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REACH Roundtable Series

3RQ REACH Virtual Roundtable Series 2020-2021

3RQ hosted a three-part virtual roundtable series in order to connect groups throughout the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Upper Ohio river basins. Presenters shared recent accomplishments, challenges, and advice on behalf of their organizations. The series served as a fantastic opportunity to gain information, inspiration, and new connections.

Watch the Recordings

Session 1: 3RQ Information Session

Session 2: Current Work of 3RQ Volunteer Groups Part I

Session 3: Current Work of 3RQ Volunteer Groups Part II

Speaker Highlights

  • Jacobs Creek Watershed Association keeps busy with current projects in stormwater management, water quality monitoring, recreation, education, and recently their first AMD treatment project! According to Taylor Robbins, Program Coordinator, JCWA utilizes WATERS to store data collected during their monthly monitoring, share results with the public, and easily view data in chart form.  To promote recreation in the area, JCWA provides kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes for members to use, hosts a community float and fishing derby, and recently installed a river gauge for enthusiasts to check water level and temperature before venturing out.
  • The Washington County Watershed Alliance completed an eight year data logger program that collected continuous data at 25 sites throughout Washington County and provided experience to 14 college students. Jennifer Dann, WCWA Treasurer, expressed that utilizing the WATERS database to store data was integral to the success of this undertaking. The project collected an impressive set of baseline data and showed unexpected water quality results for several streams. One piece of advice Dann offers for anyone before initiating a data logger program is to not underestimate the amount of time and effort it requires.
  • Guardians of the West Fork, spanning three counties in North Central West Virginia, is an all volunteer organization, headed by president John Ciesla, with a large focus on AMD treatment, trash cleanups, and water recreation. Following the 2016 removal of three low head dams, GWF began an annual community river float along the 75 mile West Fork River Water Trail. Other recreation projects include constant work to establish more boat access sites and working with towns to connect their assets to the river in their Trail Towns initiative.
  • Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, an urban watershed in Pittsburgh, is tackling climate justice issues, green infrastructure projects, volunteer maintenance of Frick Park, and stream monitoring. According to Lindsey-Rose Flowers, Community Engagement Manager, four largescale green infrastructure projects they are in the final planning stages of will likely capture over one million gallons of stormwater each year! Check out this interactive story map to see how they incorporated public health, social vulnerability, environmental quality, and the urban landscape into their project site determinations.
  • The Cheat River watershed, located in Eastern West Virginia, is impacted by 350 acid mine drainage (AMD) seeps. Friends of the Cheat (FOC) has been working to remediate AMD in the watershed since 1995. They are currently accomplishing this by writing watershed based plans for three of their subwatersheds, constructing new treatment systems, and renovating those that aren’t effectively treating the AMD. FOC is also tackling issues new to them, including dam removal, eDNA testing, and sediment and erosion control. According to Madison Ball, Restoration Program Manager, their goal is to recover 90 acres of riparian habitat in just four years to address erosion throughout the watershed.
  • Captina Conservancy, located in Eastern Ohio, protects Captina Creek primarily by preserving priority properties within the watershed. Working closely with landowners and partner agencies, the conservancy currently holds 1,700 acres in easements. According to Abbey Hayward, Volunteer, Captina Creek is one of the premier watersheds in Ohio and is home to the state endangered hellbender. Captina Conservancy also utilizes partnerships to accomplish water monitoring throughout the watershed. In addition to their three data logger sites, they also work closely with the Ohio EPA and Soil and Water Conservation District volunteers to collect data.
  • Laura Blood, Source Water Protection Manager for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC), provided the perspective of source water protection for drinking water. MAWC monitors over 57 sites across the Youghiogheny River and Beaver Run source water protection areas. These sites are monitored regularly for various water quality parameters, including total nitrogen and phosphorus loadings. According to Blood, the 3RQ map was very helpful in seeing what other groups were monitoring in these areas to combine efforts wherever possible. One future direction MAWC is working towards is connecting water quality to land use management. This includes providing information on best management practices to landowners and calculating potential and actual reductions from utilizing these practices over time.
  • Eric Harder, Youghiogheny Riverkeeper, does exactly as his title implies. This includes hauling hundreds of tires from the river, monitoring for plastic pollution in the form of nurdles, testing for bacteria, and remaining vigilant for threats to the health of the river and local communities. The Youghiogheny Riverkeeper is housed within Mountain Watershed Association (MWA) which is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance. MWA primarily protects the Indian Creek watershed, a subwatershed of the Youghiogheny. Together, Harder and MWA are proactive against issues from active and prelaw coal mining, hazardous waste discharges, and fracking activities.

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