Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment

Comments

Transcription

Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
For The
East and West Forks of the Greenbrier River
Greenbrier Ranger District
Monongahela National Forest
September, 2007
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its
program and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age,
disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all
prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require
alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print,
audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)720-2600 (voice and
TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil
Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW,
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202)720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an
equal Opportunity provider and employer.
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Table of Contents
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Table of Contents
List of Maps and Figures………………………………… iii
List of Tables………………………………………………. iv
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization ......................................................................1-1
Introduction...........................................................................................................................1-1
Intent and Organization of This Watershed Assessment .................................................1-1
General Location and Description of the Watershed.......................................................1-1
Characterization .....................................................................................................................1-6
Soils and Erosion Processes.............................................................................................1-8
Hydrology and Stream Channels .....................................................................................1-8
Water Quality.................................................................................................................1-10
Aquatic Resources .........................................................................................................1-13
Vegetation ......................................................................................................................1-15
Wildlife ..........................................................................................................................1-18
Human Uses ...................................................................................................................1-22
Chapter 2 – Issues and Key Questions .....................................................................................2-1
Issues and Key Questions .....................................................................................................2-1
Soils and Erosion Processes.............................................................................................2-1
Hydrology and Stream Channels .....................................................................................2-1
Water Quality...................................................................................................................2-2
Aquatic Resources ...........................................................................................................2-2
Vegetation ........................................................................................................................2-3
Wildlife ............................................................................................................................2-3
Human Uses .....................................................................................................................2-4
Chapter 3 – Reference, Current, and Desired Conditions ......................................................3-1
Introduction...........................................................................................................................3-1
Soils and Erosion Processes..................................................................................................3-1
Hydrology and Stream Channels ........................................................................................3-14
Stream Morphology .......................................................................................................3-14
Flow Rates .....................................................................................................................3-19
Storm Flows ...................................................................................................................3-21
Water Quality......................................................................................................................3-24
Sediment ........................................................................................................................3-25
Acidity (pH) ...................................................................................................................3-28
Stream Temperature.......................................................................................................3-30
Aquatic Resources ..............................................................................................................3-34
Aquatic Habitat and Populations ...................................................................................3-34
Riparian and Wetland Habitat........................................................................................3-43
Vegetation ...........................................................................................................................3-45
Forest Types and Age Classes .......................................................................................3-45
Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Plants ..............................................................3-59
i
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Table of Contents
Non-native Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants ........................................................3-62
Ecological Areas ............................................................................................................3-66
Openings and Grazing Allotments.................................................................................3-67
Wildlife ...............................................................................................................................3-72
Threatened and Endangered Species .............................................................................3-72
Sensitive Species............................................................................................................3-77
Management Indicator Species ......................................................................................3-82
Species on Interest .........................................................................................................3-84
Birds of Conservation Concern......................................................................................3-86
Forest Fragmentation .....................................................................................................3-90
Human Uses ........................................................................................................................3-92
Recreation ......................................................................................................................3-92
Heritage Resources ......................................................................................................3-105
Minerals .......................................................................................................................3-113
Lands and Special Uses ...............................................................................................3-117
Roads............................................................................................................................3-123
Facilities.......................................................................................................................3-133
Research.......................................................................................................................3-136
Chapter 4 – Findings, Recommendations, and Actions ..........................................................4-1
Findings, Recommendations, and Actions............................................................................4-1
Soils and Erosion Processes.............................................................................................4-1
Hydrology and Stream Channels .....................................................................................4-1
Water Quality...................................................................................................................4-1
Aquatic Resources ...........................................................................................................4-2
Vegetation ........................................................................................................................4-3
Wildlife ............................................................................................................................4-6
Human Uses .....................................................................................................................4-8
Appendix A – Contributors ...................................................................................................... A-1
Appendix B – Literature Cited................................................................................................. B-1
Appendix C – Soils ................................................................................................................... C-1
Appendix D – Roads.................................................................................................................D-1
Appendix E – Recreation ......................................................................................................... E-1
ii
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Table of Contents
List of Maps and Figures
Map Title
Page
Chapter 1
Map 1-1. Upper Greenbrier Watershed Vicinity Map ....................................................................... .... 1-3
Map 1-2. Subwatersheds and Land Ownership in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ........................ .... 1-4
Map 1-3. Management Prescription Areas in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ............................... .... 1-7
