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  • Celebrating Our Public Lands and Waters Through Photography: Contest Winners Announced You Can Visit the Locations of the Winning Photos!Our photo contest celebrating West Virginia's federal public lands and waters received over 150 submissions from photographers across the state ...
    Posted Jan 19, 2017, 7:02 AM by Kathleen Tyner
  • WV Rivers News: 3-Year Anniversary of the Water Crisis, Pipeline Update, Working with the New Administration 3-Years After the Water Crisis: What's Next for Water?Monday, January 9, marked the 3-year anniversary of the Elk River chemical leak and WV Rivers and partners ...
    Posted Jan 13, 2017, 7:18 AM by Kathleen Tyner
  • Three Years After the Water Crisis: Where Are We Now? Three Years After the Water Crisis: Where Are We Now? On the 3rd anniversary of the Elk River chemical leak, three important stories converge FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6 ...
    Posted Jan 6, 2017, 7:57 AM by Kathleen Tyner
  • Protecting West Virginia’s Lands and Waters in 2017 As the New Year begins, West Virginia’s rivers face unprecedented challenges. WV Rivers up to the task — but we need our members and supporters to help raise the voice ...
    Posted Dec 30, 2016, 9:16 AM by David Lillard
  • WV Watershed Groups Host House Majority Leader West Virginia Rivers Coalition and three WV Choose Clean Water Coalition members hosted WV House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles at a holiday reception in Berkley Springs, December 15. Leaders from ...
    Posted Dec 20, 2016, 11:21 AM by David Lillard
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 206. View more »

Celebrating Our Public Lands and Waters Through Photography: Contest Winners Announced

posted Jan 19, 2017, 7:00 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Jan 19, 2017, 7:02 AM ]

You Can Visit the Locations of the Winning Photos!

Our photo contest celebrating West Virginia's federal public lands and waters received over 150 submissions from photographers across the state. The winning photos capture what makes our public lands and waters so precious. The best part? You can visit the locations of all the winning photos! Public lands belong to all of us and we've included some tips to inspire you to get out and explore these incredible destinations.

Water and Landscape: Kate's Branch by Randall Sanger

You can find this picturesque waterfall and many others along the Glade Creek trail system located within the New River Gorge National River. During the spring, Glade Creek is a favorite destination for native wildflowers.

Outdoor Recreation: Hiker Admiring a Developing Rainbow by Melvin Hartley

You'll find incredible views of the New River and the New River Gorge Bridge from the Long Point Trail, part of the Fayetteville area trail system of the New River Gorge National River. Adventurous hikers can head out to the Long Point overlook during Bridge Day for a spectacular view of the festival and BASE jumpers.

WV Rivers Staff's Choice Award: Route 39 Spring by Allen Johnson

Be sure to visit this mountain spring next time you're in Pocahontas County. Located in the Monongahela National Forest and part of the Birthplace of Rivers, this public spring is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. You can find the spring just 200 yards west of the Cranberry Nature Center, on the Route 39 switchback.

Blue Ridge Outdoors Editor's Choice Award: Blue Heron on the New River 
by William Groah

The New River is home to an abundant variety of wildlife, like the blue heron pictured above. If you're interested in bird watching, we'd recommend visiting the Sandstone-Brooks area trails of the New River Gorge National River. Make sure you bring your binoculars, this area is home to nesting bald eagles.

KEEN "Live Monumental" People's Choice Award: Cranberry Wilderness 
by Sam Taylor

Explore high elevation red spruce forests on the North/South Trail in the Monongahela National Forest's Cranberry Wilderness. Red spruce are the only spruce species native to West Virginia and serve as critical habitat for both the endangered West Virginia northern flying squirrel and the threatened Cheat Mountain salamander.

WV Rivers News: 3-Year Anniversary of the Water Crisis, Pipeline Update, Working with the New Administration

posted Jan 13, 2017, 7:17 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Jan 13, 2017, 7:18 AM ]

3-Years After the Water Crisis: What's Next for Water?

Monday, January 9, marked the 3-year anniversary of the Elk River chemical leak and WV Rivers and partners gathered in Charleston to remember the Water Crisis and look forward towards what's next for our water.

Evan Hansen, WV Rivers' science advisor and representative on the West Virginia Public Water System Supply Study Commission (PWSSSC) discussed the commission's new report which contains 17 recommendations to the legislature. Including a call for downstream water systems to be notified whenever the contents of an upstream chemical storage tank changes.

