Chesapeake Bay Program

West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Update

WV Chesapeake Bay Program Website

Spring  2014, Issue 14

Quick Links


U.S. EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL website


What's My Watershed?

In This Issue
Meet the Staff
Eastern Panhandle's Watershed Group Gathering
Nutrient Management Training
Upcoming Elk Branch Tree Planting
Cover crop Webcast
Report on Bay shows BMPs are Working
2013 WV BMP Progress
Moorefield Wastewater Plant
Nutrient Management Planning
Shepherdstown Waste Water Treatment Plant
Upcoming STEM Festival

Meet the Staff!

 Andrew Yost, WV Department of Agriculture


Andy Yost is the new Agriculture Outreach Specialist for the WV Department of Agriculture. He will be working state-wide to promote farming conservation and production, as well as a specific focus on environmental initiatives like the Chesapeake Bay Program within West Virginia. Andy also helps with the monthly water quality monitoring of streams within the Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Valley Conservation Districts. He attended Potomac State and graduated WVU with a degree in Agriculture Business. Andy is from Baker, WV. 

  Eastern Panhandle's Watershed Group Gathering on March 26, 2014! 

Suzy Lucas, WV Conservation Agency

Come network with other watershed professionals and volunteers, find out whats happening in the watersheds of the panhandle, and learn about new resources to improve your work!

The Eastern Panhandle Conservation District (EPCD) would like to invite the public, particularly those active in watershed groups, or those interested in becoming active in a local watershed group to attend this Watershed Group Gathering.  This meeting is intended to offer resources to watershed groups and to be an information exchange between participating government agencies, local watershed groups and other environmental non-profits. It is an opportunity for agency and watershed representatives to give updates on projects, activities, and programs that are available.

The 2014 Watershed Group Gathering on March 26, 2014 will be held at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center in Martinsburg, WV. The gathering will run from approximately 9am-noon. Click here for a full agenda!


 Nutrient Management Training in Moorefield, WV, April 22, 2014

Carla Hardy, WV Conservation Agency

  Sign up for a Nutrient Management Training to focus on the newest technology in the agricultural sector. Tentative speakers will cover the no-till method, biosolids application, and wetlands. This day-long training will be held at the South Branch Inn in Moorefield, WV. For more information, contact Carla Hardy at chardy@wvca.us. 


Help Needed with Elk Branch Tree Planting March 29, 2014

 Herb Peddicord, WV Division of Forestry


Come help plant trees at a local farm near Duffields train station, Jefferson County, West Virginia on March 29, 2014.

The trees will enhance the wildlife habitat along Elk Branch and help to filter pollutants and make the streambank more stable. By helping us plant trees and doing your part, you will help to ensure more clean water for future generations, and make better homes and food for animals.

 Contact Herb Peddicord for more information or to let us know you are coming: (304) 229-2665, or email herb.f.peddicord@wv.gov.

 Click here for Flier and Directions.


Register today for free March 25th Watershed Academy Webcast on Cover Crops

Environmental Protection Agency Watershed Academy


 This webcast will introduce nutrient cycling and the importance of soil health in agricultural landscape and discuss how systems of conservation practices such as cover crops can help to improve soil nutrient retention and reduce nutrient losses. The webcast will then discuss common cover crop types and highlight a few cover crops that are being used in the Midwest and why farmers are using these cover crop varieties. This webcast will provide basic information on how cover crops and other conservation systems can be used to provide environmental benefits in watersheds across the US. This webcast will be held March 25 from 1pm-3pm. Click here to register and learn more!

The 2014 Watershed Agreement- Renewing Commitment to the Chesapeake Bay

Reprinted from Chesapeake Bay Program Website  


The Chesapeake Bay Program has accomplished a great deal since the signing of the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement in 1983, but there is still much left to be done. Three decades later, Bay Program partners are working to guide the continued evolution of the Bay ecosystem restoration and stewardship effort with the creation of a new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

This new plan for collaboration across the Bay's political boundaries will clarify our vision, mission and values and establish shared goals and outcomes for the protection, restoration and stewardship of the Bay, its tributaries and the lands that surround them. The agreement is intended to encourage a forward-looking approach to conservation and restoration, focusing on immediate results and recognizing our long-term effort must be sustained by and for future generations.

