Pocahontas Water Resource Task Force Gathering Information From Residents
Hillsboro, WV – Lynmarie Knight is on a mission to get feedback from residents of Pocahontas County on the best way to protect the county’s most precious resource – the water. She had a booth set up at a recent festival to distribute surveys.
“We’re out here today with the Water Resources Task Force booth” she says. “We’re trying to engage our community members, let them know about our water resource management plan that our county is developing, and also distribute a brand new community survey that’s going to inform our stakeholder meetings that we’ll have at every county library later in the summer.”
Knight says the information gathered will remain anonymous. She says they want general information about people’s water sources and how they use that water. She says they’re particularly interested in any geologic or other data they might have to share. They’d also like to hear what residents have to say about the future use of the county’s water supplies.
The WRTF has already had one stakeholder meeting with representatives of local business, farmers and various state agencies such as the Forest Service. She says they were pleased with the initial meeting.
“It was actually a really, really productive meeting” says Knight. “I think that what came out of it was a lot of really good information that is really helping to direct where we are going with the water resource plan here, because you can take that in a million different directions, and we want to make sure that we are serving our community, so we got a lot of good input. Things as simple as our rhetoric, how we’re talking to folks, how we can get our message across more clearly.”
“But also exactly what kind of data would be helpful for those who have responsibilities for managing water resources, whether that be for the forest service or for a town.”
The West Virginia Dept of Environmental Protection has been tasked with developing a water resource management plan for the whole state. The Pocahontas task force is unique in that it’s the first and possibly only group that is taking a more proactive approach to establishing a county water resource plan, rather than waiting on the DEP. Knight says they will be distributing their surveys during festivals throughout the summer. You can also take the survey online.
“It’s online now at Survey Monkey; so if you go to www.pocahontaswater.org, you can find a link to that survey” says Knight. “We’re also eventually going to try to distribute them with our new brochures about the water resource management plan that’ll probably be available in all the libraries.”
Knight says she hopes they will get a lot of response to both the surveys and the meetings.
“The best plan that we can come up with here is one that is really developed by the people who live here” she says. “And that’s the purpose of this project, to get local input, and have a voice in how our natural resources, specifically our water is managed. So I hope folks will get on board and participate.”