Ridge Schuyler is the reason I don’t give money to the Nature Conservancy. This interview [“Water plan ‘architect’ reflects on controversy,” Development News, January 13, 2009] is full of the misinformation and deceit that has been practiced by many of the large Ragged Mt./pipeline alternative supporters. A few examples:
“Proponents of dredging say, ‘Aha, dredging is cheaper, it’s $30 million versus $85 million.” Not only is that not what proponents are saying, but Mr. Schuyler leaves out the cost of the pipeline from the South Fork to Ragged Mt., the cost of obtaining the right of way, and the cost of operating the pipeline in his $85 million figure. Even the $85 million is probably understated.
“In this case, most of the environmental community see the plan that was developed as the one that best protects the environment.” The Sierra Club is an important part of the environmental community and they aren’t backing the plan. How can any plan that cuts down 180 acres of an important nature preserve be environmentally acceptable?
In the final paragraph, Mr. Schuyler says that in regard to other components of a plan based on dredging he says, “I haven’t seen it.” Well, he must have his eyes and ears shut. Conservation, curbs on development, a smaller dam at Ragged Mt., and use of Beaver Creek & Chris Greene have all been mentioned as ways to supplement a dredged South Fork Reservoir.
Finally, he uses the favorite scare tactic of the Ragged Mt./Pipeline supporters by saying “then maybe a pipe to the James is Plan B.”
The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Conservation Programs Bill Kittrell replies: The Nature Conservancy believes the loss of trees—even on a designated reservoir site—should concern us all. That’s why we protected 602 acres of forests adjacent to the Ragged Mountain reservoir. It’s why we support RWSA’s plan to plant 200 acres of additional forest upstream of the South Fork reservoir.
Regarding costs, even with dredging, we will need to replace the brittle, 81-year-old pipeline that fills the Ragged Mountain reservoir. The proposed replacement pipeline will be 30 percent shorter than the existing one and won’t drain sensitive headwater streams.
Finally, spending $30 million to dredge will create just 21 percent of the water storage we will need in times of drought and will allow us to reduce the proposed dam height by only 5′.
The Conservancy will continue Ridge’s constructive efforts to seek solutions that balance the economic constraints and water needs of our community with our sensitive environmental conditions.
The Roades less traveled
We at Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society applaud your focus on design in your latest issue [“Design for a new time,” January 20, 2009] and would never argue with your decision to highlight Virginia Quarterly Review’s design. We, however, would have hoped you would give an honorable mention at least to our Magazine of Albemarle County History’s new face and layout. Like VQR, it offers a break with the past and an invitation to new readers. Unlike VQR, however, MACH got its redesign right here in town by editor Antoinette W. Roades, ably assisted by Eric Bland of Kaminer & Thomson, Inc.
This issue of the MACH is our 66th annual journal on local history. This issue done under the direction of our new editor, Ms. Roades, features an article by Professor Daniel Bluestone on Charlottesville’s first skyscrapers and an article by Ms. Roades on an early local photographer and is amply illustrated in both cases. The article by Ms. Roades is also the subject of the current exhibit at the Society.
Steven G. Meeks
Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society