Chesapeake Bay Program

West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Update

WV Chesapeake Bay Program Website

Summer 2015, Issue 19

Quick Links


U.S. EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL website


What's My Watershed?

In This Issue
New Faces- Meet Heather Baldwin
Craftworks Hosts Live Event
WV Sustainable Schools Grant Application Available
Tracking our Milestone Progress
Rt 9 Bike Path Porous Pavers Installed
Trout Stream Ecology Class Offered
Tree Canopy in West Virginia
Rain Garden Demo and Contractor's Workshop
Watershed Film Making by Youth
ArcGIS Workshop a Hit with Conservationists
Sleepy Creek Watershed Association Tree Planting
ArcGIS Workshop a Hit with Conservationists
People Making a Difference

 New Intern: Heather Baldwin

Submitted by Melissa Merritt, WVCA

 Heather Baldwin is the WVCA's Moorefield Field office summer intern, in charge of assisting soil sampling efforts and the Agricultural Enhancement Program. Heather currently attends West Virginia University. Heather was also one of the first members of the Moorefield High School Envirothon Team, reigning champions of the past few state competitions.


Seneca Creek-Save Our Streams Workshop

Submitted by Travis Ferry, 

Trout Unlimited

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Save our Streams Program (WVDEP SOS) and Trout Unlimited's Potomac Headwaters Home Rivers Initiative (PHHRI) are teaming up on a project that will help Seneca Creek. On Saturday, August 1, 2015 we will be hosting a WVDEP SOS Training Workshop on a tributary of Seneca Creek off US Highway 33/WV Highway 55 less than a quarter of a mile from Whites Run Rd. The workshop will be held from 10am - 3pm, and will focus on assessing and sampling water
chemistry, benthic macro-invertebrates, and stream and riparian habitat. The group will meet at the large pulloff area on US 33/WV 55 a quarter of a mile from Whites Run Road. Lunch will be provided, but please bring appropriate gear for getting your feet wet.

For directions to the meeting site or for more information on how you can become involved in this project or others please contact Travis Ferry, West Virginia Volunteer Monitoring and Restoration Organizer at tferry@tu.org or 304-614-6699.To read more, click here. 

See You at the Fair! 

Alana Hartman, WVDEP


Local agencies and watershed groups will be setting up information tables at upcoming county fairs in the Potomac Basin.  Stop by and ask them some questions about your local streams and natural resources, sign up for their upcoming activities, or just let them know you support their work.  See you at the fair!


Berkeley County Youth Fair August 1-8, 2015

Martinsburg, WV


Hampshire County Fair August 11-16, 2015

Augusta, WV


Jefferson County Fair August 16-22, 2015


Morgan County Fair July 25, 2015

Berkeley Springs, WV


Tri-County Fair July 25-August 1, 2015

Petersburg, WV

Save the Date!
Chesapeake Watershed Forum
The annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum will be held at the US Fish and Wildlife Service's National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV on September 25-27, 2015.  Registration details will be posted soon at the Forum website. Also follow at #ChesForum .


This is a great opportunity to network with others who value their local streams and rivers.  Workshop sessions will include Planning and Regulation, Citizen Engagement, Restoration Science and Practice, and other relevant topics.


US Appeals Court Upholds Chesapeake Bay Clean-Up Plan
An article from the Washington Post, written by Josh Hicks


A U.S. appeals circuit court on Monday upheld a federal program aimed at reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, despite a challenge from farmers, builders and the attorneys general of 21 states located mostly outside the region.

The unanimous ruling, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, affirmed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency restrictions on wastewater treatment and runoff from farms and construction.

The guidelines place limits on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment that are allowed into the watershed. The EPA and scientists have said that the bay absorbs too much of those elements to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia supported the EPA regulations and agreed to implement them.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, which helped lead the fight against the EPA program, argued that plan infringed upon states' authority to regulate their own waterways. A host of industry groups joined the lawsuit, including the Fertilizer Institute and the Association of Home Builders and the National Chicken Council.

But the appeals court said in its ruling that "Congress made a judgment in the Clean Water Act that the states and the EPA could, working together, best allocate the benefits and burdens of lowering pollution. 

Click here to read full article.

Tracking our Milestones

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

See how West Virginia compares to other Bay States in meeting the Bay Milestones.


As part of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the six Bay states and District of Columbia vowed to implement the strategies needed to restore the Bay and its rivers and streams by 2025. The states also committed to two-year incremental goals called Milestones. Failure to meet these Milestones can result in federal consequences.

On July 14, 2015, CBF and the Choose Clean Water Coalition published their latest Milestones reports, taking a detailed look at whether or not states are on track to meet their 2017 pollution-reduction targets. To read more and view more of West Virginia's progress, click here. 

Rt. 9 Bike Path Porous Paving Installed

Submitted by Suzy Lucas, Conservation Specialist, WVCA

The informational sign that is displayed next to the pavers on the Rt. 9 bike path, created by Suzy Lucas. 

