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Streams
To determine the values of the streams over which Corridor H would cross, trained WVDOH and consultant stream biologists use the US EPA's Rapid Bio-assessment Protocols for Use in Streams and Rivers-Benthic Macroinvertebrates Level II. This method rests on the proven theory that different taxonomic groups of invertebrates that live in the water are indicators of water quality.

Streams in the project area range from those with values that have been impaired by agricultural run-off and erosion caused by livestock to high value streams supporting native trout. Surprisingly, 50-60 years ago many of the high value streams in the project area were silt laden and of low value. Intense logging activities and erosion turned the streams into silt conduits. Thanks to the forest reclamation activities beginning in the 1930's, these streams have recovered.

Data was obtained and analyzed from over 200 sample points. During this phase, data was collected on ambient physical, chemical and biological conditions of each stream. Macroinvertebrates were collected, returned to the laboratory and identified. Ninety-three macroinvertebrate families and 13,241 individuals were identified. Details on data collection and data analysis are found in the Streams Technical Report.

This information was utilized to develop and identify mitigation measures during design and construction. For example, during final design activities, engineers perform complex hydraulic calculations to determine if a bridge is required over the stream or if the stream can be crossed by enclosing it in a pipe or culvert. Bridges are obviously more expensive but they do not disturb stream bottoms. Because of its commitment to develop an environmentally sensitive highway, WVDOH used the streams data collected to determine that four additional bridges and four open bottom box culverts would be constructed over streams where hydraulic analyses had determined that cheaper pipes or culverts would be all that was required.

Measures Taken to Avoid Stream Relocations
Regional Project Watershed
Stream Avoided
Measure Taken
Station
Impact Avoided meters/feet
Comments
Tygart River
Leading Creek
Retaining Wall
573
122/400
WVHQ
Tygart River
Leading Creek
Increased Slopes
620
152/500
WVHQ
Cheat River
Trib. to Roaring Run
Increased Slopes
3725
335/1,100
North Branch of Potomac
Trib. to Elklick Run
Shifted Construction Limits
5230
335/1,100
North Branch of Potomac
MF of Patterson Creek
Retaining Wall
5565
320/1,050
North Branch of Potomac
Thom Run
Increased Slopes
5650
305/1,000
North Branch of Potomac
Toombs Hollow
Retaining Wall
5950
137/450
North Branch of Potomac
Williams Hollow
Increased Slopes
6340
366/1,200
Cacapon River
Trib. to Long Lick
Increased Slopes
6830
85/280
Cacapon River
Baker Run
Changed Vertical Grade
6950
427/1,400
Total
2,585/8,480
AMD = Acid Mine Drainage; NRI = Nationwide Rivers Inventory; WVHQ = WV High Quality Stream; OSRW = VA Outstanding State Resource Waters

The four "new" bridges alone avoided enclosing 3,760 feet of streams at an additional cost of $27.4 million.

Additional Avoidance and Minimization Measures Developed Following Field Reviews
Regional Project Watershed
Stream
Measure Taken
Station
Stream Impact Reduction meters/feet
Comments
Cheat River
Trib. to Roaring Run
Steepen slopes to reduce length of pipe
3731
76/250
Cheat River
Big Run
Replace box culvert with 350 ft. bridge
3925
274/900
Cheat River
Middle Run
Change in grade reduces culvert length
4055
8/25
North Branch of Potomac
Abrams Creek
Increase slope to reduce length of culvert
5029
15/50
AMD
North Branch of Potomac
Trib. to Elklick Run
Replace box culvert with 650 ft. bridge
5293
137/450
North Branch of Potomac
MF of Patterson Creek
Replace box culvert with a 1,200 ft. bridge
5534
427/1,400
North Branch of Potomac
Trib. to Patterson Creek
Shifted line and reduced length of box culvert
5850
76/250
South Branch of Potomac
Clifford Hollow
Replace box culvert with a 1,200 ft. bridge
6515
308/1,010
Total
1,321/4,335
AMD = Acid Mine Drainage; NRI = Nationwide Rivers Inventory; WVHQ = WV High Quality Stream; OSRW = VA Outstanding State Resource Waters

Many other mitigation measures were developed to assure protection of streams within the project area. Details are found in the Mitigation Document adopted for the Corridor H project.
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