Advocates for a Safe Water System's Paul Dalzell shared the next steps for the Public Service Commission's investigation into West Virginia American Water. Two public hearings are scheduled for customers of West Virginia American Water to share their views over the company's handling of the Elk River chemical leak.

You can read more about the press conference here and check out photos here.

The 2017 West Virginia legislative session begins on February 8 and the recommendations of the PWSSSC will be a top priority. Stay informed and stay involved, sign-up to receive WV Rivers' Water Policy Updates through out the session.

New Year, New Leadership in West Virginia

As the statewide clean water policy advocate, WV Rivers works closely with statewide elected officials and commissions. Already we’re involved in our state’s leadership transitions. Our executive director, Angie Rosser, was selected by Governor-elect Justice to participate on his Energy and Environment policy transition team. Last month she was re-appointed to the State Conservation Committee that works closely with the WV Department of Agriculture overseeing policies related to the state’s conservation districts.

WV Rivers also has a seat on the Public Water System Supply Study Commission that recently issued recommendations to the incoming state legislature. “Especially in times of transition, it’s important to have a seat at the table,” said Angie Rosser. “We’re called upon to be the voice for all who benefit from clean water.”

Opportunity to Comment on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released the Atlantic Coast Pipeline's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for public comment. Like the Mountain Valley Pipeline, this DEIS is insufficient and lacks the critical information needed to fully evaluate the impacts of the proposed project. Public meetings on the DEIS are scheduled for March 1 in Elkins and March 2 Marlinton, with a comment deadline of April 6. We've prepared a fact sheet on how you can submit comments on the DEIS. Stay tuned to WV Rivers as the comment deadline approaches, we'll be sharing more detailed information on the DEIS and the comment process.

Check out the ACP DEIS in the news here.

WV Rivers Selected to Lead Chesapeake Bay Work

The Choose Clean Water Coalition is a multi-state, 200-member alliance of organizations advocating clean-water policies and funding at the federal level, along with regulatory accountability in states that drain into the Chesapeake Bay.

West Virginia members include watershed and education groups in the state’s 8-county region that includes the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers; it also includes regional and statewide groups working on policy and regulatory accountability. WV Rivers was recently selected to continue as the coalition’s WV state lead through 2018. Additionally, Angie Rosser, Executive Director of WV Rivers, was elected as co-chair of the coalition’s steering committee. Our work will include coordinating WV members to advocate for federal funding for watershed restoration programs in our state, organizing an annual trip to Capitol Hill, serving as a liaison to state and federal agencies and lawmakers, and helping to build capacity among Eastern Panhandle watershed groups. We’re so proud of our Eastern Panhandle watershed-based groups, and honored to support them.

Three Years After the Water Crisis: Where Are We Now?

posted Jan 6, 2017, 7:55 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Jan 6, 2017, 7:57 AM ]

Three Years After the Water Crisis: Where Are We Now?

On the 3rd anniversary of the Elk River chemical leak, three important stories converge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6, 2017

Contact:  Angie Rosser, 304-437-1274, arosser@wvrivers.org

               Karan Ireland, 304-356-8774, karan.ireland@gmail.com

EVENT: A media availability session with three experts who have been working differing fronts since the January 9, 2014 chemical leak. Their stories have converged with recent release of the WV Public Water System Supply Study Commission’s recommendations to the legislature, the Public Service Commission’s investigation of WV American Water, and a preliminary settlement of the Crystal Good v. American Water class-action lawsuit. The event is open to the public.

Call to ActionWe need YOU to come out and show your support for our water! The media will be there and our elected officials will be watching. We need to send a strong message that we, the people of West Virginia, are paying attention and demand safe water!

VENUE and TIME: 11:00 AM, Monday, January 9, in the Lower Rotunda, State Capitol Building, Charleston.

POST-SESSION INTERVIEWS: Subject experts will be available for interviews in the Rotunda following their remarks.

SPEAKERS:

Evan Hansen, representing West Virginia Rivers Coalition: Mr. Hansen, a member of the WV Public Water System Supply Study Commission and advisor to the WV Rivers Water Policy Workgroup, will highlight the commission’s recently released recommendations to the WV Legislature. The Study Commission’s report can be viewed and downloaded here.

