Monday, April 14, 2014

Episode 209 (4-14-14): One Big, Blue Ridge Helps Create Three Big Virginia Rivers

Click to listen to episode (3:23)


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of April 14, 2014.

This week, we connect musical selections by two Virginia musicians to highlight the connections among one famous Virginia ridge and three Virginia rivers.  Have a listen for about a minute.


You’ve been listening, first, to part of “Hazel River,” with a background of “Shenandoah,” by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, with Henry Smith and Paulette Murphy, on the 1997 CD “Here on This Ridge,” Pine Wind Music; and second, to part of “Mountain Stream” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg, with Laura Lengnick on fiddle, on the 2001 CD “See Further in the Darkness.”  Both tunes were inspired by fast-moving waters flowing off of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, in or near the area of Shenandoah National Park.  The part of the Blue Ridge that runs through the middle of the national park from Front Royal south to Waynesboro divides the drainage areas, or watersheds, of three major Virginia rivers.  Throughout the park, the ridge’s western slopes lead to the Shenandoah River watershed.  On the Blue Ridge’s eastern side, mountain streams in the northern part of the park—like Mr. Seaman’s Hazel River and the stream in Mr. Gramann’s song—flow to the Rappahannock River; farther south, east-flowing streams are in the James River watershed.  Countless other ridges in Virginia aren’t as famous as the Blue Ridge, but whether high and obvious or low and indistinct, they all divide rainfall into waterways that watersheds eventually re-connect.  Thanks to Timothy Seaman and Bob Gramann for permission to use this week’s music.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 4/14/14]

South Fork Shenandoah River at the U.S. Rt. 211 bridge in Page County, Va., July 22, 2012.  Traveling east on 211 from this point takes you into Shenandoah National Park, across the Blue Ridge, and into the Rappahannock River watershed.

The Rappahannock River, looking upstream from U.S. Route 29 at Remington, Va. (Fauquier County), December 27, 2009.  The Hazel River flows into the Rappahannock just a few river miles above this point.

“Hazel River” and “Here on this Ridge” are copyright Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  The CD was a project celebrating Shenandoah National Park and the people and lands of the Blue Ridge.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is  “Hazel River” was featured previously in Episode 39 (10-25-10);  Mr. Seaman’s version of “Shenandoah’ was featured previously in Episode 130 (10-1-12).

“Mountain Stream” and “See Further in the Darkness” are copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  Bob Gramann’s Web site is  “Mountain Stream” was featured previously in Episode 156 (4-8-13).

Please note that the Blue Ridge continues southwestward in Virginia beyond Shenandoah National Park, stretching into North Carolina.  From about the Roanoke area south in Virginia, the ridge divides the Roanoke River watershed to the east from the New River watershed to the west.

Information on Shenandoah National Park was taken from the National Park Service Web site for the park at

Information on the Hazel River is available from “Upper Rappahannock River Basin TMDL Study,” Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission, online at

More information on the Rappahannock River and Shenandoah River watersheds is available from “The Geology of Virginia—Rivers and Watersheds,” College of William and Mary Department of Geology, online at; and
from the U.S. EPA’s “Surf Your Watershed” Web site, at for the Rapidan-Upper Rappahannock watershed and for the Shenandoah watershed

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