Chesapeake Bay Program

West Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Update

WV Chesapeake Bay Program Website

Fall/Winter  2013, Issue 13

Quick Links


U.S. EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL website


What's My Watershed?

In This Issue
Homeowner BMP Guide
30 events+ for 30 Years of Bay Restoration
Moorefield Wastewater Plant
Buffer Planting in Sleepy Creek Watershed
Farming Conservation Efforts
WV Agriculture Program
Conservation Competition
Litter Balers in West Virginia
WVSDB Rain Garden

Meet the Staff!

 Sebastian Donner, WVDEP


Sebastian works as Stormwater Specialist for the NonPoint Source program within the Division of Water and Waste at the WV Department of Environmental Protection.  His focus is Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure through the implementation of urban stormwater Best Management Practices.  While spending some of the nineties in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, Sebastian is originally from Germany.  After establishing the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute laboratory, Sebastian supplemented his PhD in Analytical Chemistry and Masters in Public Administration with environmental engineering background to work in the field of environmental protection.

Meet the Staff!

 Jeremy Crossland, WVDA


Jeremy Crossland is a new Nutrient Management Specialist for the WV Department of Agriculture who began work  in July of this year. Jeremy's background includes past work as a nutrient management technician for NRCS. He graduated from WVU with a degree in Agriculture and Extension Education. Jeremy is from Old Fields, WV. 

Download The Homeowner Guide For a More Bay-Friendly Property 

Chespeake Stormwater Network 


This guide presents a step by step approach for analyzing your property to find out whether it makes sense to install a rain garden or other residential stewardship practices. We then take you through the design and installation of several of the homeowner practices, so that you can install them on your own. Many Bay communities offer technical and financial assistance to help you install stewardship practices on your lot. To read more about this document, click here.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Gratitude Initiative: 30+ Events for 30 Years of Restoration!

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay


In celebrating the work accomplished over the past 30 Years, The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is promoting volunteer events throughout the watershed. Find an event near you and join in our 30+ events for 30 years!  You'll be helping to recognize the past work of volunteers and others in the Bay restoration community as you plant seeds (or seedlings) for the future. To see the map and learn how you can participate in the volunteer events, click here.

Chespeake Bay Program


The Potomac Conservancy has reported an improvement in the Potomac River's health for the third year in a row, giving the waterway a "C" in its seventh annual State of the Nation's River report.

In 2012, the Potomac topped American Rivers' list of the nation's most endangered waterways, the biggest threat a combination of agricultural and stormwater runoff. With continued population growth in the Washington, D.C., area, human development has increased the amount of impervious surfaces that cannot absorb polluted rainfall traveling across the land and into storm drains, rivers and streams. To view the report card,


A History of the Chesapeake Bay Program

Reprinted from Chesapeake Bay Program Website  


2013 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the signing of the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement which, in 1983, established the Chesapeake Bay Program. 

For this quarter's lead article of the Chesapeake Bay Newsletter, we'd like to take a minute to look back on the beginnings of the Chesapeake Bay Program, and the evolution of this initiative leading to our efforts today.


Early history and formation of the Bay Program 

It all began in the late 1970s, U.S. Senator Charles "Mac" Mathias (R-Md.) sponsored a Congressionally funded $27 million, five-year study to analyze the Bay's rapid loss of wildlife and aquatic life. The study, which was published in the early 1980s, identified excess nutrient pollution as the main source of the Bay's degradation. These initial research findings led to the formation of the Chesapeake Bay Program as the means to restore the Bay.

1983 Agreement

The original Chesapeake Bay Agreement was a simple, one-page pledge signed in 1983. The agreement recognized that a cooperative approach was necessary to address the Bay's pollution problems. It also established a Chesapeake Bay liaison office in Annapolis, Maryland. The signatories of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement of 1983 became the Chesapeake Executive Council and included: the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

Moving the Partnership Forward

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, now being drafted, 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. For the full timeline, click here.

Pilgrim's Pride, Localities Unite to Build Wastewater Plant

Reprinted from the Bay Journal

written by Rona Cobell on Oct. 23, 2013

The Moorefield wastewater treatment plant became operational in October of this year.


Moorefield, WV, is a small town that faced a problem many small towns encounter: How to pay for a new, expensive wastewater treatment system when residents' wallets are already stretched by high taxes and low salaries.

But the way it solved its problem makes Moorefield unique. The town of 5,000 residents partnered with a company, Pilgrim's Pride, and two other nearby systems, all of which needed to improve their waste treatment.

