For years, a team of West Virginia University researchers has been working alongside West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to restore and protect native brook trout in West Virginia’s Shavers Fork watershed.
Those efforts are chronicled in Stewards of Shavers Fork, a short documentary produced by the WVU Natural Resources Analysis Center, WV DNR and the Canaan Valley Institute.
The film will premiere at 8 p.m. Sun., July 10, on the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Channel.
In 2011, researchers from WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and WV DNR began the ambitious five-year stream restoration project aimed at improving fish habitat and water quality in the Shavers Fork watershed.
WVU’s efforts were led by Jerry Fletcher, director of NRAC and professor of natural resource economics, Paul Kinder, a research scientist with the analysis center, and Todd Petty, associate professor of wildlife and fisheries resources.
According to Kinder, the brook trout’s habitats had been compromised by a variety of circumstances including old clear-cutting practices, railroad construction and acid precipitation negatively impacting the pH of stream water.
Combining knowledge gained through WVU-led research into existing brook trout populations and water quality, researchers were able to use landscape analysis resources to provide a clear picture of topographical issues that influence stream flow.
Since brook trout require areas of deep, cold water, part of the team’s focus was to create those spaces. Efforts also centered on creating more consistent waterways for trout to travel to and from spawning grounds.
“It is almost unbelievable what we were able to achieve in a few short years,” Kinder said. “The problems were daunting, but that only made our collaborators more driven to find solutions. As our DNR partners point out, we are not finished working up there or throughout the state. This was just an important stop along the way.”
For him, the debut of Stewards of Shavers Fork is the culmination of a beloved project.
“It has been a truly incredible journey to be involved in the Upper Shavers Fork restoration,” he said. “I have always enjoyed working on projects that require a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach and, of course, I love West Virginia streams. This project was a perfect combination of our WVU mission – research, education and service to the state. We all learned far more than we could have imagined before we began. More importantly, we now have greater confidence in righting the wrongs of the past.”
On Sunday, the public is invited to join members of the cast and crew and restoration experts the four watch parties around the state:
• B&D GastroPub, 200 35th Street, Charleston
• Mountain State Brewing Company, 54 Clay Street, Morgantown
• Big Timber Brewing, 1210 S. Davis Avenue, Elkins
• Stumptown Ales, 390 William Avenue, Davis
Stewards of Shavers Fork will also air on WV PBS at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, July 11; 7 p.m. on Monday, July 25; and 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on July 26.
For more information on additional show times or to find the West Virginia Public Broadcasting in your area visit http://wvpublic.org/find-wvpb-television.
CONTACT: Lindsay Willey, Public Relations Specialist
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