News

Smith River Cleanup 2021

August 14, 2021

Smith River Gets a Good Cleaning

 

More than 25 volunteers generously gave their time to clean almost 400 lbs of litter and debris from the Smith River and roadways during DRBA’s annual Smith River Cleanup event held on August 14, 2021.  Volunteers aged from seven to seventy gathered Saturday morning at the Smith River Sports Complex and then split up into groups with some cleaning-up on land and others paddling and picking up trash out of the river.  Everyone met back at the Sports Complex for a thank you lunch and prize raffle.  

 

“For the past 12 years, DRBA has hosted and partnered with other organizations for an annual river cleanup event,” said Brian Williams, DRBA’s Virginia Program Manager.  “Every year there’s a bit less litter on the river, and that’s a good thing.  Every person that lives, works and plays in our community benefits from the amazing job these volunteers do.”

 

The volunteers worked from 9 to noon despite the hot and humid day. Lunch was partially donated by Hugos Restaurant and Bar and the raffle prizes were donated by Smith River Outfitters, Hugos and Lisa Perez and family.  Garbage removal was provided by Henry County.  Event volunteers included employees from Boxley, youth from the Boy Scouts and individuals who live in both Virginia and in North Carolina.

 

“We don’t clean garbage out of the Smith River just to make it look nice,” said Anna Wheeler, DRBA’s Recreation Assistant.  “The Smith River provides drinking water to thousands of people who live in Martinsville and Henry County. In addition, the river provides economic development when visitors come to hike, paddle and fish.  Keeping our natural resources protected and healthy is good for everyone’s health and our local economy. These volunteers are true heroes.”

 

To learn more about how you can help keep our local waterways clean and healthy for future generations, please visit DRBA’s website, www.danriver.org

 

The mission of the Dan River Basin Association is to promote and protect the natural and cultural resources of the Dan River basin through education, recreation, and stewardship. DRBA works to fulfill that mission by building river accesses and trails, educating people of all ages about protecting our natural resources, and protecting our water resources through water quality monitoring, cleanups and master planning. The Dan River basin is 3,300 square miles including sixteen counties throughout Virginia and North Carolina.


DRBA Inspires Conversation About Safety

July 14, 2021

DRBA Inspires Conversation About Safety

DRBA's Virtual Meeting Inspires Conversation About Safety Throughout the Region

 

More than fifty participants joined a virtual meeting hosted by the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) on July 9, 2021 to hear presentations from safety experts, users and recreational asset owners and discuss outdoor safety in the region.  The nine presenters included Davis Montgomery, Duke Energy; Durwin Joyce, City of Martinsville Electric Department; Kevin Edwards, Piedmont Hydro Technologies; Matt Tatum, Henry County Public Safety; Allen Farrar, Rockingham County Sheriff Office; Todd Robertson, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR); Bill Tanger, Friends of the Rivers of Virginia; Bob Brueckner, Carolina Canoe Club; and Mark Bishopric, Co-Owner, Three Rivers Outfitters. Participants represented regional city and county municipal governments, state parks, state departments of conservation and recreation, land conservancy organizations, emergency and law enforcement agencies and businesses that sell outdoor recreational equipment.

 

“For many years, DRBA has worked with partners to build trails, parks and river accesses and our municipal tourism partners have been very successful in promoting these assets - which has resulted in a dramatic increase in users of outdoor recreation in our region,” said Brian Williams, DRBA’s Program Manager. “With this increase in usage, there is also the potential for an increase in accidents.  The July 9th meeting brought regional stakeholders together to hear what others are doing to reduce that risk for our citizens and visitors and share their ideas to move forward. DRBA is committed to providing information that helps make the outdoor experience a safe and enjoyable one for all users.”

 

At the virtual meeting, dam owners discussed regulations regarding dams and ideas for improved safety, public safety and law enforcement described their best practices for emergency response, a recreational organization, canoe club and outfitter shared ideas for improved safety along rivers form a user perspective. In addition, Iowa is the leading state in deaths related to dams in the United States and Robertson from the DNR spoke about what they are doing to reduce that risk for kayakers and tubers.  Participants were asked to share their challenges and new ideas related to safety during the meeting which resulted in almost 100 comments.

 

“Safety is not solved in one meeting, the discussion needs to be on-going and ideas need to be shared freely and quickly with both stakeholders and users,” said Tiffany Haworth, DRBA’s Executive Director.  “After the meeting, I heard from dozens of participants who are inspired to continue this conversation about safety in their own locality. DRBA will continue to provide tools, resources and information to continue to increase awareness and share best practices.”

