On June 30, 2008, four local officials met to review the responsibilities and membership of a proposed task force to study maintenance dredging at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.  Charlottesville City Council was represented by

Mayor Dave Norris

, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors was represented by

Chairman Ken Boyd

, the Albemarle County Service Authority was represented by

Chairman Don Wagner

, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) was represented by its

Chairman Mike Gaffney


The dredging task force is being created as the result of recent resolutions passed by City and County officials as well as

action taken by the RWSA

to allocate up to $300,000 for a dredging study.

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These four officials reached consensus on the membership of the task force as well as the specific issues to be addressed in its work.  The eleven member task force is expected to meet over the next four months presenting their recommendations to a joint meeting of the four bodies in November 2008.

The task force will work in parallel to the RWSA’s efforts to qualify a consultant to undertake a future dredging study. A request for qualifications is being released by the authority in July 2008. The recommendations of the task force are expected to shape the final scope of work to be undertaken by a qualified consultant.

(L to R: Mike Gaffney, RWSA; Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris; Supervisor Ken Boyd; and Don Wagner, ACSA)

Early in the almost one hour meeting, Albemarle County Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna) and Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris made clear their differing views as to whether the task force recommendations would potentially change elements of the fifty year Community Water Supply Plan.

“The big question here is whether or not anything coming out of this task force would impact our fifty year plan?” asked Boyd.  “I think I speak for my Board on this… that it should not.  This is in addition to the Ragged Mountain plan and the pipeline plan and that should really be taken off the table [so the task force] does not think we are studying an alternative to that.” Mike Gaffney and Don Wagner expressed their agreement with Boyd.

Then Mayor Norris outlined the City’s view.  “I may be the loan lone one out here but, I do support, and our Council certainly supports, the fundamentals of the plan, but my feeling has been… that if we end up doing some maintenance dredging [that] is going to free up water supply, I don’t see why we wouldn’t factor that into the equation in terms of how much additional capacity we pay for at Ragged Mountain,” said Norris.  “I don’t see that as a way to undermine the fundamentals of the plan.  I am talking about [seeing] if there is a way to save a few million dollars and a few thousand trees at Ragged Mountain.”

The officials discussed the possible issues that the task force would explore and reached consensus that the first question they should address is “Should we dredge and if so why?”  Two other possible work areas were identified:

The task force will have eleven members made up of representatives from local governing bodies, non-profits, and users and property owners at the reservoir.  Each of the following will be asked to nominate a representative to the task force:

As the officials considered how much time to give the task force to make recommendations, the differing perspectives of Norris and Boyd were once again apparent.  “What we don’t want to have happen is anybody to see this as a delaying tactic where by the time this group gets done with their work and the consultant gets done with their work, the train has already left the station on the infrastructure improvements related to the fifty year plan,” said Norris.

“I think that train has already left the station and should keep moving,” responded Boyd.

“I think it has left the station in terms of the policy, but in terms of actually constructing the dam, thankfully we have got time,” said Norris.  After the meeting, Mayor Norris told Charlottesville Tomorrow that he was satisfied that the work of the task force could be done in a timeframe that could shape decisions about how large a dam to build at Ragged Mountain.

Frederick told the group that the recent resolutions passed by the City and the County gave the RWSA the “green light” to continue with the preparations for the foundation of new Ragged Mountain Dam.  The foundation construction should begin before the end of 2008 and the dam design will be completed in early 2009 with construction bids for the dam being issued in Summer 2009.

Brian Wheeler



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