Dunkard Creek Watershed Characteristics
Dunkard Creek is formed by the confluence of the Pennsylvania and West Virginia Forks of Dunkard Creek at the village of Shamrock on the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border. From there it flows from west-to-east, crossing the Mason-Dixon Survey Line several times to the town of Mount Morris, then continuing in an easterly direction to its mouth on the Monongahela River at River Mile (RM) 87.20, near the village of Poland Mines.
Steep forested hills and precipitous valleys characterize the watershed. This topography provides numerous scenic overlooks such as this one located upstream of Taylortown.
Dunkard Creek is part of the Monongahela River subbasin which drains into the Ohio River. It is identified as Hydrologic Unit Code 05020005010. The creek flows for 36 miles and drains 150,177 acres. 78,827 acres of the watershed drains 9 townships in Greene County, Pennsylvania while 71,350 acres drains 3 districts in Monongalia County, West Virginia.
Steep ridges form the western, southern, and eastern boundaries. The northern boundary of the watershed follows along the Warrior Trail. The hydrologic boundary to the west runs along the boundary line between Monongalia County, WV and Wetzel County, WV and on the south with the Marion County, WV boundary. The elevations along these ridgetops range from around 1500 ft. to over 1600 ft. above mean sea level. The highest recorded elevation in the watershed is 1686 ft., which is the U.S.G.S. Jackson Triangulation Station located on Bake Oven Knob (on the Monongalia-Marion County line in West Virginia) near the headwaters of Miracle Run. Dunkard Ridge forms the eastern boundary of the watershed.
Flows are augmented by numerous tributaries that drain the short hollows that characterize the terrain of the watershed. The largest of these found in Pennsylvania are Pennsylvania Fork, 24,098 acres; Toms Run, 11,258.55 acres; Roberts Run near Blacksville, 7,766.17 acres; Hoovers Run at Brave, 7213.76 acres; Rudolph Run, 6,453.42 acres, Shannon Run near Mt. Morris, 6,258.55 acres and Meadow Run near Davistown, 4,895.85 acres. The major tributaries found in West Virginia are West Virginia Fork, 16,232.57 acres; Miracle Run, 14,854.24 acres; Days Run, 9,237.49 acres; Jakes Run, 8,203.83 acres and Dolls Run, 6,966.92 acres.
TABLE 1. Land Use Distribution of the Dunkard Creek Watershed
Land Use Percentage
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Forest 63%
Pasture 18%
Urban 3%
Cropland 2%
Other 14%
Social/Economic Profile
Population in the Dunkard Creek Watershed is estimated at 11,000. The estimated population in 1998 for Greene County is 40,742 and 77,505 for Monongalia County. The 1990 Census indicated that there were 39,550 in Greene County and 75,509 in Monongalia County. If the estimate is correct it shows a 3% increase in Greene County and 2.6% increase in Monongalia County in 8 years.
The largest population centers in the watershed are Bobtown, Mount Morris and Blacksville. Other small communities include Brave, Taylortown, Poland Mines, Pentress, Core, Wadestown, Wana and Jakes Run.
Coal mining has been the dominant employer in this watershed, employing several thousand miners during boom periods in the coal industry. From 1980 to 1996, underground coal mining jobs declined dramatically. The resulting impact on the Dunkard Creek Watershed has been a decline in population and changes in the employment from high paying coal mining jobs to lower paying service occupations.
Remnants of the once booming coal industry can be found throughout the watershed. The dramatic decline in coal mining jobs has led to a decline in population in the watershed.
The primary employers in the watershed include Consolidation Coal Company, Eastern Associated Coal Company, Accurate Forging Corporation, Monongalia and Greene County schools and small service industries such as banks, convenience stores, small groceries and other small business. A few active logging and sawmill operations are located in the watershed. Morgantown, West Virginia and Waynesburg, Pennsylvania are both located approximately 7 miles outside of the watershed and serve as the major employment centers for most of the watershed residents.
The unemployment rate for Monongalia County is 3% compared to 5.9% for West Virginia. The unemployment rate for Greene County stands at 7.4%, which is the second highest rate in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State rate is 4.5%. The rate for the United States as a whole is 4.9%.
Income levels in the Dunkard Creek Watershed are relatively good due to the influence of high paying mining jobs. Although these jobs are declining, the average weekly wage for miners remains the highest of all industries, resulting in high overall income levels for this watershed. There is a wide disparity among income levels of miners and non-miners, resulting in an upward bias of all income statistics for the Dunkard Creek Watershed. The 1996 per capita income in Monongalia County is $20,111 compared to $18,225 for West Virginia. The 1995 per capita income in Greene County is $14,269 compared to $20,996 for Pennsylvania. The 1996 per capita income for the nation is $24,436.
Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) has lines that traverse the western end of the Dunkard Creek Watershed, running in a north-south direction. This rail line services four mines in northern West Virginia as follows: Blacksville One and Two, Federal One and Loveredge. The branch that services these mines is known as the Waynesburg Southern.
The major interstate that traverses the watershed is Interstate 79. Its location is mid-eastern within the watershed area. There is one interchange located in the watershed at Mount Morris, being Exit Number One.
The primary State Routes (SR) are Pennsylvania Traffic Route 218, which begins in Waynesburg and runs south through the village of Spraggs and Blacksville, on the Pennsylvania and West Virginia border; United States Traffic Route 19, which passes through Waynesburg and Mt. Morris; and Pennsylvania Traffic Route 88 which is located on the very eastern terminus of the watershed. Pennsylvania State Route 18 runs along the northwestern border of the watershed.
Route 7 runs west to east through the West Virginia portion of the watershed. It follows along most of the West Virginia Fork of Dunkard Creek through the town of Wadestown and continues along the main stem of Dunkard Creek through Blacksville until it reaches Dolls Run. It follows along Dolls Run and exits the watershed toward Morgantown, WV.