A recent Thursday afternoon was an opportunity to check out the colors on display at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area. The place may soon become one of the biggest construction sites in local history as officials direct creation of a new dam here.
The Ragged Mt. Natural Area will be closed for at least 2 years if the dam is allowed to go forward. What a loss for all of us who cherish this beautiful wilderness area in our own backyard. Unimaginable that any city official would oversee this senseless waste of this city owned treasure.
I have birded here for many years and the habitat loss for all these birds will be enormous. The water fowl will return but not for many years and the woodland birds will be permanently impacted due to the clear cutting of trees, building of roads, and moving of earth.
I can't bear to think of the destruction that will come with a new dam and all the roads needed to build it. Far more destruction than if we simply repaired the Spillway, which is all the state requires.
Record of the Birds Observed at the
Ragged Mountain Natural Area 1996 - 2006 * reported before 1996
Canada Goose Common Loon Wood Duck Long-tailed Duck* Pied-billed Grebe Red-necked Grebe* Black Duck Mallard Canvasback Redhead
Ruddy Duck Bufflehead Ring-necked Duck Common Merganser Hooded merganser Green-winged Teal Brown Pelican* White Ibis*
Tundra Swan* Wild turkey Great blue heron Green heron Black vulture Turkey vulture Osprey
Ruffed Grouse Bald eagle Sharp-shinned hawk Cooper’s hawk Red-shouldered hawk Broad-winged hawk Red-tailed hawk American kestrel American coot Killdeer
Spotted Sandpiper Rock Dove Mourning dove Yellow-billed cuckoo Eastern screech-owl Great horned owl Barred owl
Chimney swift Ruby-throated hummingbird
Belted kingfisher Red-headed woodpecker Red-bellied woodpecker Yellow-bellied sapsucker Downy woodpecker Hairy woodpecker Northern flicker Pileated woodpecker Eastern wood-pewee Acadian flycatcher Eastern phoebe Great crested flycatcher Eastern kingbird White-eyed vireo Yellow-throated vireo Blue-headed vireo* Red-eyed vireo Blue jay American crow Fish crow Common raven Tree swallow N. rough-winged Swallow Barn swallow Black-capped Chickadee Carolina chickadee Tufted titmouse Red-breasted nuthatch White-breasted nuthatch Brown creeper Carolina wren Golden-crowned kinglet Ruby-crowned kinglet Blue-gray gnatcatcher Eastern bluebird Veery Gray-cheeked thrush Swainson’s thrush Hermit thrush Wood thrush American robin Gray catbird Northern mockingbird Brown thrasher
European starling Cedar waxwing Northern parula Chestnut-sided warbler Cape May warbler Black-throated blue warbler Yellow-rumped warbler Black-throated green warbler Blackburnian warbler Yellow-throated warbler Pine warbler
Prairie warbler Bay-breasted warbler Blackpoll warbler Cerulean warbler Black-and-white warbler American redstart Worm-eating warbler Prothonotary Warbler Ovenbird
Louisiana waterthrush Worm-eating warbler Scarlet tanager Eastern towhee Chipping sparrow Field sparrow
Song sparrow Bachman’s sparrow* White-throated sparrow Dark-eyed junco Northern cardinal Rose-breasted grosbeak Blue grosbeak Indigo bunting Red-winged blackbird Common grackle Brown-headed cowbird Orchard oriole Baltimore oriole Purple finch House finch American goldfinch House sparrow Eastern meadowlark
Forest fragmentation is one of the main threats to bird species. Few understand the damage that will occur to our natural environment from the new dam.
This is from the Cvillewater.info web-site:
In the summer of 2002, Dr. Matthew Etterson of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center conducted a research project on the effects of forest fragmentation on nesting success of Wood Thrush at several sites in the Piedmont, including Fernbrook, Humpback Rocks, Betsy Bell, Fortune's Cove, Natural Chimneys, Paul State Forest and Ragged Mountain Natural Area. He found that among all these sites, Ragged Mountain Natural Area proved to be not only the most productive, with a total of 64 nests, but also the site of greatest nesting success. Etterson attributed that success to the maturity of the forest and the protective topography of the land.
In the 2006 Albemarle County Biodiversity Report, the Ragged Mountains and Reservoir were cited as significant for unusual habitat that support species scarce in our area such as River Otter, Prothontary Warbler, and Wood Frog.
Five miles of roads at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area
Roads will be required for clear cutting of timber, dam construction, and reinforcement of the I-64 embankment. In addition, two miles of the now rural Reservoir Road will need to be widened and improved for the heavy equipment needed to build the dam.