Harper's Ferry

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 12.37.02 AM

Introducing Mark Frondorf: Shenandoah Riverkeeper

Mark Frondorf, Shenandoah Riverkeeper for the Potomac Riverkeepers Network, has been in charge of the river’s health since 2015, but his connection to this beautiful, historic river began more than 25 years before as a fishing guide. In that time, he’s seen the river change.

The Shenandoah Valley has a rich history of agriculture, however, trends towards factory farming and fertilizer-fueled agriculture threaten the area’s iconic river

Runoff heavy with nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizers cause blooms of algae in the river. Fish kills caused by algae are common in the Shenandoah—an obvious concern for an angler like Mark. The river is also at risk from farmers who let their animals directly access the Shenandoah and its tributaries. Cows are the biggest culprit here: their massive weight tears up the riverbanks and their excrement fouls the water. 

Cows in the sunset
Mark and Bobby at farm

Mark encouraging best management practices

These two issues lead to excess sediment in the river and high bacterial loads. Although Mark works tirelessly to encourage farmers to fence their animals out of waterways, many farmers do not engage in best management practices, which will protect the river from these dangers. Mark hates to think users are in danger in his river, especially because of its popularity for canoeing, tubing, fishing, and swimming.

Next Steps...

Donate to Riverkeepers about agricultural runoff.