“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Mission Statement – The Plateau Action Network is a citizen’s coalition working within the community to promote responsible economic development and sustainable environmental management.
In 1997, a group of concerned citizens decided to hold a meeting to address the effects of proposed power lines, which would have impacted a scenic area on the Meadow River. One hundred people came to this meeting and provided the seed support for the birth of the Plateau Action Network. Keep the “Meadow River… Like it is!” This project centralized community efforts into what is now PAN. In 1998, with the help of citizen donations and the WV Rivers Coalition, an all volunteer watershed group, the Plateau Action Network, was incorporated and obtained nonprofit status.
“From the right to know and the duty to inquire flows the obligation to act.” ― Sandra Steingraber
The Plateau Action Network and partners envision a restored Wolf Creek that is safe for swimming and supports a healthy trout population.
Since 1998, PAN has been involved in a variety of projects and issues related to watersheds and the communities within them. These issues vary from powerline routes through scenic and sensitive areas, proposed gas line routes, water quality issues (wastewater treatment and management, acid mine drainage, flooding, and stormwater management), long term planning efforts within the county (e.g. land use, zoning and building codes), and responsible economic development. PAN has sucessfully worked with local, state and federal agencies to help improve the quality of life for the citizens of Fayette County.
In 2001, PAN and the WVDEP developed a memorandum of understanding and partnered with 16 national, state, and local agencies and organizations, who signed to show their commitment to the long-term restoration of Wolf Creek. In 2009, PAN completed a watershed-based plan and hired their first fulltime staff member to coordinate the monitoring and cleanup of Wolf Creek. PAN continues to press forward with water quality improvement projects, to be a visionary and voice for the community, and where necessary, an intermediary between government, business, and the citizens of Fayette County.
“For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyond this point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports.” – Sandra Postel
The New River is at the center of a vibrant tourism economy through which it flows. It represents the area’s unique and threatened natural resources, its rich cultural heritage, and its economic future.
The culmination of serious water quality issues on the New River, demonstrated by the listing of the main stem, and the critical importance of the recreational use of the river have been the principal drivers for PAN to strategically address the challenges facing the New River.
The Plateau Action Network is strongly committed to continuing their collaborative efforts, but collaborations are not static. Instead, collaborative groups’ transition over time, adding or losing members, shifting the roles of member organizations, reworking the collaborative process, or altering collaborative priorities. As a watershed organization, with over 18 years of experience, the Plateau Action Network understands this. We have seen the landscapes of our region change, the fabric of our community evolve, and with it, the passing of stewardship towards our local resources. Moving forward, PAN will continue to assess the composition of our local water resources, work collaboratively with stakeholders and strategically execute projects critical to the health of Lower New River. The Plateau Action Network will continue to remain durable, as long as people are concerned about the preservation of their water resources – “We are advocates for healthy watersheds.”
“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”
― Rachel Carson