Together they built a $40 million treatment system that will reduce total nitrogen loads by 90,000 pounds a year and total phosphorus by 93,000 pounds a year. The system will compost much of its own waste and sell the products, as well as reuse some of its water to save money.

The system prepares to go online this month, after 13 long years in the making. West Virginia environmental officials say it is the first enhanced nutrient removal system in the state. Another is likely coming to Martinsburg in the next few years. Many environmental activists say, it's long overdue.

 To read full article and visit the Bay Journal website, 

click here.

 Buffer Planting Goes A Long Way to Achieve Sleepy Creek TMDL

Suzy Lucas, WV Conservation Agency 

Over 390 trees were planted on a tributary of Sleepy Creek in Morgan County, WV.


On October 26, 2013 a very large riparian buffer was established by 26 hardworking volunteers in Morgan County, WV on a tributary of Sleepy Creek. The buffer, consisting of 393 trees, was installed on the Hess Farm, owned by siblings Kelly Hess, Robert Hess, Casey Hess, and Lynn Gomez. Combining both sides, the planting is 35 ft. wide by 1,980 ft. long and 1.6 acres in area. All 393 trees were planted, tubed (or caged), and staked in a matter of 5 hours. Owner Kelly Hess said "This is the first time I've ever been a part of something where everyone came together like this and worked so diligently. The planting was in great order and went really well."

This planting was funded by federal Watershed Project Grant from EPA's Clean Water Act Section 319, the aim of which is to achieve Sleepy Creek's TMDL for fecal coliform bacteria. One mission of the grant is to establish 4 acres of riparian buffer. This planting alone has accomplished 40% of that goal and will reduce bacteria counts in the stream by 1.05E+12 colony forming units/100 ml.  The buffer will prevent bacteria from entering the stream by controlling agricultural runoff from pasture fields. Farmer Kelly Hess told the group "My kids play in this stream, I want to do what I can to keep it clean for them!"

 To read full article and view more event photos, click here.

 West Virginia Conservation Efforts Continue to Produce Good Results

Andy Yost, WV Department of Agriculture 

Recent court case looked at whether stormwater runoff from poultry operations required a permit.


For the past few weeks, Alt vs. EPA is being cited as a victory for agriculture over the EPA. The case boiled down to whether or not storm water runoff from chicken houses is agricultural storm water discharge; turns out that it is. This type of runoff is exempt from requiring a permit and is outside of the EPA's jurisdiction.  

While storm water discharge is the general idea of the case, "reasonable care", the good stewardship and conservation efforts of the Eight is Enough farm were cited by the district court in supporting Alt's argument. Many in the local and not-so-local media, as well as the Farm Bureau, were quick to point out that Lois Alt runs a model conservation farm that has been recognized for this on numerous occasions.

She is not alone in conservation efforts. There's a lot of acknowledgment for the good job West Virginia farmers have done in cleaning things up in local streams and rivers. Our state is on pace to achieving its goals in reducing nutrients and sediments that go to the Chesapeake Bay. Exclusion fencing, water troughs, cover crops, litter sheds, nutrient management and independent effort are examples of best management practices to reduce discharges to the Bay. Click here for entire article

Local Agricultural Program Serving WV's Bay Area Farmers

Jennifer Skaggs, WV Conservation Agency


The AgEP program allows Conservation Districts to choose the Best Management Practices to address specific needs in their areas.

The West Virginia Agricultural Enhancement Program (AgEP) is administered by the West Virginia Conservation Districts (CDs) with assistance from the West Virginia Conservation Agency.  The mission of the program is to assist the agricultural cooperators of West Virginia Conservation Districts with the voluntary implementation of best management practices (BMPs) on West Virginia agricultural lands in order to conserve and improve land and water quality for all West Virginia residents.

The program began as a pilot program in three conservation districts in 2009 and was well received by CD cooperators and conservation district supervisors.  Thanks to the success within the pilot CDs in July 2012 the Agricultural Enhancement Program was expanded to all fourteen conservation districts in West Virginia. The conservation needs in districts vary depending on the geography and type of agricultural production within those areas.   The program is designed as a grassroots approach, allowing CDs to choose the best management practices to address specific agricultural issues in their areas.  The conservation district supervisors have been very supportive of this concept and are committed to ensuring successful implementation of the program.  

Within the Chesapeake Bay watershed a total of $263,846.57 was paid to cooperators for the implementation of selected BMPs from July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013.  For a breakdown of best management practices and number of applications, click here.

Town of Bath Receives Grant from Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund

Matthew Pennington, Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council

The Town of Bath receives Small Watershed Grant for erosion and stormwater issues in Greenway Cemetery.


