WV WaterNet: Winter/Spring 2024


Quality Assurance Project Plans and Training

By: Martin Christ

If you give someone money for collecting environmental data, you would probably want the work done correctly, right? If you get funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to collect environmental data, EPA expects that you will do the work correctly on behalf of the taxpayers. Therefore, if you get Clean Water Act §319 funding, either for a watershed project or through an “Additional Grant Opportunity” (AGO), you must assure EPA that you doing the work correctly by writing a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), getting it approved by EPA, and then adhering to it as you do the work.  

EPA and other partners have published instructions for QAPPs (the document is called a Standard). The list of items to include (given in Section 5B of the Standard) is intimidating at first, but the document can be completed with patience and perseverance.  

WVDEP-WIB wants to help. We are planning training sessions for QAPPs and would like your input. 

QAPPs are organized into four sections. Section A sets the stage for the whole plan. In it, you must describe your team and explain why they are doing all the work. Section B is probably the most predictable section. It covers how careful you will be about collecting data, and how you will be careful. In it, you must describe how you will collect data, how you will calibrate instruments, what quality assurance tests you will do, and many other topics. Sections C and D cover oversight and evaluation during and after the data collection process. The Standard requires many specific details all along the way. 

WVDEP-WIB would like to provide training in a few stages. We would start with a few online training sessions with the goal of introducing the Standard and going over the major items in each of the sections. After the online sessions, we would have “QAPPCamp,” which would be an in-person workshop at a central location. We are submitting proposals for support for the time and travel of those who attend. We will keep you posted about our plans. 

Please click this link and take the survey to share your preferences about QAPP training!


Stream Partners Program 2023

By: Kate Cruickshank


Check out the first Story Map highlighting the amazing projects that watershed groups are doing across the state. You can find the StoryMap here. This article gives a brief overview of the information in the StoryMap! 

The Stream Partners Program is a cooperative effort among multiple state agencies to support community-based organizations to restore, enhance, and protect our streams and rivers. 

 The Stream Partners Program is administered jointly by the following organizations: 

  • West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
  • West Virginia Conservation Agency 
  • West Virginia Division of Natural Resources 
  • West Virginia Division of Forestry 

The program provides up to $5,000 in seed grants to support local efforts. Since the program began in 1996, over 435 grants totaling $2,678,966 have been awarded to watershed associations throughout the state. The recipients of Stream Partners Grants are local watershed associations. These non-profit groups are located across West Virginia and work in their communities to protect water resources by organizing educational events, monitoring water quality, and implementing conservation projects. 

In 2023, nineteen groups received funding for a Stream Partners Program grant:

Watershed Volunteers at the 2023 Watershed Symposium 

In 2023, the Stream Partners Program supported four AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service to America) members to work directly with watershed associations. VISTA members aimed to increase organizational capacity and enhance environmental stewardship as a form of community revitalization. They accomplished this through facilitating new projects that brought attention to watershed associations' work, promoted local rivers as natural assets, and increased community partnerships.

  • Jessica Bryzek - Northern Basin VISTA 
  • Kate Cruickshank - Western Basin VISTA 
  • Haidyn DePinho - Southern Basin VISTA 
  • Trinity Lee - Eastern Basin VISTA 

2024 Summer Festival Floats

By: Jessica Bryzek 

Paddling in West Virginia is an increasingly popular pastime. Whether whitewater or flatwater, or kayak, canoe, raft, or SUP, West Virginia’s waterways are a paddler’s paradise offering miles of play and wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities. Flatwater paddling is common in the state’s low gradient rivers and streams. Across the state, there are many festivals and events geared solely towards flatwater paddlers. The events are organized by local watershed associations and other community groups to promote their local rivers. Check out the list below for upcoming summer floats and events!  

2024 Summer Festivals & Floats

June 8, Weston  

  • Weston Carp Festival Float & Race, City of Weston  

June 8, Winfield

  • Winfield Water Sports Weekend  

June 8, Wayne  

  • Twelvepole Creek Fest, Twelvepole Rising  

June 9, Parsons 

  • Meet the Cheat, Friends of Cheat  

June 15, St. Albans 

  • Tour de Coal, Coal River Group  

July 20, Sutton 

  • Elk River Summer Float 

July 20, Grafton 

  • Tygart Valley River Rally, Save the Tygart Watershed Association  

July 27, Racine Park 

  • Kevin’s Lazy River Adventure, Coal River Group 

August 3, Philippi 

  • LurchFest Paddle, City of Philippi and Save the Tygart Watershed Association  

August 24, Buckhannon 

  • Buckhannon RiverFest, Buckhannon River Watershed Association  

August 24-25, Parkersburg 

  • Parkersburg PaddleFest 

September TBD, Pleasant’s County Water Trails  

  • Paddle the Ohio River, Middle Island Creek, and French Creek 

September 21, Weston 

  • Hearsemania Paddle, City of Weston  

October 26, Buckhannon  

  • Halloween Paddle, Buckhannon River Watershed Association  


Recurring Events 

Friends of Mill Creek - every second Sunday from April through August starting at 4:00 pm  

