The St. Mary's River has historically
been viewed by trout anglers as one of Virginia's finest fisheries. In recent years, however, water quality has deteriorated in this stream due to acid deposition from the atmosphere.
The poor water quality has resulted in
decreased fish and aquatic insect populations. In a cooperative ecosystem restoration effort, limestone sand (calcium carbonate) has been added to the St. Mary's River and some of its major tributaries to reduce acidity and raise pH levels. It is intended that the reduction
in acidity will temporarily protect the aquatic life that resides in the waters.
The implementation and data collection for this project is a cooperative effort of the United States Forest Service (George Washington and Jefferson National Forests), James Madison University (Departments of Chemistry and
Biology), and the Fisheries Division of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Other cooperators and funding groups include The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,
Fly Fishers of Virginia, Virginia Power, Skylark Farms, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. This site describes the background, planning and implementation of the liming
project, the St. Mary's Wilderness Area and the key people involved.