Sleepy Creek Watershed Association receives first place state award
Sleepy Creek Watershed Association (SCWA) was awarded first place for the 2006 State Watershed Award at the 2006 West Virginia Conservation Partnership Conference held in October in Charleston. The purpose of the award is to recognize a watershed group in the state who promotes community involvement in partnerships, addresses natural resource concerns, and educates themselves and others on watershed issues.
Second place was awarded to Dunlop Creek Watershed Association in Southern Conservation and third place was awarded to Campbell's Creek Watershed Associaton in Capitol Conservation District.
SCWA has formed a working relationship with the Eastern Panhandle Conversation District, from the initial planning phases of the organization's development, through the oversight of project development and implementation and throughout their numerous outreach programs throughout the region.
The association has been awarded four $5,000 West Virgina Department of Environmental Protection Stream Partner's Grants, which have enabled them to carry out activities such as demonstration riparian plantings and the development of educational packets to be mailed to area landowners. They have developed a stream monitoring program in conjunction with WVDEP Save Our Streams.
They have joined with area agencies to coordinate and construct approximately $18,000 of stream bank stabilization projects within Sleepy Creek Watershed, stabilizing approximately 700 feet of eroding stream bank and planting a riparian buffer of over 400 trees.
SCWA has been closely linked to the government agencies Natural Resources Conservation Service and West Virginia State Conservation Agency to provide speakers for educational workshops.
SCWA in cooperation with the Department of Highways, has been responsible for the installation of highway signs to identify the watershed.
They have been instrumental in facilitating several stream cleanups in cooperation with the DEP Make It Shine program. They have supported the Morgan County Purple Loosestrife Task Force, controlling the spread of this invasive species along stream valleys.
The have faciliated the organization of area environmental groups for the sustenance of "Conservation Alley" at the Apple Butter Festival.
In addition, they have worked in cooperation with Friends of the Cacapon River, Morgan County 4-H, Morgan County Forestry Board, Morgan County Schools, Morgan County Planning Commission, Eastern Panhandle Trails Coalition, Blue Heron Environmental Network Shepherd University, Canaan Valley Institute, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, West Virginia Department of Forestry, NRCS Resource Conservation and Development, and Chesapeake Bay Program.
The vision of the SCWA is to inventory resource concerns and investigate other critical issues that could potentially impact the Sleepy Creek Watershed in a negative manner. They envision their association increasing the public's awareness and fostering the next generation's interest in a holistic approach to watershed management, stressing the importance of clean water.
The association consists of approximately 90 members from many various walks of life. Most are local landowners, many of whom own property encompassing Sleepy Creek. The association is made up of both area natives and newcomers to the watershed. For more information on the SCWA and their activities contact www.sleepycreekwatershedassociation.org.
2006 State Conservation Farm of the Year Award
Jim and Jackie Michael of Morgan County received the third place award for State Conservation Farm of the year. The second place award was received by Coary Walls of Preston County. First place was awarded to Edison and Richard Law of Harrison County. The awards were presented at the West Virginia Conservation Agency annual banquet in October.
Jim and Jackie Michael were recognized for their exemplary effort to protect and improve their land through best management practices. Some of the practices are nutrient management, rotational grazing, extended grazing and reside management. He is a cooperator in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Agricultural Management Assistance Program and the West Virginia Managed Timber Program.
The Michaels also participate in numerous civic organizations. Jim Michael has been involved with the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District, West Virginia Farm Bureau, West Virginia State Park Foundation, Sleepy Creek Watershed Association, and the Morgan County Rural Water Committee. He had a 35 year career with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service before retiring to work exclusively on his farm.