Figure 1-1. Lake Buffalo Shallows ................................................................................................... .. 1-15
Figure 1-2. Dispersed Campsite Parking Area along the Little River Road ..................................... .. 1-23
Figure 1-3. Upper Greenbrier Watershed from US Highway 250 .................................................... .. 1-26
Chapter 3
Map SL-1. Elevation Profile of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed..................................................... .... 3-2
Map SL-2. Soil Map Units in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed........................................................ .... 3-6
Map SL-3. Soil Erosion Potential in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ............................................. .... 3-8
Map SL-4. Sensitive Soils in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ........................................................ .. 3-10
Map HY-1. Major Water Features in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed............................................ .. 3-15
Figure HY-1. Mill Pond Dam at Burner, Circa 1905........................................................................ .. 3-16
Figure HY-2. East Fork Greenbrier River near Island Campground ................................................ .. 3-23
Figure WQ-3. Stream Temperature Data for West Fork Greenbrier River, Summer 2005 .............. .. 3-32
Figure AQ-1. Fish Passage Barrier in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .......................................... .. 3-39
Figure VG-1. Burner Mill Site with Log Pond, Circa 1905.............................................................. .. 3-45
Map VG-1. Estimated Presettlement Forests in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed........................... .. 3-47
Map VG-2. Current Forest Types in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ............................................ .. 3-48
Map VG-3. Fire Regimes and Condition Classes in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.................... .. 3-58
Figure VG-2. Max Rothkugel Plantation.......................................................................................... .. 3-66
Figure VG-3. Allegheny Battlefield.................................................................................................. .. 3-69
Map WL-1. Indiana Bat Primary Range in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .................................. .. 3-76
Map WL-2. Forest Fragmentation in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ........................................... .. 3-91
Map RC-1. Scenic Integrity in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ..................................................... .. 3-94
Figure RC-1. Lake Buffalo ............................................................................................................... .. 3-95
Figure RC-2. Gaudineer Scenic Area ............................................................................................... .. 3-96
Figure RC-3. West Fork Rail Trail ................................................................................................... .. 3-98
Map RC-2. Trails and Other Recreational Features in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed................. .. 3-99
Figure HR-1. Burner Mill Site, Circa 1905 ...................................................................................... 3-108
Map MN-1. Privately Owned Mineral Rights in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ......................... 3-114
Map LS-1. Priority Landlines in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .................................................. 3-119
Map RD-1. Forest Classified Roads in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ........................................ 3-128
Map RD-2. Forest Unclassified Roads (Woods Roads) in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .......... 3-129
Figure FC-1. Old House Run Picnic Area ........................................................................................ 3-135
Figure RS-1. Loop Road Research Area........................................................................................... 3-136
Appendices
Map C-1. Soil Nutrient Sensitivity in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .......................................... ....C-7
Map C-2. Slope by Percent Group in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed........................................... ....C-8
Map D-1. Scenic Attractiveness in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .............................................. ....E-2
Map D-2. Visibility in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.................................................................. ....E-3
Map D-3. Scenic Condition in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ..................................................... ....E-4
iii
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Table Title
Page
Chapter 3
Table SL-1. Acres by Soil Sensitivity Group on NFS Lands ........................................................... .... 3-9
Table SL-2. Acres by Soil Nutrient Sensitivity to Acid Deposition ................................................. .. 3-11
Table WQ-1. Partial List of Known Sediment Sources in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ........... .. 3-27
Table WQ-2. USFS Water Quality Summary for Upper Greenbrier Watershed Streams ................ .. 3-29
Table WQ-3. WVDEP Water Quality Summary for Upper Greenbrier Watershed Streams ........... .. 3-29
Table WQ-1. Stream Temperature Data from June – September, 2005 ........................................... .. 3-32
Table AQ-1. Known Fish Species Distribution by 6th Level Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC)............ .. 3-36
Table AQ-2. West Virginia B2 Trout Water Status of Streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.. 3-38
Table AQ-3. Summary of Fish Population Assessments Conducted in Summer of 2002................ .. 3-40
Table VG-1. Acres of Forest Types by Management Prescription Area .......................................... .. 3-49
Table VG-2. Tree Vegetation Age Class Acres by Management Prescription Area ........................ .. 3-52
Table VG-3. Current Age Classes of Forest Communities in MP 3.0 .............................................. .. 3-52
Table VG-4. Desired Age Classes of Forest Communities in MP 3.0.............................................. .. 3-53
Table VG-5. Current Age Classes for Spruce/Spruce-Hardwood Communities in MP 4.1 ............. .. 3-53
Table VG-6. Desired Age Classes for Spruce/Spruce-Hardwood Communities In MP 4.1............. .. 3-54
Table VG-7. Current Age Classes for MP 4.1 Areas with Little or No Potential to Restore Spruce .. 3-54
Table VG-8. Desired Age Classes for MP 4.1 Areas with Little or No Potential to Restore Spruce .. 3-55
Table VG-9. Current Age Classes of Forest Communities in MP 6.1 .............................................. .. 3-55
Table VG-10. Desired Age Classes of Forest Communities in MP 6.1............................................ .. 3-56
Table VG-11. Known or Potential Wetland and Riparian Habitat RFSS Plants in the Watershed .. .. 3-61
Table VG-12. Known or Potential Mesic Forest and Cove Habitat RFSS Plants in the Watershed .. 3-61
Table VG-13. Known or Potential Rocky Habitat RFSS Plants in the Watershed ........................... .. 3-62
Table VG-14. Non-Native Invasive Plants in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .............................. .. 3-65
Table WL-1. TES Species Likelihood of Occurrence in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ............. .. 3-78
Table WL-2. Birds of Conservation Concern within BCR 28 and Probability of Occurrence......... .. 3-87
Table RC-1. Landscape Visibility Distribution in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ....................... .. 3-93
Table RC-2. Trails in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ................................................................... 3-100
Table RC-3. Trail Density by Management Prescription Area......................................................... 3-102
Table HR-1. Previous Heritage Resource Surveys in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .................. 3-111
Table MN-1. Privately Owned Mineral Rights by Subwatershed .................................................... 3-113
Table MN-2. Roads Under Permit with Columbia Gas Transmission.............................................. 3-115
Table RD-1. State/Federal Roads in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ............................................ 3-124
Table RD-2. Forest Classified Roads in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ...................................... 3-125
Table RD-3. Upper Greenbrier Watershed Road Density by Subwatershed .................................... 3-129
Table RD-4. Collector and Local Road Density for MP Areas 3.0, 4.1, and 6.1.............................. 3-130
Table RD-5. Collector Road Density for Management Prescription Areas 3.0, 4.1, and 6.1 ........... 3-130
Chapter 4
Table 4.1 Significant Findings, Recommendations, and Actions Needed ........................................ .... 4-1
Appendices
Table C-1. Acres by Map Unit of Soil Series in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed .......................... ....C-2
Table C-2. Soil Sensitivity by Map Unit in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed ................................. ....C-6
Table D-1. Relative Resource Values of Level 3, 4, and 5 Classified Roads in the UG Watershed ... D-3
Table D-2. Relative Resource Risks of Level 3, 4, and 5 Classified Roads in the UG Watershed .. ... D-4
iv
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1
Introduction and Characterization
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
INTRODUCTION
Intent And Organization Of This Watershed Assessment
Watershed assessment, as applied on the Monongahela National Forest (MNF), is a procedure to
identify the interactions, processes, and functions of resources such as water, soils, plants, trees,
animals, and human influence on a watershed scale. Knowing and better understanding these
relationships will help us set priorities for social, economic and ecological needs when planning
future activities in the area. It will also help us to better determine effects of our management.
