Little Irish Creek Diversion Pipe will be Removed!

As of July 22, 2022, the City of Lynchburg has decided not to renew the permit that has historically allowed it to divert water from Little Irish Creek into the City’s reservoir. Thanks to all those who spoke out in defense of Little Irish Creek and the Pedlar River. Please leave a reply on the My Pedlar Story post and let’s begin to bring together the story of the Pedlar River watershed as seen and lived by those of us who live near it and understand its value to the world.

For many decades, the City of Lynchburg has had a permit from the USDA, via the USFS, to divert water from Little Irish Creek into the Pedlar Reservoir, which is the main source of drinking water for the City. Last renewed in 2002, this 20-year permit came up for renewal in 2022. The 12″ diameter pipe is fixed in a pool of Little Irish Creek not far upstream from its confluence with the Pedlar River. Little Irish Creek is a pristine trout stream and the first stream to feed the Pedlar River below the reservoir dam. The way the pipe is situated, its opening captures the main flow of the creek at all water levels. The pipe takes the water through a hillside and across National Forest Land to the reservoir, which is located on acreage owned by the City of Lynchburg. Since the pipe has no apparatus on it to regulate how much water enters it, it diverts water all year long, regardless of season or rainfall.

Since the future of Little Irish Creek affects the future of the Pedlar River, the fact that the City of Lynchburg has decided not to attempt to renew the permit is good news! Removal of the pipe will be a positive change for Little Irish Creek, the Pedlar River, people who have land adjacent to the Pedlar River, people who make use of the public lands in the watershed associated with Little Irish Creek and the Pedlar River, and everyone who lives in the lower Pedlar River watershed.

DO YOU CARE ABOUT THE PEDLAR RIVER? If yes, add a reply to MY PEDLAR STORY: This is a community in the making, and the future of the lower Pedlar River depends on it!

Since Little Irish Creek is within the George Washington National Forest, the USFS and its parent organization, the USDA, are responsible for making sure it is removed in such a way that it does not harm the stream or surrounding area.

Intake pipe, Little Irish Creek, Aug.2008

The times we live in and the state of nature in 2022 is very different from 2002. Clean water and wild habitats are only more precious. The Pedlar River watershed is unique for these features and because its surface and groundwater is shared between public lands, private lands, the county it lies within and a faraway city. In other words, the issue of one small pipe in one small creek is bigger and more complex than it seems. This watershed issue is important for the sake of Little Irish Creek, the Pedlar River, and our collective future as residents of this beautiful place. I am grateful to all of you who endeavor to become informed and involved.

Find out more about water rights in Virginia here:

See the state water control law in the Code of Virginia here:

upstream of diversion pipe Little Irish Creek, November 2019
Little Irish Creek November 2019
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