Monday, June 4, 2018

Virginia Cliff Slide Has People Taking Sides

Well, really, the sides they were already on. And speaking of sides, the report is from the Bay Journal, a reliable outlet for EPA propaganda: Advocates say landslide at Fones Cliffs related to tree clearing
A landslide on a historically significant stretch of Fones Cliffs in Virginia has sparked debate over whether a developer’s land clearing caused a strip of remaining trees to topple into the water more than 100 feet below.

An aerial photo taken on May 24 shows the proximity of a recent landslide at Fones Cliffs to an area of land that was cleared of trees in the fall of 2017. River advocates are concerned that the clearing, associated with a proposed luxury golf course development on the property, contributed to severe erosion on the vulnerable, 100-plus-foot cliffs. (Courtesy of Friends of the Rappahannock)

A swath of the cliffs that form the northeast bank of the Rappahannock River near Warsaw sloughed off into the river early last week after several days of rain. The landslide occurred on the edge of a property where more than 13 acres had been cleared of trees in the fall of 2017 without the required environmental protections in place. Some groups argue that the clearing caused the landslide, but regulators say it is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause at a site where several factors contribute to erosion.

Conservation organizations have spent more than a decade trying to protect the land along the four-mile stretch of cliffs, which have remained largely undeveloped for 400 years and are home to high concentrations of eagles. When a Richmond County board rezoned the property in 2012 and 2015, they vowed to keep a close eye on a pair of projects whose backers said they would be protective of the environment.

Those who oppose the larger of those projects — a 1,000-acre luxury golf course planned by the Virginia True Corp. along the cliff’s edge — were quick to call the landslide evidence that the flawed land clearing process has hastened erosion. County and state officials, as well as shoreline erosion experts, though, said that while the clearing could have contributed to the landslide, more than 10 inches of rain over several days in May might have been too much for the site to absorb regardless of the recent tree loss.

The landslide, covering a 120-footwide section of the cliffs, came to the attention of the Friends of the Rappahannock on May 22, when a local waterman photographed the landslide and sent the image to Richard Moncure, the group’s tidal river steward. The photo showed toppled trees, laying with their crowns in the water at the bottom of a freshly scoured cliff face.

“It is no coincidence that the only landslide at Fones Cliffs occurred this week adjacent to the cleared site,” the Friends of the Rappahannock wrote in a press release on May 25
We've had incredible amounts of rain in the region in the last month, 13 inches at our house, and several huge wind storms. Our own Calvert Cliffs have seen several big slides as a result, the biggest, approximately this size, occurring in a region of the cliffs where the land above the cliff has not been developed.

Historically, cliffs will slide. The Bay cuts out their base, and the top will slide. It's inevitable. Overall, the Bay is eroding back it's edges at a rate of around 1 foot per year, but not continuously, rather in big gulps.

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