MINUTES OF MON RIVER RECREATION COMMERCE COMMITTEE MEETING 14 NOVEMBER 2008

REV 4, 4 Dec 08

Minutes taken by Don Strimbeck

You would think that at age 71, by now I would have learned the lesson that a secretary that takes minutes of meetings should IMMEDIATELY transcribe said minutes!! Otherwise, deciphering meeting notes scribbles gets harder the longer one procrastinates!! That is my problem with these minutes, so, I have asked those reporting at the meeting to email me their report. And, I have pasted their reports below.

Which reminds me of the old saw re you know you are growing old when you just cannot seem to find the time to sit down and begin to figure out how you are going to begin to figure out how you will get around to finding the time you will need to begin to start procrastinating!! WELL! I won! I PROCRASTINATE!!

If you have corrections or additions to minutes, please submit them to Don Strimbeck at dcsoinks@comcast.net.

Next meeting will be 9AM Friday 12 December 2008, at Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce.

We normally meet second Friday of the month, 9AM, at Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce.

ATTENDING. This list is long, given that our regular one-hour meeting was followed by a marathon meeting re the Total Dissolved Solids problem on Mon in PA. It is important that I list those who attended our meeting, given the importance of this TDS problem. So, please review the attendance list, and, if need be, send me corrections or additions. We need to know all who are concerned re this problem. I need to add most of these newcomers to my MRR&CC email list. Mon water quality will be a major topic at Mon River Summit IV on Monday 13 April 2009 at the Waterfront Place Hotel. We hope to see these new folks at the summit! AND!! They may want to start attending our MRR&CC meetings!!

We also thank the folks at the Morgantown Airport for letting us use their wonderful meeting room!! Our committee will quite likely continue to use this conference room, when we need to accommodate a crowd!!

ANYWAY! ATTENDING!!

(1) Don Strimbeck, Secretary Upper Mon River Association & vice chair, Mon River Recreation & Commerce Committee, Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce.

(2) Wallace Venable, Chief Technical Officer, UMRA.

(3) Jim Summers, WV Bass Federation, and, WV Wildlife Federation.

(4) Peggy Pings, National Park Service, Rivers & Trails Program.

(5) Stacy Brodak, Chesapeake Energy Corporation - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(6) Lee Avary, WV Geological Survey. NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!!

(7) John Fullmer, UMRA & MRR&CC.

(8) Peggy Myers-Smith, Ex Dir, Greater Morgantown Convention & Visitors Bureau.

(9) Rose Reilly, Pittsburgh District, US Army Corps of Engineers.

(10) Jeff Hawk, Pittsburgh District USACE.

(11) Curt Meeder, Pittsburgh District USACE.

(12) Ron Snyder, Chief of Police, Town of Granville.

(13) David Bean, Town of Granville council.

(14) Ralph LaRue, Board of Parks & Recreation Commission, City of Morgantown.

(15) Mary Wimmer, citizen & Mon kayaker.

(16) Duane Nichols, Cheat Lake Environment & Recreation.

(17) Tim Terman, Mon River Revival.

(18) Justin Rothrock, Mon River Revival.

(19) Randy Kesling, Trout Unlimited, Mountaineer Chapter.

(20) Scott Rotruck, Chesapeake Energy Corporation.

(21) Billy Coffindaffer, Town of Star City, vision program.

(22) Barry Pallay, Chair, Mon River Recreation & Commerce Committee, and, vice president, UMRA.

(23) Jim Green, General Manager, Morgantown Utility Board.

(24) Greg Shellito, Manager of Treatment & Production, Morgantown Utility Board. NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(25) John Duarte, Mon Rowing Association - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!!

(26) Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director, WV Water Research Institute, WVU, & UMRA board member.

(27) Bob Bell, Monongalia County Commissioner.

(28) Edward Hawkins, citizen of Monongalia County.

(29) Tom Rodd, Friends of Blackwater

(30) Kerry Bledsoe, WV Division of Natural Resources - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(31) Larry Harris, Trout Unlimited

(32) Amy Bergdale, US EPA-Region 3/ORD - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!!

