Chesapeake Bay Program

West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Update

WV Chesapeake Bay Program Website

Summer  2014, Issue 15

Quick Links


U.S. EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL website


What's My Watershed?

In This Issue
Meet the Staff
The Mountain Institute hosts Appalachian Watershed and Stream Monitors Workshop
Nutrient Management Training
Water Words that Work Training
Upcoming Opequon Creek Fun Float
Elks Run Watershed Group Website
WV's Indian Run Removed from Impaired List
Bay Area Envirothon Teams Win Big
CommuniTree Spring Season
Nutrient Management Workshop
Farm Odors Sign of Sustainable Farming Practices
Eastern Panhandle Earth Day Celebration
Volunteer Brainstorming Session

Meet the Staff!

 Andrew Stacy


Meet Andrew Stacy, Communications Specialist for the West Virginia Conservation Agency, out of Charleston, WV. Andrew began his professional career in 1999 with the U.S. Navy as an Operations Specialist. He served in the Navy for five years aboard the USS Chosin out of Pearl Harbor. He also deployed to the Persian Gulf three times and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom before getting out to work on his Bachelor's Degree. Andrew graduated from WVU in 2010 with a B.S. in Public Relations with a minor in Communications.


After graduating, Andrew worked as an intern at the WV Legislative Reference & Information Center in the State Capitol for the 2010 Legislative Session where he wrote weekly articles for three legislators, wrote cover stories for the legislative newsletter and the legislative blog and covered committee meetings.  


In December 2010 Andrew began working for the WVCA. He represents West Virginia on the CBAY Communications Workgroup. The workgroup shares news and events related to the Chesapeake Bay with the other state representatives. They also talk about the best way to get the word out about the new agreement, the new agreement signing event, and all things related to the CBAY program.


Andrew is preparing to begin his Master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at WVU.


The Mountain Institute Hosts Appalachian Watershed And Stream Monitors Workshop

Vicki Fenwick-Judy, The Mountain Institute

The 2014 Appalachian Watershed and Stream Monitors (AWSM) professional development workshop will be held July 14-16, 2014 at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center. Immerse yorself in water quality monitoring techniques and the wonders of headwater streams and ecosystems.

Topics and activities to include: 

-"Save our Streams" stream monitoring protocols.

-Watershed Project-based learning curriculum workshop

-GIS mapping and practical classroom applications

-BWET grant collaboration session

-AWSM program enrollment and information

-Fly Fishing workshop

-Special Guest Speaker

For more information, contact Kellee Waddell, Education Coordinator at kwaddell@mountain.org, 304-567-2632

Space is Limited, so Click HERE to register today! 


Runners of the 2013 EPCD 5K

 Join the Eastern Panhandle for the 3rd Annual District Dash on June 21, 2014!

Heather Ishman, Eastern Panhandle Conservation District


The Eastern Panhandle Conservation District will be hosting their third annual 5K and 1 mile fun walk on June 21, 2014 at Cacapon State Park to benefit the fund for the Eastern Panhandle Envirothon students. Previously titled, "EPCD Earth Day 5K and 1 Mile Fun Walk," the event is now called the "District Dash." The morning will begin with the 5K featuring an "up and back course" touring Cacapon State Park. During the same time, the flat, stroller accessible 1 mile walk will occur as well. After the race, the EnviroScape will be on display teaching everyone on the importance of clean water, how pollution affects our drinking water, and how proper environmental stewardship and buffers can protect our waters. Two Rivers Treads will also be on hand with a running and balanced foot clinic. Registration is open on Active.com, keyword "District Dash" or by clicking here. There are also sponsorship opportunities available. Please call Heather Ishman 304 263 4376 x 4 or hishman@epcd.us for more information. 

Attend a Free Water Words that Work Communications Training June 17!

