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Create a watershed association to protect and promote streams


Volunteers with The Coal River Group conduct their yearly cleanup of the Coal River. Here, a network of people are walking the river, picking out tires and other debris. (Photo courtesy The Coal River Group)


West Virginia’s watershed groups organize paddling trips and classes to increase the number of people who enjoy and protect the state’s rivers. (Photo courtesy Coal River Group.)

West Virginians have formed more than 70 watershed associations, most small.

The biggest groups – Cheat River Watershed Association, the Coal River Group and Deckers Creek Watershed Association – have staff and headquarters. They sponsor regular paddling trips and special events such as paddling festivals, runs along the river, children’s river festivals. They advocate for water quality with local, state and federal government and coordinate efforts to get their rivers named federally-recognized water trails.

The state Department of Natural Resources divides West Virginia into four watershed areas. Each area has a basin coordinator who works with citizen watershed groups to help them protect and promote their river.

The DEP can give the watershed groups small grants and help them find other grants to fund their activities.

 Want to support your watershed association or start one?



Schools can schedule paddling experiences for students at Coal River Group and other watershed associations.

Here are some great resources from other states:




Also see these Try This pages: Get people on the river, Get your river named an official water trail Open safe access to your river or lake, Encourage fishing.



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