(33) Rita Coleman, PA DEP - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(34) Rick Spear, PA DEP - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(35) Patrick Campbell, WV DEP - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(36) Barbara Fleischauer, WV House of Delegates.

(37) Pam Kasey, THE STATE JOURNAL.

(38) Emily Corio, WV Public Radio.

(39) Danielle Conaway, Morgantown DOMINION POST.

(40) Richard Little, White Day Creek.

(41) Matt Gibson, WV Rivers Coaltion

(42) Sally Snyder, WV Surface Owners Rights Organization

(43) Cindy Rank, WV Highlands Conservancy

(44) Alex Shook, WV House of Delegates - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(45) Martin Christ, Friends of Deckers Creek.

(46) Tim Manchin - WV House of Delegates - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(47) David Truban, WV Division of Natural Resources Commissioner - NEED EMAIL ADDRESS!

(48) Stefanie Chitester, Brownsville Watershed Project & Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation.

(49) Don Reinke, Executive Director, Monongalia County Development Authority.

(50) Frank Jernejcic, WVDNR.

The minutes of our 10 October meeting were approved.

Peggy Myers-Smith discussed adding a tourism component to Mon River Summit IV, and, the possibility of 2010 Mon regatta. Pasted below is Peggy’s report:

----- Original Message -----

From: "mailto:pmyerssmith@tourmorgantown.com"

To: "mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"

Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 3:14 PM

Subject: Re: Your report at 14 Nov MRR&CC meeting


Just mentioned that I will be looking for a speaker to discuss river tourism at the March conference and asked for suggestions from anyone. I think I mentioned that we were having a meeting that day at noon to research opportunities for a river regatta here for 2010.

Peggy J. Myers-Smith
CEO/Executive Director
Greater Morgantown Convention & Visitors Bureau
68 Donley Street
Morgantown, WV 26501
ph: 304-292-5081
fax: 304-291-1354

 

David Bean, Town of Granville council, described the Granville water bus proposal put forth by Mountain Line Transit and the Town of Granville. For details, visit busride.org , and click on this topic. This proposal was also presented at the fall meeting of the Corps of Engineers & River Recreational Users Summit (CERRUS) held on 21 October at Two Rivers Marina & Restaurant, Dilliner, PA. COL Crall, District Engineer, Pittsburgh District, US Army Corps of Engineers, expressed interest in this project and stated that the Pittsburgh District will act upon the necessary permits needed for the project. The Town of Granville has contracted with the local office of DMJM Harris for engineering services for the project. The home port for the bus will be at new docks in Granville, with nearby parking for vehicles. The route for the bus envisions stops at the Star City dock and the nearby upstream student housing, the Arboretum, Westover, McQuain Park, and, the Upper Mon River Center.

Pasted below is David Bruffy input re CERRUS meeting:

----- Original Message -----

From: "mailto:Bruffy@busride.org"

To: "mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"

Cc: "mailto:gvmayor@comcast.net"

Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 12:52 PM

Subject: RE: CERRUS meeting notes (not minutes!)

An outline of a public park development and water bus service proposal was presented by Granville Mayor Patty Lewis, Members of Granville’s Town Council, and Mountain Line Transit General Manager David Bruffy. The presentation described the cooperative effort to develop a waterfront park, public dock access, and a home dock for the Mountain Line Transit Authority’s proposed River Bus route. The Granville Park is intended to provide recreation space, pavilions, public restrooms, public parking and a park and ride facility. Mountain Line’s River Bus is planned to provide a route connecting Star City, Granville and Morgantown with stops at Riverside Commons housing complex (Star City), Star City’s public dock and park area, Granville’s planned park and dock, the Hazel Ruby dock (and Mountain Line’s main bus transfer station), and the Morgantown Wharf District. Other possible stops include WVU’s Core Arboretum, WVU’s Old Field House (Stansbury Hall) as well as a possible park development in Westover. The Park and River Bus proposal are intended to offer both recreation and viable daily transportation options for local residents. Funds in excess of $245,000 dollars have been allocated by the Towne of Granville, Mountain Line Transit, and the WV Port Authority (2008 Boating Improvement Grant). Granville has employed a local design firm to begin work on this project.

