Member Directory

Rivanna Conservation Alliance

Address 1150 River Road, Suite One
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
Phone (434) 977-4837
Website http://www.rivannariver.org
Primary Contact Lisa Wittenborn
Primary Email LisaWittenborn@rivannariver.org
Executive Director Lisa Wittenborn
Primary Focus Area Environment
Service Areas
  • Albemarle
  • Charlottesville
  • Fluvanna
  • Greene
  • Louisa
  • Nelson

Mission Statement

Our Vision: A healthy Rivanna River and watershed that benefits an engaged community.

Our Mission: Working with the community to conserve the Rivanna River and its tributaries through monitoring, restoration, education, and advocacy.


The Rivanna Conservation Alliance was established on January 1, 2016 through a merger between the Rivanna Conservation Society (established in 1990) and StreamWatch (established in 2010).

The Rivanna Conservation Alliance (RCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit watershed organization created to provide a set of tools and programs specifically designed to engage the community in conserving the Rivanna River and its tributaries.

Key Programs

Program 1
Title:Riparian Buffer Plantings
Description:A riparian buffer is a vegetated area (a "buffer strip") near a stream, usually forested, which helps shade and partially protect a stream from the impact of adjacent land uses. It plays a key role in increasing water quality in associated streams, rivers, and lakes, thus providing environmental benefits. With the decline of many aquatic ecosystems due to agricultural production, riparian buffers have become a very common conservation practice aimed at increasing water quality and reducing pollution.
Examples of Program Success:RCA has conducted a number of community buffer plantings, including very large plantings at the Charlottesville Albemarle County Airport and the Glenmore Country Club, Quarry Park and Buford Middle School. Riparian buffers act to intercept sediment, nutrients, pesticides, and other materials in surface runoff and reduce nutrients and other pollutants in shallow subsurface water flow.[1] They also serve to provide habitat and wildlife corridors in primarily agricultural areas. They can also be key in reducing erosion by providing stream bank stabilization.
Program 2
Description:Regrettably, the Rivanna River, its tributaries and the Reservoirs are regularly polluted by trash and debris. Storms wash trash, animal waster, chemical, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, grease and other pollutants into the river. And is some instances people use the river as their own personal trash dump.
RCA works to cleanup the Rivanna River, engaging schools, churches, community service clubs and lots of volunteers in the care and protection of the River.
Examples of Program Success:RCA hosts and conducts several dozen cleanups each year, generally between March and November. Community wide cleanups take place on World Water Day (March) Earth Day (April) Clean the Bay Day (June) and in October to celebrate the Anniversary of the Clean Water Act.
Program 3
Title:River & Reservoir Paddles and Sojourns
Description:RCA conducts river paddles and Sojourns for members, students, and the general public. There may be a minimal cost to cover staff time, but the goal is to provide the community with the opportunity to experience the Rivanna River
Examples of Program Success:RCA has been conducting paddles and Sojourns for more than a decade and the results of sharing the beauty of what is often called "Mr. Jefferson's River" with the community is a primary goal of this organization.
Program 4
Title:Student Education & Community Workshops
Description:RCA conducts student education programs and community workshops throughout the watershed and at its Scheier Natural Area in Fluvanna County.
Examples of Program Success:RCA works directly with schools, community organizations and other groups hosting youth programs.
Scheier Workshops take place throughout the year, including Bird Identification, Edible and Medicinal Plants, Pond Ecology, Primitive and Survival Skills, Toads, Frogs and Critters of the Night - with specialty workshops conducted periodically.
Program 5
Title:Water Quality Monitoirng
Description:RCA conducts "certified" water quality monitoring for benthic and bacteria parameters with trained volunteers and staff support.
In addition, RCA trains students and the community how to do non certified chemical, physical and bacteria monitoring as a part of its education and outreach programs
Examples of Program Success:The water samples are collected by the trained and certified volunteers are analyzed, with the results provided to local, state and federal government agencies.
RCA is the regional coordinator for the World Water Monitoring Challenge, a global student water monitoring program. Non-certified water data is submitted to the WWMC global data base and is used to connect our students with those around the world.