WV Rivers News: Pipeline Update, Rivers Team Grows, Public Meetings on Drinking Water

Opportunities to Get Involved Protecting Your Drinking Water

After the 2014 water crisis, West Virginia passed a law requiring water utilities to develop Source Water Protection Plans (SWPPs) detailing how the water utility will protect our drinking water.

Plans were submitted to the WV Bureau of Public Health in July 1, 2016. The law requires utilities to update these plans every 3 years with public input. The first round of updates are due by July 1.

We encourage you to participate in this process – clean drinking water is everyone’s responsibility!

Contact your drinking water provider and find out how you can submit comments! Check out our Drinking Water Protection Fact Sheet for suggested comments and download our toolkit, Drinking Water Protection: A Citizen’s Guide to Getting Involved, to learn more about source water protection planning.

Meet WV Rivers’ Public Lands Coordinator, Rhea Mitchell

West Virginia’s public lands have a fierce new advocate on WV Rivers’ staff. Rhea Mitchell, a long-time WV Rivers volunteer and dedicated public lands advocate, joined the WV Rivers’ team in mid-May.

Rhea is proud to live in West Virginia, and not only calls the forests, streams, cliffs, and rivers of the New River Gorge her home, but also her little slice of heaven.

Rhea graduated from Bloomsburg University with a BA in photography and journalism. Before joining the WV Rivers staff, she served as a volunteer leader for West Virginians for Public Lands. Rhea brings experience in community outreach, policy advocacy, and volunteer management.

Welcome to the team, Rhea! If you’d like to send Rhea a welcome note, you can email her at rmitchell@wvrivers.org.

Action Alert: Comment on MVP Water Pollution by July 18

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) was recently fined approximately $266,000 by the WVDEP for repeated water quality violations. The proposed agreement for the fine is now open for public comment.

You can submit comments on the proposed fine through July 18. Submit your comments here. You can read WV Rivers’ draft comments on the fine here.

The fine accounts for 26 of the 31 violations WVDEP has issued the company to date. The water quality violations are the result of MVP allowing muddy water to pollute 33 streams and wetlands. In the photo to the left, you can see sediment flowing into Indian Creek from a MVP construction site. Learn more here and here.

Contact WVDEP today, tell them to hold MVP accountable for their water quality violations. Request the penalty be increased to account for the severity of impacts and MVP’s repeated negligence and disregard of environmental laws.

 Watchdog Pipelines from Your Computer

Do you want to help watchdog pipeline construction but can’t visit a construction site? We’ve partnered with two innovative programs that use online interactive mapping systems to allow volunteers to identify water quality impacts from natural gas pipelines by viewing aerial photography.

Pipeline CSI, a program of the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance, and Mountain Valley Watch, a collaboration between volunteers and nonprofits, help citizens monitor construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline using high-tech tools. Both programs are free and do not require specialized equipment. All you need is an internet connected computer or smart device.

Learn more and get involved here!

WV Rivers’ Team Gathers to Protect Streams from Climate Change

With our growing team, WV Rivers is able to tackle more issues that threaten West Virginia’s water quality. Last month, our team gathered in Morgantown for a day-long strategy session with the National Wildlife Federation, on confronting climate change. WV Rivers is the West Virginia affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. Want to learn what exactly climate change means? Check out this video.

In West Virginia, our state fish, the brook trout, is already feeling the effects of a warming planet. As rain patterns change, air temperatures rise, and waters warm, brook trout are losing habitat. As a state and as a nation we need to act now on sensible solutions to keep our environment from rapidly warming.

Learn more about climate change on cold-water fish, like the brook trout, in the award willing film “Cold Waters”, and NWF’s climate change reports on freshwater fish and wildlife. View the EPA fact sheet on climate change in West Virginia.

Stay tuned to WV Rivers, we’ll be sharing meaningful actions you can take to confront climate altering pollution in WV.

Upcoming Events

June 14-15: Yak Fest in St. Albans. Yak Fest features live music, art, food, and craft beer along with many vendors highlighting kayaking, fishing, and other recreational activities

June 15: Global Water Dance in Charleston. The Global Water Dances is a project with people from all around the world who dance at the same date/time. Learn more.

June 15: Ohio River Sweep. The Ohio River Sweep is a volunteer, riverbank cleanup that extends the entire length of the Ohio River. Find out how you can get involved here.

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