut to full length of the barrier (to avoid the use of joints). When joints are unavoidable, splice filter cloth together at a support post with a 6 overlap and seal. o When wire support is used, a standard-strength filter cloth can be used. If wire support is not used, extra-strength cloth must be used. o Dig a narrow trench (about 4-6 deep) along the boundaries of the construction site where silt fencing will be installed. Minimally, silt fences must be installed along the downslope side of a site (the direction that water will flow) and should be installed along boundaries with a waterway, wetland or a road. o Attach the fabric to the support post side that is facing the construction activity. Otherwise, if the fabric is attached to the outward-facing side of the post, water events may push the fabric off the posts. o Staple or wire the fabric to the fence with and a minimum of 4 of fabric extending down into the trench. o Sediment deposits need to be removed when they reach one-half the height of the silt fencing for the fencing to remain effective. Also, inspect the fencing after heavy rains. o Remove silt fences after they have served their purpose, but not before the upslope area has been permanently stabilized (for example, with vegetative cover). The remaining sediment where the fence was located should be removed.


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Good silt fence example.

Poor, ineffective silt fence example.

Filter Strips Filter strips are another ideal sediment and erosion control method, functioning in a similar role as a riparian forest buffer along a river. These are areas of undisturbed soil, vegetation, and forest litter situated between an area of exposed soil, such as a trail, and a waterway or wetland. A filter strip of natural land cover catches surface water runoff, allowing sediment to filter out before reaching these sensitive wet environments. Maintaining filter strips at the base of a slope is the preferred method of erosion control to retain sediment on site. NH-Bureau of Trails (2004) recommends the following width guidelines for filter strips: o 0-10% slope: 50-foot strip width o 11-20% slope: 70-foot strip width o Filter strips become less effective as the slope increases over 20% Cover Plants For sites needing further soil stabilization until permanent vegetative cover becomes established, temporary cover plants should be planted. Seed the exposed soil with winter annual rye (Secale cereale) or a native plant seed mix. Do not seed the exposed soil with invasive plants, such as tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea). See section 7 for more information on invasive species. Table 1 lists native plants that are recommended for soil erosion control in place of invasive plants that were commonly used for this function in the past.


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Table 1. Native plants for soil erosion control (adapted from DCR-Soil and Water Conservation, Native vs. Alien Plant Species for Erosion & Sediment Control Factsheet). Invasive Plants Alternative Virginia Native Plants Common reed Phragmites australis Great bulrush Scirpus lacustris Chinese lespedeza Lespedsa cuneata Birdsfoot trefoil Lotus corniculatus Orchard grass Dactylis glomerata Redtop Agrostis stolonifera Weeping lovegrass Eragrostis curvula Roundheaded bushclover Lespedeza capitata Patridge pea Chamaecrista fasciculata Butterflyweed Asclepias tuberosa Joe-pye weed Eupatorium dubium Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia fulgida Big blue stem Andropogon gerardii Indian grass Sorghastrum nutans Side oats grama Bouteloua curtipendula Roundheaded bushclover Lespedeza capitata Patridge pea Chamaecrista fasciculate Big blue stem Andropogon gerardii Little blue stem Schizachyrium scoparium Indian grass Sorghastrum nutans Switchgrass Panicum virgatum Big blue stem Andropogon gerardii Little blue stem Schizachyrium scoparium Indian grass Sorghastrum nutans Switchgrass Panicum virgatum Broomsedge Andropogon virginicus Deertongue Dichanthelium clandestinum Side oats grama Bouteloua curtipendula Canadian wildrye Elymus canadensis Bottlebrush grass Elymus hystrix Virginia wildrye Elymus virginicus

Crown vetch Coronilla varia

Tall fescue Festuca arundinacea

Soil and Erosion Control Measures Resource Box

Agency Contact Soil and Water Conservation Division, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, YorkRappahannock Watershed Office, P. O. Box 1425, Tappahannock, Va. 22560; (804) 443-6752; Publications VDCR-Soil and Water Conservation. 1992. Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. (This handbook provides technical details on implementing many Erosion and Sediment Control Measures.)


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Trails and Associated Features

Hiking trails are highly desirable recreational features along waterways. Seemingly simple, trails require some skill for appropriate trail design and construction. There are numerous excellent resources for trail standards, and we strongly recommend that readers consult the trail publications in the Resource Box at the end of this section. In this guide, it is not possible to include all of the technical details associated with trail design, construction and management. Hence below, we focus on basic trail guidelines from these publications, especially aspects critical to controlling surface water runoff.

