Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) is partnering with the state Conservation Agency (WVCA) and the Coal River Group (CRG) on the Coal River Habitat Enhancement Project, which aims to restore habitat and recreational value to the mainstem Coal River. The project includes roughly two miles of bank stabilization work intended to increase fish habitat abundance and complexity and enhance recreational opportunities on the river. The WVCA will serve as the lead for the project, with WVDEP providing funding and support.
Originating at the Forks of the Coal River, the project extends approximately two miles to the Lions Club Park in Alum Creek and will involve utilizing heavy equipment to strategically place wood and bouler structures throughout the reach using natural stream restoration techniques. Approximately 100 structures are to be installed and will serve to create pockets of habitat, restore channel corridors, protect at-risk banks, and benefit aquatic organisms by increasing the movement of fine sediments. Work on the project is expected to begin in late 2022 and carry on through Spring 2023.
The WVCA is hosting a public meeting for residents and landowners along the Coal River to provide more information on the project and stream restoration practices. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 17th at 6 p.m. at the Alum Creek Lions Club located at 4452 Coal River Road, Alum Creek, WV 250003. To register, contact the WVCA at 304-558-2204.
The WVDEP, WVCA, CRG, the state Division of Natural Resources (DNR), and other stakeholders have worked together to restore habitat to over 20 miles of the Little Coal River in recent years, making significant improvement to the river and its fisheries. Enhancement of habitat along the Coal Mainstem, coupled with the previous restoration work on the Little Coal, will provide an added benefit to a historically degraded watershed.