We did not inherit the earth from our fathers, we are barrowing it from our children
Morris Creek Watershed Association is located approximately 25 miles southeast of Charleston, WV near the town of Montgomery on Morris Creek; a tributary of the upper Kanawha River. The watershed spans a little over 5 miles, north to south, and covers approximately seven and a half squares miles. The elevation at the source of the drainage is approximately one thousand eight hundred feet above sea level and drops to about six hundred and forty feet above sea level at the mouth where it joins the Kanawha River. The average drop is two hundred twenty eight feet per linear mile across the watershed.
Many years ago Morris creek supported aquatic life such as crawfish, minnows, lizards, frogs, pockets of pan fish, and a variety of small aquatic creatures that resided in our stream bed. For nearly 30 years, the lower portion of our stream was basically dead of aquatic life, with areas of swamps (or vats) of yellow ooze. There were also areas of white ooze from aluminum precipitating out of the water, and onto the streambed. These toxins come from bad coal mining practices from the 1970s as well as a previously active landfill containing many hazardous materials. Our stream had become an unsafe place for local children and nearby residents.
Contaminated drainage negatively affects the health and well being of the watershed and the surrounding community. We have experienced increasingly high cancer death rates, far exceeding the norm, and we suspect this is due to the toxic contamination. Our local property has been de-valued by land scars, abandoned mine drainage, severely stained streambeds, unnecessary eyesores, and many safety hazards within the community due to the prior coal mining. Improper reclamation practices from past mining activities have impeded future economic growth potential of our local area.
In early fall of 2001 several grass-root citizens took the initiative to organize and restore the environment to its previous pristine condition. On March 21, 2002 the Morris Creek Watershed Association, Inc. (MCWA) was officially formed and consisted of four officers, twenty-two directors, and a total of about forty-five members. The MCWA’s principal place of business is currently located at 328 Morris Drive, Montgomery, WV, 25136, in Fayette County, West Virginia.
The MCWA is a non-profit organization made up of local citizens with a mission to improve the safety of the Morris Creek watershed, restore its natural beauty, and provide recreational opportunities. MCWA’s goals are to return the Morris Creek watershed to a safe environment for all residents while restoring the water quality to a condition capable of supporting both aquatic life and local recreational activities.
Together with the help of our partners, we have brought in approximately two million dollars to the watershed, resulting in a significant difference to our community, and the surrounding environment.
To date, we have removed 161.6 tons of solid waste, remediated four Acid Mine Drainage sites, restored three out of four phases of our stream bank stabilization project, planted over 150 trees including 100 native chestnuts, reintroduced three species of trout to our waters, and constructed five K-dams to increase cover and habitat for the aquatic life.
We are proud to be part of the Office of Suffice Mining Americorps VISTA program. To date, we have had three part time and three full time VISTA positions. Each Americorps VISTA has helped develop and implement our many ongoing programs.
Morris Creek Watershed hosts the Morris Creek Reunion, Project WET, numerous student outings, Trout in the Classroom, wildlife habitat improvements, and many other outreach and environmental educational programs.
We invite you to join us and get involved with a great organization!
Building a better tomorrow today…. one drop at a time!
Partners and Contributors:
Chesapeake Energy Corporation
City of Montgomery
Office of Surface Mining
Pardee Resources Group
Kanawha Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
West Virginia University Institute of Technology
Bridgemont Community and Technical College
Appalachian Electric Power
Crown Castle International
West Virginia University of Institute of Technology Delta Chi Fraternity
West Virginia University Institute of Technology Outdoor Club
West Virginia University Institute of Technology Biology Club
West Virginia Conservation Agency
Canaan Valley Institute
West Virginia Stream Restoration Group
West Virginia Oil and Gas
West Virginia Department of Forestry
Hummer Club Inc.
Kanawha County Commission of Parks and Recreation
City of Hanley
West Virginia Make it Shine