Paul Hughes Preserve at Potts Creek

Ecological Site Protected

In September 2021, WVLT took ownership of an old farm in Monroe County that includes a critical concentration of the endangered spinymussel. The James spinymussel is a unique part of West Virginia’s natural heritage and WVLT is excited to conserve its habitat. In general, mussels are an indicator of water quality since they are sensitive to pollution and unhealthy conditions. Their presence in Potts Creek suggests relatively good water quality and we are hoping to contribute toward improving and sustaining these conditions.

Preserve Plans

WVLT plans to develop an interpretative trail offering birding opportunities and explaining the rare species living at this new preserve!

With guidance and support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, WVLT plans to restore habitat along the creek-including streambank stabilization and instream improvements-to ensure the James spinymussel continues to thrive at this important conservation site. A major part of the restoration effort will involve revegetating the streambanks with native trees and shrubs to reduce erosion and sedimentation, as well as to increase shade that is necessary to maintain cooler water temperatures that benefit aquatic species.

The preserve is located within 20 minutes of the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory, which can be seen atop Peters Mountain when standing along the creek.

In Memory of Paul Hughes

Paul William Hughes was a young biologist and West Virginia native employed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in West Virginia at the time of his passing. Paul’s outgoing personality, his passion for the natural world, his deep knowledge of aquatic ecosystems, and his commitment to protecting species and habitats through his work were widely admired.

As a means of honoring Paul’s legacy, the West Virginia Land Trust created the Paul William Hughes Conservation Fund, which will support projects that reflect Paul’s personal and professional conservation interests: Habitat protection, restoration, and management; aquatic ecosystems, especially those that harbor rare species; and raising community awareness of the kinds of natural places that brought Paul a sense of wonder and joy.

Additionally, activities supported by the Paul Hughes Fund will prioritize collaborative work between WVLT and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as other public natural resource agencies.

Please consider a donation in celebration of Paul’s life.

Thank you!

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Click here to learn more about Paul Hughes.


Recreation at Paul Hughes Preserve at Potts Creek

Coming Soon
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