Suzy Lucas, WV Conservation Agency


 On Tuesday, June 17, 2014 from 8:30AM to 3:30PM, join Water Words That Work with your fellow conservation volunteers and professionals in Martinsburg, at the James Rumsey Technical Institute! Come learn how to improve your communication skills and craft your message in such a way that you will both reach and influence your target audience. In this training, Water Words That Work will also teach us about "Combat Communication" and how to hone our messaging skills to set the record straight when controversy strikes! RSVP to Suzy Lucas at rlucas@wvca.us. Please register no later than June 12. 

Join the Fun Float on the Opequon River!

Opequon Creek Project Team


 On Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 10:00 am, the Opequon Creek Project Team will be hosting a Fun Float on the Opequon Creek River and invite you to join in! They will launch from Van Metre Stone Bridge public access area and take out near Myers Bridge Road, for a three hour float total. A picnic will follow along the banks of the creek. Plan to bring your own boat, kayak or canoe, but if you don't have one, contact the project team because they have extras. Please call Sandra Bernardi 304-267-6657 for more information and to confirm if you're coming. Click here for the flier!

Elks Run Watershed Group New Website

 Elks Run Watershed Group


Check out the Elks Run Watershed Group website! Stay updated on local projects and instructional videos that the Elks Run Watershed Group are implementing in their watershed. The group procured funding for this webite with matching funds from WVCA for a Clean Water Act Section 319 grant to help achieve their mission of taking care of the Elks Run, a stream located in Jefferson county, West Virginia."

 You can check out the website at http://www.elksrunwatershed.org/


Highlights of the 2014 Farm Bill

Stacy Ouellette, NRCS Public Affairs  


In May, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the launch of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  The program is designed to support partnerships in three tiers of funding: Critical Conservation Areas, National and State.  Partners are able to submit applications for any one of the three funding tiers.


RCPP combines the authorities of four former conservation programs - the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program (CBWI), the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) and the Great Lakes Basin Program.   The program is funded with $100 million in mandatory funds plus seven percent of program funds from Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). 

Looking forward, NRCS will provide support through partnership agreements and program contracts and/or easement agreements.  Assistance is delivered in accordance with the rules of EQIP, CSP, ACEP and in certain areas the Watershed Operations and Flood Prevention Program.


Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, designated the Chesapeake Bay as a Critical Conservation Area which provides an opportunity for West Virginia partner participation as nine counties are part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Additional opportunities at the National and State level are available for all of West Virginia.


The major changes between the Farm Bill of 2008 and 2014 will streamline the processes NRCS uses to administer programs.  The conservation practices connected to the 23 programs in 2008 Farm Bill are still present in the 13 programs of the 2014 Farm Bill.


For specific information about the 2014 Farm Bill, contact your local NRCS service center or go to http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/farmbill


Thanks to Conservation Programs, WV's Indian Run is Removed from 303(d) list of Impaired Waters!

Environmental Protection Agency

Volunteer monitors collect benthic macroinvertebrate samples near the mouth of Indian Run during a DEP-led workshop in 2006.



 Elevated fecal coliform levels in Indian Run prompted theWest Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to add the waterbody to the state's Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters in 2008. Further investigations and source tracking showed that the elevated fecal coliform levels were due in part to failing or inadequate home septic systems and runoff from agricultural, urban, and residential areas. Pumping and upgrading septic systems, planting trees, and conducting outreach decreased fecal coliform levels in Indian Run. As a result, DEP removed the stream from the state's 2012 CWA section 303(d) list for fecal coliform impairment.  

 For the full article, click here!


Bay Teams Win Big at West Virginia Envirothon! 

Andrew Stacy, WV Conservation Agency

Moorefield Teams Take Both 1st and 2nd Place at the 2014 Envirothon Competition!


Over 200 high school students from across West Virginia traveled to the Wood County 4H Camp to compete at the 2014 West Virginia Envirothon, held April 24-25. The competition, now in its 18th year, proved to be another exciting contest, especially for teams from the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Advised by Gretchen Cremann, the Moorefield High Gold Team walked away from this year's competition with first place and a shared $5,000 scholarship, sponsored by the Weyerhaeuser Foundation. 