 

Notes from the CERRUS meeting will eventually be posted on MonRiverSummit.org.

Tim Terman discussed his proposal for a trash boom at the Hildebrand lock and dam. Tim’s handout text is pasted below. And, I have asked Wally Venable to post Tim’s handout on MonRiverSummit.org.

----- Original Message -----

From: "mailto:Tim.Terman@mail.wvu.edu"

To: "mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"

Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 2:31 PM

Subject: Re: Your trash boom report at 14 Nov MRR&CC meeting

Thanks, Don. The litter boom proposal is not on my web site, but I put it into pdf attached and also pasted below text only.

Proposal: Litter Boom below Hildebrand Dam on Monongahela River

Background:

For years residents of Morgantown have complained of litter trapped at the Morgantown Lock and Dam. Before the mid-1990s the issue was not so obvious, but because of millions of dollars in development in the Wharf District of Morgantown, it has become an increasing problem because the dam is adjacent properties where visitors and citizens congregate.

Many people blame the Corps of Engineers for not removing the litter, inasmuch as the Corps owns and maintains the facility. However, litter does not impede operation of the facility and litter control is not part of the Corps mission. Also, because of obvious safety concerns, the Corps will not allow volunteers to remove the litter.

Since 2006 the Mon River Revival program has been working on this issue during the summers through clean ups along the shores above and below the dam at Morgantown. These cleanups, along with the state-sponsored River Sweep, have helped reduce litter in the area.

In fact, during the 2007 and 2008 programs it was noted that during periods when the river flow is reduced because of dry conditions, litter actually was blown up river from behind the dam and collected in areas where the Mon River Revival Program could remove it.

Mon River Revival: This program relies on youth volunteers and others during weekend trips on the river. With the 28 foot pontoon boat Mon River Monitor, litter is picked up along the banks below the dam, an area often seen by visitors, and above the dam.

Removing the litter below the dam helps keep the river clean for those who visit Morgantown, either on the river or on the land.

Above the dam, the litter is removed so that it won’t mar the banks and won’t return to the area behind the dam. The Mon County Solid Waste Authority has arranged to dispose of the litter and the state EPA has paid for disposal fees. The Revival program is supported by a grant from the City of Morgantown through the Community Vision Foundation.

Why a boom at Hildebrand?

A litter boom at Hildebrand Dam, about five miles above Morgantown would do two things. First, it would stop litter in a remote area away from Morgantown. The litter problem is an issue mostly because the litter is being trapped at Morgantown, the principal city in North Central West Virginia and a city that is trying to entice visitors and tourists. We should mention that Morgantown is home to the state’s flagship university, which brings visitors in from across the United States and the world.

Second, it would stop litter from being distributed along the banks in the Morgantown Pool, one of the most scenic on the Upper Mon, if not the entire river.

Third, and very importantly, it would make collection of litter easier. The River Sweep and the Mon River Revival programs deploy cleanup efforts along miles of river bank. Getting into the banks is often difficult and often risky because of submerged logs and low hanging tree limbs. Volunteers run the risk of stepping on jetsam with nails while they reach for litter, and they must go from bank to bank, one section at a time, slowly covering miles of Mon River bank.

These problems would be minimized by a litter boom at Hildebrand that would stop and hold litter there for periodic removal. The Mon River Revival program could remove most of the litter during the summers easily from the boom, then do quick cleanups along the banks for any litter that had gotten past the boom.

The labor intensive and resource intensive River Sweeps could concentrate on areas above Hildebrand because the Morgantown Pool would be largely dealt with at the Hildebrand Lock.

Obstacles of river force, safety and funding:

The strength of the river’s flow has been raised as a possible obstacle. During certain months, the Mon river experiences significant water flow, which brings down everything from docks to trees. From December to June, these periods are common. This past year on the 4th of July the river was high and large tree limbs were observed. This kind of hazard would strain and possibly break a boom below Hildebrand Dam.

