Clean Creek Program
About the Clean Creek Program
The Clean Creek Program (CCP) was founded in 2002 to collect long-term chemical and biological data in streams through out the Deckers Creek watershed and to share these findings with the general public. This project is currently the only ongoing FODC project designed to track trends in the water quality and biological communities of Deckers Creek and four of its major tributaries. Data collected and published through this program are used to educate the public about the impact of acid mine drainage and other environmental pollutants, steer restoration efforts, evaluate restoration success, and to educate the community about steps being made to improve current conditions of Deckers Creek.
FODC staff and volunteers monitor water quality at 13 sites throughout the watershed quarterly. Water quality parameters including pH, temperature, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen are collected in the field using handheld probes. Flow is also measured using a flow meter. Water samples are taken to West Virginia University (WVU) National Research Center for Coal and Energy Analytical Laboratory for further analysis, including the presence of fecal coliform bacteria, and various metals.
Fish communities are assessed annually in early fall using backpack electrofishers in collaboration with WVU Wildlife and Fisheries Department. The backpack electrofisher passes a small electrical current through the water and stuns fish so that they can easily be collected with nets. The fish are then subdued, identified, weighed, measured, and returned unharmed to their point of capture.
Benthic macroinvertebrate communities are sampled in the spring using square kick nets. Benthic macroinvertebrates are creatures that live in sediments at the bottom of a stream and are good indicators of water quality. Samples are taken back to the FODC laboratory and species are identified and tallied. FODC integrates information about the different types of organisms and their numbers into scores that reflect water quality using the WV Department of Environmental Protection West Virginia Stream Condition Index (WVSCI).
For each site, numbers in parentheses indicate number of individuals found at each site in 2008.
Friends of Deckers Creek relies on the support of foundations, agencies, local businesses, and volunteers. The Clean Creek Program would not be possible with out the generous support of the Dominion Foundation, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Walt-Mart Charitable Giving, five local businesses, two families, and three non-profits from the watershed and surrounding areas. Thank you to all of the organizations who supported the 2008 Clean Creek Program and the numerous volunteers who helped with stream monitoring and macroinvertebrate sorting!