USFS 2000

Practice: Take time to plan the route of the trail, the trail width, and desired trail features to minimize impacts to sensitive areas and scenic vistas.

Trail Corridor Widths The dimensions of the corridor are determined by the needs of the target user, trail difficulty level, or by guidelines designed by the landowner. On Fredericksburgs Water Property (the river conservation easement lands), unpaved trails are allowed with a maximum treadway width of three feet and a maximum 2-foot wide additional shoulder on either side of the treadway (City Easement 2006). For other areas, Table 2 includes recommended standards for trail construction.
Table 2: Hiking trail corridor clearing guidelines (VDCR and Virginia Trails Association 2000).

Component Vertical Clearance Trail Width Horizontal Clearance (beyond trail width) Grade

Standard 8 feet 2-5 feet 2 feet Max 8-10%

Trailbed The existing trail surface should not be unnecessarily disturbed, especially on flat areas (less than 10%). On level ground, the trail base should be formed by building up a slight crown of at least 3 inches to provide proper surface water drainage. On hillside trails, the trailbed is excavated


Content Draft into the side of the hill to provide a slightly outsloped travel path on mineral soil. Hillside excavation should not be necessary on slopes less than 10%. On steep slopes, full-bench construction is usually needed where the trail crew cuts into the bank to the level of the trail center line. As the slope of the hillside decreases, partial-bench and balanced-bench methods are used. These latter methods require the use of fill material on the outer edge (downslope) of the trailbed, termed the cut and fill method. Even though it requires more excavation, fullbench trailbeds are more often preferred by trail professionals because they are more durable and require less maintenance (fill materials on partial-bench trails may erode).

Full-, partial-, and balanced-bench construction (USFS 2000).

Cut and Fill method for sidehill trail building (USFS 2000).


Content Draft The outslope of the trailbed should be constructed with a barely discernable downward grade on the outside or downhill side to facilitate water drainage. Outsloping lets water run naturally off the trail. The amount of outsloping is small, usually only a few percent. An easy method to check the outslope is to walk the trail. If your ankles want to roll downhill, there is too much outslope. A partially-filled water bottle makes a great level.

If your ankles start to roll, there is too much outslope (USFS 2000).

Surface Water Control on Trails Diverting surface water off the trail should be a top priority. Running water erodes tread and may contribute sediment into nearby streams. You can learn a lot about where problems may occur by sloshing over a wet trail in a downpour and watching what the water is doing and how your drains and structures are holding up. The best drainage structures are those designed during the original trail construction to be selfmaintaining with minimal maintenance demands. Outsloping, discussed above, is the first line of defense against erosion on a trail. Outsloping is most effective when used in combination with grade dips. Grade dips are permanent and usually maintenance-free. The basic idea is to use a reversal in grade (a relatively short rise on the trail then a return to the original trail descent slope) to force water off the trail. A terrain grade dip uses the existing terrain to plan for grade reversals and is a natural part of the landscape. A similar concept to a terrain dip is the rolling grade dip, which consists of a short reversal of grade in the tread (figure to the left). The main difference from the terrain dip is that the rolling dip is constructed and not a natural part of the terrain.



Content Draft Water running down the trail cannot climb over the short rise and will run off the outsloped tread at the bottom of the dip. The waterbar is the most common drainage structure after outsloping, but we recommend only using waterbars when grade dips cannot be used. You can build a grade dip quicker than a waterbar and it will work better. Most waterbars are ineffective at water control because they are not installed at the right angle or are too short. The waterbar needs to be anchored 12 inches into the cutslope and extend 12 inches into the fillslope. It also should be placed at a 45-60 angle along the trail, otherwise it will be too short and will clog with sediment, becoming ineffective.

USFS 2000

Trails in Wet Areas The best choice for dealing with wet areas, such as wetlands, streams, seeps and springs, is to route the trail around these features. In lieu of this, following are a few strategies for wet areas that minimize environmental impact. Stepping stones are large flat-topped rocks set into a stream that allows for dry passage. Stepping stones are the option of least environmental impact for stream crossings that accomplish the objective of providing dry passage. The ideal location for these stones is in shallow streams with light to moderate flows. They also are a standard solution for low wet and boggy areas, and work well when well placed.

