West Virginia Rivers Coalition and three WV Choose Clean Water Coalition members hosted WV House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles at a holiday reception in Berkley Springs, December 15. Leaders from Sleepy Creek Watershed Association, Warm Springs Watershed Association and Cacapon Institute welcomed Mr. Cowles to spend the evening learning about watershed restoration and protection efforts in the state’s Eastern Panhandle.
They were joined by directors of the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District, who described how Chesapeake Bay Program funding and grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are the financial engines for restoring West Virginia’s Bay tributaries. “We’re making progress through voluntary programs,” Conservation Commissioner Jim Michael told Mr. Cowles. “But it takes money for these programs to work.”
Watershed groups also described the importance of upholding current “Category A” protections in the upcoming legislative session, and expressed concerns about a proposed natural gas service line that would run from the Potomac River through three Eastern Panhandle Counties.
Mr. Cowles then facilitated a dialogue about clean water and local economic development issues — including the tourism economy. Following the reception, Mr. Cowles volunteered to host Eastern Panhandle clean water advocates at the State House for a meeting with the region’s senators and delegates.