North Branch of the Potomac River watershed - During a kickoff ceremony near Mount Storm, WV in August 2010, state and local officials activated one of three dosers that will treat Abram Creek with acid-neutralizing alkaline materials. “By completing this project, we’re hoping to bring back 20 to 25 miles of trout stream,” Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro announced at the ceremony. “And, as we know, trout are a barometer of clean water.” Jezioro was joined at the event by Ed Hamrick, assistant to WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman. Hamrick also serves as the state liaison to the Mid-Atlantic Highlands Action Program (HAP), the group which coordinated the Abram Creek initiative.
“The Abram Creek restoration epitomizes the [HAP] creed,” Hamrick said. “Multiple partners from different government agencies, as well as private entities, worked together and drew upon existing resources to achieve a common goal.” The DEP’s Office of Abandoned Mine Lands program footed the $850,000 bill for the project, which will improve water quality on more than six miles of tributary streams and on more than 18 miles of the Abram Creek mainstem that flow through Grant and Mineral counties. Because Abram Creek flows into the North Branch of the Potomac and thus into the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland joined West Virginia in its efforts and will operate and maintain the three dosers. In addition to the three doser sites, three additional locations in the watershed are part of the project. Treatment at those sites includes the periodic dumping of limestone sand directly into the stream. Fairfax Materials Inc. will provide and transport materials for one year to the three additional treatment sites. The DNR chief Jezioro said if monitoring indicates the stream’s pH level is suitable and stable, the DNR could be stocking Abram Creek with trout by February 2011. If successful, it will become part of the DNR’s spring stocking schedule as a monthly stocked water. Trout fishing alone in Abram Creek could bring in $600,000 annually. (--Adapted from September 2010 InDEPth)