Bowden-Faulkner CPR -----Citizens Protective Response
A new grassroots community group has evolved to advocate for a sustainable future for the communities along the Bowden to Faulkner reach of the Shavers Fork. Bowden-Faulkner Citizens Protective Response (CPR) sprang from community opposition to the proposed Pond Lick Mountain Quarry. Working closely with the Shavers Fork Coalition, CPR has sponsored fund-raisers, informational meetings, and letter-writing campaigns to organize people concerned about the quarry and its impacts on the community. Cat Cole is the president and primary spokesperson for their group. If you would like to support CPR’s efforts or learn more about them, they can be reached at:
P. O. Box 61
Bowden, WV 26254
Please continue to voice your opinion on the quarry to your representatives and to the Army Corps of Engineers.
An Open Letter:
The Shavers Fork Coalition, representing 300 community members, opposes the development of a new quarry along the Shavers Fork River. In particular, we oppose the development J.F. Allen Company’s proposed Pond Lick Mountain Quarry in the Bowden-Faulkner area of Randolph County. Pond Lick Mountain and the proposed quarry are within the watershed of the Shavers Fork. Pond Lick Mountain is the headwaters for several tributaries to the river and is the site of many springs which provide cold water to the trout fishery of the river and drinking water to many residents. Some of the tributaries that will be impacted by the quarry also support native trout. As a community group dedicated to long-term cooperation among watershed interests, we strive to promote and care for the unique qualities of the Shavers Fork in order to improve the region's quality of life. The Pond Lick Mountain Quarry threatens this quality of life. The Bowden-Faulkner area sets an example of the entrepreneurship of small business blending well with the natural environment. The five mile stretch of river between Stuarts Park and Bowden is the most highly used and easily accessible stretch of the Shavers Fork. It is home to long-time residents and new-comers, a treasured spot for second-homes, retirement homes, and summer “camps”, and is a well-known and well-respected area for fishermen because of the high quality trout fishing, serenity, and aesthetic beauty that the river and surrounding mountains provide. Small business owners have found their niche here and thrived in small scale: campground owners, fishing-ponds, restaurants, and locally-owned convenience stores serve the visiting fishermen, their families, and the residents.
We, the members of the Shavers Fork Coalition oppose the Pond Lick Mountain Quarry with the following concerns:
Loss of economic diversification and the subsequent instability and volatility of the local economy. If the quarry development proceeds, the area will become more industrialized, losing the attractiveness of the river and surrounding mountains, increasing the sedimentation to the river, and increasing truck traffic, noise, and dust pollution. In other parts of the county, state, and nation, where similar industrialization has taken place, tourism declines or fails to develop. The Crystal Springs-Aggregates area is a nearby example of a challenging small business atmosphere in an industrial sacrifice zone. The decline and loss of business in the Bowden-Faulkner area resulting from the quarry increases the dependence of the community on mining and degrades the resources that businesses currently draw on for their livelihood: the mountains, streams, and forests. This mono-economy is counter to the economic principle of diversification: a strong economic foundation is created by diversification of enterprise.
Cumulative impacts. Two quarries are already permitted in that area of the watershed. The Pond Lick Mountain Quarry, at 190 acres, is larger than both of these existing quarries, and is comparable in size to the Mashey Gap quarry on the south side of Kelly Mountain. As the number of active quarries increases, the impacts to the watershed and community multiplies. The increased noise, pollution, truck traffic, and sedimentation of the river from an additional quarry of this size, is likely to be the tipping point which creates the shift from a recreation-based local economy to an area of industrialization.
Net decrease in revenue received by state and local governments. The introduction of a new, operating quarry to the Bowden-Faulkner area decreases the attractiveness to visitors and fishermen and decreases the quality of life and desirability of the area to potential residents. With industrialization, property values decrease, nights spent by visitors in lodging—and thus lodging tax revenue—decrease, and the number of people employed will decrease along with revenue from their employment taxes. The attraction of severance taxes as revenue for local governments is strong and tempting. However, the true balance of revenue over the long-term from all affected sources must be considered.
We see the Shavers Fork watershed as a resource that, through its cultural heritage, natural appeal, and ecological health, will sustain an outstanding quality of life and a diverse economic community for present and future generations. The potential irreparable damage to the water quality and fishery of the river and the degradation of the visual and aesthetic qualities that the local economy depends upon for its livelihood make this proposed quarry unacceptable. The proposed quarry is a threat to this and future generations.
Quarry: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit
On December 8th, the Corps put out for public comment J.F. Allen Company’s permit application for the valley fill associated with the Pond Lick Mountain quarry. The public comment period ends January 10, 2005. (Comments must be in the hands of the Corps by that date.) You may read the notice at www.lrp.usace.army.mil/or/or-f/public_notice.htm.
While this permit deals only with the filling of 1250 feet of a stream (unnamed tributary of Shavers Fork), the Corps must also consider broader issues, such as economic, social, and cumulative impacts, since this is an Individual Permit. The permanent destruction of a high quality stream such as this tributary robs the aquatic system (Shavers Fork) of cold water and biota. Loss of this tributary requires mitigation of at least equal value and size. We have not yet seen the company’s Mitigation Plan. A public hearing will be requested.
