Land Resources
Dominant rock types found in the watershed include shales, siltstones, and shaly limestone.
Soils and Geology
Dunkard Creek is in the Kanawha section of the Central Allegheny Plateau Province and originates at the confluence of the West Virginia Fork of Dunkard Creek and the Pennsylvania Fork of Dunkard Creek, west of Brave, PA. The topography of the watershed has rugged features. The ridgetops and valleys are narrow, and hillsides typically have slopes ranging from 15% to 65%. The sharp features are occasionally interrupted by long, narrow benches following the contours of the hillsides.
Dominant rock types, which outcrop in the watershed, are shales, siltstones, and shaly limestone of the Dunkard, Monongahela, and Conemaugh Groups. The Monogahela Group yields much of the commercial coal in the area. Within the three groups, aquifers occur in the sandstone, limestone, and coal.
The upland soils in the watershed are mostly Dormont-Culleoka and Gilpin-Culleoka-Upshur associations. These soils form the ridges, hillsides and benches. Floodplain soils in the narrow valleys of tributaries are typically Library-Newark or a Lobdell-Holly association. These soils are prone to flash flooding as a result of heavy rainfall in any season, or severe thunderstorms in summer. The soils in floodplains are suited for cultivated crops, pasture, or hay. They also have high productivity potential for trees, but very few acres are wooded.
Areas of Glenford and Monongahela soils are found on terraces along Dunkard Creek. They are deep, moderately well drained with a seasonal high water table. A variety of Udorthents are scattered throughout the watershed. These young soils forming in disturbed areas are classified by base status and type of soil surface disturbance or materials covering the former soil surface. Briefly, the classes are either high-base or low-base variants of the following types: dumps, mudstone and sandstone, sandstone, and sandstone and shale. Udorthents are not assigned to a soil capability subclass.
Many of the soils in the Dunkard Creek Watershed are slip-prone. Particularly vulnerable are areas of Dormont and Upshur soils on steep hillsides. These soils have a high shrink-swell capacity and slips often occur when they are saturated. Furthermore, any of the soils on slopes greater than 15% and without vegetative cover are subject to slips as well as surface disturbances, which accelerate erosion. Generally, soils on 3-8% slopes are in soil capability subclass IIe. Soils sloping 8-15%, 15-25%, 25-35%, and >35% are in subclass IIIe, IVe, VIe, and VIIe, respectively. The "e" indicates soils vulnerable to erosive forces. Cultivated crops may be grown on soils in subclasses IIe and IIIe, and with limitations, on soils in subclass IVe. Soils in subclass IVe are better suited for pasture and hayland. Pastures are suitable for soils in subclass VIe, while woodland is the only recommended use for soils in subclass VIIe.
Of the 150,177 acres in the Dunkard Creek Watershed, 5,735.699 acres are public land whereas 144,441.31 of the acreage are privately owned. This works out to 96.2% of the total acreage is privately owned and 3.8% is publicly owned.
Approximately 95% of the public land in the watershed is comprised of land owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pa Game Commission. Mason-Dixon Historical Park makes up the other 5% of public land. It is owned jointly by Greene County, Pennsylvania and Monongalia County, West Virginia. The property consists of 270 acres most of which is precipitous and wooded. The Pennsylvania-West Virginia state line bisects the acreage. Table 2 breaks down the public land found in the watershed by municipality.
TABLE 2. Ownership by Municipality
Township Acres of Public Land
Dunkard 2,490.681
Gilmore 1,791.575
Jackson 914.500
Perry 249.630
Greene 154.313
Clay, WV 135.00
Freeport --0--
Wayne --0--
Whiteley --0--
Monongahela --0--
TOTAL 5,735.699 acres
Hazard Areas
A suspected petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) release was discovered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) along the bank of Dunkard Creek during a routine inspection of Accurate Forging's sewage treatment discharge on July 19, 1994. Accurate Forging is located at the intersection of SR 3009 and SR 3013 in Brave, Greene County, Pennsylvania, approximately 1/2 mile north of the West Virginia and Pennsylvania border.
According to a recent document by Peoples Natural Gas (PNG), the facility was owned and operated by PNG from 1906 through 1959 and once contained a natural gas compressor station, a natural gasoline plant, and water treatment and distribution facilities. The facility also reportedly contained, at one time, as many as 80 to 100 above ground storage tanks (3,000 to 4,000 gallons each) used to store natural gasoline prior to reported rail shipment. Demolition of the process facilities was conducted from 1959 through 1961. Currently, there are no visible signs of the former storage tanks or the process equipment in the area. The property was sold in 1961 to Bell's Warehouse and in 1963 to Accurate Forging Company.
The origin of the site PHCs have not been established; however, the former natural gasoline plant (e.g., typical operations) may have been a source of the PHCs. A containment type boom is currently being used along the stream bank at Accurate Forging. These control measures will be investigated, evaluated, and if warranted and necessary subsequently employed. Currently, Peoples Natural Gas and Accurate Forging Corporation are cooperating with the PA DEP to further investigate and mitigate the situation.
Waste Sites
A spring drive through the numerous back roads that follow along Dunkard Creek can be an aesthetically pleasing experience. Especially in the eastern portion of the watershed where the steep forested hills and narrow valleys give a very scenic view of the creek. Unfortunately, these scenic views are being degraded by several roadside dumps and wastes entering the creek due to flooding events.
Ironically, the three largest illegal roadside dumps are located where scenic views of the creek exist. Removal of these wastes (household garbage, junk vehicles, construction/demolition wastes, and white goods) would be very difficult due to the very steep topography. The area between Bobtown, PA and Taylortown, PA is most highly impacted by these illegal dumping activities (along S.R. 2025). See Figure 5 for exact locations of these illegal dumps.
Figure 5. Large Illegal Dump Sites in the Dunkard Creek Watershed
Large illegal roadside dumps such as this one located near Bobtown, PA can be found on the very steep banks of Dunkard Creek.