WV Rivers News: Water Policy Confusion, New WV Rivers Website, Public Lands, Protecting Drinking Water

Water Policy Out of Special Session

The mess legislators left our water quality standards in after the 2017 session continues to cause issues for the state. The problems started with the passage of HB 2506, the Toxic Water Bill, which changed the way pollution discharge limits are calculated, allowing more toxins to be released into our water. In the last days of the session a second bill designed to weaken water protections, SB 687, the Coal Bill, was fast-tracked through the legislature amending the same section of code as HB 2506. This left the two bills in conflict; both cannot be implemented. Read more here.

Some members of the legislature want to fix their mess during the special legislative session called by Governor Justice to deal with our budget crisis. Early this week, WV Rivers and thirteen other organizations asked the Governor to limit the special session to only the budget crisis, because our water and our budget deserve the legislature’s full attention. This editorial in the Charleston Gazette-Mail agrees. Governor Justice also seems to agree that the budget is the sole priority for the Legislature, his agenda for the special session doesn’t include water policy. Read more here.

Safe Water for WV Program Reaching New Communities

Launched in the wake of the 2014 water crisis, WV Rivers’ Safe Water for WV Program continues to work with local communities in protecting drinking water supplies. We’re bringing together public water systems, watershed groups and agencies to help implement management strategies identified in water utilities’ Source Water Protection Plans (SWPPs). We recently published a SWPP Implementation Guide to assist with this process and have partnered with communities where their Source Water Protection Area overlaps with a watershed-based plan (WBP). A WBP addresses non-point sources of pollution in a watershed.

Last week, we held a public forum in Marlinton to explore partnerships which achieve the common goals. Thanks to grant awards from WV Department of Environmental Protection and WV Bureau of Public Health, we will be able to work in four additional communities to protect their local water supplies. Check out our website to learn more about our Safe Water for WV Program.

Explore Your Public Lands with Fellow WV Rivers Supporters – May 20-21

WV Rivers’ Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend, May 20-21, in Slaty Fork, WV, takes you into the heart of the Monongahela National Forest for a weekend of programs and activities exploring this special area.

On Saturday, you’ll explore the natural systems of the forest around our base for the weekend, the Elk River Inn. You’ll learn how the natural springs of the forest feed drinking water supplies for West Virginia. You’ll evaluate the health of a stream by looking at the creatures who live in it. And you’ll hear from Watoga State Park naturalist Chris Bartley and National Forest District Ranger Cindy Sandeno.

On Sunday, join one of four guided field trips exploring the forest. Field trips include: a fly fishing clinic on the Elk River, biking along the Williams River, exploring the Cranberry Glades, and a hiking excursion featuring some of the southern Mon’s most iconic trails.

Learn more about the Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend here.

Adult registration is just $20 for the weekend, kids under 15 are $5. Registration includes all programming, Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch. Don’t wait; register soon, space is limited!

WV Rivers’ Executive Director Receives National Award

Join WV Rivers in congratulating our executive director, Angie Rosser, on being recognized as a 2017 River Hero by River Network!

River Network created the River Heroes Award in 2001 to recognize and celebrate people whose efforts to protect and restore their waters have been extraordinary in scope, scale, impact and heart. River Heroes are nominated by peers, selected by peers, and celebrated by their peers at River Network’s annual conference, River Rally.

Congratulations, Angie! Learn more here.

West Virginians Unite To Defend Public Lands

The coalition of groups that formed to advocate Birthplace of Rivers National Monument has expanded to address Congressional and administrative attacks on federal public lands. “West Virginians for Public Lands” consists of WV organizations speaking with a united voice against proposals that could impact the Monongahela National Forest, the Gauley and New rivers, and all of our state’s public lands.

A statewide poll released by WV Rivers and National Wildlife Federation shows West Virginia’s deep support for public lands across the political spectrum. This welcome news comes against a backdrop of a Senate bill to gut the Antiquities Act, proposals to sell off or give away federal lands, and greatly alter the public lands system — all opposed by WV voters, according to the poll. The Birthplace e-news is now the WV for Public Lands e-news. So if you have not already signed up to stay informed, you can do it here.

WV Rivers in the News

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