Three local watershed groups receive state stream grants

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) announced late last week the recipients of the 2019 Stream Partners Grants.

The West Virginia Stream Partners Program is a cooperative effort between the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and the Soil Conservation Agency. The program has $100,000 annually appropriated to award to watershed associations interested in protecting and restoring state streams.

This year 23 organizations received funds up to $5,000.

Three Morgan County watershed groups were among those receiving grants – the Friends of the Cacapon River, Sleepy Creek Watershed Association and the Warm Springs Watershed Association

Sleepy Creek Watershed Association of Berkeley Springs received $2,900. The Friends of the Cacapon River received $5,000. Warms Springs Watershed Association received $4,400.

“These watershed groups do incredible work,” said WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton. “Their commitment to the environment is truly inspiring and we take great pride in assisting them in protecting our state’s water.”

“The program has helped West Virginia volunteers who dedicate their time to WV streams and rivers for 21 years,” said Stream Partners coordinator Jennifer Pauer. “While $5,000 is not a great amount of money, watershed associations continuously find innovative ways to use the funds to educate those in their communities about watershed protection, organize stream cleanups, develop larger scale water quality improvement projects, and ultimately make their local stream a place for recreation and community pride.”

The West Virginia Stream Partners Program began in 1996 with the creation of the West Virginia Stream Partners Program Act. The Legislature appropriated general revenue funds to support a grant program that encourages citizens to work in partnership with appropriate state agencies and local stakeholders. The goal is to supply seed grants and help organizations form partnerships for the completion of projects that will have long-term effects on the community and the watershed. Many watershed associations formed in 1996 are still active and successful today.