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Posted 2/8/2018

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By Patrick Bloodgood
Norfolk District Public Affairs Office


NORFOLK, Va. -- A new day dawns on the Norfolk District's Waterfield Building and Fort Norfolk near downtown Norfolk, July 28, 2017. (U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood)
SLIDESHOW | 1 of 3 | Waterfield Serenity NORFOLK, Va. -- An oyster reef rises above the waters of the Elizabeth River at Fort Norfolk. The reef is one of many environmental improvements the Norfolk District has made in the Elizabeth River watershed. (U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood)
NORFOLK, Va.
– A local environmental group recognized the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on Jan. 25, 2018, for its environmental stewardship along the Elizabeth River watershed.

The district received the River Star Business award for Sustained Distinguished Performance, Model Level, by the Elizabeth River Project, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the river’s health and water quality.

The District previously earned the River Star Business award for Distinguished Performance, Model Status in 2015.

“Once a business reaches each level, they must do certain things to maintain that level,” said Shannon Reinheimer, a Norfolk District environmental scientist who put together the submission package for the award. “If they [the business] continues to add new performance criteria once they have reached each level, they can achieve the sustained distinguished performance award at each level. 

According to Reinheimer, the district achieved this multi-year distinction because of additional tasks completed after the 2015 award.

Which included:

  • Wildlife habitat enhancement and long term bird management at Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area
  • Performed Invasive Species Control to annually treat 500 acres against Phragmites
  • Added six concrete oyster reef balls, 25 oysterbergs, three biogenic reef structures, and 10 oyster castles along Fort Norfolk property
  • Continued partnership with local elementary school on Oyster Gardening at Fort Norfolk
  • Obtained a 29.2% reduction in energy usage from 2009 to 2017
  • Reduced water consumption by 37.5% from Fiscal Year 2016 to Fiscal Year 2017
  • Executed additional outreach and mentoring opportunities with local universities, high schools, and elementary schools, as well as participated in local STEM events
  • Maintained a 350-acre no mow zone
  • Created approximately 160 square feet of new oyster reef habitat

According to Pam Boatwright, the Elizabeth River Project’s River Star Businesses program manager, there are approximately 125 businesses participating in the program - with 21 receiving the Sustained award designation this year.

“The program was started in 1997 to help recognize facilities that help to reduce or eliminate toxic pollution and create or conserve wildlife habitat throughout the Elizabeth River watershed,” Boatwright said.

“This is great for our district, because it shows we are leading by example through showing others the differences in which we are capable of achieving, and hopefully inspiring others to make similar changes for the betterment of the ecosystem,” said Reinheimer.

To learn more about the Elizabeth River Project’s River Stars Business Program visit https://elizabethriver.org/river-star-businesses

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