Embrace A Stream Project

Embrace a Stream (EAS) is a competitive matching grant program administered by Trout Unlimited. EAS provides funds for stream restoration for native and wild trout populations.

Cold water fisheries conservation is the primary goal of Trout Unlimited. The Massanutten Chapter of the TU has been fortunate to be granted three Embrace a Stream grants to provide desperately needed habitat protection for trout streams in the Shenandoah Valley region.

The first of these grants was awarded in 2017 to restore the riparian and instream habitat of Beaver Creek in Ottobine, Virginia. Streambanks were stabilized in this project, and additional fencing was provided to prevent cattle from entering the stream. Trees were planted to establish a riparian buffer zone along the side of the stream, and pools were created to protect native Trout. The initial grant from the EAS program was $10,000, and the project’s final cost was over $40,000. The additional funding was obtained through several additional grants and matching funds from the Massanutten Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

The second EAS grant was funded in 2018 to provide interpretive trails, signage, and stream improvements on Dry River, one of the last resorts for native brook trout in the southeastern United States. Eight signs will be placed in Riven Rock Park as part of an interpretive loop trail that will communicate the unique nature of the Dry River habitat and the importance of the habitat and related water resources to the community. This is a jointly funded project with the city of Harrisonburg participating equally to raise funds and make improvements. This project is not yet completed because of an eruption that occurred with staffing during the Covid crisis, but it is on track to be completed in 2023.

The most recent EAS project funds were used to stabilize 152 ft. of eroding streambanks, decrease corrosion and sedimentation, and restore the riparian and instream habitat on a section of Beaver Creek below the route 257 bridge. This project was completed with the help of engineering students from James Madison University. The engineering students did the preliminary design work and provided the data to prepare the grant proposal. Engineering students assisted with many of the activities during the construction phase of this project and benefited from the experience of a practical senior project. The total cost of this project was over $58,000. The award from the EAS program was only $13,731. Additional grants and matching contributions by the Massanutten Chapter of Trout Unlimited provided the difference in funding.

The photos below are from the recent Embrace a Stream restoration project on the lower portion of Beaver Creek managed by Massanutten TU completed in April 2022.