 Goals of the agreement include reducing pollutants entering the Bay, expanding public access to the Bay, and sustaining currently state-identified healthy waters. Click here to Read Full Agreement. 


Report shows Best Management Practices in the Bay Watershed Are Working

Andrew Stacy, WV Conservation Agency

A report published in February of this year showcases evidence of water quality improvements, challenges, and opportunities for the Chesapeake Bay.


     Pollution-reducing practices can improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams, according to new research from the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership.  In a report released February 25, a number of case studies show that "best management practices" are having a positive impact on the Bay.

     "In New Insights, we find the scientific evidence to support what we've said before: we are rebuilding nature's resilience back into the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, and the watershed can and will recover when our communities support clean local waters," said Nick Dipasquale, director for the Chesapeake Bay Program.

     West Virginia is one of six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which consists primarily of the Potomac River and its tributaries in the eastern panhandle and Potomac Basin regions. The West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA) is one of three lead state agencies facilitating the Chesapeake Bay Program.

     "New Insights: Science-based Evidence of Water Quality Improvements, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Chesapeake" compiles data collected and analyzed by Chesapeake Bay Program partners, including the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

     Over the past several years, the WVCA, in cooperation with local landowners and federal and state organizations, has worked to reduce excess nutrients and sediment from entering the Potomac River watershed and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. "Insights" shows that the hard work is having a positive impact, but there is still more work that needs done. To read full article, click here. For a look at the full "New Insights" Report, Click here . 


2013 West Virginia BMP Progress Slides

Melissa Merritt, WV Conservation Agency 

West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Progress: Implementation Progress and Goals


Updated data, compiled by the West Virginia Chesapeake Bay Tributary team, is now available showing West Virginia's implementation progress to date on several agricultural best management practices (BMPs), as well as stormwater practices. These slides help to put in perspective where we are now, and how far we are from the 2017 and 2025 milestones. For many BMPs, West Virginia is well on its way to achieving the 2017 goal levels, such as in stream exclusion fencing, and agricultural tree plantings. Other BMPs, such as cover crop acres, show fluctuation as they are an "annual" BMP, not cumulative.  Some BMPs are not cost-shared, meaning tracking instances of this practice can be difficult.  To see all progress slides, click here

 Wastewater Authority Addresses Stormwater at New Hardy County Facility

 Carla Hardy, WV Conservation Agency

Typical Details of Level 2, Extended Filtration Design with Underdrain.


March 3, 2014- The Moorefield Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, located in Hardy County, West Virginia went online October of 2013 and will become one of the most significant nutrient reducing components in West Virginia's plan to meet the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.  The plant will reduce total nitrogen loads by 90,000 pounds annually and total phosphorus by 93,000 pounds a year. Composting solids will soon become a big step in making further reductions along with recycling some of the water utilized in the process to save resources.   

Additionally, stormwater runoff is being addressed at the facility with the conversion of a sediment trap from the construction phase into a Class 2 bioretention area.  The rain garden is designed to manage the first inch of rainfall on-site using an extended filtration design with an underdrain as detailed in the West Virginia Stormwater Management and Design Guidance Manual.  The area draining to the bioretention filter is comprised of Monongahela silt loam (MhB).  The facility site totals 6 acres; however, 2 of those acres are comprised of open topped wastewater treatment tanks.  The remaining 4 acres can be broken into 4 different drainage areas that vary in size from 0.5 acre to 2.0 acres.  The contributing drainage area (CDA) for this bioretention filter is comprised of 2 acres. The structure is designed for a volume of a 1 inch storm at 54,300 gallon with a surface area of bioretention at 2,500 SF.