The watershed scale was chosen because it is a well-defined land area having unique features,
and it allows us to analyze the interrelationships of various resources in an entire watershed.
The intent of this assessment is to develop a scientifically based document that identifies existing
needs or concerns and management opportunities related to the watershed. Recommendations
for the continued management and/or restoration of the watershed are included in Chapter 4.
This watershed assessment is a stage-setting process, not a decision-making process. It is
designed to allow for future changes (additions/deletions) based on new information and data
that become available, or on other issues that develop and raise new key questions. Key terms
are defined in the glossary (Appendix B). The report covers 6 basic steps:
• Characteristics of the watershed – identifies the dominant physical, biological, and human
processes within the watershed. (Chapter 1)
• Issue identification with key questions – identifies main resource concerns, conditions, and
activities. (Chapter 2)
• Current condition description – describes the existing conditions of identified resources as
they relate to the issues. (Chapter 3)
• Reference and desired condition description – estimates the historic and/or desired conditions
of identified resources and serves as a comparison to the current conditions. (Chapter 3)
• Management recommendations – outlines potential projects and opportunities to maintain or
restore the health of the identified resources. The objective is to move the area toward a
desired conditions, as described in the 2006 MNF Land and Resource Management Plan.
Management direction to achieve desired conditions is taken from the Plan’s Forest-wide and
Management Prescriptions goals, objectives, standards and guidelines. (Chapter 4)
Some of the areas in this report are in need of restoration or maintenance treatments. These
problem areas were usually caused by some historic pattern of human activity. The findings
within this document represent a foundation to develop site-specific project proposals and
associated environmental analyses with decision documents.
General Location And Description of the Watershed
The Upper Greenbrier Watershed is located in the upper portion of the Greenbrier River in
Pocahontas County, West Virginia (Map 1-1). The towns of Durbin, Frank, and Bartow are
located at the southern end of the watershed. Shavers Mountain borders the area to the west, and
1-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
the West Virginia/Virginia state line forms part of the eastern boundary. Elevations range from
about 2,700 feet on the Greenbrier River near Durbin to 4,600 feet on Back Allegheny Mountain.
Four sixth-level hydrologic units, or subwatersheds, comprise the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
(Map 1-2), covering an estimated 85,100 acres (133 square miles). The four subwatersheds are
Little River (HUC 050500030101), Headwaters East Fork Greenbrier River (HUC
050500030102), West Fork Greenbrier River (HUC 050500030103), and Outlet East Fork
Greenbrier River (HUC 050500030104). These four subwatersheds form a portion of the larger
fifth-level watershed named Deer Creek-Greenbrier River (HUC 0505000301). The Greenbrier
River is a tributary of New River, with the confluence near Hinton, West Virginia. New River
turns into the Kanawha River and enters the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
The climate is characterized by annual precipitation that ranges between 49 and 60 inches per
year, and averages about 54 inches per year across the watershed. The moister climates are
generally found on the western side of the watershed on top of Shavers Mountain, with the drier
climates near the Virginia border on the east side of the watershed. Summer temperatures
average around 80°F, with occasional daytime highs in the 90s, and night time lows can fall into
the upper 30s. Winter temperatures average around 30°F. Normally there are several days in the
winter with temperatures at sub-zero levels.
Shavers Mountain, located along the western boundary of this watershed, is the most dominant
landform at over 4,000’ elevation. Other notable landforms include Lynn Knob, Round Knob,
Smoke Camp Knob, The Pigs Ear, and the large deep drainages created by the West Fork and
East Fork of the Greenbrier River. The landscape is dominantly (>95%) forested uplands, with
minor inclusions of agricultural fields, pastureland, wetlands, roads, gas well and pipeline
developments, water, and residential developments.
An estimated 81 percent of the watershed is National Forest System (NFS) land, and the
remaining 19 percent is under private ownership. Private lands (15,800 acres) are scattered
throughout the watershed, with the largest area around the urban corridor of near Bartow (Map 12). Along the West Fork Greenbrier River are numerous dispersed recreation sites that are
popular with seasonal occupants. Lake Buffalo provides water-based recreation opportunities in
the southeastern portion of the watershed. Other notable features in the watershed include the
Gaudineer Scenic Area, Island Campground, the Loop Road Research Area, the Max Rothkugel
Plantation, and a portion of the Red Spruce Candidate Research Natural Area. The Gaudineer
Scenic Area is also a National Natural Landmark.
