Morris Creek Watershed has a wide variety of resources made available to it by diverse group of interested parties. A goal of the OSM/VISTA is to utilize available resources and opportunities to improve the local environment, community, and economy. Such projects and goals are as follows:
* Trout in the Classroom:Morris Creek Watershed Association sponsored and assisted in the implementation of a trout in a classroom program at Pratt Elementary School. With the help of the OSM/Vista, students at Pratt learned how to harvest rainbow trout during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 school years. In May students were bussed to Morris Creek where they released 50 trout into the watershed and celebrated their successful year of growing trout. Other schools joining us have been Pinch Elementry, Cheasapeak Elementry, Poca Middle school and Capitol High School
* In-stream structures: Throughout 2009 the watershed has implemented a variety of in-stream structures to enhance aquatic habitat. One of those structures is a K-dam. Since the installation of the k-dams, the trout that students grew and stocked brook and brown provided by Trout Unlimited continues to thrive in Morris Creek. The OSM/VISTA will continue to help with the repair and install many more k-dams in Morris Creek.
* Morris Creek reunion: MCWA has sponsored and facilitated a reunion for new, current and past community members. The 2008 gathering had a drawing of over 600 people from multiple states and several different countries. One of the goals of the OSM/VISTA is to continue to help organize the reunion for years to come. The MCWA also sponsored the 2010 reunion August 14 and 15 2010.
* Water Monitoring: MCWA’s OSM/VISTA has collected water samples with the WVDEP for their databases and is currently working to expand monitoring efforts, soliciting support and resources from West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech), Marshall University, and the local community. The goal is to develop a water monitoring program that will provide a more in-depth understanding of the stream’s chemistry. This is important when evaluating general stream health, the effectiveness of existing treatment sites, and the need for future improvements. Currently the MCWA is seeking volunteer water monitors. If you are interested in learning how to sample water please contact the MCWA.
* Tech Trails: WVU Tech has a small trail network that neighbors the Morris creek watershed. MCWA is in the process of expanding Tech’s trail system to include areas within the watershed. With support of the local community, WVU Tech, and Pardee Ventures LLC, thousands of acres will be made available for trail construction, greatly enhancing the recreational value of the area. Pardee Ventures LLC is a large land owner that has possession of most of the Morris creek watershed and surrounding areas. This project will open many new possibilities to the area. There is even future the prospect of developing a multi use recreational facility that would bring in people from all parts of the country.
* Bioremediation: MCWA has four passive treatment sites to treat symptoms of AMD including low pH and high metal concentrations. Two of these sites are not working properly, allowing acidic water and metals to flow into the stream. These sites will shortly undergo improvements to correct these issues. One aspect of this improvement involves the implementation of bioremediation, a process which provides desirable conditions to support certain bacteria. In turn these bacteria will thrive, either consuming or neutralizing undesirable contaminates. MCWA is working closely with West Virginia University on this experimental method of biological treatment.
* Donwood Cemetery: WVU Tech students are in the process of using GIS technologies to map out the upper and lower Donwood Cemeteries. This project gives the senior students great training and experience, while providing the community with valuable data. The cemetery has much historical value, and every year weathered markers become increasingly illegible. The objective is to use collected data to label all of the graves in a digital format that will preserve this local historical landmark. Community members have the greatest knowledge of the cemetery, and are able to identify many graves that lack proper identification. To facilitate the students’ work, the OSM/VISTA has not only played a crucial role in opening communications between students and the local community, but has organized cemetery cleanups as well.
* MCWA’s proposed environmental facility: The MCWA has submitted several grants seeking federal and private funding to build a new center that will not only host watershed activities but act as a community center for the Morris Creek Watershed Area. The MCWA is proposing to build a state-of-the-art green building that will feature conference room, dormitory style-housing and a kitchen facility. This facility will not only act as an outdoor laboratory for students but also feature community programs such as Meals on Wheels.
* Brownfields: The Morris Creek Watershed Association has been working diligently to remediate approximately 400 acres of land that are deemed “contaminated” by previous mining practices. In October 2009, the MCWA and the City of Montgomery partnered together to submit an EPA Community-wide Brownfields Hazardous Assessment Grant. If federal funding is secured the grant will allow the MCWA to hire consultants to conduct 15 phase one environmental assessments and five phase two environmental assessments of mine-scarred lands. Once assessments are completed the MCWA plans to redevelop these properties into green spaces, which will feature an interpretive trail system that explains the various environmental challenges that are occurring throughout the Morris Creek Watershed and the Appalachian region. Additionally, the MCWA grant application was noticed by state officials and was asked to present its project at the 2009 West Virginia Brownfields Conference in Morgantown, West Virginia.