Fones Cliffs Petition 2

Speak Up for the Eagles at Fones Cliffs! Join Us in Asking Virginia DEQ to Hold Violators Responsible for Cliff Degradation

Signers of this petition join Chesapeake Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Essex County Countryside Alliance, Friends of the Rappahannock, Northern Neck Audubon Society, Preservation Virginia, Rappahannock Indian Tribe, Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge Friends, and Scenic Virginia to demand action by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). We call on DEQ to hold the violators accountable for degradation occurring at Fones Cliffs along the Rappahannock River in Richmond County, Virginia.

Following the illegal clearing of 13 acres in the fall of 2017, and two significant rain events along the Northern Neck in May 2018, massive amounts of cliff face adjacent to the cleared area sloughed off, sending entire trees and tons of sediment to the bottom of the cliff and into the Rappahannock River. Fones Cliffs is a national treasure.  It is …

  • an iconic feature of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail,
  • a globally significant Important Bird Area for both resident and migratory bald eagles and other migratory birds;
  • the ancestral territory of the Rappahannock Tribe, and remains largely un-surveyed for archeological resources which are disappearing before they are discovered and documented.

DEQ has previously issued two notices of violation for illegal clearing of trees and other vegetation, and slow response in remediation at Fones Cliffs. Now, DEQ must:

  • Require the violator to rapidly complete installation of storm water and erosion control measures;
  • Require the violator to remediate damaged areas, including replacement of trees illegally uprooted months ago;
  • Levy significant fines upon the violator to send a strong message that further skirting of environmental regulations will not be tolerated;
  • Work with Richmond County to require permanent protection and maintenance of forested buffers extending landward from the cliff edge sufficient to minimize further major sloughing of the cliff face, at least a 2:1 ratio of cliff height to buffer width; and
  • Work with the Rappahannock Tribe, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and researchers to require the violator to conduct archeological surveys in areas proposed for clearing and that hold a high probability of containing archeological resources.

Add your name to the growing list of organizations and private citizens calling for DEQ to hold the violators responsible for the degradation of Fones Cliffs!

*By signing the petition, you also give expressed permission to the Chesapeake Conservancy to email you updates about our work to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

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