Second place went to the Moorefield High Blue Team, also advised by Cremann. They earned a shared scholarship of $3,750, sponsored by the Dominion Foundation.

"This is our third year," said Cremann. "They [Moorefield Gold] started as sophomores and have been here the past three years. It really means a lot to win; the kids have worked really hard and they all volunteered to do this after school. I feel like I'm on top of the world!"

Out of 34 teams, seven from counties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed placed in the top fifteen. Following the Moorefield teams was Mineral County FFA in sixth, Jefferson County FFA in eighth, Hampshire Homeschool in ninth, Petersburg FFA in tenth and the Berkeley Springs Senior Team in thirteenth. 

The Envirothon is a conservation education program available to students in grades 9 through 12. The Envirothon gives students from across the region the opportunity to test their skills at aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and this year's current environmental topic, Sustainable Agriculture and Local Foods. The testing takes place outdoors in a real world setting guided by environmental professionals.

 For full article, click here

 Another Successful Planting Season with WV Project CommuniTree- Spring 2014!


 Tanner Haid, Urban Forestry Coordinator, Cacapon Institute

528 Trees Were Planted through CommuniTree this Spring!


It's been another very successful planting season with the WV Project CommuniTree program. CommuniTree volunteers, seasoned and new, came together to plant 528 urban trees throughout the Potomac Headwaters of West Virginia - Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Mineral, Hampshire, Hardy, Grant, and Pendleton counties. WV Project CommuniTree builds communities from the roots up by promoting education and volunteerism through urban tree plantings.

WV Project CommuniTree was extremely honored to have our largest group of successful applicants this spring 2014 with 19 groups, and well over 1,000 volunteers, working together to increase tree canopy. We would like to send a huge congratulation, and a sincere thank you, to the following groups for all of their hard work.

Asbury United Methodist Church - Shepherdstown

Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition - Harpers Ferry

City of Ranson - Ranson

East Hardy Middle School - Mathias

Elks Run Watershed Group - Shenandoah Junction

Grant County Extension Service - Petersburg

Hardy County Childcare Center - Moorefield

Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority - Kearneysville

Jefferson County Parks & Recreation - Summit Point

North Fork Elementary School - Circleville

Orchard View Intermediate School - Martinsburg

Riverside Design LLC and Western MD Junior Chamber of Commerce - Ridgeley

Shepherd University - Shepherdstown

Shepherdstown Community Club - Shepherdstown

Sleepy Creek Watershed Association - Berkeley Springs

TA Lowery Elementary School - Ranson

The Gallery HOA - Martinsburg

Washington High School - Charles Town

WV Department of Natural Resources - Lost River


 Workshop Provides over 70 Attendees with Up-to-Date Info in Nutrient Management

Carla Hardy, WV Conservation Agency

Over 70 natural resource professionals attended the nutrient management workshop in Moorefield, WV in April.


West Virginia Nutrient Management Planners from all around the state gathered in Moorefield on April 22nd for a full day of continuing education training on the latest applications and updates in the field of agriculture.   Over seventy planners were in attendance at the workshop and were brought up to speed on the latest in the fields of no-till cover cropping, constructed wetlands on the farm, the management of high tunnels and an overview of the efficiency of the new Moorefield Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.  If you are interested in becoming a West Virginia Certified Nutrient Management Planner or want more information on the program, contact Jerry Ours at jours@wvda.us or call 304.538.2397.  

 Farm Odors a Sign of Sustainable Farming Practices

WV Department of Agriculture

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation
Poultry litter is such a good fertilizer that many poultry farmers also keep cattle herds, just because they can grow such good grass to feed them.


