The West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Trout Unlimited are offering training for volunteers to monitor streams. This training is funded by the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
“Were looking for volunteers to monitor high quality cold water streams that have the potential to be impacted by shale gas development” explains Kathy Tyner of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition.
The training is being put on at no cost to volunteers on Saturday March 14 at the West Virginia Wood Technology Center in Elkins from 10 AM to 4 PM. For those who would like to become stream monitors but cannot attend this training, there will be another training held in Pocahontas County on April 11th, however the location for that training has not yet been determined.
“We train monitors to collect data on some physical conditions of the stream like PH and conductivity,” explains Kathy, “and we also train the monitors to do visual assessment if there are any visible evidence or smell of contamination in the stream. We provide the monitors with all the equipment they would need to take samples, and we provide them with tools to input their data online so that we can share it with agencies and other monitors.”
Once trained, volunteers will be asked to go to their assigned streams at least once a month, but preferably every 2 weeks to make a visual inspection for contamination and to take a water quality reading with provided equipment. At least twice a year, or if they suspect contamination is present, the volunteer will collect and submit water samples for testing using containers they will be given. The streams to be monitored are identified for the volunteer.
“We have a protocol where we have determined streams that need to be monitored,” says Kathy. “Most of these streams are in the Mon National Forest area and they are cold water and are home to trout populations. We use data put together by Trout Unlimited science teams and the Nature Conservancy to determine these areas.”
Jake Lemon, who is the Eastern Shale Gas Monitoring Coordinator for Trout Unlimited says that in Pocahontas, Highland and Bath County areas the primary contamination threat to the trout streams is gas pipeline construction since little or no gas shale drilling is occurring. The monitoring program in West Virginia is relatively new and is based upon a similar program in Pennsylvania.
He says that in Pennsylvania recently, a volunteer stream monitor identified a contaminate bloom in the Pine Creek Watershed and found it was related to pipeline construction that crossed the stream without taking the required precautions. The Monitor’s report caused the state to require the pipeline construction company to fix the problem.
The stream monitoring training will be conducted on Saturday, March 14 at 10 AM in the West Virginia Wood Technology Center in Elkins, WV. There is no cost, but Pre-Registration is required. You can register by contacting Kathy Tyner at 304-637-7201 or emailing her at Ktyner@wvrivers.org. You can also do so by contacting Jake Lemon at 814-779-3965 or emailing him at email@example.com.