The ‘swallow hole’

A few weeks ago, the James River Basin Partnership (JRBP) Stream Team sponsored a river clean-up/ riparian area recon on Wilson’s Creek, a major tributary of the James River.

JRBP will soon be starting a watershed project in Wilson’s Creek, which will focus on placing better stormwater practices in the watershed and restoring degraded riparian areas along the stream. 

Participants Mike Kromrey, Joey Waitman and I floated the creek, picking up trash but also taking pictures of eroding and poorly vegetated banks. These could become priority areas for measures like conservation easements or bank stabilization in the Wilson’s Creek Project.

A short distance downstream of our put-in, Mike shouted, “Hey guys, come look at this!”

There, near the bank, was a whirlpool, vigorously sucking water into a cavity in the stream bottom. I have seen swallow holes before, but never one of the size and intensity of this one, and we lingered several minutes to gawk at the amazing sight.

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