Management Prescriptions
The Upper Greenbrier River Watershed contains NFS lands under five different Management
Prescriptions (see Map 1-3) as described in Chapter III of the MNF Forest Plan. These
Management Prescriptions (MPs) are: 3.0 – Vegetation Diversity, 4.1 – Spruce and SpruceHardwood Ecosystem Management, 6.1 – Wildlife Habitat Emphasis, 6.2 – Backcountry
Recreation, and 8.0 – Special Areas. The management emphasis for each prescription area is
described below.
1-2
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Map 1-1. Upper Greenbrier Watershed Vicinity Map
1-3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Map 1-2. Subwatersheds and Land Ownership in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
1-4
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
An estimated 32,300 acres of MP 3.0 generally emphasize:
• Age class diversity and sustainable timber production.
• A variety of forest scenery.
• Habitat for wildlife species tolerant of disturbances, such as deer, grouse, squirrel.
• A primarily motorized recreation environment.
An estimated 16,690 acres of MP 4.1 generally emphasize:
• Active and passive restoration of spruce and spruce-hardwood communities.
• Research or administrative studies on spruce restoration.
• Recovery of threatened and endangered species and other species of concern associated with
spruce and spruce-hardwood communities.
• Management of hardwood communities where spruce is a negligible or absent component.
• Generally restricted public motorized access and use.
• A mix of forest products.
An estimated 4,240 acres of MP 6.1 generally emphasize:
• A vegetation management strategy that emphasizes sustainable production of mast and other
plant species that benefit wildlife.
• Active restoration of pine-oak and oak-hickory communities.
• Restricted motorized access and a network of security areas that reduce disturbance to
wildlife.
• A primarily non-motorized recreational setting.
• A mix of forest products.
An estimated 14,960 acres of MP 6.2 generally emphasize:
• A semi-primitive, non-motorized setting with opportunity for a variety of dispersed
recreation activities.
• A largely natural environment, with a general lack of management-related disturbance.
• Restoration and maintenance of ecological communities and habitats, predominantly through
natural processes.
• Wildlife habitat for species that benefit from a general lack of human disturbance.
• Protection of watersheds and soils.
An estimated 1,110 acres of MP 8.0 generally emphasize:
• The preservation of unique ecosystems or areas for scientific or recreational purposes.
• Areas to conduct research
• The protection of special areas of national significance.
The specific special areas in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are the 8.2/8.3 Gaudineer Scenic
Area (140 acres), the 8.4 Max Rothkugel Plantation (150 acres), the 8.5 Loop Road Research
Area (800 acres), and a portion (20 acres) of the 8.5 Red Spruce Candidate Research Natural
Area (CRNA). The management goal for the Gaudineer Scenic Area is to maintain virgin forest
characteristics. The management goal for the Max Rothkugel Plantation is to emphasize
plantation development and protection. The Management goal for the Red Spruce CNRA is to
1-5
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
maintain designated cover types for research purposes. There are no specific management goals
for the Loop Road Research Area, but it is managed in coordination with the Fernow
Experimental Forest, which has several management goals (Forest Plan, p. III-65).
CHARACTERIZATION
The core topics and sub-topics that are covered in this assessment are:
™ Soils and Erosion Processes
™ Hydrology and Stream Channels
o Morphology
o Flow Rates
o Storm Flows
™ Water Quality
o Sediment
o Acidity
o Temperature
™ Aquatic Resources
o Aquatic Habitat and Populations
o Riparian and Wetland Habitat
™ Vegetation
o Forest Types and Age Classes
o Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Plants
o Non-native Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants
o Openings and Grazing Allotments
o Ecological Areas
™ Wildlife
o Threatened and Endangered Species
o Sensitive Species
o Management Indicator Species
o Species of Interest
o Birds of Conservation Concern
™ Human Uses
o Recreation
o Heritage Resources
o Minerals
o Lands and Special Uses
o Roads
o Facilities
o Research
1-6
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Map 1-3. Management Prescription Areas in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
1-7
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
These topics and sub-topics are briefly characterized below. More detailed descriptions appear
in Chapter 3 of this assessment.
Soils and Erosion Processes
Geologically, the majority of the watershed is underlain by the Chemung group and Hampshire
formation. The Upper Greenbrier Watershed contains an estimated 110 different soil types,
though 10 of these types comprise 88 percent of the area (see Map C-1 and Table C-1 in
Appendix C). Within those 10 map units, seven soil series are dominant, and these series are
described in Chapter 3 of this assessment.
Soils and their parent geologies have generally good acid neutralizing capacity in this watershed,
so the potential effects from acid deposition are not a significant issue as they are in some other
areas of the Forest. The main issues with management implications involve soil erosion,
sensitivity, and stability. An estimated 81 percent of the soils in the watershed are considered to
have severe erosion potential, while 66 percent of the soils are considered sensitive. Both
erosion hazard and sensitivity can be indicators of potential soil instability, or where gully
erosion or mass movement may be likely to occur. Steepness of slope is a major factor in both
assessments, as a high portion of the soils in the watershed fall into the 30-70 percent slope
category. Other concerns with the soils include wetness, slippage, and limestone content in
localized areas. Over 600 acres of the watershed are considered to be prime farmland, though
most of these are on private lands.
