Last August, Friends of the Lower
Greenbrier River (FOTLGR) watershed organization began considering a
watershed plan for a portion of the Lower Greenbrier. Together with Fritz
Boettner of Downstream Strategies and local stakeholders, the FOTLGR board
elected to proceed with a Watershed-Based Plan (WBP) for the Muddy Creek
watershed. This Watershed-Based Plan will present the current state of the
watershed and propose a plan to remediate Muddy Creek and its tributaries.
Muddy Creek is impaired by fecal coliform; from onsite septic systems,
agriculture, and residential run-off.
Just recently, the Muddy Creek Watershed planning efforts received
additional grant support from the WVDEP. This additional funding will take
the planning effort to the next level of detail; this detail will develop
a more comprehensive plan for Muddy Creek. Once the finished plan is
approved by the WV Department of Environmental Protection and the US
Environmental Protection Agency, the Muddy Creek area will be eligible for
federal funding to assist in implementing the proposed projects.
Downstream Strategies has begun analysis of the Muddy Creek watershed.
Much of the Greenbrier Valley, including Muddy Creek, is underlain by
karst and riddled with sinkholes, which complicate the water flow patterns
in the area. Muddy Creek and many of its tributaries appear on West
Virginia’s list of polluted waters as having high levels of fecal coliform
bacteria. In order to address this impairment, several area farmers have
expressed an interest in implementing best management practices (BMPs) on
their land. BMPs include fencing pasture off from streams, creating
vegetative buffer zones to filter runoff, natural stream design, and other
means of preventing fecal coliform from entering the waterways. In
addition, failing septic systems have also been identified as a
contributor to the high fecal coliform levels in the Muddy Creek
watershed; the WBP will work to identify and mitigate these issues.
Interested farmers, FOTLGR members, and residents took part in a watershed
stakeholder meeting this spring. This meeting drew a large crowd of over
60 residents. Fritz Boettner of Downstream Strategies and Dennis Burn of
the West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA) facilitated the meeting to
discuss potential projects and funding sources. Dennis Burns of the
Greenbrier Valley District of the WVCA has been involved in these
preliminary discussions and will be a key collaborator as the planning
continues. Involving more local stakeholders is crucial to the success of
the watershed plan. Landholders, recreationists, and other concerned
citizens are invited to join in the stakeholder process and help develop a
plan to protect the watershed for the benefit of all users.
Mark Blumenstein, President
277 Alderson , WV 24910