On June 3 and 4th, 2015 the Rt. 9 Bike Path parking lot in Martinsburg received an 800 square ft. addition of porous pavers called GeoPave. WV DOH installed the pavers, in partnership with WVCA, EPCD, WV DOH, and the Chesapeake Bay Program. The pavers consist of a geotextile liner that lays underneath just above the subsoil, a 6 inch gravel base that stabilizes the pavers and allows them to withstand the weight of heavy vehicles, and the actual paving units, which are a heavy duty plastic material that hold a 2 inch layer of stone in place through a unique cell pattern. Educational signage (pictured above) has been placed at the site that explains how the pavers infiltrate stormwater and help the Opequon Creek. Take a look and learn exactly how the pavers work and just how much water they will prevent from carrying pollution into the Opequon! Click here for more information.

Trout Stream Ecology Class Offered

Heather Baldwin, Intern at WVCA

Participants at the Trout Stream Ecology Class, including members from seven different agencies in West Virginia


Tuesday, June 16, seven different agencies were present for the Trout Stream Ecology and Assessment Course hosted by Trout Unlimited, WV DEP's Save our Streams Program, and the West Virginia Conservation Agency. The agencies which participated include WVDA, WVCA, NRCS, Trout Unlimited, WVDOH, WVDEP, and the Cacapon and Lost River Land Trust. The eighteen participants traveled to Three Springs near Baker, WV to view Trout Unlimited and partner's ongoing restoration project. Greg Hulver, the landowner, was gracious enough to allow use his land for the course. The comprehensive course was designed to provide local conservation professionals with an understanding of the trout resources, concerns, assessment techniques, and restoration efforts in their watershed. Participants participated in several activities including water chemistry tests, a habitat assessment, an evaluation of the benthic community present, and an assessment of the fish community present via electroshocking. 


Whitney Pipkin, BayJournal

Save White Horse Mountain.


If there's one sight visitors to West Virginia expect to see, it's trees. Tree-covered mountains and tree-lined streams are central to the image of the state - and to the rest of the Chesapeake Bay's water-quality equation.

But the eight-county portion of West Virginia that makes up its Eastern Panhandle in the Bay watershed is struggling to "hold the line" on tree canopy, let alone add more trees than it's losing to increasing population and infrastructure projects.

"Out here, we are losing canopy at a very high rate," said Frank Rodgers, executive director of the Cacapon Institute, a nonprofit based near its eponymous river in West Virginia.

Since its start in 1985 as a response to increasing development that was threatening the Cacapon, the institute has expanded its focus to encompass more of the Potomac River and Bay watershed into which the Cacapon feeds.

Rodgers also serves as the West Virginia representative on the Chesapeake Bay Program's Forestry Workgroup, which is working on a strategy to protect tree canopy in the watershed.

He told the group during a call this winter about the factors working against tree canopy in West Virginia, which only last year joined the Chesapeake Bay Agreement as an official state signatory.

"Our land cover growth is happening faster than our population growth, which is indicative of sprawl," Rodgers said. "The I-81 corridor that runs through Martinsburg has the fastest rate of urban land cover growth in the watershed."

Part of West Virginia's Monroe County in the southern part of the state is also in the Bay watershed, but most Bay-focused efforts are concentrated in the state's Eastern Panhandle. This portion of the state has grown as a bedroom community for those willing to commute more than an hour into Northern Virginia or Washington, DC.

Though the recession slowed the building of new homes, the state's tree canopy continued to take hits from new infrastructure projects, some of which won't even serve its residents. The state loses trees, sometimes in 60-foot-wide swaths, to new transmission lines and pipelines taking energy to population centers surrounding the state. To read full article, click here. 

Rain Garden Demonstration and Contractor's Workshop

 Submitted by Suzy Lucas, Conservation Specialist, WVCA


The Downstream Project films as the rain garden is constructed and planted.

On May 11, 2015 a 100 square ft. rain garden demonstration was installed in the Meadow Brook Farms subdivision in the Elks Run watershed in the first cul-de-sac of the community. The garden will receive rooftop runoff from 678 square feet of the home of the coordinator of the Elks Run Watershed Group, Beth Brent. Beth is an avid gardener and advocate of Elks Run and water quality. She spearheaded the outreach and educational component of the project and brought in many partners to help install the garden. The garden was used to train local contractors in installing rain gardens. WV DEP, in conjunction with Alpha and Associates (the engineers who designed the garden), and Allscape, LLC. (a local landscaper) described to contractors the specifications and requirements for rain gardens, in addition to the physical labor required to put them in ground. Cacapon Institute provided a planting plan and plants for the garden. There were 17 attendees at the rain garden training, 6 of which were contractors. The training qualified contractors to install rain gardens through the Elks Run Residential Rain Garden Rebate Program and culminated in a "job showing" of the program's first residential rain garden application site. Beth rounded up 9 children and 3 parents from Meadow Brook Farms, who planted the rain garden, with instruction provided by Allscape, LLC. Click here for more pictures.