Most soils concerns in this watershed revolve around management-created disturbance on steep
slopes and wet areas. Soil disturbance related to constructing/reconstructing roads and operating
heavy equipment in steep/wet areas is of particular concern. The Forest Plan has many
management requirements that address this concern, and additional measures can be identified
and used at the project level to reduce risks to soil stability and movement.
Hydrology and Stream Channels
Morphology
Channels have developed under complex conditions of geologic and soil parent materials,
topography, land uses, and climatic conditions. The land uses that have most influenced stream
morphology are associated with the historic logging that occurred between 1901 and 1920.
Essentially the entire Upper Greenbrier Watershed was logged during that time, by exploitive
methods that had severe impacts on soils and streams.
Historic logging developments and practices that impacted stream stability and morphology
included the construction of logging camps and mill towns, mill ponds, log drives on the East
and West Forks, and logging railroad lines and roads, among others. These developments
affected streams and rivers by removing the riparian forest, converting riparian areas to wood
processing and storage facilities and mill towns, damming streams and rivers for mill ponds and
modifying runoff characteristics, filling or occupying channels, creating widespread severe
1-8
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
erosion of the landscape, and delivering enormous amounts of sediment for many decades.
Channels still exhibit the effects of such practices, and are in a long, slow state of recovery.
More recent land uses within the watershed that affect stream condition include natural gas well
development and pipelines associated with the Horton Field and Glady Storage Field, federal and
private timber harvesting, a dense network of state, Forest and private roads (some of which
closely follow and cross streams), some agriculture and livestock grazing, and residential and
industrial uses mostly in the Durbin, Frank, and Bartow corridor.
Portions of the East and West Forks of the Greenbrier River, Little River, and limited portions of
some tributaries, have developed moderately wider floodplains; otherwise floodplains are mostly
narrow. Perennial streams exhibit a range of channel entrenchment from high (narrower flood
prone areas) to low.
Stream Channel Types
In general, there are a wide variety of stream channel types within the assessment area, and there
are both stable and unstable channels. The unstable channels have likely developed in response
to natural factors (sedimentation and floods), but more so to historic and recent land uses.
Historic logging in the early 1900s is thought to be the dominant land use influencing channel
morphology today, because of the widespread harvesting of the entire watershed, and the
destructive treatment of riparian areas and the stream channels themselves. Other land uses that
continue to influence morphology have been mentioned above. Of these, roads are likely to be
the dominant factor in driving channels toward an unstable condition, largely by concentrating
and speeding runoff to the stream system, and increasing rates of sedimentation and bedload.
Timber harvesting contributes to the problem through truck and skid road development, and their
effects on runoff and erosion rates. Livestock grazing also contributes with increased erosion
rates and loss of woody riparian vegetation.
Stream morphology is influenced in portions of some perennial tributaries by substantial alluvial
deposits along those streams, especially within the watershed of the West Fork (Mikes, Fox,
Elklick, Gertrude, Mill and Cove Runs and Little River, for example). These lengthy stream
segments are largely devoid of woody overstory in the riparian zone, and portions of their
riparian habitats are typed as wetlands. Stream morphologies in these areas are likely to be
slowly evolving from less stable to more stable types, partly because of the open, herbaceous
nature of the riparian areas.
Flow Rates
Streamflow within the watershed tends to be highly variable, dependent on season, rates of
evapo-transpiration, and precipitation patterns. Monthly mean discharge ranges from 570 cubic
feet per second (cfs) in March, to 71.7 cfs in September. The highest daily mean flow of 13,200
cfs, and the maximum peak flow of 37,100 cfs, occurred on November 4, 1985, while the lowest
daily mean flow of 0.5 cfs occurred in September/October of 1953, 1968 and 1995.
This difference between high and low flows is very great.
1-9
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
These data, and what is known about the watersheds, indicates that streamflows are highly
variable by season, and dependent on seasonal and precipitation characteristics. Evapotranspiration losses in the vegetative growing season contribute most to lower streamflows.
Also, snowmelt in the late winter and spring contributes somewhat to higher streamflows.
Streamflow tends to be not only variable, but higher runoff rates can be flashy, responding
quickly to the influence of topography and soil/geologic characteristics, soil moisture conditions
at the time of precipitation, rainfall amounts and intensity, and to land uses as well. Also, intense
summer storms and large frontal system storms are common, as are periodic drought conditions,
adding to the wide range of flow conditions in these streams.
Storm Flows
Stormflow within the assessment area is characterized as intense and frequent. Streams are
frequently flashy in their response to larger storms, especially more intense storms. Streamflow
tends to rise rapidly under those conditions, and falls rapidly as well, returning to base flow
conditions rather quickly. Major frontal weather systems and tropical storms from the south can
carry very substantial quantities of rainfall. Major storm events can be fairly frequent, and
generally occur during the dormant season of the year (November through mid-May) when
evapo-transpiration losses are minimal. This further adds to rapid storm runoff, and in less
frequent cases to downstream flooding. Examples of recent dormant season major runoff events
include the November 1985 flood, and the January and May 1996 floods.
Stormflows can be further influenced by land use activities and roads within the watershed.
Land uses that reduce soil infiltration and water holding capacity, and reduce riparian vegetation,
contribute to increased stormflow and stormflow effects on stream channels. These land uses in
the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are primarily road development, ground-based timber harvest
activities (including historic logging), livestock grazing, and natural gas development.
