By C.V. Moore
BEARDS FORK —
A new stream monitoring program in Fayette County will examine the effects of coal mining operations, coal processing and loading operations and wastewater treatment on the Loup Creek watershed.
Participants also plan to stock trout in Loup Creek, a reproducing trout stream, and facilitate other clean-up activities focused on trash removal.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection awarded a $5,000 Stream Partners Grant to the Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALS) for the program, which focuses on the Robson/Mulberry section of Loup Creek.
Short term goals for the project include trash removal, stream monitoring workshops and stocking waterways in the Loup Creek watershed with trout.
Looking ahead, SALS wants to foster a group of local residents who will regularly monitor streams in the Loup and Laurel Creek watersheds to determine the impact of local residents, industry and wastewater treatment on water quality.
The group plans to record baseline data so that impacts on water quality from various sources can be measured over the long haul.
According to SALS, some of the issues affecting the watershed include runoff from roads, driveways and railroads; run-off from surface mine sites; litter; improper practices from residents and industry in the area, including wastewater management and coal mining; and use of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that find their way into water sources.
The Kanawha Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited (KVCTU) provided a letter of support for the grant application.
“The KVCTU has worked since 1982 to conserve, protect, and restore Loup Creek’s reproducing wild brown trout fishery,” writes Max Robertson of KVCTU.
“We feel that the fact that Loup Creek holds trout provides even more of a reason to do everything possible to protect the stream. The most effective way to do this is through local participation, involvement and interest.”
A stream monitoring team will be formed from students at SALS Youthbuild, a program that offers training and assistance in getting a GED to high school drop-outs.
The $5,000 in matching funds will pay for water sample testing, transportation of students, hip waders, and other materials.
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