Please consider writing a letter of comment, expressing your concerns about the valley fill, the loss of the high value stream, potential economic, social, recreational, property value loss and degradation if this quarry is permitted. Mail it to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
2032 William S. Moorhead Federal Building
1000 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh PA 15222-4186
Valley Fill Basics
The J.F. Allen Company must apply for three permits before they can begin operating the quarry. First is the Quarry permit from the West Virginia DEP; second, a Valley Fill permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and third, an Air Quality permit from WV DEP. As part of the Army Corps permit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must review the proposed actions for impact to fish and wildlife resources, including endangered and threatened species. J.F. Allen’s quarry and valley fill permits are currently under review. If all permits are approved then the J.F. Allen Company will commence mining operations in the spring of 2005. Mining would continue until the estimated date of 2075, opening up over 190 acres above ground, with deep mining in an area about four times that size.
“What is a valley fill?” Large scale mining in West Virginia calls for blasting off the tops of forested mountains. The rubble from the mountains is pushed into nearby valleys, burying streams and creating “valley fills”. Valley fills must have a containment pond at their base to catch the intense runoff from this type of site.
This permit will have a large valley fill, visible from area businesses and homes, which will permanently bury 1250 feet of mountain stream. The containment pond’s size is modeled after anticipated runoff from a 25 year storm event. The modeling used to determine the size of the pond is considered inadequate for the rainfall in the watershed (45” or more/year) by some. The increase in intensity and frequency of flooding in West Virginia communities is attributed in part to the inadequacy of similar ponds. If the containment pond on Pond Lick Mountain were to fail it would send potentially contaminated water into one of the watershed’s largest tributaries and possibly intensify downstream flood damage. Failure of the pond poses a direct threat to residents who live at the bottom of the stream valley.
Shavers Fork Coalition News
Elkhenge: Music Rain or Shine!
Elkhenge was a big success this year—and not just for the water-lovers. Ivan made a big splash on Friday but our spirits were warm. Saturday brought sun as the clouds lifted. It was an exuberant day. Over 200 people enjoyed the music of the Juggling Sons, Nexus, Pam Roberts, Montaneros, and others. Thanks to everyone who came out to support the Shavers Fork Coalition and the Highlands Trail Foundation. And a huge circle of gratitude to Hillbilly Graham for bringing such a wonderful event together. The event raised $1300 for the Coalition.
Welcome to our New Board Members
Sam Golston and Jim Van Gundy volunteered to serve two year terms as Board Members for the Coalition. Sam has long enjoyed his time on the Shavers Fork and soon will be retiring to the Faulkner area. He brings his business perspective and love of the river to the leadership team. Jim, professor emeritus in the Biology and Environmental Science Department at Davis and Elkins College, participated in the Coalition’s fledgling days leading to its formation. His knowledge of the natural history and geology of the area is a valuable asset to the Coalition. We share our gratitude to them for offering their time, skills, and enthusiasm.
Board Member Bio – Jim Bazzle
Jim Bazzle is one of our newest board members and one of our long-time supporters. The owner and proprietor of Revelle’s River Resort and Yogi Bear Jellystone Park, he joined the board in September 2002. He volunteered for this leadership position after he and his parents played an instrumental role in the founding of the Coalition.
In the early days of Shavers Fork Coalition, Jim’s father and mother, Hansel and Mildred Bazzle provided space for organizational meetings at the River Resort. After the Coalition was incorporated, the Resort continued to be a meeting place for Annual membership events, board retreats, and the Annual “Spring Clean” streamside litter pick-up.
Jim has a long history on the Shavers Fork. His great aunt and uncle settled in the bottomland of what is now Faulkner, began farming, opened the Country Store, and ran the post office. His father, Hansel, carried on the family farming and businesses until the 1960s, when farming was no longer viable economically and interest in their two miles of riverfront fishing access grew. The elder Mr. Bazzle opened Revelle’s River Resort on July 4th, 1969, with 10 campsites and fishing access. Today the campground supports 210 sites. Jim also owns and manages the newly christened Yogi Bear Jellystone Park, about 1 mile from the original campground. The two campgrounds are cornerstones of the recreation-based economy within the Shavers Fork watershed.
Coldwater Input Research
and Recommendation Project
Thanks to 48 enthusiastic volunteers for helping monitor temps and flows on upper Shavers Fork all summer and fall! Special thanks to the Cheat Mountain Salamander for ferrying volunteers to and from the monitoring sites every Saturday! The numbers you wrote in the yellow books are being collated along with the temp loggers DNR placed at many of those sites. Even though it was an unusually cool and rainy season, some huge fluctuations in temperatures were found in the ditches.
All 146 of the culverts in the 15-mile section of railroad between Cheat Bridge and Big Cut have been inventoried. During the winter all the data will be assessed to see what recommendations we want to make toward improving the coldwater inputs you volunteers now know so well. A report will be issued in summer, 2005.
We are indebted to our Super-Volunteer-and-Volunteer-Recruiter Chris Byrd of Mountaineer Chapter Trout Unlimited! Either Chris is totally loyal, or he is addicted to hanging out on upper Shavers Fork. And who wouldn't be? Thank you, Chris!
to previous page