Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Episode 583 (6-28-21): One Blue Ridge Helps Start Many Virginia Rivers

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:41).

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 6-25-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 28, 2021.  This revised episode from April 2014 is part of a series this year of episodes related to watersheds and river basins.

MUSIC – ~ 10 sec – instrumental - “Big Run Thrives.”

This week, musical selections highlight the connections between one famous Virginia ridge and the watersheds of six rivers.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds.

MUSIC – ~46 sec – instrumentals – “Big Run Thrives,” ~18 sec; then “Hazel River,” ~28 sec.

You’ve been listening, first, to part of “Big Run Thrives,” and second, to part of “Hazel River,” both by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va., from the 1997 album “Here on This Ridge,” a celebration of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.  Both tunes were inspired by streams flowing off of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.  The part of the Blue Ridge that runs through the middle of the national park from Front Royal south to Waynesboro divides the watersheds of three Virginia rivers.  Throughout the park, mountain streams on the ridge’s western slopes—like Big Run in Rockingham County—lead to the Shenandoah River watershed.  On the Blue Ridge’s eastern side, streams in the northern part of the park—like Hazel River in Rappahannock County—flow to the Rappahannock River; in the southern part of the park, east-flowing streams are in the James River watershed.

Outside of the national park, to the north the Blue Ridge separates the Potomac River watershed from the Shenandoah, a Potomac River tributary.  To the south of the national park, the Blue Ridge is part of the watershed divide between the James River and Roanoke River, and then between the Roanoke and New rivers.

Countless other ridges in Virginia aren’t as famous as the Blue Ridge, but whether high and obvious or low and indistinct, they all add to the landscape’s pattern of waterways flowing through watersheds.

Thanks to Timothy Seaman for permission to use parts of “Big Run Thrives” and “Hazel River.”  We close with another musical selection for mountain ridges and rivers, from the Rockingham County and Harrisonburg, Va.-based band The Steel Wheels.  Here’s about 35 seconds of “Find Your Mountain.”

MUSIC – ~35 sec – Lyrics: “Find your mountain.  Find your river.  Find your mountain.”  Then instrumental.


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 virginiawaterradio.org, 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.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 209, 4-14-14.

“Big Run Thrives” and “Hazel River,” from the 1997 album “Here on this Ridge,” are copyright Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.   More information about Mr. Seaman is available online at http://www.timothyseaman.com/.  Information about the making of that album is available online at https://timothyseaman.com/en/timothys-blog/entry/the-making-of-our-album-here-on-this-ridge.  “Big Run Thrives” was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in in Episode 473. 5-20-19; “Hazel River was used previously in Episode 339, 10-24-16.

“Find Your Mountain,” from the 2015 album “Leave Some Things Behind,” is copyright by The Steel Wheels, used with permission.  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at http://www.thesteelwheels.com/. This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 425, 6-18-18,

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 http://www.bencosgrove.com.


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.

View of Floyd County, Va., from the Blue Ridge Parkway, June 1, 2014.  The photo shows the New River watershed; behind the photographer (on the other side of the Parkway) is Patrick County and the Roanoke River watershed.


Used for Audio

College of William and Mary Department of Geology, “The Geology of Virginia—Hydrology,” online at http://geology.blogs.wm.edu/hydrology/.

DeLorme Company of Yarmouth, Maine, Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer, 2000.

National Park Service, “Shenandoah National Park,” online at http://www.nps.gov/shen/index.htm.

Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission, “Local TMDLs,” online at https://www.rrregion.org/program_areas/environmental/local_tmdls.php.  Located at this site are Total Maximum Daily Load on the Upper Rappahannock River, the Hazel River, and other Rappahannock River basin waterways.

For More Information about Watersheds and River Basins

Natural Resources Conservation Service/Virginia, “2020 Virginia Water Resources Progress Report,” online at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/va/programs/planning/.  This report has descriptions of projects in many Virginia watersheds.  The 2017 report is online at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/va/programs/planning/wo/.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “How’s My Waterway,” online at https://www.epa.gov/waterdata/hows-my-waterway.

U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Science School/Watersheds and Drainage Basins,” online at https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/watersheds-and-drainage-basins?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Hydrologic Unit Geography,” online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/hu; and “Virginia’s Major Watersheds,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/stormwater_management/wsheds.shtml.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Commonwealth of Virginia State Water Resources Plan,” April 2015, available online at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/water/water-quantity/water-supply-planning/virginia-water-resources-plan; “Status of Virginia’s Water Resources,” October 2020, online (as a PDF) at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/2119/637432838113030000; and “Water Quantity,” online at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/water/water-quantity.

Virginia Places, “The Continental (and Other) Divides,” online at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/watersheds/divides.html.

Virginia Places, “Rivers and Watersheds of Virginia,” online at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/watersheds/index.html.

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Divide and Confluence,” by Alan Raflo, pages 8-11 in Virginia Water Central Newsletter, February 2000, online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49316.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  Please see particularly the “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category.

Following are links to some other episodes on watersheds and Virginia rivers.  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in summer 2021; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes. 

Big Otter River introduction (Roanoke River watershed) – Episode 419, 5-7-18.

Big Sandy River watershed introduction – Episode 419, 5-7-18.

Bullpasture and Cowpasture rivers introduction (James River watershed) – Episode 469, 4-22-19.

Hazel River introduction (Rappahannock River watershed) – Episode 339, 10-24-16.

Headwater streams – Episode 582, 6-21-21.

Jackson River introduction (James River watershed) – Episode 428, 7-9-19.

Madison County flooding in 1995 (on Rapidan River, in Rappahannock River watershed) – Episode 272, 6-29-15

Musical tour of rivers and watersheds - Episode 251, 2-2-15.

New River introduction – Episode 109, 5-7-12.

Ohio River basin introduction – Episode 421, 5-21-18.

Ohio River basin connections through watersheds and history – Episode 422, 5-28-18;

Passage Creek and Fort Valley introduction (Shenandoah River watershed) – Episode 331 – 8/29/16.

River bluffs – Episode 173, 8-5-13.

Rappahannock River introduction – Episode 89, 11-21-11.

Shenandoah River introduction – Episode 130 – 10/1/12.

Smith River and Philpott Reservoir introduction (Roanoke River watershed) – Episode 360, 3-20-17.

South Fork Holston River introduction (Clinch-Powell/Upper Tennessee River watershed) – Episode 425, 6-18-18.

Staunton River introduction (part of the Roanoke River) – Episode 374, 6-26-17.

Virginia rivers quiz – Episode 334, 9-19-16.

Virginia surface water numbers – Episode 539, 8-24-20.

Virginia’s Tennessee River tributaries – Episode 420, 5-14-18.

Water cycle introduction – Episode 191, 12-9-13; and water cycle diagrams reconsidered – Episode 480, 7-8-19.

Watershed and water cycle terms related to stormwater – Episode 365, 4-24-17.

Watersheds introduction – Episode 581, 6-14-21.

Water quantity information sources – Episode 546, 10-12-20.

Werowocomoco native people’s civilization history, centered in the York River watershed – Episode 364, 12-12-16.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.  Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

2020 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.”

2018 Science SOLs 

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems

3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources

3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.

4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6

6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.

6.8 – Land and water have roles in watershed systems.

Earth Science

ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity.

2015 Social Studies SOLs 

Grades K-3 Geography Theme

1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.

2.6 – Major rivers, mountains, and other geographic features of North America and other continents.

3.6 – Major rivers, mountains, and other geographic features of North America and other continents.

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.

World Geography Course

WG.3 – How regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.

WG.5 – Regions of United States and Canada.

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.

Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.

Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.

Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.

Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.