 

To learn more about how to stay safe outdoors, please visit DRBA’s website:  https://www.danriver.org/our-watershed/trails-and-river-info/trails-river-safety or view a short webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qen4W7pPuLQ

 

To learn more about DRBA's impact and programs that protect and conserve our natural resources, visit danriver.org.

 

The mission of the Dan River Basin Association is to promote and protect the natural and cultural resources of the Dan River basin through education, recreation, and stewardship. DRBA works to fulfill that mission by building river accesses and trails, educating people of all ages about protecting our natural resources, and protecting our water resources through water quality monitoring, cleanups and master planning. The Dan River basin is 3,300 square miles including sixteen counties throughout Virginia and North Carolina.

 

 


Call for a Conversation

June 24, 2021

The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) Calls for a New Conversation

About Outdoor Recreation Safety

 

For over nineteen years, The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) has introduced our region to the astounding sights and sounds of nature and stewarded a sense of value for the unique and beautiful natural resources of our watershed by both providing and promoting outdoor recreation opportunities.  Anyone who has ever joined an outing with DRBA on a river or trail knows that the safety of our guests is the number one priority.  In addition to outings, DRBA has worked closely with municipalities and partners throughout the region to ensure the safety of those enjoying our natural resources by providing paddle and hiking safety training, directional signage on bridges that cross waterways, informational signage along trails and at river access points, and the reconstruction – or deconstruction – of infrastructure that poses potential threats to users.  DRBA’s work related to outdoor recreational safety is an on-going goal within the organization, and every year DRBA has initiated and achieved new projects that help safeguard our citizens and visitors.

 

The recent tragic event on the Dan River highlights that there is still work to be done. To that end, DRBA is inviting its municipal, tourism, outfitters and corporate partners to join a renewed conversation about outdoor recreational safety.

 

“Every year, thousands of people safely enjoy our local outdoor recreational assets because of the collaborative efforts of the organizations and municipalities in our region,” said Tiffany Haworth, DRBA’s Executive Director. “But one tragedy is too many. People and organizations from every corner of the Dan River Basin are reaching out to us and sharing new ideas related to outdoor recreational safety. We want those voices to be heard.” 

 

DRBA is gathering these ideas and invites its regional partners to join together for a conversation about outdoor recreational safety.

 

“No one knows the rivers and trails in our region better than DRBA,” said Robin Yount, Director of the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) in Rockingham County, NC. “We have partnered with DRBA on almost all of our projects related to safety and outdoor recreation. The TDA will definitely be joining this conversation and is committed to working with DRBA to improve the outreach, and enhance the message, of outdoor recreational safety.”

 

All of the municipalities in Rockingham County, NC and the fifteen other counties that comprise the Dan River Basin are invited to join in this conversation about enhanced outdoor safety.

 

“DRBA is the expert when it comes to outdoor recreational assets and protecting the environment,” said Cindy Adams, Tourism Director for the City of Eden. “We have worked with DRBA on many projects and we are committed to joining this conversation to ensure we are doing all we can to keep people safe while visiting and enjoying all of the outdoor amenities we have in the City of Eden.”

 

In addition, corporations and other organizations who value and are dedicated to outdoor recreation are invited to join the conversation.

 

“Like the rest of the Eden and Rockingham community, we are saddened by the tragic event that took place last week on the Dan River. We certainly want to participate in a community discussion on recreation and safety in and around the river,” said Davis Montgomery, Duke Energy district manager.

 

Representatives from all municipalities, businesses, outfitters and organizations in the Dan River Basin region who are interested in joining this conversation, please contact the Dan River Basin Association, drba.nc@danriver.org or (336) 627-6270.

To learn more about how to stay safe outdoors,

please visit DRBA’s website, Outdoor Safety Tips or view a Safety webinar. 

 


Driving Tour Showcases Art Contest Finalists

December 4, 2020

Driving Tour Showcases Art Contest Finalists

This fall, DRBA hosted an elementary art contest for schools in the Dan River basin.  The contest was launched in October with a deadline before Thanksgiving break.  Flyers went out to students in grades 2-5 in schools from both Virginia and North Carolina.  Over 100 submissions were received from students excited to show “what a healthy river looked like to them.”  Click here to read more!


Averett University’s Environmental Science Students Train in Water Monitoring

September 28, 2020

Averett University’s Environmental Science Students Train in Water Monitoring

This fall, Averett University and the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) partnered to train environmental science students to become citizen water quality monitors.  The training included two parts – an introduction to the importance of water monitoring and hands-on training with sampling protocols and field data collection methods. Click here to read more.