The Dunkard Creek Watershed drains 234.65 square miles in Greene County, Pennsylvania and Monongalia County, West Virginia. The Chapter 93 Water Use Protection Category for Dunkard Creek is Warm Water Fishes. The purpose of this study is to look at several issues and concerns that the public has brought to our attention via public meetings concerning the watershed. Once these issues are identified, recommended policies and actions will be undertaken to conserve, restore and/or enhance the river resources and values. This process will ultimately include Dunkard Creek on the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation Registry. The purpose of the Rivers Conservation Registry is to promote the conservation of rivers and river values, officially recognize community plans for conserving rivers and river values, and facilitate consistent state action with local river conservation plans.
This study was funded through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund Act, Act 50 of July 2, 1993, P.L. 359 authorized by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Procedures for implementation of the legislatively authorized grants program as well as the parameters for a rivers conservation planning process and a rivers conservation registry including technical assistance have been developed by the department and incorporated into an initiative referred to as the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation Program.
The planning process for this watershed study was organized in a nine-step sequence for carrying out planning activities that are required to secure registry status. The first step was to conduct informational public meetings. Several meetings were held at various locations within the watershed. It was from these meetings that we got a list of issues and concerns from the public.
The second step was to identify and collect resource data from the watershed. The purpose of this step is to identify and inventory the physical, natural, institutional and cultural resources that are located within the watershed that are directly related to the problems and concerns. Various individuals from federal, state, and local government as well as private citizens were split into three committees, the Physical Resources Committee, the Natural Resources Committee, and the Cultural Resources Committee.
Step three involved the analysis and evaluation of resource data as it relates to issues and concerns identified in the planning process. The fourth step was to prepare a preliminary findings report and management options plan. The preliminary findings report and management options plan was presented to the public at workshops for their review and comment.
Step number five was to prepare and present a draft Rivers Conservation Plan. This contained the preliminary findings report, modified and revised to reflect the recommendations and comments received at the previous workshops. This draft plan was also presented at workshops to gain support from the public and affected municipalities. Step six was to finalize the River Conservation Plan.
Step seven will be to present the final River Conservation Plan at a public hearing in at least one of the affected municipalities. Step eight will be to submit the final Rivers Conservation Plan and transcript of the public hearing to affected municipalities for supporting resolutions. The ninth and final step will be to submit the River Conservation Plan to DEP for approval and for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation Registry.
W. Steven Hegedis, an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Technician working with the Greene County Conservation District coordinated this watershed study. Special recognition is due to the following individuals who are members of the steering committee:
Susan Funka-Petery, Supervisor District Conservationist, PA NRCS
Dan Rush, District Manager, Greene County Conservation District
Joel Folman, Mining Inspector, PA DEP
Vince Yantko, Water Quality Specialist, PA DEP
Tim Hamilton, Mining Inspector, PA DEP
Maggie Hall, PA DEP Bureau of District Mining Operations
Dan Seibert, PA NRCS, Somerset Office
Isaac Wolford, District Conservationist, WV NRCS
Pat Bowen, WV NRCS
Valerie Cole, Greene County Planning Commission Director
Peggy Pings, WVU, Department of Forestry
Andrew Price, President, Dunkard Creek Watershed Association
Kevin Mountz, WCO, PA Game Commission
Russ Connelly, Waynesburg College Contact
Summary of Data Collected
Various governmental agencies collected data on the Dunkard Creek watershed for this study. This data can be sorted into the following categories:
1. Land Resources - Topography, land use, soil characteristics, ownership, critical areas and hazard areas.
2. Water Resources - Major tributaries, wetlands, floodplain, water quality and water supply.
3. Biological Resources - Wildlife, vegetation and PNDI species
4. Cultural Resources - Recreation, archaeological and historical.
Top Issues of Concern
Public participation and assistance is an essential aspect of rivers conservation planning. At the beginning of this study, public meetings were held at various locations within the watershed. The purpose of these meetings was to gain public input concerning the watershed. A survey was distributed at these meetings. The survey asked the public to list the top five issues they would like to see addressed by this study. They were also asked to rank these issues from 1 to 5, 1 being most important and 5 being less important. Figure 1 shows the top issues listed by the degree of interest.
Other issues that are lower in priority include: poor fishing, bi-state coordination, low water problems, improve boating access, natural debris backs up water at bridges, and natural gas leaks.