Stream Health

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Current Size: 80%

Blacks RunStream Health Info

The water in the City of Harrisonburg’s streams and tributaries are “impaired,” meaning that they are contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria and elevated sediment levels. 

66% of Harrisonburg’s stormwater flows into Blacks Run, which runs for eight miles through city limits, making it highly susceptible to urban impact. The remaining stormwater flows into Cooks Creek and Smith Creek. 

These streams suffer from too much bacteria and other contaminates which make them unsafe for people to perform recreational activities.  Additionally these same Chesapeake Bay tributaries have extreme sedimentation levels from urbanization, as well as, virtually zero riparian buffer in certain areas.

Through efforts and partnerships between the City, local agencies and organizations, and citizens like you, monitoring reports have shown that Blacks Run has improved in health. However, there is still much more to do and the streams need your help.


Volunteer Opportunities

If you or your group is interested in volunteering with a stream clean up or planting project, please call the Public Works Department at 540-434-5928 or email


Learn More 

To learn more about Blacks Run and local water quality issues, and what else you can do to help, or to register for Blacks Run/Downtown Clean Up Day visit