Pilot Program Allows Students to Engage with Watersheds Via Film Making

Kate Lehman, Warm Springs Watershed Association

A partnership between Warm Springs Watershed Association, Friends of the Cacapon, and West Virginia Rivers Coalition made this project possible.


Warm Springs Watershed Association and Friends of the Cacapon River have entered into a partnership with WV Rivers Coalition to create a pilot program whereby teenagers tell the stories of a watershed by creating short films.

 The Cacapon River is reputed to be one of the cleanest streams in the nation, flowing largely through non-industrialized, non-developed areas. Warm Springs Run flows through an urbanized watershed with ever increasing percentages of impervious areas brought about by increasing industrial development.

The teens chosen to participate in this program have already shown a strong interest in watershed protection. Their background knowledge will be supplemented by in-depth training by experts in various areas of watershed and stream health.

Jack Kelly, a retired public television documentary filmmaker, will teach participants various aspects of filmmaking. Over the course of his career, Kelly has won many accolades, most recently the Telly Award, which recognizes outstanding local, regional and cable film productions. As a volunteer, Jack is the director of the Morgan Arts Council's (MAC) Digital Media Center for Community Engagement.

The videos produced by the teens will be featured on Project Open Voice: Berkeley Springs Community Matters. Project Open Voice is a partnership between MAC and COMCAST in order to offer a digital PEG Channel that will allow groups, clubs, associations and businesses in Morgan County to share information, news and events about their organizations through the World Wide Web.

The goal of creating digital stories of the watershed is to capture the attention of the larger public. It is also anticipated that the insights of teens will speak loudly to other teens, thereby creating a new generation of people interested in protecting our counties' streams.

Training will take place for a week in July. During that time students will utilize what they've learned by making two films. Between July and December, teens will create two more videos specifically about the stories of the watershed. Over the course of the year, they will be available to film the ongoing work of the watershed association. These films will also be posted on the Community Matters website.

This is a pilot project, and the WV Rivers Coalition is seeking funding in order to duplicate it in communities throughout the state.

ArcGIS Workshop for Conservation Professionals in the Bay Watershed is a Success

Melissa Merritt, Conservation Specialist, WVCA


Participants of the first ever ArcGIS training for Conservation Professionals.

On July 14, 2015, the WVCA, in partnership with the WV Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and the WVU GIS Technical Center, held the first ever ArcGIS Data and Mapping Workshop for Conservation Professionals at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. This training focused on utilizing free data resources online to help with mapping conservation efforts, as well as more advanced analysis of data layers for those with ArcGIS software. If you were unable to make this last workshop, have no fear! A second workshop is slated for the fall to accommodate the interest. 

 To get added to the email list for this next workshop, email Melissa Merritt at mmerritt@wvca.us. 

Sleepy Creek Watershed Gains 3.7 Acres of Trees!

Suzy Lucas, Conservation Specialist, WVCA

Stan Oaks, Sleepy Creek Watershed Association, helps to plant trees in the watershed. 


On May 16, 2015 the Sleepy Creek Watershed gained 3.7 acres of forest, through an EPA 319 Clean Water Act Watershed Project grant. The trees will aid in intercepting stormwater runoff and prevent pollutants such as bacteria, nutrients, and sediment from entering Sleepy Creek. The 3.7 acres of afforestation is composed of 370 trees, 25 different native species, and is established in the Old Mill Manor subdivision throughout 7 different properties. Sixteen hard working volunteers planted the trees within 5 short hours. The plantings also abut a riparian buffer that was established on the Hess farm that neighbors the subdivision. This planting could not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the landowners and volunteers who dug holes and planted trees, Sleepy Creek Watershed Association who brought in all of the volunteers, WV Division of Forestry who planned the planting, and the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District and WV Conservation Agency who manage and administer the grant that funded the project. 


Craftworks is a Unique Combination of Art and Nature - Featured on WV Public Broadcasting Radio!

Melissa Merritt, Conservation Specialist, WVCA


Craftworks was featured in the morning program of WV Public Radio! 

On West Virginia Morning, a report was filed from Jefferson County in the Eastern Panhandle about a nature preserve that's also an art studio.  The story was on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Radio news - telling West Virginia's story. To hear the full audio story, click here.

About WV's Potomac Tributary Strategy Team
Fourteen percent (14%) of West Virginia drains into the Potomac River and on to the Chesapeake Bay. In June of 2002, Governor Bob Wise signed the Chesapeake Bay Program Water Quality Initiative Memorandum of Understanding. By signing this memo, West Virginia agreed to develop goals and objectives to reduce nutrient and sediment loading to the Chesapeake Bay. 

To help WV accomplish these goals, Project Teams began working in targeted watersheds. These groups build partnerships, gather funding, and identify priority projects that are most important to their local communities.

Reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in local creeks and rivers will mean healthier water resources that are better able to sustain tourism, fishing, drinking water supplies, wildlife habitat, and other uses. Each one of us can act locally to help achieve these goals.


WV's Potomac Tributary Strategy Team