Guardians of the West Fork
Recent Updates

Since 2002, we have installed nine passive treatment systems that use constructed wetlands for acid mine drainage remediation.  Wetlands filter contaminants, like iron and aluminum, out of a solution.  Limestone is added to the system to oxidize metals, letting them fall to the bottom of a large settling pond where they are trapped and cannot flow into the main branch of the West Fork River.  Cattails have also been used in these systems for natural water filtration.

For the past few years, we have been working to preserve three small dams that are scheduled for demolition.  We believe that destruction of the West Milford, Highland, and Two Lick dams would cause massive sedimentation, and that this increased sediment flow would threaten the health and survival of downstream biota.  We also intend to preserve these dams for human recreational purposes (fishing, boating, etc).  A letter will be sent to West Fork residents explaining the potential impacts of dam removal on the West Fork River.

May 2012: Bidding took place on a passive treatment system design for Site #6. 

June 2012: Abnormally high electrical conductivity readings have been found in and around the Lambert's Run restoration area (Site #9).  We have contacted several individuals for assistance, but the cause has yet to be determined.

We discussed dam removal with Jerry Moore, an experienced stream ecologist/biologist who believes that removal will negatively affect West Virginian stream ecosystems and would alter stream biota populations.  He suggests that changes in water velocity will greatly affect the presence or absence of aquatic plants that naturally filter and neutralize pH levels in water contaminated by acid mine drainage.  To read a summary of a recent email that Dr. Moore sent to the Guardians regarding this topic, click here.
Related Links & Resources
  • To access the full text of the article discussed in the June 2013 newsletter, Predatory Impact of Muskellunge on New River, Virginia, Smallmouth Bass, click here.  It is the third article from the top of the page.
  • To read a peer-reviewed scientific journal article about the impacts of acid mine drainage (AMD) on stream biota, scan this.
  • To learn more general information about AMD and AMD remediation, consult this link.  Or this one.
  • This link contains a photograph of Board Member S. Thomas Bond on the West Virginia Conservation agency's website.
  • This website is contains a wonderful profile of the Guardians and the West Fork Watershed, though the Guardians' meeting information is outdated.
  • Want more information about watershed health in West Virginia?  Consult the WVDEP 303(d) impaired streams list here.
  • For a list of watershed protection associations in West Virginia, click here.

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