Ice on the Greenbrier River.


Annual Newsletter from Greenbrier River Watershed Association

Dear Members and Friends,

We write in hope that you are all healthy and happy.

We have had our busiest year ever in 2023, with lots of exciting projects and accomplishments! First of all, we have had not one or two - but SIX new board members joining our organization! We have welcomed Elizabeth Clark, Roger Vannoy, Thomas Haley, Jenna Breeckner, Margaret Worth, and Fred Hill. These new board members have brought new ideas and energy and we are very grateful for their commitment. We are also thankful for Haidyn DePinho, our half-time Vista worker, sponsored by the WVDEP. Haidyn has gone right to work for us, helping design new brochures and maps, and helping with our water quality project.

Letter continues HERE

Congratulations to our Photo Contest Winners!

We were looking for some great photos of the Greenbrier River Watershed and we found so many! Our thanks to everyone who sent in photos - you made picking winners incredibly hard.

Our categories were: Recreation, Landscape, Wildlife and a Special Mention for Water Stewards. Winners for each category selected won $50 cash PLUS a GRWA tee shirt and hat!

From top to bottom:

Recreation: Jennifer Ballard

Scenery: Danea Tomlinson

Wildlife: Wendi Haley

Special mention: Water Stewards - Autumn Crowe

City of Lewisburg Boil Water Advisory

The City of Lewisburg has issued a system wide Boil Water Advisory to all customers because of high levels of turbidity (meaning the quality of being cloudy or opaque) in the water.

The City will notify all customers when the boil water advisory has been lifted.

Please contact City Hall (304)645-2080 if you have any questions or concerns.

Please boil your water before consuming or cooking.

Tips for water usage during a Boil Water Advisory

If notified of a boil water advisory, do not drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a rolling boil, let it boil for one minute, and cool before using; or use bottled water. You should use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation until you are notified that the advisory has been lifted.

Do not use ice cubes made with tapwater during the boil water advisory period. Keep boiled water in the refrigerator for drinking. Do not swallow water while you are showering or bathing. Provide pets with boiled water after cooling the water. Do not use home filtering devices in place of boiling water or using bottled water; most home water filters will not provide adequate protection from micro organisms. Use only boiled water to treat minor injuries; when showering or bathing avoid allowing water to come in contact with an open wound. Do not wash salad Items with tapwater during the period of the boil water advisory.

At this time no potable water tanker will be brought in.

Stay up to date HERE

GRWA Earns $5000 Stream Partners Grant

The Stream Partners Grant Program is a cooperative effort among four agencies: WV Division of Natural Resources, WV Division of Forestry, the West Virginia Conservation Agency and WV Department of Environmental Protection.

The WV State Legislature and the WVDEP appropriate $100,000 in total funding to provide up to $5,000 grants to organizations focusing on water quality.

These grants help make projects and events happen across the state to reduce pollution such as bacteria, heavy metals, polluted stormwater, and sediment from erosion. These projects include riparian tree plantings, stream monitoring, watershed education, water trail improvements and float trips, trash clean ups, acid mine drainage improvement projects, septic tank repair and pumping cost share programs, river festivals, stream habitat restoration, and green infrastructure stormwater projects.   

We are pleased to announce we have been awarded a 2024 Stream Partners grant to help continue our efforts. This grant will provide funding to help organize cleanup efforts and host educational opportunities for the public.

A Tearful Farewell to the 21 Species We Declared Extinct in 2023

Maanvi Singh

The Kauaʻi ʻōʻō, a small black and yellow bird with glossy feathers and a haunting song, was the last surviving member of the Hawaiian honeyeaters. This year, it was officially declared extinct.

The ōʻō was one of 21 species that the US Fish and Wildlife Service removed from the endangered species list in 2023 because they had vanished from the wild. Gone is the little Mariana fruit bat—also known as the Guam flying fox—and the bridled white-eye, which was once one of the most common birds on that island. So too, are the Scioto madtom, a diminutive, whiskered catfish that lived in Ohio, and the Bachman’s warbler, which summered in the US south and wintered in Cuba. Eight freshwater mussels in the Southeast are officially extinct, as are eight Hawaiian birds.

The delisting, which was finalized in November after two years of study and consideration, came as no surprise to biologists and conservationists. Many of these species had not been seen in decades. But the announcement was a sobering reminder that the climate crisis and habitat destruction are accelerating an extinction crisis that threatens 2 million species globally.

For the scientists and environmentalists who have been working to protect these species, the delisting has been a moment to mourn—and to galvanize. “It’s a horrible tragedy,” said the ecologist and author Carl Safina. “And I think it is a breach of our moral guardrails.”

Story continues HERE

In Appalachia, ‘Salamander Capital Of The World,’ Species Face Threats

Curtis Tate

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to list the West Virginia spring salamander on the endangered species list. Curtis Tate spoke with Will Harlan, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, about the threatened salamander.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tate: Your organization says there are fewer than 300 spring salamanders left, all of them in Greenbrier County. 

Harlan: Yes, and that’s, that’s a generous estimate. They only exist in this single cave system with this single stream flowing through it. And despite the critical habitat protections that this new listing will provide, they only provide to the subsurface habitat of this species. Above it is all private land. And unfortunately, there is logging and pond construction that will threaten this stream, and its habit and in the underground habitat. So still, the species will still face some threats, even with this protection.

Interview continues HERE

Trees as Fish Habitats

Consider prolonging the holiday cheer by repurposing your real Christmas trees! Monongahela National Forest is partnering with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to collect trees to place in Lake Sherwood and surrounding lakes to create diverse fish habitat. All natural trees are accepted even if they have lost their needles.

