EHWA releases 'common vision' for Slaty Fork watershed
After nearly a year of consulting and brainstorming, the Elk Headwaters Watershed Association has released the organization's second publication concerning the environmental and economic future of the watershed.
The "Common Vision for the Future" document was unveiled earlier this month to the Pocahontas County Commission and released to the public in the newspaper.
EHWA, with the assistance of consulting firm Downstream Strategies, developed "nine important concepts that link the future economic vitality of the watershed communities with the health of the streams in the watershed."
ﾕ To preserve and improve residents' quality of life and to sustain and build the economy of the Elk Headwaters watershed, future development is aligned with environmental protection.
ﾕ Abundant, clean water resources underpin the health of people and ecosystems across the watershed.
ﾕ The watershed's visual beauty, natural features, and historical and cultural resources are preserved because they serve as a foundation for the economy, represent a unique piece of West Virginia's heritage, and make it an attractive place to visit, live and work.
ﾕ The watershed's tourism businesses - and recreational opportunities that they are built upon - are sustained in the long term.
ﾕ Non-tourism businesses grow and use practices to protect and enhance watershed health.
ﾕ A thriving agricultural community provides locally grown food, maintains and improves the health of streams and sustains the scenic appeal of the watershed.
ﾕ Future developments use sustainable practices such as low impact development techniques.
ﾕ An environmental marketing plan for the watershed highlights the green attributes of the area, helps gain significant advantages in the sustainable marketplace and brings additional state and national attention to local environmental protection efforts.
ﾕ Residents, local businesses and organizations and local government entities play key roles in managing the land and water.
President of the EHWA, George Bell, said the group is ready to move forward with the final stage of the plan. They have received grants from Trout Unlimited National Embrace-a-Stream Program and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
"Once we have picked a consultant for the plan, we will receive the money from the WVDEP to follow through with the plan," Bell said. "We hope to review the proposals we have received in early January."
The final Comprehensive Watershed Plan will be "a working document that officials can use for future decision making. All residents, landowners, developers and businesses can refer to this guide to adapt their practices, accordingly, to ensure clean water for our future generations and sustain the economic health of our community."
For more information on the EHWA and the plan, visit www.elkheadwaters.org.