The cumulative effect of all these facilities and land uses is to capture and concentrate flows, and
speed runoff to downstream portions of the watersheds. Stormflows can be impacted when
water moving downslope in the soil is brought to the surface at road cuts, when infiltration and
evapo-transpiration are reduced, and when surface runoff is concentrated and delivered to stream
channels more quickly. Rates of runoff, stormflows, and channel stability and morphology can
be affected by the cumulative impacts of these land uses and developments, but the magnitude of
the effect depends on a complex interaction of factors.
Water Quality
Water quality in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is generally moderate to good, and water
chemistry is adequate to support aquatic biota that range from cool water to cold water
communities. Sedimentation is a problem within much of the watershed, and streams typically
transport considerable fine sediment during periods of storm runoff. Otherwise streams
generally run fairly clear.
1 - 10
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Water quality is considered adequate to meet established state standards (47CSR2), despite the
recognized sedimentation problems in many of these streams. The high value that the State
places on streams and water quality within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is evident in the
several special designations assigned to many of these streams. Many other streams are not
specifically included in these lists, but these omissions may be due more to incomplete stream
inventories, or land use impacts that are reducing habitat and water quality (such as temperature
effects from reduced shade).
Sediment
Fine sediment is high within the rivers and streams of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
Measured fine sediment levels in sampled stream substrates ranged from moderate and below the
commonly accepted threshold of substantial adverse impact to brook trout spawning success, to
high fine sediment composition and well above the threshold.
Sediment is delivered to streams through channel bank erosion, and through sheet, rill and gully
erosion of upland slopes. Some gully erosion and headcut erosion occurs below roads where
flow concentration has altered drainage patterns, increasing substantially the sediment supply to
channels. There is a minor amount of mass wasting within the watershed, usually associated
with road cuts and fills. Mass wasting has occurred on small segments of Forest Road 44, but
delivered substantial quantities of sediment to the West Fork during those events. Some land
uses and facilities within riparian areas, such as roads along streams and grazing within riparian
areas, contribute to de-stabilized streambanks, accelerated channel bank erosion, and channel
widening. Forest Service grazing allotments and private land grazing occur in the Headwaters
East Fork, Little River, and Outlet East Fork subwatersheds. Numerous sediment sources exist
within these allotments.
Much of the present day erosion and stream channel sediment conditions are consequences of the
early 1900s logging and wood processing industry. Increased stormflows resulting from such
land use had substantial channel stability effects, further compounded by removal of most of the
riparian vegetation, including large wood, from channels. The aquatic and riparian resource
condition that exists today has been and continues to be influenced by effects of the logging
industry from a hundred years ago. Recovery from those impacts is a very long-term process.
Sediments, especially fine sediments, are mobilized in streams during periods of storm runoff,
and increase suspended sediment and turbidity levels. As stormflows fall and streams return to
baseflow conditions, suspended sediment and turbidity generally fall quickly to low levels and
streams appear clear again. But fine sediments stored in and on the surface of the stream
substrates are readily available to be remobilized in future runoff events. Stormflow sediment
characteristics of streams within the watershed are generally considered to be high to very high.
Acidity (pH)
Water chemistry in streams is generally adequate in terms of acidity relations, and streams are
relatively not susceptible to being acid deposition impaired. Limited portions of the watershed
have some acid-sensitive geologic types, primarily along the top of Shavers Mountain in the
1 - 11
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
West Fork subwatershed (about 3100 acres), with another 2210 acid sensitive acres in the upper
portions of the Headwaters East Fork and Little River subwatersheds. However, perennial
streams in these areas gain better chemistry water as they flow through less sensitive strata
immediately downstream. The poorest chemistry streams are mostly in the headwaters of Little
River (Hinkle and Clubhouse Runs), and their pH stayed above 6.0 with ANC generally above
20. (WVDEP data documented several streams with pH below 6.0, but these were isolated
instances, and otherwise pH remained above 6.0). Streams are otherwise adequate to good in
their acid-buffering capacity, not considered to be acid impaired, and should generally sustain
their aquatic communities. Several streams originating on the east flank of Shavers Mountain
(including Old Road, Fill, and Braucher Runs) flow through Greenbrier Limestone strata,
gaining considerable buffering capacity and have high ANC/alkalinity values.
Temperature
Aquatic ecosystems typically exhibit signature stream temperature patterns or stream
temperature regimes that develop in response to prominent and persistent associations between
land form, climate patterns, watershed hydrologic properties, and other watershed characteristics.
Aquatic inhabitants can exhibit life history strategies that are adapted to specific stream
temperature regimes and the associated environmental cues that function to initiate behavior
critical to sustaining population viability for aquatic species over the long term. Changes to
stream temperature regimes can alter the species composition of aquatic communities and
influence the population health of individual aquatic species.
Stream temperature data recorded from June to October, 2005 and other information (see
discussion on Aquatic Habitat and Populations in Chapter 3) available for streams in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed indicate portions of this system posses stream temperature regimes
capable of supporting cold-water biota typically associated with native brook trout communities.
Some stream reaches, particularly in larger streams such as the East Fork and West Fork
Greenbrier River, are currently transitional areas better suited for cool-water aquatic
communities characteristic of smallmouth and rock bass communities. Water temperatures in
these cool-water transitional areas generally become too warm and stressful to sustain viable
populations of cold-water biota during the summer but these areas can still provide critical
seasonal habitat (e.g. over-wintering habitats) for cold-water biota during other times of the year.
