Future generations of Virginians can love the scenic and healthy Rappahannock River thanks to Friends of the Rappahannock. 

The MISSION of Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) is to be the voice and active force for a healthy and scenic Rappahannock River. They work to educate the community about the river and to advocate for actions and policies that will protect and restore the Rappahannock. 

Why is it important?

As a home to world famous blue crabs and oyster as well as over 3,000 migratory birds and many other wildlife species, conserving the river is of utmost importance. The vision of FOR is for the Rappahannock is four fold. They aim to see a Rappahannock RIver clean and safe for fish consumption and recreation from its Headwaters to its confluence with the Chesapeake. This goal supports a healthy and diverse aquatic ecosystem, with submerged grasses, oysters, crabs and other species returned to their historic levels and productivity. They see a Rappahannock Watershed where land use and runoff is managed to protect and enhance our riparian habitats, downstream waters, scenic viewsheds and historical resources. Lastly, they see a Rappahannock community where the citizens and local governments are educated about river stewardship, where they take a sense of personal stewardship over the river resource, and where they take action in their own backyards and communities to protect it.

How do they do it?

Friends of the Rappahannock focuses on three main initiatives: Advocacy, Restoration and Education.

In terms of advocacy, Friends of the Rappahannock works at the local, state, and federal level to ensure the maximum protections for the Rappahannock River. At the state level, they maintain an Active presence at the Virginia General Assembly. Here they fight for continued funding for clean water programs, agricultural and  stormwater best management practice funding, living shoreline program development, fishery protection, and a variety of other issues. On the federal level, they maintain a strong Chesapeake Bay Program and associated agency funding at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and more. Federal advocacy to protect the Clean Water Act and other federal regulations  that impact the Rappahannock River. 

For restoration purposes of the river, FOR actively works to restore oyster populations, reduce the number of contaminants in the river by preventing stormwater runoff at residential sites, and restore living shoreline and marsh. Additionally, FOR relies on volunteers to help them pick up 16,000 pounds of trash annually and partners with local schools to develop the Student Stream Team to teach students about conservation stewardship. 

FOR Education programs empower all age groups to create river stewards who will care for the Rappahannock for generations. FOR educators are regularly in local schools, educating about watershed and environmental education. Sutdents have the opportunity to go paddling, participate in water quality testing, and support FOR's many restoration projects across the watershed. Beyond students, FOR regularly holds interpretive trips and education based programming for all ages across the watershed. 

In conjunction with Kind Hotel, The Tides Inn, FOR began the Tides Inn Waterfront Restoration Project. This will see 18,000 square feet of new living shoreline near the hotel, 150 linear feet of oyster reef, 42 new trees, the preservation of 30 old-growth trees, the addition of 10,600 shoreline plants and over 10,000 upland plants with 1,300 linear feet of new wharf along the water’s edge. 

Their Headwater Stream Initiative will provide FREE technical assistance, project design, materials, and labor for the planting of native trees and shrubs on qualifying properties in the headwater counties of the Rappahannock River Watershed 

How you can #TravelKindly: 
  • Choose Friends of the Rappahannock as your local charity when you book with Kind Traveler.
  • Check here for a list of opportunities to help FOR. Kind Travelers may attend scheduled litter clean-ups, restoration projects and events like organized river paddles and concerts, as well as find other volunteering opportunities. 
  • Follow along with the Riverwatch map that provides geographic data on the Rappahannock and helps you understand how FOR is helping keep the river healthy 

Your $10 Will...

Explore Destinations

A $10 donation unlocks exclusive hotel rates + perks. Be sure to select your favorite charity at check-out.