Field Notes: Catawba Hospital Ford Crossing

February 2, 2021 12:00 pm

By Chad Austin, Water Quality Engineer, Western Region

Members of the western region and water quality team recently installed a GeoWeb ford stream crossing on the Catawba Hospital grounds in Roanoke County. The ford crossing was installed using State Lands funds from a timber sale being conducted by the agency on the hospital’s property. This crossing replaces an extremely undersized culvert crossing that has been a maintenance issue for many years and is in a state of disrepair.

Old culvert in disrepair

Ford crossings, where applicable, are one of the most preferred low-cost alternatives to culvert crossings. Ford and bridge crossings are a preferred option in watersheds where land-use change and impervious surfaces like roads and parking lots make flash flooding and runoff an issue. Preferred sites for fords often include streams with large watersheds where pipe sizing and bridge crossings are impractical due to stream bank widths, and where low, wide banks are conducive to vehicle traffic.

GeoWeb mesh across stream bottom

The new crossing installation at the hospital will be used to educate loggers and landowners who are considering the installation of GeoWeb ford crossings. It was created with the intention of incorporating it into SHARP Logger trainings and landowner educational opportunities. VDOF specialists and field personnel were able to see the various processes and challenges that operators encounter when considering stream crossing options. This experience will aid field staff in making sound water quality recommendations and suggestions in the future.

GeoWeb crossing backfilled with gravel

We would like to thank participants for all the contributions from the region and the agency to make this project successful. Western Region Water Quality Engineer Chad Austin would like to thank State Lands Coordinator Ed Stoots for funding the project; Matt Poirot (Water Quality Program Director), Andrew Vinson, Stuart Sours, Cole Young, Adam Cumpston, and Zoë Sumrall (Water Quality Specialists); David Edwards (Mt. Rogers Technician); Dylan White (Blue Ridge Technician); Ed Zimmer (Deputy State Forester); and Chris Thomsen (Western Regional Forester) for their work on planning, construction, documentation, and logistics. Additional thanks go to Charles Law with Catawba Hospital for the assistance with manpower and equipment needed for this project.


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