Did you know that there are specific places in the county that play a critical role in recharging our ground water?  Water that falls as precipitation needs to find pathways to the groundwater and that happens best in the carbonate areas where sinkholes, caves, sinking streams, faults and fractures provide easy access for water to percolate down to the water table.Groundwater_Recharge_Area_map

Even in the carbonates that underlie most of the valley area, some areas are more critical than others for groundwater recharge.  On the western side of Clarke County there is a limestone ridge that runs from Double Tollgate and trends to the NE crossing into WV to the east of Stones Chapel.  This area, identified by the US Geological Survey is approximately 22,100 acres in size and contains the drainage divide between the Opequon Creek and the Shenandoah River.   It is also a critical area for filling the groundwater that runs below the county because of its unique structure, elevation, and distance from the river, streams, and springs which discharge water from the groundwater.

Why do you care?  What we do in this critical recharge area to preserve our permeable surfaces for groundwater recharge affects water availability and quality for a large portion of the county.  To help protect this area, the Easement Authority is asking the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the state agency responsible for conservation easement holdings, to designate this area as a priority project area.  The purpose of the designation is to focus resources on placing properties in the recharge area into permanent conservation easement to reduce development potential on this critical resource area.