On October 20th, a group of our 30 RiverRats came out to Rockcliffe Farm Retreat in Concord for JRA’s 2nd Annual RiverRats Raft-Up. It was a gorgeous fall weekend and the trees had really started to peak. The day started with a talk from Scott Smith, a Fisheries Biologist with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, about the various types of fish found in the Upper James and their monitoring efforts.
The advanced training portion of the day included bacteria monitoring from Jamie Brunkow, our Lower James Riverkeeper, and about fishing and boating conditions from Pat Calvert, our Upper James Riverkeeper. Both of these trainings were created to help RiverRats learn more about what they can do to help our Riverkeepers gather data for the new James River Watch.
Lunch was a great time to chat with other Rats from throughout the watershed and share their experiences. After lunch, some RiverRats joined Pat and Jamie on a short float. The river was pretty low, so lots of rocks, but everyone had a good time. They all returned to relax and hear from the Marshall Expedition, which was an inspiring story for everyone.
Awards were given out at dinner to Kim Payne for the Upper James, Kevin Hansen for the Middle James, Chris Gwaltney for the Lower James, and Joe Seiffert for his overall outstanding commitment to the James River and the RiverRats program. For those who stuck around, we got to enjoy the campfire and listen to music by the local group, Farm Use String Band.
Some folks stayed the night and went on an 8-mile float from Rockcliffe to Bent Creek on Sunday, which was another gorgeous fall day on the James.
It was a great weekend filled with education, new friendships, and fun with a group of people sharing a love of the James River. Thank you RiverRats!
View more photos from the Raft-up on flickr.