Testing the Waters

In 2008, the state legislature mandated that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection develop a state-wide water resources management plan.  The Pocahontas County Commission formed the Pocahontas Water Resources Task Force in order to have a local voice.  Since then, the Task Force has been hard at work creating a water resources management plan for the county. At this point, no other counties have chosen to develop a plan, making the Pocahontas County Water Resources Management Plan is the only and first of its kind in the State of West Virginia.

This month, the Pocahontas County Water Resources Task Force will offer free events to introduce the community to the Water Resources Management Plan. A Stream Monitoring Day will take place on Friday, June 13th from 5-8pm. The study will be behind the bridge over Knapp Creek in Marlinton.

“I am Grazia Apolinares. I am the current Water Resources Coordinator.”

“We are going to be teaching Pocahontas County citizens how to perform a water quality monitoring test, which includes a chemical, a physical, and a biological part, as per the protocols of Save Our Streams. The idea is that if at anybody’s property there’s a stream coming through, people could identify several characteristics of the streams to determine if it’s healthy or not. So in that way, we are empowering people with these tools and making them aware of any incident that might be happening on their water that they have around them.”

Pocahontas County, West Virginia is known for its water resources. The county is home to the headwaters of eight rivers: The Cherry, Cranberry, Elk, Gauley, Greenbrier, Shavers Fork of the Cheat, Tygart Valley, and Williams. In fact, all the surface water in the county originates there.

“Having eight rivers in one county? It’s a really interesting geography. I have not come across any other place like that. … So for that, there’s a responsibility to take care of it.”

The Water Resources Management Plan, available at www.pocahontaswater.org

The Water Resources Management Plan, available at www.pocahontaswater.org

Along with the Water Resources Management Plan, the new website includes an innovative mapping tool.  The maps present water as a critical resource to public health, the economy and the health of local ecosystems.  To learn more about the website, Grazia will be available for informative sessions at Pocahontas County libraries.

The first session will be Thursday, June 12th at the McClintic Library in Marlinton. The second will take place on Tuesday, June 17th, in Hillsboro. The third will be Tuesday, June 24th, 2-6pm in Durbin. The fourth will take place Friday, July 11th 10- 5pm in Linwood, and the final session will be Tuesday July 15th 11-8pm in Green Bank.

The goal of the Water Resources Management Plan is to monitor, maintain and when possible enhance the quality and quantity of Pocahontas County’s water resources.  Grazia explained that there is no regulatory component to the plan. It exists simply to inform the people of Pocahontas County, in hopes that they will choose to make responsible and sustainable decisions about the water supply.

“We should care about water because it’s essential in every part of our lives. You can live without electricity, you could live without fuel, but you could not live without water.”

For more information about these upcoming events, email pocahontash2o@gmail.com or call 304-376-1996. The Water Resources Task Force website is www.pocahontaswater.org.

“We kind of take for granted that as soon as we open our tap, there’s going to be water. It’s really hard to envision a world without water, which it happens in some parts of the world. The gift in this place is that there’s plenty of it, so that gives us added responsibility.”

Story By

Megan Moriarty

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