We are very concerned about a Forest Service plan in the works called the Upper Cheat River project. It covers 86,138-acres, nearly 10% of the entire Monongahela National Forest, and is located north of Parsons in Tucker, Barbour, and Preston Counties in the Upper Cheat River watershed. Within this project area are older growth forests, […]
USFWS Critical Mussel Habitat Designation
Sign the Petition to the US Fish and Wildlife Service
In response to a petition and lawsuit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to protect the round hickorynut and longsolid freshwater mussels under the Endangered Species Act, with more than 2,000 river miles of proposed critical habitat from Pennsylvania to Mississippi.
In this listing, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has abandoned any currently unoccupied but suitable habitat by these species, when it comes to designating critical habitat for the species. The agency only wants to designate critical habitat for these two species if the habitat is currently occupied. This creates obstacles to recovery- these species are on the brink of extinction and have been eradicated from most of their range. The USFWS should protect occupied as well as unoccupied habitat by designating it as critical habitat so that unoccupied habitat may be protected in anticipation of the species' restoration.
Join us in pushing back against this paltry and half-hearted approach to designating critical habitat for the 2 proposed species. The agency is required to ensure the protection and recovery of each species listed under the ESA. This requires restoring the species to previously occupied habitat, which requires protecting that habitat.
The once-common longsolid mussel has lost 63% of its populations, and only three out of 60 surviving populations are considered to have a high chance of survival. The round hickorynut has now lost 78% of its populations, and only four of 65 are ranked as having high resiliency. Both mussels live in West Virginia river basins.
The Service denied listing for a third petitioned mussel, the purple lilliput, another West Virginia mussel, even though 47% of its populations have already been wiped out and 20% of its remaining populations aren’t expected to survive the next few decades. We will also be contesting their decision not to list & designate critical habitat for the purple lilliput.
Gauley Healthy Forest Violates Federal Law
Write a letter to the Forest Service
The U.S Forest Service is currently attempting a project called the "Gauley Healthy Forest Restoration Project" under a Categorical Exclusion. This allows them to proceed without an Environmental Assessment, secretly keep the details of this project, and cut the public out of the decision making process.
The flawed scoping for this project, the location to sensitive landscapes, including the Cranberry Glades, and the proximity to the endangered Candy Darter should require the Forest Service to release an Environmental Assessment for comment. Using a Categorical Exclusion is a streamlined process aimed to eliminate the public from the decisions that are made for our public lands!
The Forest service has framed this as a forest restoration project to "improve forest stands". The reality is that they are going to harvest 3,000 acres of timber for profit. We demand that this project receives an Environmental Assessment and be opened up to the public for comment!
Write A Letter To Your Representative
New Threats to the Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act is a critical environmental law with a proven record of success. It has saved iconic American species from extinction, and has prevented the extinction of 99% of species listed. Unfortunately, this law is under attack from special interests who want to roll back protections. Please write to your legislators and let them know that you support the Endangered Species Act, and want them to reject any efforts to undermine it.
We're providing some suggested language at right, but feel free to edit and personalize your message. Why does the Endangered Species Act matter to you?
Latest Blog Posts
On October 29th, Friends of Blackwater and the Center for Biological Diversity sent comments to Mon Forest Cheat/Potomac district ranger Jon Morgan about the proposed Grassy Ridge project. FOB and the Center are primarily concerned with the proposed project’s impacts to West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel (WVNFS)and their habitat. First, the project’s proposal to clear […]
Hi! Allow me to introduce myself to this beautiful community. My name is Cheyenne Carter. Raised outside of Elkins I have been skiing, hiking, biking, boating, horseback riding, and foraging in this area since I was a little girl. When it was time to go to college I left for Southern Maine Community College for […]
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Mining and Reclamation, 47 School Street, Suite 301, Philippi, WV 26416, will hold an online Public Hearing from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 as result of the comments and petition signatures submitted by Friends of Blackwater and you! The conference may […]
On August 4th, the President signed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) into law. The GAOA is groundbreaking legislation that will improve trails, campgrounds, and other recreation in public lands across the United States. Now that it has become law, the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund will be created and the Land […]