Annual WV Save Our Stream (SOS) Workshop -8-15-15

In an ongoing mission to promote water ecology, the Pocahontas County Water Resources Taskforce will offer a stream quality monitoring and testing workshop streamside at the Stillwell Park in Marlinton on Saturday, August 15th. This will be the second year for this training. The hours are from 10a.m. until 3 p.m. and although there is no charge, participants who wish to become trained stream monitors must pre-register by calling the Taskforce at 304-653-4845 by Friday, August 14th.

The training will be provided by Glenn Nelson, the Save Our Streams coordinator for West Virginia. Glen talks about the three indicators of stream health that this training will encompass –Chemistry, Habitat and Biological.

“Chemistry – dissolved oxygen, temperature, PH – a whole gamete of things” said Nelson. “Then the second thing is we’re going to talk a little bit about habitat. How much vegetation is on either side of the creek, bank stability, various things like that. The very last thing we do is by far what people enjoy the most- it’s the biological part”

Nelson talks about the importance of the biological indicators of stream health – the age and health of the aquatic insects that live in the stream can tell how healthy the stream has been for the past 2 years.

“The chemistry is extremely important –but it’s really a snapshot” Nelson explains. “If I go out and take a temperature, it’s going to change throughout the day. That’s where the biological portion comes in because you get that two year window of -has my stream been healthy for 2 years based on the age class of the aquatic insects that we’re finding ? So that’s what I tell people, if you had to make a bet- or an educated decision- would you want one day’s worth of date or 2 years? It’s a no brainer, you want the more the merrier – and that’s where these insects come in.”

Nelson says that habitat can affect the health of the aquatic life in a stream – insects and fish.

“If you have failing banks you’re putting sediment or you’re allowing erosion- you’re not going to have that vegetation, than your going to have, more than likely failing banks” Nelson says. “Because our fish have gills, our aquatic insects have gills – you allow the sediment to get in there you can smother both organisms but also where they try to call home.”

The goal of this training is to get volunteers trained to conduct frequent and rigorous monitoring or our streams and creeks to identify pollution problems early so that steps can be taken to restore them to health. We talked with Tom Epling, a retired science teacher who lives just south of Cass. Tom was one of the students from last year’s workshop.

“For me it was a review of some techniques that I had learned probably 10 years ago and some introduction to some new ones as well” Epling said. “Essentially the biological diversity studies.”

Epling stresses the need to keep training volunteers to do this work. He says there are intrinsic rewards for those who volunteer as well.

“We must rely on volunteers to do this kind of work” Said Epling. “So from a standpoint of meeting a tremendous need, I would certainly urge people to get involved. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get outside and appreciate and enjoy the beautiful water resources that we have. And I think the more familiarity we have with those resources; we just tend to appreciate them more. So I certainly would urge people to get involved”

Epling also had some kind words to say about Grazia Apolinares of the County Water Resources Taskforce for helping to bring this training about.

“I think she is a real hero in our county, an unsung hero and is doing a tremendous service in getting volunteers to commit themselves to supporting our water resources.” Epling said.

So, if you would like to learn how to both visually and chemically assess and report the health of a stream or creek, this training is for you. Again, it will be conducted streamside at the Stillwell Park in Marlinton on Saturday, August 15th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. but you must call 304-653-4845 by Friday the 14th to register.




Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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