Remove all decorations and foreign items.

Bring the trees to the Gauley, Marlinton, or White Sulphur Ranger District offices by January 19.

Christmas trees are often used in lakes to provide natural shelter and habitat for warm-water fish, like bass and bluegill. The trees are bundled and tied to heavy objects to sink them to the bottom of the lake, where various aquatic species can interact with the newly created structures.

This provides a unique opportunity to be involved with the management of our fisheries as well as keeping these natural trees out of landfills.

Learn more HERE

Mountain Valley Watch Appreciation Days

From our friends at POWRH Coalition

We love to love and right now we're feeling especially appreciative of our Mountain Valley Watch volunteers - (extra)ordinary people who monitor MVP construction in order to keep us safe.

Bent Mountain, VA.

On January 20, 1:00 - 5:00PM we are hosting a MVW volunteer appreciation day in Bent Mountain, VA. Bring your favorite dish for a potluck, unleash your artistic side at our painting station, sway to the rhythm of live music with “Nobody’s Business”, and square dance with Hannah Johnson. This event is open to everyone – MVWatchers, MVW admirers, and people interested in MVW.

Lowell, WV

On February 3, 1:00 - 5:00 PM save the date for a MVW volunteer appreciation day at the Graham House in Lowell, WV. More details to be announced. This event is open to everyone - MVWatchers, MVW admirers, and people interested in MVW.

Bring your favorite dish for a potluck, unleash your artistic side at our painting station, and sway to the rhythm of live music. This day is for YOU.

More info HERE

Lawsuit Seeks to Protect Candy Darter From

West Virginia Coal Hauling

WASHINGTON— Conservation groups, including Greenbrier River Watershed Association, sued the U.S. Forest Service today for failing to protect streams in the Cherry River watershed from the harmful effects of coal hauling in the Monongahela National Forest. Coal hauling imperils the critically endangered candy darter as well as nearby habitat for other endangered species.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, today’s lawsuit faults the Forest Service for allowing a private coal company to haul oversized coal loads, coal mining supplies and equipment — including explosives — on gravel roads in the Cherry River watershed. This has led to sediments and other harmful pollutants entering the rivers and harming the candy darter.

The Cherry River watershed is one of the last strongholds of this vibrant freshwater fish, which is known as the “underwater rainbow” because of its bright green and orange stripes.

“I’m appalled by the Forest Service’s blatant disregard for the candy darter and the Cherry River watershed,” said Meg Townsend, senior freshwater species attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These beautiful little fish are on the knife’s edge of extinction, and they can’t withstand any more harm from the coal industry.”

Today’s suit shows that the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing these activities without ensuring they won’t harm endangered species. It also asserts that the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act.

In 2021 the Forest Service issued a permit allowing the South Fork Coal Co. to haul oversized coal loads and conduct extensive road clearing and construction. This includes tree cutting, regrading and widening the road, and removing and replacing culverts on FS 249, a gravel road on steep slopes above South Fork Cherry River and Laurel Creek. The permit also allows the company to haul mining supplies, equipment and explosives on FS 223, a gravel road along a direct tributary to North Fork Cherry River.

Article continues HERE

West Virginia Watershed Network

The newest edition of WV WaterNet is out. Check it out to read news about WV watersheds, grant opportunities, and see upcoming events!

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.


Contact your representatives, often!

Contact your local, state and federal representatives with your concerns.

WV Legislature HERE

VA Legislature HERE

Members of Congress HERE

Listen to the FERC Monthly Virtual Open Meeting

January 18 @ 10:00 AM

Virtual Open Meeting

Commission meeting held in Commission Meeting Room (Room 2C) at FERC Headquarters, 888 First St. N.E., Washington, D.C. 20426

A  free live webcast is available for this meeting from 10:00 am - 11:00 am. All webcasts are archived for 3 months. Full info HERE          

Volunteer ~ Get involved with what matters to you!

Make your time count by volunteering with your favorite non-profit to do any number of things from helping with river cleanups, to monitoring rivers and creeks, to making phone calls or licking envelopes. You will make a difference.

Donate to a non - profit working to help save your backyard.

Share this newsletter on your social media account or in an email.

Follow these pages ~ Stay informed on the issues.

WV Rivers ~ WV Rivers is the statewide voice for water-based recreation and clean, drinkable, swim-able, and fishable rivers and streams-from the headwaters to wherever water flows in West Virginia. 

Appalachian Voices ~ The Appalachian Voice has covered environmental, outdoor and cultural news in the Appalachian mountains since 1996. We provide thorough and well-researched journalistic news coverage to fit a niche not often covered by standard news media.

New River Conservancy ~ Protecting the water, woodlands and wildlife of the New River Watershed.

Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance ~ Protecting the heritage, resources and economy of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region.

WV Environmental Council ~ Facilitate communication and cooperation among citizens in promoting environmental protection in West Virginia, to assist in organizing grass roots groups, to facilitate interaction among established environmental organizations, and to correspond with all appropriate local, state, and federal agencies involved in the management of West Virginia's environment. 

Wild Virginia ~ Along with our partners, alliances, and citizens like you, we press on in the fight against fracked gas pipelines in our region. The Mountain Valley Pipeline poses a great risk to our forests and surrounding communities. We are also working to improve habitat connectivity for wildlife throughout Virginia and to ensure that all of our waterways are fully protected in accordance with the law.

Stop the Money Pipeline ~ If we can stop the flow of money, we can stop the flow of oil. In early 2020, thirty-two organizations came together to form the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition. We stand on the shoulders of years of movement work pressuring financial institutions to act on climate.