Monday, May 20, 2019

Episode 473 (5-20-19): Water in Shenandoah National Park, Featuring "Big Run Thrives" by Timothy Seaman

Click to listen to episode (4:30).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 5-17-19.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of May 20, 2019.

MUSIC – ~7 sec

This week, that music opens an episode on water and other aspects of one of Virginia’s natural treasures.  Have a listen for about 20 more seconds.

MUSIC - ~22 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “Big Run Thrives,” by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va., from the 1997 album, “Here On This Ridge.”  The song refers to the Big Run watershed in Rockingham County, within Shenandoah National Park.  The album is Mr. Seaman’s celebration of Shenandoah National Park, which comprises over 197,000 acres in eight Virginia counties along the Blue Ridge.

According to Dennis Simmons, in a 1978 Ph.D. dissertation, the conception and establishment of the park between 1924 and 1936 was a story of conservation, cooperation among many private interests and government officials, and controversy over displacement of people who had lived for generations on land to be included in the park.  Today the park story includes tourism, scenery, history, geology, plants and animals, dark skies, air-quality issues, climate-change issues, and, not least, water.

The park has about 90 perennial streams, flowing from the Blue Ridge into the drainages of the James, Rappahannock, and Shenandoah Rivers.  The streams typically run down a steep elevation change, leading to riffles, pools, rapids, and waterfalls.  The mountainous elevation and tree shading of many of the streams result in cold water temperatures, making them suitable for native Brook Trout.  Other aquatic life in the park includes about 40 fish species, 24 amphibian species, aquatic and wetland plants, many stream-dwelling insects and other invertebrates, and water-related reptiles, birds, and mammals.  Despite their protection within a national park, Shenandoah’s waters have long been affected by air pollutants, particularly those that have led to acidification.  Accordingly, air quality and water-quality monitoring have been conducted since the 1970s, led now by the University of Virginia’s Shenandoah Watershed Survey and Trout Stream Sensitivity Survey.

High, fast-flowing, and ecologically important, Shenandoah National Park’s waters attract anglers, scientists, musicians, and—if you’re in that area—maybe you.

Thanks to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Big Run Thrives.”

MUSIC – ~20 sec


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“Big Run Thrives,” from the 1997 Album “Here on This Ridge,” is copyright by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  According to the composer, the piece was inspired by his observations of regrowth in the watershed about 10 years after a wildlife in the 1980s.  Information about the making of the album is available online at  More information about Timothy Seaman is available online at

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at


A pool in Big Run in Shenandoah National Park.  Photo by Hugh Crandall, from “The Nature of Shenandoah,” by Napier Shelton, National Park Service Natural History Series, 1975.  Photo accessed online at, 5/20/19.

Thornton River, Shenandoah National Park, Rappahannock.County, Va., June 19, 2006.


Used for Audio

Ronald L. Heinemann, “Shenandoah National Park,” Jan. 18, 2012, Virginia Humanities’ Encyclopedia Virginia, online at

National Park Service:
“Annual Visitation Highlights,” online at;
“Shenandoah National Park/History,” online at;
“Shenandoah National Park/Management,” online at; “Shenandoah National Park/Nature,” online at;
“Shenandoah National Park/ “Nature/Animals,” online at [check lists are available here];
“Shenandoah National Park/ “Nature/Environmental Factors,” online at;
“Shenandoah National Park/ “Nature/Fish,” online at;
“Shenandoah National Park/Water,” online at

The Scientific Fisherman, “Temperature Classifications of Fish,” online at

Timothy Seaman, “The making of our album ‘Here on this Ridge,’ 9/4/14, online at

Dennis E. Simmons, “Conservation, Cooperation, and Controversy: The Establishment of Shenandoah National Park, 1924-1936,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 89, NO. 4 (Oct. 1981), pp. 387-404; accessed online at  According to the author, this article is a distillation of his 1978 Ph.D. dissertation, “Creation of Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive, 1924-1936,” done at the University of Virginia.

University of Virginia Department of Environmental Sciences, “Shenandoah Watershed Survey and Virginia Trout Stream Sensitivity Study,” online at; and “Mountain Stream Symposium II: Continuing Challenges for Critical Ecosystems,” online at

For More Information about Big Run and Other Areas in Shenandoah National Park, “Big Run/Shenandoah National Park,” online at

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail/Mountain Region/Skyline Drive,” online at

Virginia Trail Guide, “Big Run Loop,” online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “River, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes with information on Shenandoah National Park.
Episode 229 - 9/1/14 – on Virginia and the National Park Service System.
Episode 230 – 9/8/14 – on air pollution and water.
Episode 231 – 9/15/14 – on climate change basics.
Episode 339 – 10/24/16 – on the Hazel River in Rappahannock and Culpeper counties.

Following are links to some other episodes on the Blue Ridge area of Virginia.
Episode 192 – 12/16/13 – on the Rockfish River, with “Blue Ridge Girl” by Chamomile and Whiskey.
Episode 209 – 4/14/14 – on three major watersheds starting on the Blue Ridge.


The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2010 Science SOLs

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 – Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.
6.9 – public policy decisions related to the environment (including resource management and conservation, land use decisions, hazard mitigation, cost/benefit assessments).

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 – living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.6 – ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
4.5 – ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystems.
6.7 – natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.6 – ecosystem interactions, including the water cycle, other cycles, and energy flow.
LS.10 – changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes, including climate changes and catastrophic disturbances.
LS.11 – relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.8 – influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia.

Biology Course
BIO.8 – dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Virginia Studies Course
VS.1 – impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.2 – physical geography and native peoples of Virginia past and present.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – major land and water features of North America, including their importance in history.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.8 – government at the local level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 – how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.4 – types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.
WG.18 – cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.