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Cacapon Watershed Map                                                              

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Cacapon Geology Maps

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Cacapon Floodplain Map

Lost River Study Area or click on one of the

subwatersheds in the table.

North River Study Area or click on one of the 

subwatersheds in the table.

    The Lost River Study Area is an area of intensive agriculture, particularly of poultry production (check out the number of poultry houses on the map above in yellow).  The poultry litter (manure mixed with bedding material) produced by this industry is used as fertilizer for agricultural fields.  This in and of itself is fine.  The problem is that agricultural agencies identified the Lost River Watershed as producing twice as much poultry litter as the available agricultural land requires for its fertilizer needs.  The excess nutrients that crops cannot absorb is what may be available for transport to rivers during run-off events such as storms.  This concern is increased by the fact that much of the agriculture in the Lost River Watershed is forced by topography to occur in the long, narrow river valleys.  See the map above for a visual.  

Lost River Watershed Facts and Figures

The Lost River headwaters, in Hardy County, drains 179 square miles - 26% of the total Cacapon drainage area. This region contains the most intensive agricultural operations in the Cacapon watershed, dominated by the integrated poultry industry. Agriculture is forced by topography to remain largely confined to the narrow valleys and gentle slopes, and over 80% of the basin remains forested.  Most of the regionís cropland and prime hay land is found in floodplains and river terraces. Cropland receives the most intensive nutrient application of animal wastes and fertilizer (NRCS, 1996).

A woody riparian corridor exists along much of each Lost Riverís tributaries. This is not the case along the Lost Riverís mainstem, where most trees were removed many years ago and crops, hay and pastureland typically extend to the riverís edge.

Eight tributary and 4 mainstem sites were selected for this study with the aid of local agents of the NRCS, West Virginia University and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Each site represents a different mix of land uses. 

 

Why do we study water quality impacts of integrated poultry agriculture in the Lost River?

The Lost River Watershed:

bullethas only 2% of the Potomac Headwaters land area but 21% (185) of the Region's 870 poultry houses
bullethas more than one poultry house per square mile (the highest density in the Potomac Headwaters)
bulletis #1 on U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service priority list for agricultural best management practices (BMPs) that would reduce non-point source pollution.

 

 

 

Cacapon Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay, we protect rivers and watersheds using science and education.

Cacapon Institute
PO Box 68
High View, WV 26808
304-856-1385 (tele)
304-856-1386 (fax)
Click here to send us an email
Frank Rodgers,  Executive Director

Website  made possible by funding from The Norcross Wildlife Foundation,  the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, NOAA-BWET, USEPA, The MARPAT Foundation, and our generous members.