Cleanup crews on the Rappahannock Canal

City Collaborates with Local Groups on Rappahannock Canal Cleanup

by | Jul 22, 2016 | Government

Photo of the cleanup crews provided by the City of Fredericksburg.

The City of Fredericksburg, Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) and Virginia Outdoor Center (VOC) partnered July 20, 2016, to clean the Rappahannock Canal.

FOR and VOC volunteers navigated the canal by canoe throughout Wednesday morning, entering the water near Princess Anne Street. The volunteers brought trash and debris to the shore, where Department of Public Works crews bagged and removed it. The trash and debris had built up where the canal ends at Princess Anne Street.

Fredericksburg Vice Mayor Billy Withers, whose ward encompasses the Rappahannock Canal, requested the cleanup. “The canal is an important quality-of-life asset for the city of Fredericksburg, with countless residents and visitors enjoying the beautiful path that runs adjacent to it,” Withers said. “It is important for our city to focus on beautification efforts, so that we continue to build community pride, maintain healthy environments, and support economic development.”

Withers commend the staff and volunteers for their work.

Virginia Outdoor Center Co-Owner Bill Micks coordinated the work with the city, and said several VOC employees volunteered to help with Wednesday’s cleanup.

“The canal looks so much better, and it sends a good message to the community,” Micks said. “The river and the canal are better off because of it. VOC and FOR will continue to help keep the canal clean in the future,” he said.

The city is studying ways to better control the spread of duckweed on the canal, according to Dave King, Assistant Director of Public Works. “The green plant, which floats on or just under the water’s surface on slow-moving bodies of water, thrives particularly during the heat of summer and in dry conditions. The removal of the Embrey Dam in 2004 exacerbated the duckweed spread by greatly reducing the amount of fresh water flowing into the canal. The city at times pumps fresh water into the canal from the Rappahannock River using pipes under Ford Street. This may occur more frequently in the coming months, as planning is undertaken to further address canal-related issues.”

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