Gale Foulds Selected as SCWA’s 2014
Volunteer of the Year
Gale has been the unsung mainstay of the Sleepy Creek Watershed Association for the past 13 years. Through her tireless energy and devotion to clean water and the health and welfare of people in the Sleepy Creek Watershed and Morgan County in general she grew the organization from a few interested people to over 150 active volunteers and supporters.
She spearheaded actions ranging from annual trash clean ups along Sleepy Creek and its tributaries to informing the public about environmental and watershed issues that impact their well-being. She annually supported the Master Gardner Plant Fair, the Morgan County Fair, and the Apple Butter Festival.
In addition, Gale’s positive coordination of activities and issues with state and federal agencies has brought significant grants to the local community to correct man-made and natural mishaps affecting our daily lives and the water quality in Sleepy Creek.
Without question, Gale is a community volunteer and organizer that cares about the people of Morgan County and the environment in which they live and prosper.
With the help of a grant from the WV Stream Partners and technical assistance for The Downstream Project, we are happy to announce that we have modernized the Sleepy Creek Watershed Association website. It is still a work-in-progress and our plan is to integrate it with Facebook and other social media technologies in the near future. In the meantime, we ask you to take a thorough look at the website and all the information and helpful resources contained in the drop-down menus in the buttons at the top of the home page. If you are willing, we would appreciate having your comments and suggestions for improvement. You can email these to us.
Good News In the Watershed
In 2008, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) classified Indian Run (the stream that drains the lake at Cacapon Resort State Park) as impaired because of elevated fecal coliform levels. Subsequently, between 2008 and 2011, as part of the overall West Virginia Conservation Agency Sleepy Creek project, the Morgan County Health Department and your Association took action to pump and upgrade septic systems and plant trees in the Indian Run sub-watershed. The good news is that, because of these actions, the DEP removed Indian Run from the impaired list. This is a prime example of environmental improvement success through the combined efforts of government agencies and volunteer organizations such as SCWA. You can read the full details of the Indian Run success story in the West Virginia Watershed Network’s 2014 Summer WaterNet newsletter here.
Eastern Panhandle Agricultural Field Day
On Saturday, September 13, the SCWA and the the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District are co-sponsoring an Agricultural Field Day. The event will take place at the Morgan County farm of Jim Michael (intersection of Winchester Grade and Luther Michael Roads), from 3 – 7:30 PM. You don’t have to be a farmer to take advantage of this land management educational, financial, and technical assistance opportunity! It is open to all land owners. Presentations will be oriented towards best land management practices, to include soil sampling and nutrients, cover crops, tree plantings, water quality, and grazing. Topics and demonstrations will be presented on a small group, station rotation basis, with ample time for questions and answers. Dinner will be served to participants and door prizes awarded! Watch the Morgan Messenger and Martinsburg Journal for follow-on announcements or better yet, register now with the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District at (304) 263 – 4376, extension 2 (Suzy Lucas). There is a nominal $5 registration fee. Additional email notification will be forthcoming, as the event draws closer.
Tree Planting At Greenwood Elementary School
On May 18, 2014, members of the SCWA joined efforts with the school principle, parents, and students, and staff members of the Cacapon Institute, to plant 16 shade trees at the Greenwood Elementary School on Winchester Grade Road. The trees were obtained through a grant from West Virginia’s Project CommuniTree, which encourages environmental education through volunteerism. This program is jointly sponsored by the US Forest Service, West Virginia Department of Forestry, Cacapon Institute, West Virginia Conservation Agency, and West Virginia Department of Highways. Through the volunteer efforts of SCWA members and school participants, we exceeded the grant matching requirements, fun was had by all participants, and the watershed and learning environment at Greenwood Elementary School was improved (see photos at left).
Rivers Coalition Urges Monument for West Virginia
The West Virginia Rivers Coalition, along with a group of other conservation, recreation, and clean-water organizations is urging the state’s Congressional delegation to support the creation of a national monument in a remote and rugged part of the Monongahela National Forest. The headwaters of six rivers are located in this area. This ‘Birthplace of Rivers National Monument’ would offer enhanced protection to 75,000 acres surrounding the Cranberry Wilderness, which is also to be incorporated into the proposal. National Monuments can be created by Congress or the President to offer special protections for land owned by the federal government. More details are available at our website.
Wind Dance Farm – Educating Children about the Environment
Wind Dance Farm, a home-schooling facility within the Sleepy Creek Watershed, also teaches children about taking care of the environment. Several SCWA members gave the children a hands-on demonstration about how to measure the health of a stream. The Farm recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their new educational barn. Check out this insightful 4-minute video about their programs.
In a recent review, we noted that less than 20% of our recorded members have renewed their membership in the last two years. Is your membership current? We hope that you are still supportive of our efforts and have a continuing interest in improving the quality of life in our watershed, for current and future generations. If so, you can now easily renew your membership on-line at our new secure website, using a credit card or PayPal (click the “Join Us” button at the top right of the home page). If you prefer, you may send a check to Sleepy Creek Watershed Association, PO Box 991, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411. Thanks again to all those members who have already renewed their memberships this year. We greatly appreciate your continued support.
Parting Thought – Can You Answer Your Neighbor’s Question: What is a Watershed?
A watershed is the area of land where all the water that falls on it drains to the same place. So, our watershed drains into Sleepy Creek and its tributaries, which eventually meet with the Potomac River. You may have seen the signs along roads leading to Berkeley Springs, indicating where the watershed begins. As you drive through Morgan County, look for green and white signs along the roads that define the outer edges of the Sleepy Creek Watershed. (Hint: It’s big! The Sleepy Creek watershed land area in Morgan County contains 69,000 acres, stretching from the Virginia state line north to the Potomac River and roughly from Cacapon Mountain east to the Berkeley County line. A map is available on our new website under the “Our Watershed” button at the top of the home page.)