NH-Bureau of Trails 2004

Puncheons are wooden walkways, typically constructed of wood, to cross bogs, mud flats, marshy areas, or fragile, wet terrain. Puncheon consists of a deck or flooring made of lumber or native logs placed on stringers to elevate the trail across wet areas. The simplest type of puncheon is a toppedlog puncheon.

NH-Bureau of Trails 2004


Content Draft Wooden boardwalks elevated above the wet surface also are a useful solution for wet area crossings through areas of fragile habitat and in areas susceptible to flooding. Boardwalks are fixed planked structures built on pilings often located in marshy areas.

Bridges are designed to cross open water, wetlands or ravines where more simple structures cannot be used, especially for areas susceptible to flooding. On hiking trails, well-anchored foot logs can be used as a rustic bridge to cross streams. The construction of bridges should only be considered after other options in trail location and wet area structures have been examined. In addition to the often taxing-work of transporting bridge materials to the trail site, bridge construction usually requires significant erosion control measures due to the proximity of wetlands or water. NH-Bureau of Trails 2004 See the Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook (USFS 2000) for more information on more complex wet area crossing methods, such as using geosynthetic materials, culverts and French drains.

River Overlooks Practice: Avoid disturbing the soil and vegetation of the river bank. Construct the overlook on the upland side of the river bank. Practice: Do not use fill (moved soil) on a land surface with a slope greater than 5% to level the surface for an overlook. The fill will erode or settle, lead to sediment and erosion problems. Practice: When constructing an overlook, conduct a vegetative survey prior to clearing to insure that no endangered, threatened or rare plant species will be impacted. Practice: Any clearing also must be within guidelines for any federal, state, or local regulations, such as legislation or ordinances protecting riparian areas.

Vehicle/ATV Exclusion Practice: Place barriers at trail access locations to prohibit use by vehicles, ATVs and dirtbikes. Careful placement of gates, perpendicular poles, fences and boulders can help block trails from these uses. Along the Rappahannock River, the use of ATVs is a primary source of wetland degradation, trail destruction, and stream erosion problems.


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ATV damage along a river trail, causing excessive erosion of the trail and uneven terrain for hikers.

Benches Practice: Place benches sparingly in small cleared sites along a trail and insure they are not visible from the river (benches with no back support are ideal for minimizing visibility). A sample bench design can be found in Appendix 5.

Trail Resource Box

Internet Resources The Virginia Greenways and Trails Toolbox - Best Management Practices for Erosion during Trail Maintenance and Construction, New

Hampshire Bureau of Trails - Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Publications Birchard, W., R. Proudman, and M. Dawson. 2000. Trail Design, Construction, and Maintenance. Appalachian Trail Conference. National Park Service. 1992. NPS Trails Management Notebook. U.S. Department of the Interior, NPS-Denver Service Center. NPS-2023


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10.4. Primitive Campsites Practice: Design hike/canoe-in primitive campsites to minimize environmental and scenic impacts by: Place the campsite at least 10 m ( approx. 30 ft) away from the river bank Choose a location adjacent to a gently-sloped river bank to minimize foot-traffic impacts to river bank (erosion is more problematic on steep slopes) Limit campsite size to a maximum of 50 m2 (approx. 540 ft2) Limit width of foot trail from river bank to campsite to a maximum of 1.5 m (5 ft) Curve the foot trail from the river bank to the campsite, so there is not a direct line of sight from the river to the campsite, to protect the scenic view Remove only the vegetation needed to construct the footprint for the campsite and the foot trail

Note how this primitive campsite is nestled within the forest, with a curved, unobtrusive access trail from the river to hide the campsite from the view of a river user. Also, the access trail originates from a gentle bank slope to minimize erosion. (Art: K. Schatz)

Practice: A no open campfire policy should be adopted to prevent human-caused forest fires and to leave no trace of a campers presence. Practice: Camp sites should not be accessible to vehicles except for administrative access. Install a gate to block access roads from unauthorized vehicular traffic.


