You are here

Lafayette River Restoration

State Removes Lafayette From Impaired List

June 14, 2016

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality this week released a final report showing the Lafayette branch of the Elizabeth now meets state water quality standards for recreation contact because bacteria concentrations have significantly dropped! Elizabeth River Project and partners have been watching for this official word since reviewing a draft of the report in 2014 and noting the historic progress. 

Congratulations to dozens of partners and thousands of homes, schools and businesses who have been doing their part with us to restore the Lafayette branch of the Elizabeth since we organized a community-wide plan, adopted in 2011! Read the state report HERE

One word of caution before you jump in your urban river. The report says the Lafayette is no longer impaired for “recreational contact.” We recommend our Safety First precautions.  Bacteria levels still may be high after heavy rains, especially in narrow tributaries.

Now time to celebrate so much momentum to bring back your home river!

  • The Lafayette is considered closer to restored for the native oyster than any other Virginia tributary to the Chesapeake Bay, thanks to more than a dozen oyster reefs constructed by Elizabeth River Project and partners (we just completed one this month!) and more than 13 million live oysters placed on the reef by Chesapeake Bay Foundation and citizen oyster growers.
  • Our super-successful River Star Homes program, now 3,300 strong, started on the Lafayette in 2011. Thanks, “stars,” for picking up the poop and reducing fertilizer use!
  • The City of Norfolk is currently constructing 7 more acres of restored wetlands on the Lafayette, topping off 15 acres already restored on this branch with many partners.
  • Norfolk and HRSD together have done a herculean job of upgrading sewer lines throughout the Lafayette to correct potential leaks.

Help keep these efforts growing. Become a member today!