Paul Dalzell, Advocates for a Safe Water System: The WV Public Service Commission has been investigating West Virginia American Water’s role in the 2014 water crisis. Evidentiary hearings are scheduled for January 24-26. Prior to that, two public hearings and a public event are scheduled for January 17. Learn more

Kevin Thompson, Thompson Barney law firm: Mr. Thompson will provide an update on the class-action settlement in the case Crystal Good v. American Water class-action lawsuit. For background, see Ken Ward’s article here.

This event is co-hosted by: Advocates for a Safe Water System, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, WV Citizen Action Group, and West Virginia Rivers Coalition.

Protecting West Virginia’s Lands and Waters in 2017

posted Dec 30, 2016, 9:16 AM by David Lillard

As the New Year begins, West Virginia’s rivers face unprecedented challenges. WV Rivers up to the task — but we need our members and supporters to help raise the voice for our rivers and public lands.

Every donation is critical for what is ahead in 2017: from fighting off industry-backed efforts to weaken water regulations here at home, to fending off Congressional attacks on the public lands and rivers we love.

West Virginia’s mountains and rivers need your help. Please join your fellow WV Rivers supporters in making a year-end donation today.

Click here to donate to Rivers!

2017 Water Policy Priorities

West Virginia’s Water Quality Standards. 2017 is the year of the triennial revisions of WV’s water pollution limits. This highly technical work requires intensive analysis to present sound science and advocate for strong policies, and we’re the only organization in West Virginia that does it.

Drinking Water Protection. We were instrumental in getting a new law in place to require water utilities to have source water protection plans. Now, the critical question is: What will happen next? We will work with utilities, agencies, local watershed and community groups to make sure those plans don’t just sit on a shelf.

Clean Water Act. Despite our challenges, our water is much cleaner now than it was a generation ago — we can’t go backwards. The Clean Water Act of 1972 saved our nation’s rivers. It is the safety net for WV’s waters when our state has turned its back on our rivers.

Energy and Environment. West Virginia is at the heart of the tension between fossil fuel extraction and the toll it bears on our rivers and people. We can have both good jobs and clean water. We will work with business owners, public leaders and the media to bring forth informed perspectives that shape a new economy for the state that involves better conservation of our natural resources.

Our Public Lands. Members of Congress want to expedite industrial development on public lands, and some even want to sell them off. They want to gut the Land and Water Conservation Fund that has helped protect and provide access to some of our most popular rivers. We must build even more alliances to protect the Monongahela National Forest, the “Birthplace of Rivers.”

Click here to donate to Rivers!

WV Watershed Groups Host House Majority Leader

posted Dec 20, 2016, 11:17 AM by David Lillard   [ updated Dec 20, 2016, 11:21 AM ]

West Virginia Rivers Coalition and three WV Choose Clean Water Coalition members hosted WV House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles at a holiday reception in Berkley Springs, December 15. Leaders from Sleepy Creek Watershed Association, Warm Springs Watershed Association and Cacapon Institute welcomed Mr. Cowles to spend the evening learning about watershed restoration and protection efforts in the state’s Eastern Panhandle. 

They were joined by directors of the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District, who described how Chesapeake Bay Program funding and grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are the financial engines for restoring West Virginia’s Bay tributaries. “We’re making progress through voluntary programs,” Conservation Commissioner Jim Michael told Mr. Cowles. "But it takes money for these programs to work."

Watershed groups also described the importance of upholding current “Category A” protections in the upcoming legislative session, and expressed concerns about a proposed natural gas service line that would run from the Potomac River through three Eastern Panhandle Counties. 

Mr. Cowles then facilitated a dialogue about clean water and local economic development issues — including the tourism economy.  Following the reception, Mr. Cowles volunteered to host Eastern Panhandle clean water advocates at the State House for a meeting with the region’s senators and delegates.

URGENT: Mountain Valley Pipeline Proposes to Impact 613 WV Streams - Comments Due THIS Thursday, 12/22

posted Dec 19, 2016, 7:10 AM by Kathleen Tyner

Comment on the Environmental Impacts of the MVP!
Mountain Valley Pipeline Proposes to Impact 613 WV Streams

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project.
You can comment on the DEIS through this Thursday, December 22.

The DEIS is supposed to be an in-depth analysis of all the environmental impacts that could occur as a result of the project. It should include an assessment of all the concerns raised about the project during the scoping period.You can view maps of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline route here and view the DEIS here.