Content Draft 10.5. Non-Motorized Boat Landings This section is applicable for landings of canoes, kayaks, and other types of non-motorized boats for river/stream sites in the Central and Upper Rappahannock basins (upstream of Fredericksburg). Much of the below information is adapted from Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (2007) and NPS-RTCAP (2004). The information below is focused mainly on practices to minimize environmental impacts; consult the aforementioned references and the Resource Box for additional guidance. For the Fredericksburg Watershed Property, the City of Fredericksburg (2006) stipulates in section 3C(2)a of the conservation easement: new or relocated non-motorized boat landings must be designed to minimize their impact on the Rivers, and non-motorized boat landings are limited to no more than 500 ft2. When building a boat landing, various factors need to be considered: site selection, permits, design, and construction methods and materials. Site Selection Practice: When selecting a site for a boat launch, first determine whether public landings are already present nearby in the region of interest (see Section 3). If so, the new landing may not be needed. Practice: The site should have sufficient space for the boat landing and also a modest parking area, but not exceed 500 ft2. Practice: Choose a site for the launch at a naturally gentle slope on the river or stream bank. This will minimize erosion and make construction of the launch a lot easier. It also will help provide an accessible launch to paddlers (significant height difference between the river level and the bank level can make climbing in/out of boats difficult). Natural features, such as gently sloped riverbanks, rock outcrops, and sandy or rocky beach provide the simplest and most cost-effective sites for a launch, requiring little or no construction. Practice: Select a site where the launch is easy to find for take-out but where it will not distract other river users from the scenic enjoyment of the river, such as on a tributary stream where it joins the river.

Launches located at the mouth of a tributary typically are protected from the stronger river currents allowing for better paddler stability during put-in/take-out and also minimizes the scenic intrusion for other paddlers on the river (K. Schatz).


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Practice: Avoid environmentally-sensitive areas such as habitat for endangered/threatened/rare species and wetlands (see sections 5 and 6.3). Additional recommendations for where to locate a launch are areas that have (NPS-RTCAP 2004): Minimal exposure to strong currents and winds, such as river eddies, at the mouth of a tributary, on the inside of a meander bend, or below a meander on the opposite side from a rivers cutting side; A moderate level of deposition that forms a natural beach suitable for launching; No physical barriers, such as impassable sections, dams, or weirs; Water levels enabling year-round use; and Good water quality.

Permits The next step after choosing an appropriate site location is to prepare a basic sketch and apply for the necessary permits. Virginia Marine Resources Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State Water Control Board (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality), and the local county/city wetland board may require permits (see Resource Box for permit contact information).

Design Aspects Practice: Develop a sound plan on the design of the boat landing, the parking area, and any access trails or roads that are necessary. Practice: Maintain or preserve streambank vegetation. Minimize the clearing width of trees along the riverbank for a non-motorized boat landing to no more than 20 feet wide. Practice: Choose a launch design that minimizes impacts to the River, such as erosion, and blends into the natural environment. Riverbank features, such as a gently-sloped bank, a sandy beach or a rocky outcrop are natural launches that can be utilized. Where natural features are not available, wooden boat slides are often an ideal design, protecting banks from erosion and providing safe passage for boaters. Also, an eroding bank chosen as a launch site can be restored with rock outcrops installed in a series of steps, allowing for a natural-looking river access at varying water levels. Consult NPS-RTCAP (2004) starting on p. 11 for a table listing the types of launches to use for various conditions and for several launch designs, including low-impact designs for environmentallysensitive areas. Practice: Avoid making any channel modifications, such as reshaping a stream bottom with construction equipment channel modifications require a permit because they often impact instream habitats for aquatic life.


Content Draft NPS-RTCAP (2004) provides the following additional recommendations for designing an accessible canoe/kayak launch: Height above water: between 9-24 ft from highest expected water level Width: at least 5 ft wide, preferably 6-12 ft Length: at least 25 ft to allow paddlers dry access for entire length of a boat Slope: do not exceed 8% whenever possible (a slope exceeding 15% makes the transition from land to water difficult) Support: Handrails or other support structures, including step-down designs or ropes, help paddlers keep their balance during put-in and take-out Location: Ideally in areas without heavy flow, erosion, exposure to elements, heavy boat traffic or fragile riparian habitat

Poor example of a boat landing on the Rappahannock River, causing negative water quality impacts (sediment from erosion) and affecting the scenic nature along the river. This landing appears to have been carved out by a bulldozer, and probably is experiencing continuous erosion. Note the muddy water color of the river.

