Protecting and Enhancing West Virginia’s Water Quality
Founded in 1989 by a diverse group of citizens concerned about diminishing water quality, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition (WVRC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving and restoring the state’s more than 40,000 miles of rivers and streams. While many of West Virginia’s rivers and streams supply clean water for consumption and recreation, thousands of miles are severely impaired by a legacy of regulatory and industrial abuse.
As the only statewide advocacy organization focused on water quality in West Virginia, WVRC strives to protect and improve water quality throughout the state by utilizing public participation mechanisms of the Clean Water Act, Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act, and numerous other federal and state laws that allow for citizen engagement in the decisions that affect water quality in their local communities. WVRC has a long history of assisting and enabling citizens to shape policy and improve public participation in the regulatory process.
VEE has been proud to support the West Virginia Rivers Coalition as part of its Kanawha and Ohio River Valleys Program since 1992, and is currently providing funding to assist the organization in its efforts to advance an independent, science-based approach to regional and statewide water quality discussions that will increase the health and quality of the Kanawha and Ohio River Valleys and beyond. As such, WVRC is addressing four key areas of pollution reduction: State Water Quality Standards; Shale Gas Development; Endocrine Disruptors; and Public Opinion Research.
Following the Elk River chemical spill, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition was instrumental in advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 373 – the most potentially impactful water protection bill the state has seen in a generation. One of the most significant outcomes of the bill is a mandate for communities to develop source water protection plans, and the West Virginia Rivers Coalition will be at the forefront of facilitating public participation and input throughout this important process.