The Monongahela River Watershed Assessment is a two phase study process that will result in a Watershed Plan for the Monongahela basin. The first phase, an Initial Watershed Assessment (IWA) was completed in February 2012. The IWA identifies current existing conditions within the watershed and details the major water resource problems of the watershed. Throughout the watershed planning process, numerous problems were identified in the watershed; however, water quality and quantity issues came to the forefront as key problems impacting water resources in the watershed. An additional water resource area of concern throughout the watershed is flood risk management and the inability of local communities to implement flood risk management projects.
The second phase, a Final Watershed Assessment (FWA) began in October 2012. The FWA will be done in partnership with Greene County, the non-Federal sponsor for the study. The FWA will identify potential alternatives, such as holistic strategies or plans for solving problems on a watershed scale.
The following is the outline for the study which includes the problem areas that will be analyzed and the tasks expected to be completed and detailed in the watershed plan.
Purpose, Goal and Objectives:
The purpose of the Final Watershed Assessment is to complete a Watershed Plan for the Monongahela River watershed.
The goal of the Final Watershed Assessment will be to provide a water resource management strategy for the Monongahela River watershed that seeks sustainable water resources management while taking into consideration environmental protection, economic development and social well-being.
Supporting study objectives to accomplish the goal will be:
1. Carry out public involvement, collaboration and consultation with Federal, tribal, state, interstate, and local government entities in order to give full consideration to the views of others in the planning process and enable leveraging of expertise, authorities, and resources.
2. Make holistic recommendations and identify potential solutions that will ensure sustainable use and management of water resources in the Monongahela River Basin.
3. Identify water resource alternatives for future USACE involvement. (Identify potential USACE projects consistent with priority missions.)
4. Develop the Watershed Plan from a regional perspective to use as a planning tool in which all participating organizations benefit by "spinning off" projects under other authorities to address water quality/quantity problems and infrastructure/flooding problems.
Watershed planning focuses on a watershed, a geographic area that is defined by a drainage basin. Often this geographic area is described using hydrologic unit codes (HUC). The study area for this effort is defined as the HUC 4 Monongahela River watershed located in the north central portion of West Virginia, the western tip of Maryland, and most of southwestern Pennsylvania. The Monongahela watershed covers an area of 7,340 sq miles. Within the Monongahela watershed are six watershed sub basins (HUC 8). These include the Tygart Valley, West Fork, Upper Monongahela, Cheat, Lower Monongahela, and the Youghiogheny.
What is Watershed Planning?
Watershed planning is an approach for managing water resources within watershed boundaries and addresses problems in a holistic manner that reflects the interdependency of water uses, competing demands and the desires of a wide range of stakeholders. The purpose of watershed planning is to undertake the planning process in a broad, integrated systems approach instead of solely focusing on single purpose projects. The result of the watershed planning process is development of a Watershed Plan that identifies general strategies or plans for solving problems on a watershed scale. Watershed plans are not meant to be decision documents. A Watershed Plan may recommend areas for further study but is not intended to recommend, or serve as the basis for authorizing construction of a site specific project