Boat Landing Construction Methods and Materials Practice: Remember to use soil and erosion control methods during the construction phase (see section 10.2). Practice: Use environmentally-suitable materials for constructing the landing. Avoid constructing boat launches out of concrete. Pre-fabricated or poured concrete will destroy stream habitat on which it is placed. Use alternatives such as gravel or timbers. Section 10.1 provides information on environmentally-suitable materials. Also, all bolts and nails should be hot dipped galvanized. In saltwater locations, a better choice is stainless steel because even galvanized hardware will rust over time.


Content Draft Non-Motorized Boat Launch Resources

Agency Contacts for Permits and Guidance Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia 23607, 757-247-2200 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1420 Central Park Boulevard, Suite 210, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401; (540) 548-2517; Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, Richmond, Va. 23219,

(804) 698-4000 website providing guidance on what permits may be needed for a project: Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, Region V, 1320 Belman Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22401; (540) 899-4169

Internet Resources Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries information on building boat ramps: Publications NPS-RTCAP. 2004. Logical Lasting Launches: design guidance for canoe and kayak launches. USDI, National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.


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Access Roads, Parking Areas, and Signs

Practice: Limit maximum width of access roads to 10 feet wide and size of parking areas to 500 ft2 Practice: Use offsets, curving and/or setbacks for designing road/parking areas to preserve scenic vista from a river-user viewpoint. Practice: Limit the size of all signs except for informational kiosks to not greater than 9 ft2. Signs and kiosks need to be designed at an easy height for reading, durability to weathering over time, and to withstand vandalism. A sound design for a long-lasting kiosk and its construction materials list are available in Appendix 5.


Content Draft References City of Fredericksburg. 2006. Deed of Easement for Fredericksburg Watershed Property. (February 22, 2007). Cohen, R. 1997. Fact Sheet #3: Functions of Riparian Areas for Wildlife Habitat. Massachusetts Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement, Riverways Program. Environmental Law Institute (ELI). 2003. Conservation Thresholds for Land Use Planners. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. 64 pages. Forman, R.T.T. 1995. Land Mosaics: The ecology of landscapes and regions. Cambridge University Press, Great Britain. 632 pages. National Park Service-Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program (NPS-RTCA). 2004. Logical Lasting Launches: Design guidance for canoe and kayak launches. National Park Service. 117 pages. Pimental, D., L. Lach, R. Zuniga, and D. Morrison. 2000. Environmental and economic costs of nonindigenous species in the United States. BioScience 50:53-65. State of New Hampshire, Department of Resources and Economic Development, Division of Parks and Recreation. 1994. Best Management Practices for Erosion Control During Trail Maintenance and Construction. Bureau of Trails. Concord, New Hampshire. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1987. Wetlands Delineation Manual. USACE, Environmental Laboratory. Technical Report Y-87-1. Vicksburg, Mississippi. U.S. Forest Service (USFS). 2000. Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook. Technology and Development Program, USFS, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Publication No. 4E42A25-Trail Notebook. Missoula, Montana. Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, State Water Control Board (VDEQ-SWCB). 2006. Virginia Water Quality Standards. 9 VAC 25-260. 181 pages. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). 2007. Building Boat Ramps. (January 17, 2007). Virginia Invasive Species Council (VISC). 2005. Virginia Invasive Species Management Plan. Prepared by the Virginia Invasive Species Council and Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Richmond, Virginia. 82 pages. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR) and Virginia Trails Association. 2000. The Virginia Greenways and Trails Toolbox. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Richmond, Virginia.


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Wenger, S. 1999. A Review of the Scientific Literature on Riparian Buffer Width, Extent and Vegetation. University of Georgia, Athens, GA. 59 pages.