Spring is in full swing and the smell of flowers is in the air. If you live on or near a farm, there's likely to be another smell in the air as well.
You see, spring means time for fertilizer. And fertilizer means manure. And manure means, well �- let's just call it the unmistakable aroma of manure.
In West Virginia, manure comes mainly from cattle and poultry. Cattle manure comes from barns and feeding areas. Chicken litter is a term that means the manure and the wood shavings that are typically used as bedding in chicken houses.
Both are rich sources of undigested nutrients that farmers use to boost the quality of pastures, hay and other crops. In fact, poultry litter is such a good fertilizer that many poultry farmers also keep cattle herds, just because they can grow such good grass to feed them.
"This is an example of what farmers have always done - using the materials on hand to improve efficiency, productivity and their bottom line," said West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) Environmental Programs Assistant Director Matt Monroe.
Is the practice organic?
Not in the formal, certifiable sense.
Is it sustainable?
Far more so than transporting manure somewhere else for disposal, and then having to buy and transport chemical-based fertilizers to the farm.
Is it legal?
In general, West Virginia's "Right To Farm" law provides protection against nuisance suits from neighbors unless "The complainant's use and occupancy ... has existed ... before the agricultural operation complained of ..." and the "conduct of such agricultural operation complained of has caused or will cause actual physical damage...."
Similar laws exist across the United States.
However, that doesn't mean that farmers shouldn't strive to be good neighbors.
"Even if the farmer prevails, no one wins if a dispute ends up in court. The lost money and timesimply aren't worth it," said West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick. "It's far better for a farmer to go out of his or her way to be a considerate neighbor. It will pay far more dividends in the long run."
Click here for full article.

Flying High on Earth Day

Amy Mathews Amos

Suzy Lucas of the WVCA walks kids through the Enviroscape, to learn about preventing pollution in their watersheds.


We're not sure how the weatherman would describe the Panhandle Earth Day Celebration on April 26, but we're calling it a success despite the occasional strong gusts of wind on an otherwise mostly sunny and warm spring day. Downstream Executive Director Bill Howard, videographer Nancy Sanders and Willis Nowell of the Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition managed to capture the day in images, with just a few concessions to the unexpected bluster. 

Bill Howard wrangles the watershed tent, which showcased maps, brochures and other materials from local groups including Friends of the Shenandoah River, Elks Run Watershed Group, Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition, and the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board. Mary Sell of the Jefferson County Water Advisory Committee and Susan Jones and Norman Dean of Sleepy Creek Watershed Association joined Bill to answer questions and talk water with Earth Day visitors. To read full article, click here.  

Upcoming Watershed Volunteering Brainstorming Session

Andy Yost, WV Department of Agriculture

Volunteers from watershed groups attend gatherings to learn new ideas and updates about water quality initiatives.


At the Watershed Group Day, March 26, 2014 in Martinsburg a very complex, complicated and common issue came up for discussion:  the need for volunteers to bolster watershed organizations and their inherent activities.  The volunteerism question is widespread, not only for watershed groups but any organization operating on a dedication of free time, effort and treasure.

For over a year now my home county has been in an uproar over the purchase of a Fire and Rescue building as well as the creation of a county-wide ambulance authority.  Things have quieted to a dull roar at this point.  The big issue both sides can agree on is the declining pool of volunteer fire and rescue workers to draw from.  

I'm not going to cast blame or blow smoke.  Free time is a precious commodity that is going up with the cost of living.  Its allocation is a precious thing, but so is the environment we call home.  These watersheds are our habitat, were we work, play, live, breathe, eat, drink and recreate.  I'm not saying do more, I'm saying get more people involved. 

A great first step is going to take place June 23, in Martinsburg.  It's a Potomac Watershed Volunteering Brainstorming session.  Headed up by Alana Hartman, Jennifer Pauer and Suzy Lucas in response the same issue I'm writing about, I support it as a better idea to share what works to bolster involvement.

 I would love to sit at my typewriter, finish this piece, yawn, stretch, and feel I made a difference.  Mass communication certainly has its place.  But let's take a breath and engage in the shared word at this event.  Please join us from 3-5 pm June 23, 2014, in the Mountaineer Room at the Byrd Health Sciences Center, 2500 Foundation Way, Martinsburg WV.  Click here to read full article. 

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