We found the DEIS lacking of critical information. Without this information FERC is unable to evaluate the project's true impact.

Please review these suggested comments and follow the directions below to submit comments on the MVP DEIS.


If you have any questions about this process, please call 304-637-7201 and we'll be happy to help.
  1. To submit comments online, you will need to submit an e-comment request.
  2. Go to the email account you submitted your e-comment request under and click the link in the FERC email.
  3. Half way down the e-comment page, under the yellow search tab, you will need to look-up the MVP DEIS docket. In the "Enter Docket Number" search box enter, CP16-10, click search.
  4. Multiple options will be returned, the first option should say "Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC" under the applicant/filer column, click the blue cross on the right.
  5. Enter your comments in the box under your name and city. See WV Rivers' suggested comments.
  6. Once finished with your comments, click "Send Comments."
You can also submit comments by mail. A paper copy of your comments, referencing docket number CP16-10-0000, can be mailed to:

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A,
Washington, DC 20426

Bats at Risk

posted Dec 12, 2016, 9:04 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Dec 20, 2016, 12:39 PM ]


The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is considering streamlining the permitting process under the Endangered Species Act to allow nine Oil and Gas Companies to lawfully ‘take’ or kill five different endangered bat species, like the little brown bat pictured, in three states; OH, PA, and WV for the next 50 years.

The comment deadline is December 27th. Learn more here.

WV Rivers News: Celebrating a Clean Water Victory, Shale Gas Updates, Gifts for Water Lovers

posted Dec 9, 2016, 8:00 AM by Kathleen Tyner

Victory: Bad Water Quality Rule Withdrawn

Did you hear the good news? Last week, WVDEP withdrew its rule to revise water quality standards. This is good for West Virginia because the rulewould have opened the door for more toxins to be dumped into our water and to remove important Catagory A drinking water protection.

We deserve to congratulate each other on this success, over 1,680 comments and letters were sent by clean water supporters, like you, on the rule.

In you haven't already, we invite you to click here and thank WVDEP for defending Category A protections for our current and future drinking water supplies.

We need to remain vigilant - we still expect industry attacks on Category A protections to show up during the legislative session in February. Please keep paying attention and speaking up because it’s clearly making a difference!

Shale Gas Breaking News

The WV Supreme Court recently sided with landowners and ruled that the Mountain Valley Pipeline cannot survey its proposed pipeline route without landowner permission. The Court stated that such a survey would constitute an illegal “private taking for private use,” because the proposed pipeline would not benefit West Virginians. Read more here. We expect the oil and gas industry will now try to pass legislation to allow surveying without landowner permission.


The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is considering streamlining the permitting process under the Endangered Species Act to allow nine Oil and Gas Companies to lawfully ‘take’ or kill five different endangered bat species, like the little brown bat pictured, in three states; OH, PA, and WV for the next 50 years. 

Scoping meetings will be held December 12-16 in the three states. The comment deadline is December 27th. Learn more here.

The Dakota Access Pipeline at the proposed Missouri River crossing. Photo by Paulette Moore.

Pipelines made national headlines when the Army Corps of Engineers
did not grant the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River. While this decision encouraged protesters, the story is not over considering legal issues, the upcoming change in administration, and the company’s statement to continue to move forward with the project despite the easement denial.

Waterdrop Waterdrop Inspires a New Generation 
of Water Warriors 
 
Lori Magana, the Cookie Lobbyist and friend of WV Rivers, recently published her first children's book, Waterdrop Waterdrop. Lori was inspired to write Waterdrop Waterdrop, after the Elk River chemical leak when she became an accidental activist using her special brand of citizen lobbying: baking and distributing a water drop cookies.

Her book, Waterdrop Waterdrop, tells the story of red-haired heroine named Waterdrop, who is dismayed by the problems she encounters in trying to find clean water. As she takes up her shield to protect the water, she encourages and empowers her young friends to join her and to take up their shields too.

Waterdrop Waterdrop would make a great gift for anyone who cares about clean water. You can purchase it here.


'Tis the Season for Gifts that Give Back 
 

Looking for gift ideas that give back? WV Rivers has you covered!

WV Rivers T-shirts - give the water-lovers on your shopping list a WV Rivers t-shirt. Our tee's are super soft and comfy and are available in unisex and women's cut. Get your t-shirts here.