 The Town of Bath is pleased to announce it has

been awarded a $50,000 Small Watershed
Grant through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship
Fund, a program administered by the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The
Town of Bath will use these funds to address
erosion and stormwater issues occurring within the Greenway Cemetery. 

On May 17, 2013 the Town of Bath/Greenway was selected to receive assistance under the pilot Community Environmental Management Program (CEM). The technical assistance provided by the Eastern Panhandle Planning and Development Council (Region 9) through CEM aided the town in developing a competitive application for the Small Watershed Grant. CEM is a collaborative effort of the WV Chesapeake Bay Tributary Team that includes the WV Department of Environmental Protection, Conservation Agency, Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry, Freshwater Institute, Region 9 and Cacapon Institute. CEM focuses on assisting well-organized groups motivated to improve their environment through community education and technical assistance.

The Town hopes to begin the project planning process this winter. For the full article, click here.

Conservation Competition as Way to Engage Students and Adults

Melissa Merritt, WV Conservation Agency

Kelly Cochran, with WVDEP, presents the forestry session in the conservation competition.


In any initiative working with environmental topics, public awareness is large part of success.  It's often a challenge finding new and creative ways to get across the message of environmental issues to the community. This challenge prompted the creation of an environmental conservation and natural resources competition that can be utilized both as an in-school competition as well as an engaging, interactive display for youth and adults alike. 

Creating this competition turned into a quest to find the best way to engage students between 4th -8th grades, who may not have prior knowledge of aquatics, forestry, soils, or wildlife, to not only want to participate and learn this material, but also to feel accomplished and want to continue their interest, all within an hour period or less. 

This competition is still being developed, and could not have been done without the help from some very hardworking people. These folks include Kelly Cochran from the WVDEP, with help and input from Alana Hartman from WDEP, Suzy Lucas from the WVCA, Molly Barkman from the Cacapon Institute, as well as Jim Fregonara from the WVDNR.  

To read the full article, click here.

WV Poultry Growers, Businessmen Look to Litter Balers to Increase Litter Marketability 

Andy Yost, WV Department of Agriculture
Poultry litter.  Chesapeake Bay.  Four words in a search engine pulled up results quicker than a waterman can pull up a crab pot.  

According to the 2013 West Virginia Agricultural Statistics Bulletin 94 million broiler chickens, 3.3 million turkeys and 1.9 million non-broiler chickens were raised here in 2012.  It is known that as long as people eat and raise birds, selfsame birds are going to poop.  We also know proper storage and application of poultry litter benefits soil nutrition and ensuing crop production while protecting the Chesapeake Bay--but what to do with litter if it outpaces the soil deficiency in the locality?

On Tuesday, November 12, 2013 concerned farmers, investors and business innovators met in the Moorefield Fire Company bingo hall to hear a presentation on the possibility of creating a litter baling operation in the area.  In a nutshell this business would convert raw poultry litter into compressed, tested, moisture adjusted, bagged or baled composted fertilizer.  

The operation occurs in a baler designed and built by the White line Fertilizer Supply based on a trash compacter design.  The baled product could be shrink-wrapped with an environmental resistant plastic with a shelf life of 3 years.   A composting heating process occurring over the next few days has a 99% effective kill rate.  The 4 foot square bale will weigh approximately 1.5 tons, is easily transported and stored.  To read full article, click here.

Rain Garden Completed on WV Schools for the Deaf and Blind Campus

Melissa Merritt, WV Conservation Agency

Kids from Camp GIZMO helped to plant more than 300 plants in a rain garden on the WV Schools for the Deaf and Blind campus.


The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind have partnered up with local state agencies, with the help of a federal Chesapeake Bay grant, to build an almost 900 square foot rain garden on the school campus.  The purpose of the garden is to lessen the amount of storm water runoff that would otherwise enter into Big Run, the river that runs through the City of Romney.

Originally, the site of the proposed rain garden was prioritized as a location for a stormwater retro-fit practice by an assessment that was conducted in 2011 by the Center for Watershed Protection, organized by the City of Romney and WV Department of Environmental Protection.  The funding for this rain garden was procured from a Chesapeake Bay Grant in 2013, in line with the goal to help improve water quality to tributaries leading into the Potomac River, and eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. Construction of the rain garden started in mid-June, with assistance from West Virginia Division of Highways.  Planting of the rain garden took place on July 22, 2013, with help from the younger students from Camp GIZMO and members from the local Romney Rotary Club.

 Rain gardens are effective in filtering and removing up to 90% of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80% of sediments from the rainwater runoff. Rain gardens can be simple, inexpensive solutions to urban storm water runoff problems. 

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