GO GENTLY UP THE STREAM

Goose Creek Stream Monitoring Project

Goose Creek is a state designated scenic river. Its watershed includes approximately 246,800 acres (385.6 square miles) in Loudoun and Fauquier Counties. It provides drinking water for citizens of Loudoun County as well as water and habitat for wildlife and an opportunity for walking trails and recreation.


Goose Creek Association’s [GCA] strategic vision is to restore Goose Creek waters and watershed to good health, removing the stream from its VADEQ designated “Impaired” status by:


  1. Maintaining a stream monitoring program that tests the water’s quality,

  2. Promoting and installing riparian buffers to filter the water sediment and runoff,

  3. Mitigating excess fertilizer run-off from farming operations,

  4. Mitigating erosion, e-coli and development by creating and advocating for expanded riparian buffers,

  5. Advocating against inappropriate development,

  6. Promoting public education programs, and

  7. Organizing canoe trips to remove litter from Goose Creek.


To help achieve this strategic vision, GCA has begun a multi-year water quality monitoring program called “Goose Creek Watch.” The program was launched in August of this year to include monitoring of six sites plus existing monitoring for benthic macro-invertebrates[1], as well as Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) monitoring sites. The data collected will provide a macro view of the water-quality as well as a basis for strategically planned responses. The overall goal of the program is to remove Goose Creek from its current “impaired” status and to restore Goose Creek’s water quality to a sustainably good “recreational” level. The project is funded by Goose Creek Association using donations and grant money.


This collaborative effort includes chemical monitoring by Friends of the Shenandoah River (FOSR) using their lab at Shenandoah University. The program reports test results over time for several key markers, including e-coli, nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and PH. In addition, Downstream Project maintains a mapping website using Water Reporter, a social media network that provides for data sharing among its members. The map and data are interactive and will become available to the public on GCA’s website.


The benthic macro-invertebrate monitoring results by GCA and the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) will also be uploaded. Taken as a whole, the data provide a crucial tool to understanding and identifying areas within the watershed that are threatened, impaired, or of high quality. The GCA’s committee for “Goose Creek Watch” consists of:

  • Norman Myers & Jeff Millington: Board of Directors, GCA and Stream Monitoring Chair.

  • Karen Andersen: Laboratory and Program Director for FOSR. The FOSR operates and maintains a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality accredited Tier III Laboratory and water-quality monitoring programs.

  • Bill Howard: Executive Director of Downstream Project, who currently serves on the board of Chesapeake Commons as immediate past chairman, and on the board of Conservation West Virginia.

  • Amy Ulland: Stream Monitoring Program Coordinator for LWC and a Certified Trainer and Monitor with Virginia Save Our Streams.


Other organizations and agencies that GCA cooperates with include Loudoun and Fauquier County soil and water districts, Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition (LCPCC), Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), and the Goose Creek Scenic River Advisory Committee.

[1]Benthic macro-invertebrates are animals without backbones that can be seen with the naked eye and live on, in, or near the bottom of water bodies. These organisms are often used to monitor water quality in river, creeks and steams as they are good health indicators of aquatic ecosystems.