P.A.N. is awarded “2007 Watershed Association of the Year” by WV Watershed Network.

 

ImageMorgantown, WV – For the ninth consecutive year, watershed groups from all across the state were recognized by the West Virginia Watershed Network for their efforts in protecting and restoring local watersheds.

 

Over 100 volunteers attended Watershed Celebration Day on November 3. The group gathered at Lakeview Resort in Morgantown to honor 15 watershed group and one individual for their hard work and commitment in protecting and restoring streams and educating their communities about the importance of watershed protection.

 

“It is very inspiring to see how much these volunteer watershed organizations continued to achieve in their communities” Rick Buckley, Clean Stream Coordinator for the Federal Office of Surface Mining. “Their accomplishments are a testimony to each of us that we all cam make a positive difference, for the health of our stream and rivers, by working together and being committed.”

 

The highest honor went to the Plateau Action Network of Fayette County as the 2007 Watershed Association of the Year. This award is presented to the watersed association who has best exemplified outstanding efforts with their watershed. The group received a plaque and a $5000 cash award donated by the Dominion Foundation. The Division of Highways also provided highway signs designating the watershed association as the watershed association of the year.

P.A.N. ‘s accomplishments, among others include

 

Public outreach through community meetings, workshops, and educational activities.

a quarterly newsletter and web-site

Highway and stream clean up of solid waste within their watershed.

Participation in their County planning and zoning efforts, including a county-wide wastewater management plan and a flooding and storm water management plan for a major tributary within the watershed. Additionally, they are involved with a County steering committee working on plans for a community Nature and Science Center.

Fostered a strong and positive relation with numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as other organizations. This is demonstrated by their coordination of partnerships with state and federal agencies to fund and construct acid mine drainage clean-up projects with tributaries of our watershed.

As a result of this organization’s integrity, reliability, and dedication, it was given responsibility for managing a several hundred thousand dollar trust fund, established for stream restoration, resulting from a court settlement obtained by WVDEP.

Plateau Action Network continues to make enormous progress in the watershed toward a better quality of life for the community and a cleaner environment for future generations.

 

Other winners were:

 

Forestry – Baker Run Conservation Society, Hardy County

Habitat – Horseshoe Run Watershed Association, Tucker County

Natural Stream Restoration – Little Grave Creek Watershed Association, Marshall County

New Watershed of the Year – Potomac Water Watch, Morgan County

Non Point – Sleepy Creek Watershed Association, Morgan County

Outreach and Education (this category had two winners) – Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Greenbrier County, and Laurel Run Watershed Association, Preston County

Polluted Coal Mine Drainage – Guardians of the West Fork, Marion County

Recreation – Coal River Group, Kanawha County

Solid Waste – Morris Creek Watershed Association, Fayette County

Stream Partners – Buckhannon River Watershed Association, Upshur County

Water Quality – Upper Guyandotte Watershed Association, Wyoming County

Urban Work – Opequon Creek Project Team, Berkeley County

Youth Participation—Friends of Deckers Creek, Monongalia County

Guiding Light – Arthur Halterman, Hardy County

 

Sponsors for this year’s event include West Virginia’s 14 Conservation Districts, American Electric Power, Burgess & Niple, Dominion Foundation, US Office of Surface Mining, US Environmental Protection Agency, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, West Virginia Conservation Agency, West Virginia Division of Highways, West Virginia Watershed Resource Center, West Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Society, West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service.

 

The West Virginia Watershed Network is an informal association of interests with a mission to collaboratively support efforts and provide resources necessary to empower local residents to make decisions for sustainable management of their resources.

 

For more information please contact Teresa Koon at (304)550-2362 or Meredith Gregg at Plateau Action Network at 304.574.4726

 

 

PAN and local youth organizations bring Patagonia’s ‘Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour’ to Fayetteville to support our future Nature & Science Center at Wolf Creek Park!

 

1. What is the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival?

The South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL, pronounced ‘circle’) started the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival as a fundraiser in 2003. Going into its sixth year, the home festival features over 110 films, 60 guest speakers and over 3000 attendees. It is a testament to the power of one grassroots organization to raise awareness for the protection of our world’s natural places.

 

The film festival has grown to receive local, regional, and national applause for celebrating the spirit of environmental awareness and has become the largest traveling festival of its kind in North America. As its founder and organizer, SYRCL has a rich 24-year history with great success in protecting its local watershed, the Yuba. Hosting the first environmental film festival in Nevada County in 2003 was yet another avenue for SYRCL to promote community-building within the Yuba Watershed, as well as a way to explore environmental issues on a global scale through an exciting and influential medium, film! Each year the festival has grown bringing in award-winning international films, filmmakers, celebrities, activists, and filmgoers from all over the world.

 

2. What is the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival On Tour?

In 2004, environmental groups started asking SYRCL to bring their festival to their community. So very organically, the tour developed from outside interest. Three years later, the tour continues to develop as an effective tool for bringing a community together around local and global issues in a venue where environmental groups are able to help raise awareness. Whether it is the struggle for environmental justice or an educational tale about an endangered species, the films expose people to forward-thinking ideas and global awareness. For more information on the tour and festival, see their website at: www.wildandscencifilmfestival.org

 

3. What are the goals for bringing the Tour to Fayetteville?

•Foster better inter-community participation and communication: By involving partners from various groups (with an emphasis on youth organizations and school programs) from within the greater Fayetteville community we hope to increase in our collective capacity and self-confidence, ultimately creating a more effective and cohesive environment for us to live, work, and play in.

