Cacapon River, located in the Appalachian mountains of West
Virginia's eastern panhandle region, is a beautiful and scenic river
known for its outstanding fishing, boating, wildlife, and scenery.
part of the Potomac River watershed, it is
an American Heritage River.
In recent years, however, the Cacapon River and
its watershed have become threatened by development, and industrial and
agricultural growth. Concern about these issues led to the
establishment of the
Cacapon Institute in 1985 (originally known as the
Pine Cabin Run Ecological Laboratory).
What is a watershed?
A watershed is the area of land that water flows across
or under on its way to a single river. In
the Cacapon River watershed (see map below), water flows down from various mountain ridges into
the Cacapon River basin. On its way to the river, water travels over the
surface and across farm fields, forest land, residential lawns, and city streets,
or it seeps into the soil and travels as ground water. Large watersheds
are made up of many small watersheds.
The Cacapon River
Watershed is made up of three major river segments and many
smaller watersheds. The headwaters region of the Cacapon River, known as the
Lost River, receives water from a watershed covering 178 square miles.
The largest tributary of the Cacapon is the North River, which drains 206
sq. mi. -- an area comparable to that of the Lost River. Overall, the Cacapon
River watershed includes the Lost and North River watersheds, and those of many
smaller streams for a total of 680 square miles. The Cacapon Watershed is
itself part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The Watershed Community
People influence what
happens in their watershed, good or bad, by natural
resources--the water, soil, air, plants, and animals. What happens in
their small watershed also affects the larger watershed downstream. For
example, any source of water pollution in the watershed, even if it's far away
from the river, can eventually make its way into the river.