Watershed Approach

Watershed Approach

Land conservation is a powerful tool that can help communities meet multiple planning challenges, including the protection of rivers and streams, water quality, and drinking water resources.

The West Virginia Land Trust approaches land conservation with a “watershed approach”– we understand that the way West Virginia’s landscapes are managed directly influences water quality in our state’s rivers and streams. In light of this relationship, we recognize that by conserving a piece of property, we gain opportunities to positively influence water quality by ensuring intact riparian corridors, restoring eroded stream banks, rebuilding wetlands, and restricting intensive land uses that contribute toward degradation of these resources.

For more information about using land conservation strategies to protect local waterways, call (304) 346-7788 or email info@wvlandtrust.org.

How It Works

Although our current funding sources direct us to work in some of West Virginia’s most heavily-impacted watersheds — Tug Fork, Coal, Guyandotte, Kanawha, Elk, New, Gauley, and Greenbrier — we are working statewide to promote healthy landscapes and communities. Regardless of where we work, we believe that public input is a key step toward maximizing the benefits of land protection.

WVLT works with local communities and private landowners to:

      1. Identify land that is important to the protection of their local waterways;
      2. Inform them about available tools and resources for land protection;
      3. Help acquire properties or develop voluntary conservation easements that provide benefits for local waterways.

Current Projects Underway:

Drinking Water Source Protection in the Greenbrier Watershed— In 2014, WVLT partnered with the City of Lewisburg, Greenbrier River Watershed Association, and Downstream Strategies to identify areas that are strategic for protecting water quality in the Greenbrier River, which serves as the sole drinking water source for nearly 12,000 people in Greenbrier watershed. WVLT will be working with private landowners in these areas over the next several years to develop conservation easements that will help protect water quality in the Greenbrier River. Read the report here.

Restoring Working Farmlands in the Potomac Watershed— In 2015, WVLT received a donation of a 62-acre farm in the Potomac watershed, now known as Poppy Bean Preserve. Flanked by the South Fork and the South Branch of the Potomac, the property offers opportunities for protecting intact riparian corridors, restoring historic floodplain forests, rebuilding wetlands and aquatic habitats, reclaiming stream banks eroded by over-grazing, and providing recreational access. This project is a work-in-progress and reflects WVLT’s growing emphasis on projects that focus on watershed restoration and demonstrate the public benefits of conservation.

Working With Landowners

The West Virginia Land Trust helped actualize a landowner’s vision of protecting her 110-acre property, Hidden River Farm, near the border of Randolph and Pocahontas counties. The easement demonstrates the many benefits of conservation. The landowner is able to continue traditional farming, safeguarding the property from residential and commercial development while also conserving streams, caves, and wildlife habitat on the property.

“The interests of the West Virginia Land Trust in the Elk River headwaters and my ongoing passion for this river have intersected at the perfect time. I hope this easement can be an example for other landowners on this special river to consider similar action.” – Tolly Peuleche, Landowner, Pocahontas County, W.Va.

 

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