One solution to this would be to deactivate the boom during known times of high water by simply disconnecting the boom from its mooring point on the Hildebrand outside lock wall (which would be one option for mooring given Corps approval). This could also be done when heavy rains are predicted, such as the ones around July 4 of 2008.

Estimates are that the boom could be deployed at least six months of the year (late June to November or December). Remember during some of these months, the river’s flow is often so mild that litter is actually blown upstream from the dam.

Safety is an important factor, especially when relying on volunteers. Removing litter from a boom at Hildebrand would be safer than cleanups along the river’s banks, taking into account the hazards described above. Removing litter from a boom below the dam, placed at a sufficient distance from the dam to be away from the dam’s discharge, would be no more dangerous than fishing in the tail waters.

Funding:

Chuck Joseph at the DEP has done some research on a possible boom and he saw one being installed in Texas that cost $90,000. That kind of money would be hard to raise. Another possibility is building one from scratch with steel cables, buoys and anchors.

One aspect of the possible boom is continuation of a program to remove the litter from the boom. For now, I can commit the Mon River Revival to this, but the future of that program depends on whether I can keep it going. But, even without my participation, any program with one or two johnboats should be sufficient to remove the litter. But that would require a steady funding commitment.

Summary: The latest solution being circulated that I know of is that any hydro-electric addition to Hildebrand or other dams on the Mon would be required to deal with disposing of the litter entrapped at the dam. That is a solution at least 10 years away, and if it is 10 years away, it might be 15 years off or never.

 

Frank Jernejcic reported that the WV Division of Natural Resources boat ramp at the Monongalia County Industrial Park, roughly river mile 94 left descending bank, is two-thirds finished! Concrete for the ramp has been poured. The parking area will be blacktopped in spring 2009. The ramp should be open in June 2009, in time for the July WV BASS tournament.

Martin Christ reported on status of second version of our Upper Mon Water Trail map. Martin’s email is pasted below. Martin is very carefully vetting the new map, before we submit the map to the PA Fish & Boat Commission, for publishing. We also need to raise some more bucks for the new map. We will discuss map funding at our 12 December meeting.

----- Original Message -----

From: "mailto:mchrist@labs.net"

To: "mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"

Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 3:07 PM

Subject: Re: Upper Mon Water Trail map status


Hi Don,

At the November meeting, I announced that I had conquered the "known issues" from the September meeting version. The current version is now in review by those who wish to review it, including, to my knowledge, Frank, Peggy, Wally, Paula, you and Ralph. Frank and Peggy currently are reviewing the most recent versions. We are moving forward as fast as we can: Pennsylvania has not indicated what intensity of revision they will call for.

Martin

 

The meeting then moved into the TDS problem on the Mon in PA. I will not attempt to describe this discussion. I refer you to UpperMon.org and MonRiverSummit.org, as webmaster Wally Venable has posted much information on the Marcellus shale gas drilling problem. FURTHER, pasted below, are inputs from those presenting at the meeting.

Committee chair Barry Pallay at start of meeting:

----- Original Message -----

From: "mailto:bpallay@comcast.net"

To: "mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"

Cc: "mailto:bpallay@comcast.net"

Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2008 9:55 PM

Subject: Re: Fw: Changes to "http://www.UpperMon.org"

Hello Don

At the beginning of the meeting I stated what the objectives were:

Present data available regarding concentrations in the Mon at various locations, identify data gaps....where additional data is needed.... Identify the source of the problems if possible.... Determine if existing regulations are adequate to address the problems.... Only after reviewing the data was it apparent that there was a consensus regards where the problems was originating..... more to follow as time permits.

Barry

----- Original Message -----

From: "mailto:bpallay@comcast.net"

To: "mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"

Cc: "mailto:bpallay@comcast.net"

Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 10:30 PM

Subject: Re: Preliminary thoughts re today's MRR&CC meeting re Mon pollution

Don

Uniform long range systematic sampling stored on one database is a natural next step after the meeting and Paul is well situated to bring it together. Pulling together improvements in regulations is also timely. I agree with your thoughts. Forming an umbrella group of all the interest groups to accomplish some of this is timely too.