Content Draft Appendix 1. Observable field indicators of wetland hydrology: These indicators may help you identify an area as a potential wetland (adapted from Section 3 of USACE 1987 Manual). The hydrology indicators described below are considered to be "primary indicators" of wetland hydrology. The following field hydrologic indicators can be assessed quickly and provide evidence that inundation and/or soil saturation has occurred: Visual observation of inundation. The most obvious hydrologic indicator is simply observing the areal extent of inundation. However, because seasonal conditions and recent weather conditions can contribute to surface water being present on a nonwetland site, both factors should be considered when applying this indicator. Visual observation of soil saturation. Examination of this indicator requires digging a soil pit to a depth of 16 inches and observing the level at which water stands in the hole after sufficient time has been allowed for water to drain into the hole. The required time will vary depending on soil texture (water may not rapidly fill the hole in clay soils). In some cases, the upper level at which water is flowing into the pit can be observed by examining the wall of the hole. This level represents the depth to the water table. For soil saturation to impact vegetation, it must occur within a major portion of the root zone (usually within 12 inches of the surface) of the prevalent vegetation. The major portion of the root zone is that portion of the soil profile in which more than one half of the plant roots occur. Watermarks. Watermarks are most common on woody vegetation. They occur as stains on bark or other fixed objects (e.g., bridge pillars, buildings, fences, etc.). When several watermarks are present, the highest reflects the maximum extent of recent inundation.

Drift lines. This indicator is most likely to be found adjacent to streams or other sources of water flow in wetlands, but also often occurs in tidal marshes. Evidence consists of deposition of debris in a line on the surface or debris entangled in aboveground vegetation or other fixed objects. Debris usually consists of branches, stems, leaves, sediment, litter, and other waterborne materials deposited parallel to the direction of water flow. Drift lines provide an indication of the minimum portion of the area inundated during a flooding event.


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Sediment deposits. Plants and other vertical objects often have thin layers, coatings, or depositions of mineral or organic matter on them after inundation. This evidence may remain for a considerable period before it is removed by precipitation or subsequent inundation. Sediment deposition on vegetation and other objects provides an indication of the minimum inundation level.

Drainage patterns within wetlands. This indicator, which occurs primarily in wetlands adjacent to streams, consists of surface evidence of drainage flow into or through an area. In some wetlands, this evidence may exist as a drainage pattern eroded into the soil, vegetative matter (debris) piled against thick vegetation or woody stems oriented perpendicular to the direction of water flow, or the absence of leaf litter. Scouring is often evident around roots of persistent vegetation. Debris may be deposited in or along the drainage pattern. Drainage patterns also occur in upland areas after periods of considerable precipitation; therefore, topographic position must also be considered when applying this indicator.


Content Draft Appendix 2. Recommended native woody plants for streambank and riparian buffer plantings in the Central Rappahannock River Basin. Shrub Species Southern Arrow-wood Viburnum dentatum Spicebush Lindera benzoin Silky Dogwood Cornus amomum highbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum Common Alder Alnus serrulata (only use in saturated soils) Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis (only use in saturated soils) Small Trees Paw paw Asimina triloba Canada Serviceberry Amelanchier canadensis smooth sumac Rhus glabra black willow Salix nigra Large Trees Green Ash Fraxinus pensylvanica black gum Nyssa sylvatica sycamore Platanus occidentalis swamp white oak Quercus bicolor


Content Draft Appendix 3. Virginia plant nurseries and suppliers that sell native plants. Bobtown Nursery 16212 Country Club Rd. Melfa, VA 23410 (800) 201-4714; (757) 787-8484 Wholesale: perennials, wetland plants Edible Landscaping 361 Spirit Ridge Lane Afton, VA 22920 (434) 361-9134 Free catalog; Woody Plants Hyla Brook Farm 270 Valentine Mill Road Louisa VA 23093 (540) 967-6160 fax: (540) 967-1933 Catalog $3 or free with purchase; Ferns, Grasses, Herbaceous plants, Woody Plants Lazy S's Farm Nursery 2360 Spotswood Trail Barboursville, VA 22923 (540) 832-2234 Retail; mail order on website; trees, shrubs, perennials wetland plants Mid-Atlantic Wildflowers Star Route, Box 226 Gloucester Point, VA 23062 (804) 642-3532 Botanique 387 Pitcher Plant Lane Stanardsville, VA 22973 Wholesale and retail; Carnivorous plants Florahome Gardens & Nursery P.O. Box 8, 5395 Studley Rd. Studley, VA 23162 (804) 746-1894 By appointment; Trees, shrubs, perennials Lancaster Farms, Inc. 5800 Knotts Neck Road Suffolk, VA 23435 (800) 336-2200 (757) 484-4421 fax: (757) 686-8637 fax Wholesale: trees, shrubs, perennials Meadowview Biological Research Station 8390 Fredericksburg Turnpike Woodford, VA 22580 (804) 633-4336 Catalog on-line; Carnivorous plants