Assessment of watershed characteristics can help explain variation in stream temperatures
associated with different streams. Analysis of stream temperature datasets across the Forest
suggest significant correlations exist between stream temperature and watershed characteristics
including watershed area, stream length, stream elevation, percent forested area (for both riparian
area and watershed area), percent wetlands, road density (for both riparian area and watershed
area), and stream crossing density. Understanding these relationships can help identify
opportunities to manage watersheds for desired conditions. The Forest Plan provides direction
that can assist with maintaining necessary water temperatures to sustain viable populations of
native and desired non-native aquatic species.
1 - 12
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Aquatic Resources
Aquatic ecosystems consist of complex interactions among and between the physical, chemical,
and biological environment. Aquatic habitats consist primarily of the physical and chemical
components that develop in relation to land-forming processes dictated primarily by the
geomorphic setting, climate patterns, watershed conditions, and disturbance regimes. Physical
conditions and trends associated with fluvial aquatic habitats are most notably structured around
a foundation of stream channel and riparian area conditions and processes. Water chemistry
properties associated with aquatic habitats are largely a reflection of geochemistry and soil
nutrient properties of the contributing watershed area as well as atmospheric deposition rates.
The biological component of aquatic ecosystems is largely dependent on characteristics
associated with available aquatic habitats.
Aquatic habitats within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are currently inhabited by 38 fish
species representing Catostomidae (sucker), Centrachidae (bass), Cottidae (sculpin), Cyprinidae
(minnow), Percidae (perch), and Salmonidae (trout) fish families (Welsh et al. 2007). The
aquatic community includes 29 native fish species, 9 non-native fish species, 7 aquatic species (4
fish species, 1 aquatic amphibian species, and 2 mussel species) listed as Regional Forester’s
Sensitive Species, 5 endemic fish species, and the only aquatic Management Indicator Species
(brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis) for the Monongahela National Forest
Many fish species that occur within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed (e.g. the Centrachids,
Catastomids, and many of the Cyprinids), including most of the non-native species, are
associated with warm to cool water habitats. Other species, particularly native brook trout, are
associated with coldwater aquatic communities that are typically centered on stream reaches with
the coolest stream temperatures. Though non-native trout species (i.e. rainbow trout and brown
trout) that have been introduced into the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are typically associated
with coldwater fish communities, these species were opportunistically introduced (McGavock
and Davis 1935) and continue to be stocked in part because they are a sport fish that tolerate
warmer stream temperatures than can native brook trout.
The West Virginia Code of State Rules establishes general Water Use Categories and Water
Quality Standards for waters of the State (Title 47, Series 2.16). Certain waters of the State are
specifically designated as Trout Waters (Category B2) that are defined by West Virginia Code as
“streams or stream segments which sustain year-round trout populations” (Title 47, Series 2.18).
Currently, 7 streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are designated as B2 Trout Waters and 7
additional streams are identified in a proposal that would add to this list. Brook trout have been
identified in nearly all named streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, although the health of
these populations varies considerably by stream.
Annual and seasonal variation of habitat conditions such as stream flows and stream temperature
can bring about shifts in species distribution as aquatic organisms migrate to seek more favorable
habitat conditions. The ability for aquatic populations to move between habitats in response to
environmental conditions or other instinctive behavior is dependent on the accessibility of these
habitats. Results from surveys of artificial barriers to aquatic organism passage indicate road
stream crossings (1 road stream crossing for every mile of road) are fragmenting aquatic habitats.
1 - 13
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Aquatic habitat fragmentation is likely contributing to impaired health of aquatic populations and
possibly localized extirpation of isolated aquatic populations.
There are an estimated 263 miles of mapped streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed and 22
acres of an artificial impoundment (Lake Buffalo). Stream habitats within the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed remain in an impaired condition as a result of the combined effects from historic and
present day activities. Aquatic habitat composition is highly skewed toward simplistic shallow
habitats that are typically characterized as riffles. In-stream large woody debris is notably scarce
across the watershed. Stream sedimentation rates are generally elevated to levels that can
negatively influence the reproductive success of aquatic organisms and adversely alter the
composition and productivity of aquatic benthic communities. Chemical analysis of stream
water samples collected in the watershed indicates that current water chemistry is not likely
playing a significant role in limiting the productivity of the aquatic environment at this time.
Nonetheless, the condition of other aquatic habitat conditions in the watershed is likely impairing
the structure and productivity of aquatic communities.
Aquatic habitat and populations in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed reflect the long-lasting
residual effects of human-induced and natural events that have altered hillslope hydrology,
compromised stream channel integrity, degraded in-stream habitat, impaired riparian areas,
introduced non-native aquatic species, and fragmented aquatic habitat. Though aquatic habitat
and populations have been compromised in relation to reference conditions, many aquatic habitat
and population characteristics have likely improved since the mid-1900s. Facilitating a trend
toward improved aquatic health is largely dependent upon sustaining or advancing recovery
trends for critical watershed and stream processes. The Forest Plan provides direction that can
assist with achieving desired conditions for aquatic habitat and populations.
Riparian and Wetland Habitat
Riparian resources within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are primarily those associated with
riparian and streamside management zones along streams, and mapped wetlands that are
typically adjacent to streams. Numerous emergent, scrub/shrub and forested wetlands of small to
moderate size occur throughout portions of the watershed, and total an estimated 660 acres.
Blister Swamp is an emergent wetland (wet meadow) of better than 10 acres size, mostly on
private land in the extreme headwater of the East Fork. Additional wetland lines the East Fork
channel downstream on private and NFS lands. Many tributaries of both the East and West
Forks have wetland habitat adjacent to the stream channels. Land and shallow water
immediately surrounding Lake Buffalo is also considered riparian/wetland habitat (Figure 1-1).