Gift Memberships - perfect for the person who already has everything. Select any donation or item on WV Rivers donation page, click "go to checkout" then check "make this a gift" and fill out the form. We'll send the gift recipient a special card acknowledging your gift and they'll receive WV Rivers' print newsletter, Headwaters, for a year.

Shop at AmazonSmile - it's the same Amazon.com you love, but each purchase gives back to WV Rivers! Shop AmazonSmile.

Victory For Clean Water!

posted Dec 5, 2016, 8:48 AM by Kathleen Tyner

Your Comments Made a Difference!

Thank you for taking action to protect our water – it worked!

Late last week, WVDEP withdrew its rule to revise water quality standards. Over 1,680 comments and letters were sent by clean water supporters, like you, to show that the public will not stand for rollbacks to water protections.

We invite you to click here to thank WVDEP for defending Category A protections for our current and future drinking water supplies.

We deserve to congratulate each other on this success, but we expect industry attacks on Category A protections to show up during the legislative session in February.

Please keep paying attention and speaking up because it’s clearly making a difference!

Birthplace Of Rivers National Monument News - December 2016

posted Dec 2, 2016, 8:42 AM by Kathleen Tyner

Celebrating the National Monuments of 2016

In this edition, we celebrate all our national monuments, including the 24 created in the last 8 years. Here are three we’d like to share:

Sand to Snow
Southern California — February 2016

It's interesting how a national monument on the other side of the country has such strong parallels to the reasons why West Virginians want to designate the Birthplace of Rivers and proof that the landscape we are fighting for is deserving of permanent protections.

The Sand to Snow National Monument is known for rugged and steep terrain that teems with ecological diversity (West Virginia, too!). The area is home to Southern California's highest density of black bears (same here), 12 threatened or endangered species (we've got eight), and is the southernmost range for Quaking Aspen (a similar phenomenon exists at Cranberry Glades). Sand to Snow is the origin of the South Fork Santa Ana River while Birthplace of Rivers can claim the headwaters six rivers! Visitors love the Sand and Snow National Monument and the included San Gorgino Wilderness for the best hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, biking and star gazing around. But if you swapped those names to Birthplace of Rivers and the Cranberry Wilderness, folks say the same thing about West Virginia!

Katahdin Woods and Waters
Maine’s North Woods — August 2016
 
Katahdin Woods and Waters is the first landscape-scale national monument in the Eastern U.S. All 87,500 acres of the monument were donated by a private landowner, along with $20 million to help provide recreation access to the area. Like Birthplace of Rivers, this monument will offer continued access to hunting, fishing, mountain biking, paddling, and other forms of outdoor recreation. Also like Birthplace, Katahdin has enjoyed broad support among local businesses, especially those that hope the year-round tourism economy can become part of longer-term economic transformation. The areas have something else in common: Cranberry Glades in Birthplace of Rivers has plant species typically found in Northern New England and Canada — legacies of the last Ice Age.

Rio Grande del Norte
New Mexico — March 2013

The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is a lesson in what can happen when sportsmen and businesses work together. John Cornell, president of the Dona Ana County Associated Sportsmen, said that "people were working to protect Rio Grande Del Norte for years, and that support grew over time. We urged the President to safeguard this wildlife haven to ensure that this area, which is home to some of the nation's best elk, deer, antelope, and trout populations, would always be here for future generations to enjoy. Today I'm comforted to know that my children and grandchildren will always have a place to hunt and fish thanks to it's status as a national monument."

That status as a national monument has translated into bigger business for local communities. The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce and 150 area businesses also supported the national monument initiative. As a result there was a:
  • 40% increase in visitors in less than one year since the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument designation;
  • 21% increase in Town of Taos lodgers’ tax revenue;
  • 8.3% increase in gross receipts revenue from the “accommodations and food service” sector in Taos County.

We've got over 200 businesses and a number of West Virginia sportsmen that agree: Birthplace of Rivers National Monument would be good for our local economy and a great way to protect our outdoor traditions.

Will Birthplace of Rivers Be Next?
 
Photo: Cranberry Wilderness by Sam Taylor. 

We just don’t know. With more than 80% of West Virginians supporting the proposal — and that number growing — we’ve got great momentum. If Birthplace of Rivers is not designated this year, we we’ve got the support, including yours, to get this done. We’re positive that pride in West Virginia’s natural beauty, recreation heritage, and desire to protect our headwaters will win out. Stay tuned! And if you haven’t yet sent your letter to the President, you can do it now!

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