Fairmont Flotilla - every Tuesday 6:00 PM at Pricketts Fort State Park  

Guardians of the West Fork - every Thursday 6:00 PM in Clarksburg  

Buckhannon River Paddlers - check the Facebook page for monthly paddles 


2024 Spring Vernal Pool Workshops a Success: Remember to submit your surveys!

By: Callie Sams

Vernal pool monitors are on a roll this spring! We saw a big increase in the number of returned surveys this year–keep them coming! Remember to return to your vernal pool in the summer or early fall to see if it’s completely dry or still retaining water. If dry, it may be a good time to get length and width measurements and observations from the substrate that may have been difficult or impossible this spring. 

Over one hundred folks attended vernal pool monitoring workshops this March and April. Workshops were held in Morgantown, Romney, Charleston, New River Gorge, and Pocahontas County. Thank you for joining us! We hope you learned a bunch about vernal pools and felt ready to go take observations on iNaturalist and fill out the survey data sheet. All Vernal Pool Monitoring Materials can be found HERE. 

We are looking forward to our online fall gathering to share our experiences and document the number of surveys in 2024–including the regional winner! Stay tuned for more details.


New River Symposium Recap

By: Jennifer Liddle 

The New River Symposium was held this past April at Radford University and organized by the New River Conservancy and a diverse array of partners.  The theme this year is ‘Rivers Cubed: Reconnect, Restore, Recreate.’ Chief Jamie Poteat Harris, the Chief of the New River Catawba Nation, was the Keynote Speaker.

The symposium celebrated the ecological, economic, and cultural values of the New River, bringing together the region’s diverse constituents, and provided a forum for partnership, research, and policy development.

There were various presentations from aquatic organisms and research conducted on these populations to outdoor recreation and stormwater management.

Watershed associations located in the New River Watershed attended from all three states: North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.  

The Greenbrier River Watershed Association sent board members, and their VISTA member, Haidyn DePinho, to attend and present on the water quality monitoring program alongside Dr. Matthew Williams from the WV School of Osteopathic Medicine. Here's a photo of them below!


Save the Date/Upcoming Events

Save the Date: Western Watershed Basin Gathering

Charleston Area - Location TBD

Friday, September 6, 2024.


Dive into the Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Network's Spring Confluence!

Date: Friday, June 14, 2024 at 11:00 AM 
Location: Tissue Farm, Confluence, PA 

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Network invites WV watershed groups from the Monongahela River watershed to converge in the revitalized town of Confluence, PA, where the Youghiogheny River, Casselman River and Laurel Hill Creek meet, for a day brimming with adventure, community spirit, and a shared commitment to our precious waterways. 

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Network is thrilled to host this Spring Confluence, an event that promises to blend outdoor fun with 

meaningful partnerships and insightful discussions about our rivers and recreational spaces.

The day kicks off with a morning filled with activities. Imagine yourself cycling along the scenic Great Allegheny Passage Trail, paddling through the gentle waters of the upper-middle Yough, or engaging in a serene fishing session in fly fishing mecca. For those interested in the art of fly-tying, there will be opportunities to learn and practice this skillful craft.  

As the clock strikes 11, we shift gears into a series of inspiring talks and interactive workshops. With a fresh coffee and scone from Tissue Farm’s own Coffee Shop in hand, prepare to dive into discussions that matter. Hear from our speakers about innovative water initiatives, share your thoughts, and help shape the future of our network. 

A delightful lunch, courtesy of Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Network and provided by Park Square Market, awaits to satisfy your appetite and offers a perfect setting for networking and forging new connections. This is an opportunity to be part of a community that values safe, healthy outdoor recreation and tourism, and that cherishes our natural water resources. 

So, mark your calendars for June 14th. Let's come together at the Confluence to celebrate, learn, and build a future where our rivers and communities thrive in harmony. 

This year's Spring Confluence offers a hybrid experience, with in-person excitement at Tissue Farm and virtual participation through Zoom for those who can't join us on-site 

Register here.

We're excited to see you there, 

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Network Team


Don’t forget to check out the Watershed Improvement Branch Event Calendar for more upcoming events!  


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West Virginia Rivers Coalition
3501 MacCorkle Ave SE #129  | Charleston, West Virginia 25304
304-637-7201 | wvrivers@wvrivers.org

The WV WaterNet is made possible through an award of Environmental Protection Agency’s 319 funding awarded to the West Virginia Rivers Coalition by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

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