The Rivers Committee of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has partnered with Friends of the Cheat, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Trout Unlimited, Corridor H Alternatives and members of the public to develop a Water Quality Task Force that will conduct water quality monitoring of streams and wetlands, beginning with those affected by construction of Corridor H.
The task force has become aware of current and past degradations of water sources, including Tier 3, high quality naturally reproducing trout streams, as a result of erosion and sedimentation from the construction of Corridor H from Kerens, WV to Parsons, WV. We have also determined that any of the routes that Corridor H will take from Parsons to Davis/Thomas, WV will cross, and potentially compromise, other trout streams and fragile watersheds that should be protected.
The task force has met several times and has agreed that it is necessary to gather historical and current water testing data for the affected waters, so that remedies can be pursued for current violations and that baseline and ongoing data can be collected for potentially affected waters. The company constructing the Corridor H segment from Kerens to Parsons has been cited numerous times and has incurred significant fines by the WVDEP for sedimentation of streams, including S. Haddix Run and its headwaters near Moore, WV. (See The Highlands Voice, March, 2021 https://www.wvhighlands.org/2022/01/01/2021/.
Yet the degradations continue. We need to step up our efforts to hold this and future companies working on Corridor H responsible for taking appropriate measures to protect the waters that they may affect before affecting them, accountable for any violations that occur and responsible for taking appropriate remediation actions.
West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Friends of the Cheat have coordinated to develop and provide water testing training that is current and consistent with WVDEP standards, as well as an agenda for the streams and wetlands to be monitored. We thank them, as well as our other task force partners, for their ongoing efforts!
Volunteers interested in being trained as Citizen Scientists to conduct the water testing and monitoring are needed. These Citizen Scientists will conduct testing similar to that collected by volunteers for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. Anyone interested in participating in the water testing training and becoming a Citizen Scientist to help with this water quality program can contact Madison Ball, Friends of the Cheat Restoration Program Manager at : firstname.lastname@example.org. The first water testing training will be held on Friday, June 17th, from 1:30-4:00 at Mill Race Park in Parsons, WV.