ELKINS, W.Va. — Efforts to get limestone treatment on another high mountain stream will resume once the snow is off.
Officials with the Division of Natural Resources were pleased to get liming treatment into another branch of Red Creek near the Tucker/Grant County line last year and hope to increase the treatment in 2022.
“They have been trying to do this for many years and it just happened that the stars aligned and Pocahontas Land Corporation granted us access. Starting this spring we should be full steam ahead and we’ll get more in there,” said Eric Gladwell, an Environmental Specialist for the DNR.
Red Creek has always been hampered by serious acid contamination, but also carries the potential to be a top notched native brook trout stream if the agency can find a way to tame the pH.
“It drains just miles and miles of wetland, bog, and spruce forest, so it just starts off acidic to begin with but then you add in acid precipitation and it just devastates things. There is a small population of fish in Red Creek, it just doesn’t thrive like it should,” he explained.
Permission to the get into the area to dump limestone sand isn’t the only obstacle. The road into the area is poor and hauling the material there is almost impossible. Last year Gladwell and his team were able to improve about 2 miles of the access road to create a dump site. They were able to haul sand on a dump trailer pulled by a small tractor a couple more miles to get the sand into the watershed. More road improvements are expected this spring once the snow is gone.
“Anything over 70 tons this year would be an accomplishment, just because of all the work we still have to do to get in there,” Gladwell said.
Crews hope to haul in about 20 tons to put into the stream at first. Gladwell said that amount will fill the creek. They’ll dump the rest on the bank and return later to push it into the water with smaller equipment. Once the road access is repaired and the liming becomes more frequent and regular, he believed Red Creek held great promise for trout anglers.
“Hopefully in a year or two, you’ll see massive improvement on the head waters of Red Creek. If we can bump the pH up above 5.5 to maybe 6, we should see a really big trend in large brook trout and people having a wonderful fishery,” he explained.