Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Episode 251 (2-2-15): A Musical Tour of Rivers and Watersheds

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:48)

Transcript, photos, and additional notes follow below.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of February 2, 2015.This week, we feature a musical mystery.  Have a listen for about 50 seconds to short excerpts of music about five rivers, and see if you know what all five have in common, but how two of them differ from the others.


If you guessed that all of the rivers are connected to Virginia, you’re right!  You heard parts of “Sandy Boys,” by Sara Grey; “On the Banks of New River,” by the Whitetop Mountain Band; “All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight,” by Bobby Horton; “Rappahannock Running Free,” by Bob Gramann; and “James River Blues,” by Old Crow Medicine Show.  The Big Sandy, New, Potomac, Rappahannock, and James are all part of Virginia’s rich, complex, and historic system of waterways.  But in two cases—the Big Sandy and the Potomac—the river itself isn’t actually in Virginia; instead, part of Virginia’s land is in each river’s watershed.  Every river and stream has its own watershed, or drainage area—that is, the area of land that drains to that river or stream.  The watersheds of larger rivers, covering hundreds or thousands of square miles, are sometimes called river basins.  River basins, in turn, are in the watersheds of even bigger rivers, coastal bays or other estuaries, or the oceans.

Now here’s a Virginia geography challenge for you to answer: what three large watersheds collectively contain all of Virginia’s land? [SEE BELOW IN SHOW NOTES FOR ANSWER]

Thanks to all of the artists mentioned for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with another short musical segment, this time by Timothy Seaman, for one of Virginia’s most famous rivers, whose basin we usually call the Shenandoah Valley.



For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, 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 2/3/15]

Virginia’s major river basins or river watersheds, as used by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Map accessed online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/wsheds.shtml, 2/3/15.

“Sandy Boys,” by Sara Grey, is from the 2009 album “Sandy Boys,” copyright by Sara Grey and Fellside Records, used with permission.  This music was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 177 (9/12/13).  More information about Sara Grey is available online at http://www.saragrey.net/.

“On the Banks of New River,” by Whitetop Mountain Band, is from the 2008 album, “Bull Plus 10%,” copyright Whitetop Mountain Band and Arhoolie Records, used with permission.  This music was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 109 (5/7/12).  More information about Whitetop Mountain Band is available online at http://whitetopmountainband.tripod.com/index.html.

“All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight,” by Bobby Horton, is from the 1985 album “Homespun Songs of the C.S.A., Vol. 1,” copyright by Bobby Horton, used with permission.  This music was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 101 (3/5/12).  More information about Bobby Horton is available online at http://bobbyhorton.com/.

“Rappahannock Running Free,” by Bob Gramann, is from the 2008 album, “Mostly Live,” copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  This music was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 71 (7/11/11).  More information about Bob Gramann is available online at http://www.bobgramann.com/.

“James River Blues,” by Old Crow Medicine Show, is from the 2006 album “Big Iron World,” copyright Nettwork Records, used with permission.  This music was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 166 (6/17/13).  More information about Old Crow Medicine Show is available online at http://www.crowmedicine.com/.

The “Shenandoah” excerpt, performed by Timothy Seaman and Paulette Murphy, was from the start of “Hazel River,” on the 1997 album “Here on this Ridge,” copyright Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  This music was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 130 (10/1/12).  More information about Timothy Seaman is available online at http://www.timothyseaman.com/.

Answer to Audio Challenge and Additional Information
The three large watersheds containing, collectively, all of Virginia’s lands are the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico.

Virginia’s major river basins, as identified by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/hu.shtml#rivbas) are as follows (please also see map above):

In the Chesapeake Bay watershed
– Chesapeake Bay Coastal, James River, Potomac River, Rappahannock River, and York River.

In the Atlantic Ocean watershed
– All of the river basins in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, plus Albemarle Sound Coastal, Atlantic Ocean Coastal, Chowan River, Roanoke River, and Yadkin River.

In the Gulf of Mexico watershed - Big Sandy River, Clinch-Powell Rivers, Holston River, and New River.

Sources of Information about Virginia Watersheds and Major Rivers

“Divide and Confluence,” Virginia Water Central, February 2000, pp. 8-11, online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49316.  This is a basic introduction to watersheds and to Virginia’s main river basins.

“Hydrologic Unit Geography,” Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/hu.shtml.  This site provides detailed information on how watersheds are designated, plus access to interactive maps of Virginia’s watersheds.

“Rivers and Watersheds: The Geology of Virginia,” College of William and Mary, online at http://web.wm.edu/geology/virginia/rivers/rivers.html.  This site has maps of the major river basins in Virginia and provides detailed information on the geology of Virginia’s physiographic provinces and of the James and the Potomac-Shenandoah river basins.

“Surf Your Watershed,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), online at http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfm.  This site allows users to locate watersheds and watershed information across the United States.

“Virginia’s Major Watersheds,” Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/wsheds.shtml.

“Water Resources of Virginia,” U.S. Geological Survey, online at http://va.water.usgs.gov/.  This is the home page for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Virginia Water Science Center.

“Watershed Roundtables,” Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WatershedRoundtables.aspx.  This site provides access to online information about watershed groups in Virginia’s major river basins.

SOLs Information for Virginia's Teachers
This episode may help with the following Virginia 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):
K-5 Earth Resources (4.9);

K-5 Living Systems (6.7);

Life Science (LS.9);

Earth Science (ES.8).

The episode may help with following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

K-5 Geography (2.5)
Virginia Studies (VS.2)
United States History to 1865 (USI.2, USI.8)
United States History 1865 to the Present (USII.2)
World Geography (WG.2, WG.7).

Some Related Virginia Water Radio Episodes on Virginia Watersheds and Major Rivers
(Please click on the hyperlinked episode number/date to access individual episodes)

Big Sandy River | EP177 – 9/2/13

Blue Ridge creating watersheds | EP209 – 4/14/14

Exploration of the Chesapeake Bay and tributary rivers | EP140 – 12/10/12

Chesapeake Bay Restoration | EP115 – 6/18/12

James River and the Batteau Festival | EP166 – 6/17/13

New River | EP109 – 5/7/12

Ohio River Basin rivers | EP108 – 4/30/12

Rappahannock River | EP89 – 11/21/11, EP245-12/22/14
Rappahannock River Dam Removal | EP71 – 7/11/11

River bluffs | EP173 – 8/5/13

Shenandoah River | EP130 – 10/1/12
Three forks of the Big Sandy River | EP162 – 5/20/13

Watersheds | EP156 – 4/8/13

For a subject index to all previous Virginia Water Radio episodes, please see this link: http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html.