deckers creek watershed senior project

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  • Deckers CreekMonongahela ,West Virginia

    Parker Schankweiler - Edger Hannibal - Justin Pitsenbarger

  • Mission Statement Our mission is to identify and design a site responsive master plan of diminished locations throughout the Deck-ers Creek watershed. The design will focus on restoring and preserving the existing wildlife, aquatic, and ripar-ian habitat along the corridor. The project will achieve goals that respond to stream rehabilitation efforts and increased access to the stream corridor. Transforming sections of the landscape into an immersive educational gre-enway that demonstrates functional stream restoration applications, green infrastructure techniques, and Acid Mine Drainage treatment systems. Providing a linkage of outdoor learning environments alongside the Deck-er Creek Trail, which encourages the surrounding communities to reconnect and learn about the effects various pollutants can have on a watercourse. The extension and integration of the Deckers Creek Outdoor Learning Park will become an all-encompassing adventure destination, which can be applied to similar tarnished watercourses.

    GoalEnhance sites along the Deckers Creek corridor

    Objectives: Incorporate green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff Highlight and alleviate current Acid Mine Drainage sources Stabilize sections of the streams edge Rejuvenate biodiversity through providing additional habitat

    Goal Create interpretative trail destinations that integrate the surrounding communities

    Objectives: Improve pedestrian circulation, stream, and trail access Incorporate parking and informational signage Design areas for community interactions and personal leisure Integrate local and recycled building materials to link the site with its surroundings Stimulate cultural art exhibits

    GoalIncorporate environmental learning opportunities

    Objectives: Create a linkage of environmental learning sites along the Deckers Creek Trail Integrate interpretative areas throughout the stream corridor Provide visitors and residents with access to the stream

    Deckers Creek

  • 1 mileAMD source


    Watershed Boundary

    Rail Trail

    FODC AMDRemediation Project

    NRCS AMDRemediation Project

    < Deckers Creek

    < Dillan Creek

    < Kanes Creek

    Deckers Creek >

    Kingwood 3.4 miles




    lia C







    Route 7

    Kingwood Pike

    Route 7

    Back Run >

    Slabcamp Run >Laurel Run >

    Fairfax Pond








    Upper Deckers ImpoundmentDrinking Water Supply

    Upper Deckers CreekWidlife Management Area

    In order to prevent flooding down-stream,five flood retention ponds werebuilt and five miles of streambed weredredged and straightened. Notice howstraight Deckers Creek is just upstreamfrom the Kingwood Pike.

    Glady Run >


    p R



    ACCESS Deckers Creek ows right by thetrailhead in Masontown. From Route 7, ndthe trailhead near mile 13 by turning downDepot Street.

    WATER QUALITY Masontown usually haslow pH values. It is expected to improvedue to remediation projects by the NaturalResource Conservation Service and FODC.

    FISH On those occasions when the wateris not acidic, the stream contains manyminnows and a few large sh. Many sur-veys, however, yield no sh aT all becauseof AMD.

    ACCESS The Kingwood Pike crosses Deck-ers Creek and the Rail-Trail (near mile 17)within approximately 300 feet of eachother.

    WATER QUALITY Measurements of waterquality vary widely in this area. pH mea-surements range from 4 to above 7. Thechanges in Kanes Creek, 0.6 miles up-stream, account for the changes here.

    FISH In bad years, there are no sh here.In good years, we nd a few minnows.One or two small bass often blend in withthe other sh.

    INVERTEBRATES We nd few inverte-brates in the sandy substrate in this area.In the few areas with decent invertebratehabitat, we nd sparse communities withdragony larvae, sowbugs, snails, riebeetles, and other organisms.

    FISH Creek chub dominate the communi-ties, but bullhead catsh are sometimesfound as well. We caught a crappie hereonce, probably an escapee from a privatepond.

    INVERTEBRATES Benthic invertebratesare dicult to sample: the streambed isextremely tough to disturb because ofyears of iron deposits and other materials.Netspinner caddisies dominate the com-munity.

    Dillan Creekat Burke Road

    ACCESS Route 7 crosses Dillan Creekand intersects Burke Road 1.6 miles southof Masontown. The Deckers Creek Rail-Trail intersects Burke Road just past mile16.

    WATER QUALITY In its upper reaches,Dillan Creek is severely damaged by AMD.At Burke Road, however, it is close to neu-tral. Bacteria counts are occasionally high.The creek held a thick algal bloom in2005, indicating nutrient enrichment.