A typical rain garden is a planted depression or a hole that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas, the opportunity to be absorbed. 

Rain gardens can cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%.

This stormwater demonstration was installed cooperatively by the Wastewater Authority and the West Virginia Conservation Agency. For more information on this project, contact Carla Hardy at chardy@wvca.us. 

For full article, click here. 

 WV Department of Agriculture Nutrient Management Planning: Helping Farmers and Helping Water Quality

Andy Yost, WV Department of Agriculture

Nutrient Management Planners
The WVDA has Nutrient Management Planners that will help farmers soil sample and provide a nutrient management plan with the results.


The water quality in the Chesapeake Bay is directly related to precipitation runoff along its shores and within its headwaters.

In the upper Potomac River region, agriculturalists understand how soil nutrient management practices will have an impact on the environment and economy, and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has been helping them develop effective, data-driven nutrient management plans (NMPs) at no cost.

Matt Monroe, Assistant Director of WVDA Regulatory and Environmental Affairs Division, says the Department's emphasis on the issue has resulted in quick advancement toward Chesapeake Bay Program targets.

"As part of our 2025 WIPs (Watershed Implementation Plan) we have a goal of completing and maintaining plans on 90,000 acres in our Bay watershed counties. As of last year we have over 63,000 acres already under planning, even though the WIP goals were set in 2009," Monroe said.

The work has been done largely by six WVDA staff members.

"The department writes over 90 percent of the plans in the state, and the majority of those are in the five poultry-producing counties with others in the tip of the eastern panhandle," said WVDA Poultry and Environmental Specialist Jerry Ours, who oversees five Nutrient Management Specialists who write plans that advise farmers on fertilizer, lime and manure needs for their fields, based on soil and nutrient testing. The plans also prescribe Best Management Practices (BMPs) to be implemented on the farm that protect streams from runoff and save farmers on fertilizer expenses.

 To read full article, click here.

 Shepherdstown Waste Water Treatment Plant-  Ahead of the game in achieving Bay Initiative's Nitrogen and Phosphorous Requirements

Suzy Lucas, WV Conservation Agency 

Brian Welch, Class I Operator proudly displays a bottle of the Shepherdstown waste water plant's crystal clear effluent.


Located along the Potomac River, Shepherdstown is home to nearly 1,200 residents and about 4,000 Shepherd University students. With a growing population and new federal regulations which set strict pollution limits to improve the water in the Chesapeake Bay, this environmentally active community jumped at the opportunity to make changes to help the bay. In October, 2012 Shepherdstown's new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant went on-line, putting the plant 2 years ahead of schedule in meeting the new water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorous and making it one of the first plants in the area to do so.

The plant underwent about $10 million in upgrades, made possible by a $9.2 million, 30 year low interest loan (approximately 0.5%) from the WV Infrastructure Council. The town also had a rise in sewer rates by approximately 50% to help pay for the new plant. Public Works Director Frank Welch said that "Naturally, some customers were upset about the higher rates, but through an education program in newspapers, meetings, etc. most customers in Shepherdstown accepted the higher costs and are environmentally conscious.  The town really wants to help the bay." 

Click here for entire article


 Second Annual STEM FEST on March 22 at Potomac State. All Youth Welcome!

Melissa Merritt, WV Conservation Agency

This STEM Festival is coordinated by the Mineral County STEM Network.


The second annual STEM festival will be happening at Potomac State College in Keyser, WV on March 22, 2014 from Noon until 4pm. This is a great opportunity for students of all ages to come out and explore fun activities and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. 

STEM is a great outlet for getting across environmental issues as well as agriculture! The WV Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the WV Division of Forestry, and the WV Conservation Agency will be there with hands-on activities to engage kids with natural resources and our watersheds.

 With over 43 other presenters at this free-to-attend Festival, this is sure to be an excellent event to kickoff the spring!

Click to see Presenters List. 


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