Naturalist Notes and Weekly Update from Gretch

As we roll into the month of September, anyone visiting the Natural Bridge Historic Hotel and park will immediately become aware of WATER, or rather the lack of it in our natural streams.  This region of Virginia averages at least 3.6 inches of precipitation in August and we fell far below that amount last month.   Cascade Creek, located next to the walkway down to the bridge, is fed by a natural spring and it miraculously continues to flow albeit at a slower rate.   Cedar Creek, which flows below the bridge , is showing signs of drought.  Cedar Creek’s natural flow is impeded by 3 dams along its length. It has shrunk in August to a mere trickle with muddy, marsh-like margins.


Like most resources we depend on for sustenance, we don’t appreciate it until we notice a shortage.  The park’s resident herons and water snakes have sure noticed the concentration of fish and other food sources into dwindling pools and are taking full advantage of the “easy pickin’s” !

I am reminded of the journey Cedar Creek takes everyday : from highlands outside the park boundaries, under the historic natural bridge, over/through/around 3 dams, eventually finding the James River which leads to the historically important Chesapeake Bay.  The Bay empties into the Atlantic, which churns and swirls as the Earth rotates on its axis, mixing ultimately with all saline waters.  The waters here which present visitors a glimpse of colorful Blueheaded chubs become the distant watery homes of Blue and Humpbacked Whales.  One water. One World.