Barry

 

 

From Frank Jernejcic, fisheries biologist, WV Division of Natural Resources:

 

CONCERNS ABOUT MARCELLUS SHALE GAS WELL DRILLING

A. Water withdrawal from streams and small impoundments. How much? Who decides?

1. Seasonal availability; low flows. What happens to fish?

2. Boat ramp weight limits for water tankers.

3. Interference with boat launching.

B. Water treatment and discharge. Where does it go?

1. Adequacy of treatment. What chemicals?

2. Water treatment plant NPDES limits. Are they protective?

3. Water treatment plant revenue: incentive to accept fluids?

4. Land based discharge.

C. Erosion control; sediment impacts to streams and lakes.

1. Transmission pipelines.

2. Gathering pipelines.

3. Well site and access roads.

D. Corps of Engineer flood control lakes: Tygart and Stonewall Jackson.

1. Augmentation for Monongahela River navigation: 340-380 cfs.

2. Augmentation / intervention for Three Forks AMD: short duration, 24 hours.

3. Augmentation for Monongahela River water quality. Is it possible?

4. Inflow water quality during winter drawdown.

From Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director, WV Water Research Institute. Paul is also on our Board of Directors for our Upper Monongahela River Association.

----- Original Message -----

From: "mailto:pziemkie@wvu.edu"

To: "mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"

Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 1:48 PM

Subject: Re: pfz notes UMRA 14nov08.docx

Observations on the UMRA/MRRCC meeting of 14 Nov 08

Regarding high TDS values in the Monongahela River

The following speakers made presentations:

Paul Ziemkiewicz, PhD, West Virginia Water Research Institute, WVU

Rick Speers, PaDEP

Rose Riley, USACE

Pat Campbell, WVDEP

All the speakers agreed that the Monongahela River is experiencing an extraordinarily low flow event due to the drought that started in mid-August 08. River flows at Elizabeth PA were recently reported at 770 cubic feet per second (cfs) whereas the average reading for this time of year is about 7,000 cfs. The speakers also agreed that total dissolved solids (TDS) values were extraordinarily high. The US Army Corps of Engineers discharged extra water from its Tygart and Stonewall Jackson reservoirs in order to dilute salts in the Monongahela River. However, the drought also affects water levels in these reservoirs and limits the amount available for this purpose.

Mine drainage (both treated and untreated) and frac fluids from gas well development contribute the bulk of the river’s TDS. Mine drainage is characterized by the ion couple calcium and sulfate where frac fluids are characterized by sodium and chloride. Data collected by PaDEP indicated that treated mine drainage generates a sulfate level of about 230 mg/L at Pt. Marion climbing to about 380 mg/L downstream of Dunkard Ck.near Gray’s Landing Lock and Dam. Sulfate continued to climb to a maximum concentration of about 450 mg/L at Brownsville PA. None of these concentrations are toxic or violate primary drinking water standards. However, there are secondary drinking water standards that relate mainly to taste for TDS (500 mg/L) and sulfate (250% mg/L) that are exceeded.

Sodium and chloride climb from 106 and 20 mg/L respectively at Gray’s Landing to 141 and 65 mg/L upstream of Mingo Ck.near Elrama PA. Discharges of the California, Belle Vernon and Charleroi PA sewage treatment plants indicate occasional, extremely high levels of TDS, sodium and chloride. While most discharge values from these plants were much lower, maximum values ranged as high as 10,000, 5,200 and 2,800 mg/L respectively. Flows were not recorded but these readings no doubt, contribute to the increasing TDS, sodium and chloride concentrations until diluted by the Youghiogheny River at McKeesport PA. The high sodium and chloride signatures from these plants likely originate from processing brines from gas well development (frac water).