 

•Foster a deeper appreciation and awareness of our area’s truly extraordinary natural resources: We feel that by activating local youth groups in this event we can begin to get our community better up to speed on the environmental movements of this age and hope to engage the future leaders and decision makers in better planning for the future of not just our community, but the community of our nation as a whole.

 

•Honor and enhance local natural resource values, rooted in traditional activities such as hunting and fishing: We know that many people in this area care deeply about our natural resources and many have a long-held tie to the land surrounding us. We hope to remind them of the importance of protecting and conserving our bounty – to ensure it is here for future generations to enjoy and appreciate as they have much of their lives.

 

•Raise awareness and to engage participation in the planning of the future Nature & Science Center: With outdoor classrooms and environmental programming, we hope that the Center will one day be the mainstay for this type of education for all local students as well as interested adults, and see the film tour as an opportunity to begin involving area youth in the planning and visioning for the Center’s future.

 

4. How can you help?

We are seeking 12-15 area high school-aged kids and 6-8 adults to sit on the planning/marketing/facilitating committee for this event. The event will be October 28, 2007 and the bulk of the “work” to make this happen will be in the two months prior.

 

The youth planning committee (with a team of adult mentors) will:

•create a marketing campaign for the event;

•organize and manage ticket sales;

•be responsible for choosing the films to be shown (they will choose 3-4 hours of programming from the 50+ different films available);

•manage sponsor relations (for marketing materials, raffle items, food, etc.);

•facilitate the evening’s event (such as MC, manage technical equipment, usher, collect donations, set up informative displays, etc.).

 

The adult planning committee will serve as mentors to the youth committee members, ensuring that they have the support they need to be successful.

 

Interested members should:

•be motivated to raise environmental awareness in our community;

•have 1-2 hours a week available in August and September;

•want to gain experience in planning and facilitating an event;

•be interested in making our community a better place to live!

 

 

Interested in getting involved or know someone who is?

Please contact community coordinators Jenny Becksted (jlbecksted@riseup.net, 970-219-6455) and/or Maura Kistler (maura@waterstoneoutdoors.com, 304-574-2021) for more information or to request to be on the committee.

 

 

I have spent a lot of time, days at this point, researching what is going on with the western Greenbrier Co-Gen Facility (WGCF) and I see less of a need for money and more of a need for public involvement…Read MoreThe problem is that there is no easy way for folks to jump in by attending a meeting, writing a letter, etc… instead, folks need to be contacting:

1. Rahall’s office and constantly hammering the lack of analysis of the cumulative impacts of this project on the ground water and meadow river.

2. Stephanie Timmermyer(head of DEP), Lisa McClung(head of Water and Waste Management,DEP), Yogi Spitell (head of permitting in Water and Waste Management), Lyle Bennett (head of the 401 certification program in DEP)and contact the specific engineer in permitting that will be working on the 401 certification and 404 permit for WGCF(not yet assigned).

The WGCF submitted their 404(clean water act dredge and fill) application(for construction of the intake structure on the meadow upstream of the sewer plant discharge) a while ago and the comment period ended Feb 9. However, before they receive a 404, they have to acquire 401 certification and it is in this certification process that the state can place restrictions on how much water they can take out of the meadow, or rather, limiting how low they can make the stream flow in the interest of protecting the “physical, chemical, and biological” properties of the stream. WGCF just sent in their 401 application and it is currently under review for completeness and will soon be advertised for comment. I requested a copy of the 401 application from Lyle Bennett today. That minimum allowable level can be the product of modeling methods or actual instream analysis, but they both require long term flow data. Flow data comes from gauges and there are not many on the Meadow near the site in question…so there are rules for extrapolating upstream from the nearest gauge. That is exactly what Cary Bledsoe (WVDNR — Elkins) has been doing, using the Tennant, or Montana method to model flows, apply a set of assumptions and available, extrapolated flow data to calculate the threshold flow, expressed as a percentage of “average annual flow”, below which aquatic habitats, etc… become threatened. Cary Bledsoe said that the limit that he is working with is “60% of the average annual flow.” Regarding average annual flow, the developer is using only three years of data taken from a gauge near Rainelle (they may put this in themselves) and says that it is 112cfs. Cary Bledsoe says that that figure is too low and should be more like 180cfs. Cary (DNR) will recommend a figure for this to the DEP (Lyle 401, permitting, etc…) and they will do the swirly engineer thing with “waste load assimilation” and waste load allocation” and issue a 401 cert. the DEP does not just plug in the number from DNR. Lyle mentioned that there are “other factors”, and I think we know what he means! All of this has not instilled a lot of confidence in the agencies ultimately protecting the meadow.

If people contact or write these agency folks, I suppose the message could be, “don’t let them take any water out of the meadow, period. Originally the developer said that they would not touch the Meadow (which is true) and they should be held to this!” In the mean time everyone is waiting for the final EIS to come out of the DOE and expect it to address the many deficiencies that all of the comments identified. It may be time to contact the Governor’s office and see if there is any opportunities there. stall, stall, stall. — Gene