|Action||Amend Parts I, II, and III of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations to address water quality and quantity and local stormwater management program criteria.|
|Comment Period||Ends 8/21/2009|
Hello. My name is Capt. Mike Ostrander of the James River Fishing School. I am here in support of the new Stormwater Regulations, which are critical to the future health of Virginia’s waters and the health of our outdoor recreational future.
As a fishing guide and instructor I am on the James River quite often. The problem I’ve seen with silt is increasing. Huge portions of the James River’s rocky river bottom are now completely covered with sand. Some areas, especially behind big boulders in the middle of the river, the silt can be measured in feet. This silt is ruining aquatic habitat and degrading water quality.
In 2001, I began guiding fishing trips on the James River and now, eight years later operate a fulltime fishing and eco tour business. Along with fishing trips, I now run “Sunrise & Eagle Tours”, “Capt. John Smith Trail” tours and even offer “Fish Watching” a program where kids can explore beneath the river’s surface with goggles. And this year started teaching a class through the University of Richmond called, “Discover the James” a mix of history and wildlife watching.
Now, let me explain the incredible explosion of river useage I have seen, first hand, on the James over the last eight years. The increase in activity on the James has been amazing. Now there are so many kayakers, they compete for parking in many areas. The increase in the number of people fishing in the City of Richmond is probably thirty to one. The educational opportunities through aquatic eco tourism and angling instruction are endless. This is the future of the river, only if we protect her.
The Blue Catfish and spring run of anadromous Shad are both world-class fisheries, right here in the City of Richmond. When I started guiding on the James River, there were four or five Captains guiding for blue catfish. Now there are over 30. That’s over 30 CATFISH GUIDES booking trips from people all over the US and in some cases from around the world to come to Virginia and fish in our waters.
If we commit to protect our aquatic resources, everyone will win.
This is all happening right now. Virginia’s aquatic recreation and tourism industries are on the rise. It is our duty as Virginians to protect our waters for the future. I ask that you approve the new Stormwater Regulations for the health of the James River, and all of Virginia’s waterways.