Statement on Legislation to Designate the John W. Warner Rapids Above the Former Embrey Dam Site
Statement by American RiversSeptember 18th, 2008
Washington, D.C. — Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works unanimously approved legislation to honor the legacy of one of its own. S. 3482, a bill to designate the rapid above the former Embrey Dam site on the Rappahannock River after Virginia Senator John Warner (R), now awaits approval by the full Senate. Designation of the John W. Warner Rapids is a celebration of both Senator Warner’s dedication to ensuring the success of the Embrey Dam removal and his passion for fishing the rivers of Virginia.
Naming the rapids after retiring Senator John Warner is a fitting tribute to his 30 year career in the U.S. Senate and his support of the removal of the Embrey Dam. When a mutual love of fishing brought the Friends of the Rappahannock’s John Tippett in contact with Senator Warner in 1996, a fire was ignited, and the grand idea of removing the aging Embrey Dam began to gain real traction. It was Senator Warner’s leadership in the Senate that secured millions of dollars in federal funding to finally remove the Embrey Dam in 2004.
Senator Warner was on the banks of the Rappahannock River on the morning of February 23, 2004 to set off the explosives that breached the Embrey Dam and freed the River from its confines for the first time in more than 150 years. Since then, the Senator’s environmental legacy lives on in the migratory fish, including hickory shad, striped bass, and blueback herring, that now travel some 170 miles from Fredericksburg, VA up into the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Congratulations on your retirement, Senator Warner, and thank you for your dedication to removing the Embrey Dam and restoring the Rappahannock River. We urge the Senate to approve S. 3482 and hope that your colleagues in the Senate will follow your lead and become champions of the protection and restoration of their rivers.