    FISH We nd sh in Dillan Creek everyyear. Creek chub, sunsh, and bullheadcatsh are usually present. They may swiminto Dillan when Deckers has bad water.

    INVERTEBRATES Like the algae, the in-vertebrates indicate an enriched com-munity. Netspinners are most common,but we also nd many rie beetles. Anaverage of ten varieties of benthic macro-invertebrates appear each year.

    ACCESS The Rail-Trail bends near the conu-ence of Kanes and Deckers. Upstream, the trailparallels Kanes rather than Deckers. Route 92crosses both trail (near mile 18) and KanesCreek one-half mile from Reedsville.

    WATER QUALITY Kanes Creek is usually amajor source of AMD to Deckers Creek. Its pHhas been as low as 3.

    FISH Until recently, the water in Kanes was sobad we did not dare survey sh for fear thebackpack shocker would short-circuit. In 2005,however, six sh were found there. In 2007, wefound 74 sh of eight dierent species.

    INVERTEBRATES Few invertebrates live in theacid waters. Typically, only four or ve insectsare found even after several kicks in the sedi-ment.

    ACCESS This site has no easy access. Whenvisiting it, we park next to Kanes Creek onRoute 92, and walk three tenths of a milethrough a eld to Deckers.

    WATER QUALITY The water here is not acid-ic, but occasionally has low dissolved oxygenand high bacteria counts.

    FISH In many years, there are more large(>6) sh per acre at this site than at any ot-her site on Deckers Creek. The sh seem tocamp out in the good water just upstreamfrom Kanes Creek and the AMD it carries.

    INVERTEBRATES The mix of non-acidic wa-ter and the sandy bottom at this site makesfor an unusual community for Deckers: it isdominated by midges, but also containsdamselies, rie beetles, and snails.

    ACCESS This stretch of the creek can beseen from Route 7 as it crosses the Monon-galia/Preston County line. From the Rail-Trail, walk downhill in the area betweenmiles 11 and 12.

    WATER QUALITY This reach usually smel-led of sewage before construction of Ma-sontowns sewage treatment plant. It isbetter now, although it still sometimes vi-olates pH standards because it is too acidic.

    Deckers Creek cuts through snow and ice near thecounty line.

    FODC VISTA James Nutaitis monitoring Deckers Creekamong the cattails near the Kingwood Pike.

    INVERTEBRATES Benthic inverte-brates indicate poor water quality. Net-spinners and aquatic earthworms pre-dominate.

    Creek chubs

    Dragonfly larva

    FISH Our rst two annual surveys yieldedvery large (>10) bullhead catsh and large-mouth bass for such a small stream. Morerecently however, only a few small creekchub and sunsh have been found in thepool, which is getting lled in with stonefrom a ford for gas trucks.

    INVERTEBRATES Netspinners are the mostcommon, but a variety of mayies andstoneies are also present. Craysh seem tolove the large cavities between the stonesfor the ford.

    Deckers Creek near Zinn Chapel in winter.

    Deckers Creek AtREedsville Airstrip2 Kanes creek3

    Deckers Creekat Kingwood Pike4


    Deckers Creek atthe county line7 Masontown6

    Clockwise from left: A yellow bullhead catshcollected from Deckers Creek at the Reeds-ville airstrip.The Reedsville Airstrip section, waschannelized and straightened to decreasethe risk of flooding along the creek. Iron deposits from AMD coat Kanes Creek.

    Cheat RiverWatershed

    Three Fork Creekof the Tygart River












    Marion County


    Cheat River


    Deckers CreekWatershed

    Downstream Map

    Upstream Map



    Monongalia County


    t Ridge


    Deckers Creek

    Chestnut Ridge divides theDeckers Creek watershedinto upper and lower sec-tions. Deckers cuts throughthe ridge in the gorge.

    About Deckers CreekDeckers Creek starts on Chestnut Ridge near the KingwoodPike in Monongalia County. It ows through the Valley Dis-trict of Preston County to Masontown, where it turns to thenorthwest and cuts a gap back through Chestnut Ridge.After passing through the gorge it has cut in the ridge, itcharges through Morgantown to the Monongahela River.

    The 23-mile creek drains more than 60 square miles andshould contain many habitats and support a variety of shand other organisms. Unfortunately, acid mine drainage(AMD) and other kinds of pollution completely eliminatedsh from much of the creek and several of its tributaries formuch of the 20th century.

    Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC) has been studying thewatershed since 1995, and has sampled sh communitiesin various places annually since 2002. Fish can now befound in almost every part of Deckers, and some


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