Partitioning of the TDS into its component salt fractions indicates that 88% can be explained by the following ions: sulfate 38%, sodium 20% chloride 19%, calcium 9% and magnesium 2%. Bicarbonate probably accounts for most of the remainder. Metal concentrations are extremely low: less than 0.5 mg/L. So, the TDS in the Monongahela River consists of non-toxic elements but in concentrations that are sufficient to affect industrial users such as power plants.

In conclusion, there is a steady discharge of sulfate from underground coal mines along the river in West Virginia and Pennsylvania that constitutes about half of the TDS while brine (sodium and chloride) comprises the other half. There will be an increase in brines as the local gas fields are developed.

In order to manage TDS in the river it will be necessary to understand the relationship between flows and TDS so that discharges from gas well frac jobs and mine drainage treatment systems could be controlled during the low flow periods of the year. Whether that could be a long term as well as a short term solution would be determined by the assimilative capacity of the river and projected activities in the gas and coal industries. There was considerable discussion at the meeting regarding the states’ authority to regulate water withdrawals and brine discharges. However this matter is resolved, it is likely that coordinated management of discharges would be an effective solution, at least in the short term.

The UMRA is prepared to assist with assimilation of water quality data from multiple sources and to present it in a form that assists the state agencies and the Corps to manage water quality in the Monongahela River.

Pfz 16 Nov 08

Paul Ziemkiewicz, PhD
Director, WV Water Research Institute
West Virginia University
Box 6064
Morgantown WV USA 26506-6064
phone: 304 293 2867 x 5441
fax: 304 293 7822

Email exchange between Wally Venable, Chief Technical Officer, UMRA, & Don Strimbeck:

----- Original Message -----

From: "Donald Strimbeck" <"mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net">

To: "Wally Venable" <"mailto:Wallace.Venable@mail.wvu.edu">

Cc: "Barry Pallay" <"mailto:bpallay@comcast.net">; "Paul Ziemkiewicz" <"mailto:pziemkie@wvu.edu">; "Ralph LaRue" <"mailto:Rlarue@boparc.org">

Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2008 1:41 PM

Subject: Fw: Changes to "http://www.UpperMon.org"


> WALLY, your observations re yesterday's meeting are much better than mine!
> Also, I have asked Paul Z for his summary of meeting. Then, along with
> input from others, I will prepare what I put in minutes, with, of course,
> attribution to those who provide accounts.
>
> Donald C. Strimbeck, Secretary
> Upper Monongahela River Association Incorporated
> 109 Broad Street, P.O. Box 519
> Granville, WV 26534-0519
> 304-599-7585 (Fax:4131)
> Email:
"mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net"
>
"http://www.uppermon.org"
>
"http://www.monriversummit.org"
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Wallace Venable" <
"mailto:Wallace.Venable@mail.wvu.edu">
> To: "Donald Strimbeck" <
"mailto:dcsoinks@comcast.net">
> Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2008 1:04 PM
> Subject: Changes to
"http://www.UpperMon.org"
>
> I made major changes to Marcellus Shale, principally:
>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On 14 November 2008 UMRA and the Mon River Recreation & Commerce Committee
> of the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a meeting on the shale
> water questions. Over fifty people, including staff from WV, PA, and US
> environmental agencies attended.
>
> The technical experts attending appeared to universally agree that:
>
> The October incident(s) posed no threat to public health.
> Compared to the river conditions in the 1970s, the Mon is in wonderful shape.
> No significant damage to fish or other aquatic life was observed.
> River flows in October 2008 dropped below any seen in over 70 years.
> The conductivity values, and some other data, were at values higher than
> ever previously recorded.
> The high values of ionic concentrations affected odor and taste in some
> public water supplies.
> The high ionic concentrations were at a level which would reduce service
> life of things such as water treatment equipment and domestic water heaters.
> The regulation of oil frac water is split between agencies, and no one
> really has the data needed to understand the impacts of increased drilling.
> Put another way, no one should panic, but attention is needed by the public
> and government to avoid future incidents with significant consequences.
>
> The following technical information was presented at that meeting:
>
> High TDS in the Monongahela River: Analysis of Chemical Data, Paul
> Ziemkiewicz, West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia
> University
>