Hydrology
  Stream formation and
    erosion

  River drainage
  The greatest American
    river

  Adverse effects of coal
    mines

  Siltation of streams
  Polluting our rivers
  This isn't chicken salad
  Clean Water Act
  Wetlands
  State water protection
  Valley fills
  Groundwater
  Scenic streams
    preservation

Scenic Streams Preservation     The best. Certain scenic streams in West Virginia are protected by the Natural Streams Preservation Act [W. Va. Code ch. 22, art. 13]. "Protected streams" are Greenbrier River (Knapps Creek to New River), Anthony Creek (from its headwaters to Greenbrier River), Cranberry River (from its headwaters to Gauley River), Birch River (from Cora Brown bridge in Nicholas County to Elk River), and New River (from Gauley River to Greenbrier River).

     No protected stream may be modified without obtaining a permit from the DEP Director after the holding of a public hearing. Modifications may not "affect the free-flowing characteristics of a substantial part of a protected stream...." The Director's order regarding the permit or compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit is appealable to the Environmental Quality Board. Further enforcement procedures and civil and criminal penalties are contained in the act.

     Federal protection. Federal protection of scenic streams and rivers has taken several forms, the principal statute being the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act [U.S. Code secs. 1271 - 1287].  By 1998, 154 rivers covering 10,760 miles had become national scenic rivers.  On such a river dams are forbidden, inappropriate streamside development can be limited, and growth  is better managed. 

     Only one river has that designation in West Virginia: part of the Bluestone River.   Compare, for example, the many national scenic rivers in Oregon.  The section of the 77-mile-long Bluestone River that is protected flows through the Bluestone Gorge between Pipestem State Park and Bluestone State Park, a beautiful area, indeed. To read more about Bluestone country click on  http://gorp.com/...  

      Nearby is  a national recreation area:  the Gauley River National Recreation Area. Like the Bluestone, the 25 miles of the Gauley River and 6 miles of the Meadow River pass through deep gorges and the Gauley River is noted for its wild whitewater rides.  Read and see more about the Gauley River at http://gorp.com/...

    There are two national wildlife refuges in West Virginia, both reliant upon water to support natural habitat possessing abundant varieties of birds, fish, and other wildlife.  Established in 1990 the Ohio River National Wildlife Refuge occupies a portion of 38 islands located along 362 miles of river.   For more information you can access http://gorp.com/...  In 1994 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased land in the Canaan Valley to establish the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.  You can learn more about this special place at http://www.fws.gov/... and at http://gorp.com/...
Last updated on Tuesday, July 25, 2000