Mostly Edibles 3415 Groveton Street Alexandria, Virginia 22306 (703) 765-6619; visit by appointment only; perennials, fruiting shrubs and trees Sassafrass Farm 7029 Bray Rd. Hayes, VA 23072 (804) 642-0923

Nature By Design 300 Calvert Avenue Alexandria, VA 22301 (703) 683-GROW (4769)


Content Draft Woody plants, ferns, herbaceous plants, carnivorous plants, orchids Swell Nursery 505 Baldwin Rd Richmond, VA 23229 (804) 288-7873 Retail, by appointment perennials Call for hours Ferns, Grasses, Herbaceous plants

The Salt and The Earth P.O. Box 560 Deltaville, VA 23043 (804) 776-6985; (804) 776-6324 Call for availability Grasses, Herbaceous plants Virginia Natives P.O. Box D Hume, VA 22639 (540) 364-1665 $2.00 catalog Herbaceous & Woody Plants Virginia State Tree Nursery August Forestry Center P.O. Box 160 Crimora, VA 24431 (703) 363-7000 Wholesale: trees Windy Hill Plant Farm 40413 John Mosby Highway Aldie, VA 20105 (703) 327-4211 Whole and retail trees, shrubs, perennials

Toad Hall Gardens 17242 The Back Road Strasburg, Virginia 22657 (540) 465-5948 native perennials visit by appointment only Virginia Wilde Farms Rt. 2, Box 1512 Hanover, VA 23069 phone/fax: (804) 643-0021 Wholesale/ retail: perennials

Waterways Nursery 13015 Milltown Rd Lovettsville, VA 22080 phone/fax: (540) 822-5994 Retail: Aquatics, perennials


Content Draft Appendix 4. Suppliers of geotextile and environmentally-friendly building materials.

Greenspec - A catalog of nearly 1,600 green building products is available for $34.95. Geotextile Suppliers Geotechnical Supply, Inc., Boom Environmental Supplies, 617-965-0007, 1-800-770BOOM, 1 Coffin Ave., New Bedford, MA 02746 ACF Environmental Richmond Warehouse, 2831 Cardwell Road, Richmond, VA 23234, 800-448-3636 Chantilly Warehouse, P.O. Box 220427, Chantilly, VA 20151, 703-631-9411 Staunton Warehouse, 600 Hays Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401, 540-886-5707 Construction & Maintenance Materials, Inc; 888 275 0101, 1131 4th Street, South East Roanoke, VA 24013 Eastern Supply, Inc; (800) 522-3292, PO Box 1445, Winchester, VA 22604

Certified Green Wood Suppliers* * Certified by Forestry Stewardship Council - American Wood Flooring, 276-889-5950, 1309 West Main Street Lebanon, VIRGINIA 24266; Products: Flooring - hardwood Strip and 9x9 block hardwood flooring Appalachian Wood, Inc., 276-466-0711, 5098 Dishner Valley Road Bristol, VIRGINIA 24202; Products: Logs curly maple Chesapeake Plywood, LLC, 410 244 0055; 1700 Ridgely Street-Rear Baltimore, Maryland 21230; Products: panel products, particle board, medium density fiberboard, panels Chesapeake Trading Group, (603) 881-3700, 14120 Parke-Long Court, Suite 201 M Chantilly, VA 20151 USA, Products: Dealer/broker of sawn softwood and hardwood lumber, panels, moulding, and millwork Coastal Wood Imports, Inc, 434-799-1117, 116 Walden Court Danville, VIRGINIA 24541; Products: Plywood hardwood J. Gibson McIlvain Company; 410-335-9600, P.O. Box 222 10701 Philadelphia Road White Marsh, MD 21162; Products: Distribution of domestic and imported lumber


Content Draft Louis J. Grasmick Lumber Company, Inc, 410.325.9663, 6715 Quad Avenue Baltimore, MD 21237; Products: Manufacturer and distributor of lumber, plywood, OSB, and other miscellaneous products

Other Suppliers EnviroSafe Plus Pressure Treated Lumber - Free of Arsenic, Copper and other heavy metals, this treated lumber is for both exterior and interior use and carries a 40 year transferable manufacturer warranty; Trimax Building Products structural lumber created from recyclables; ACF Environmental permeable pavers for parking lots, access roads/trails;


Content Draft Appendix 5. Sample bench and kiosk designs reprinted with permission from VDCR (2000).


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