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West Virginia Wildlife
Shavers Lime
Patrick McMurtry Stream Restoration Offers Simple Cure For A Big Problem

May 8, 2013
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


Shavers Fork is one of the most famous trout streams in this part of the country, but in just a few short months, this rushing stream will, in some places, turn into stretches of slow moving, warm water not suitable for trout.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has teamed up with other agencies to do what they can to get the stream back to where it once was.

While the water is moving pretty nicely now, it can get very hot in the summer and not really all that good for trout, so the DNR has worked to put structures in place, so the water is deeper and gives fish a place to cool off.

That addresses the water temperature issue, but there is another problem -- a big problem for Shavers Fork. John Rebinski, the field supervisor for the DNR's stream restoration program, explained what causes issues in this area.

"A lot of areas up here like Shavers Fork, the soil is really thin, there's a lot of sandstone and with the precipitation, it has acidified a lot of streams and this water shed up in the higher mountain areas of West Virginia," Rebinski said, "We have found by putting lime sand in the tributaries, we can offset the acid effect."

This is how they do it -- back up a dump truck and put tons of limestone sand right into this stream feeding Shavers Fork.

"It's very effective, we generally treat our streams once a year. They get several loads. Different streams get so much tonnage per year, depending on the acid load and how big the stream is." Rebinski said.

You can see the limestone sand swept downstream. Some of it will settle, but whenever the water level changes, it gets kicked back up and provides another jolt of pH protection against the acid. This time of year, that's especially important.

"In the spring, you get a double dose of acid entering into the streams between the snow melt and the rainfall that occurs together. It's a double whammy of acid entering into the streams, so that's why it's important we get the treatment in to get a level pH." Rebinski said.

These lime treatments, combined with the 20 or so physical structures put in Shavers Fork, will work to make this stream a better place for trout to live, and for you to fish.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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