WV Rivers News: Greenbrier River Pollution; MVP Update; Upcoming Events

CSX Construction Muddies the Greenbrier River

Photo by Jenny Harnish.

Pictured is a section of the the Greenbrier River in Summers County.

That muddy water you see is from Howard Creek where, in mid-April, contractors working for CSX illegally dumped sludge from a construction project. Read coverage in the Beckley Register-Herald.

WV Rivers was contacted by local residents about the pollution event and notified the WVDEP. Inspectors responded immediately and issued a violation and began a clean-up. You can view photos of the clean-up efforts here.

Program Director, Autumn Crowe, also reached out the WVDNR about mussel populations that are known to live in the area of the sediment plume. DNR mussel biologist Kevin Ellison conducted a survey and shared that the mussel populations appeared to be healthy and he expressed thanks for notifying him about the pollution.

Citizen observers are an essential defense system for our rivers and streams. Local residents know their creeks, and are often the first to notice when something is wrong. You can report pollution through WV Rivers Stream Watch App. Learn how to download the free app and visually assess water quality here.

WVDEP Accepting Comments on Impaired Streams List

The WVDEP is currently accepting comments on their proposed list of impaired streams called the 303(d) list. The streams included on this list do not meet the state’s water quality standards and are able to receive plans to improve water quality.

After an initial review of WVDEP’s proposed list and methodology, we’ve identified a few areas that could be strengthened.

  1. WVDEP has assessed 47,000 streams, an additional 40,000 streams did not have adequate data to received assessment.
  2. The method used to assess a stream’s ability to support aquatic life is outdated and less accurate than current scientific models.
  3. The last impaired stream list was approved by EPA in 2016. These lists are supposed to be developed every 2 years. The current 303(d) list development is 4 years late. This delay means that our rivers and streams have not been getting the help they need and deserve.

Comments will be accepted through June 1. Next week, we’ll share talking points to help you submit comments on this important decision.

Contest Time! Snap a Photo of a Climate Billboard and Win WV Rivers Swag

This month, billboards a popping up across West Virginia highlighting the WV Climate Pledge! Currently, billboards are up in Pt. Pleasant, Montgomery, Rainelle, Ripley, Parkersburg, Barboursville, Huntington, Bridgeport and Nutter Fort.

Snap a photo of a billboard and email it to wvrivers@wvrivers.org and we’ll send you some WV Rivers swag!

And, if you haven’t already, take the WV Climate Pledge!

What Do You Value about the Mon National Forest?

A hiker in the Dolly Sods Wilderness by Kent Mason.

During 2021, WV Rivers held virtual listening session to hear from folks that use and appreciate the Monongahela National Forest. We wanted to hear what folks prioritized for protection and enhancement with in the forest.

Users identified trail management, caring for wilderness areas like Dolly Sods and Bear Rocks Preserves in light of increased visitation, mapping the forest, removing invasive species, and assuring accessibility as priorities..

Participants also wanted to make sure the critical headwaters in the Mon Forest are protected. From high in the Mon Forests, creeks flow into runs and then flow into streams and rivers, providing drinking water for the Chesapeake Potomac watersheds and the Ohio/Mississippi watersheds.

Over the Summer, we’ll visit Mon Forest communities to share the findings from our first round of listening sessions. We’ll want to continue to hear from you on what you value about the forest. Stay tuned for a schedule of local events.

Drinking Water: There When You Need It

Kids in Marlinton tour their local municipal drinking water plant in recognition of Earth Day and Drinking Water Week. 

“There when you need it,” was the theme of Drinking Water Week 2022, an annual observance the first week of May sponsored by the American Water Works Association that recognizes the contributions of water  professionals.

While Drinking Water Week might be over, Staff Scientist, Jenna Dodson, invites you to reflect on the vital the behind the scenes work that goes into making sure that when you turn on your tap. Read her new blog on Drinking Water Week.

A Rallying Cry for the Greenbrier River

As the Mountain Valley Pipeline continues to push regulators to grant stream-crossing permits, advocates are rallying and speaking the truth about the project’s impact on their communities, rivers, and forests. Recently, Program Director, Autumn Crowe, shared remarks during a rally that really hit home for a lot of us.

Her words speak to the intense personal relationship people have with their local rivers, and the incredible hurt felt when those waters are exploited and harmed. We’ve adapted her remarks for this newsletter and you can read them here.

Save the Date: Events to Support and Celebrate Clean Water

June 4 – Caring for Creation Together: A West Virginia Interfaith Climate Conference

West Virginia chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston will host “Caring for Creation Together: A West Virginia Interfaith Climate Conference” in Charleston on June 4, 2022.

The free event will include faith and other leaders from West Virginia and Appalachia for discussions on West Virginia’s changing climate, its effects on our way of life, our future, and our response.  Attendees will leave with a new understanding of actions they can take and how they can advocate for climate policies and solutions. Register here.

June 14 – WV Gives Green Day

Environmental organizations across West Virginia are joining together for a statewide day of giving. WV Gives Green Day aims to raise awareness – and funds – for the environmental movement in West Virginia. We encourage you to make a donation directly to West Virginia organizations who are work for causes close to your heart. Stay tuned! We’ll share more information on WV Gives Green Day soon. Are you an environmental group that would like to participate in WV Gives Green Day? Send us an email for more info and the toolkit!

June 26 – Clean Water Act Celebration

For 50 years, the Clean Water Act has dramatically reduced pollution and improved water quality across the country. It is integral to WV Rivers’ mission to conserve and restore West Virginia’s exceptional rivers and streams!

The goals of the Clean Water Act can be summed up in just three words: fishable, swimmable, drinkable. It strives to make every body of water in the United States safe to use and enjoy.

We’ll be marking 50 years of the Clean Water Act on Sunday, June 26, during our Clean Water Act Birthday Party. Mark your calendar and learn more.

Ohio River Sweep 2022

Each year, ORSANCO coordinates volunteers from six states, extending the entire length of the Ohio River, to remove litter from various locations along the river and its tributaries. You can find an existing clean-up near you using an online interactive map, or host your own. There are many opportunities for groups including Scouts, city and county parks & recreation, universities, rotary clubs, and local businesses to host clean ups. Learn more.

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