There are an estimated 6,322 riparian area acres within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed (7.4
percent of the total watershed area). Some of this calculated riparian acreage overlaps with the
wetland habitat acreage. This is a substantial underestimate of actual streamside riparian area,
however, because riparian areas along un-mapped channels were not counted.
Riparian areas are largely in a forested condition, with 5,647 forested riparian acres calculated
(89 percent of the total riparian acres). Much of that is fairly intact riparian forest that provides a
range of riparian benefits to streams (shade, nutrients, large wood, etc). But large woody debris
1 - 14
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
recruitment potential to all streams is much below what it should be because riparian forest age is
still too young to provide an abundant and continuous supply of large wood to streams.
Figure 1-1. Lake Buffalo Shallows
Substantial riparian acreage is inadequately forested; however, some of that acreage is in wetland
habitat. Some streamside riparian areas that are not wetland are lacking riparian forest or in a
severely degraded condition. Numerous streams in the West Fork drainage in particular have
extended channel lengths with little or no riparian forest, which is affecting stream health and
water temperatures. These streams include Mikes, Fox, Elklick, Gertrude, Mill and Cove Runs,
and Little River. Numerous roads occupy riparian areas or streamside zones and cross stream
channels, further degrading riparian conditions throughout the watershed.
Vegetation
Forest Types
Over 95 percent of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is forested. The watershed is dominated by
Appalachian mixed hardwood and northern hardwood forest types (85 percent). About 7 percent
of the watershed has forest types dominated by oak, while about 5 percent has types dominated
by conifers, most notably red spruce, eastern hemlock, and white pine. Some plantations of red
pine are also present, and red spruce and hemlock are commonly found as components of
northern hardwood communities. At least 20 commercial tree species and more than 30 noncommercial trees can be found in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
1 - 15
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Although red spruce has been slowly expanding its range over the past few decades, red spruce
and spruce-hardwoods mixed forests once covered much more area than they do today. While
opportunities for active restoration of the red spruce community are limited in areas determined
to be suitable habitat for the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, there are areas in the
watershed where red spruce and mixed red spruce-hardwood forests could be actively managed
to increase red spruce dominance.
Oak communities are currently in decline due to changes in stand density, structure, and
composition, leading to a decreasing trend in vegetation diversity. In areas where fires helped
perpetuate oak and oak-hickory forests, decades of fire suppression have created conditions
where oak species are not competing well with species such as striped and red maple and
American beech. Light conditions in the mid-story are not suitable for oaks to regenerate.
Timber harvest, thinning, and prescribed fire can be used to mimic the effects of historic fire
regimes in areas where these activities are both allowed by Forest Plan direction and are
considered ecologically appropriate.
Age Classes
An estimated 70 percent of the NFS lands in the watershed are in a single age class (mid-late
successional), and 91 percent of the lands are in two age classes (mid successional and mid-late
successional). Early and early-mid successional stages, on the other hand, only account for
about 4 percent of the watershed NFS lands. Open/brushy areas comprise another 3 percent.
A comparison of current and desired age class conditions in Management Prescription areas 3.0,
4.1, and 6.1 indicates that there is both a need and opportunity to regenerate stands in order to
move toward desired conditions for age class distribution. Regeneration would not only reduce
the amount of stands in mid-late successional stage, but would also increase the amount in the
early successional stage, which over time would become early-mid and mid successional stages.
Management direction in these prescription areas provides for this type of activity.
Other Vegetation Management Opportunities
Timber Stand Improvement - Most of the areas that were harvested with even-aged cuts in the
1960s and 70s resulted in stands of overcrowded trees (too many trees trying to live in one area).
Natural mortality can eventually reduce this overcrowding; however, timber stand improvement
(TSI) treatments can select which trees will live and prosper in a given stand. These TSI
treatments are designed to improve the health and increase the growth of residual trees. One
method of TSI is a non-commercial thinning in a crop tree release (CTR). Numerous young
stands of trees received this type of treatment in the past 10 years in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed. Crop trees are selected based on species, mast capability, health, potential wood
value, and form. The stands in this area that were treated with CTR are now or, within the next 5
years, will be in the poletimber size class. There is the potential to further improve the health
and growth of these stands through commercial and non-commercial thinning, using various TSI
methods. Additionally, many stands that were harvested with even-aged cuts in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed in the 1980s and early 1990s are now overcrowded with young trees.
1 - 16
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
These stands will be ready for a non-commercial thinning using the CTR method within the next
5 years. Most of these stands are presently in the sapling stage of growth.
Prescribed Fire - Most of the watershed, however, is considered to be in Fire Regime 5,
Condition Class I, with fire return intervals of 200+ years. There are approximately 500 acres
within the watershed that are in Fire Regime 1, Condition Class 3, and about 4,000 acres of Fire
Regime III, Condition Class 2. These 4,500 acres represent about 6 percent of NFS land in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Most of these acres are in the Outlet East Fork Greenbrier River
subwatershed. These areas are at the highest risk of losing key ecosystem components,
particularly in oak-dominated forests. Prescribed fire could be used to help restore composition
and structure within fire-adapted ecosystems, and to reduce fuels, especially in the wildland
urban interface near Bartow. Fire could also be used to create or maintain openings, savannahs,
and early successional stages, to thin out understory vegetation, or to treat vegetation in MP 6.2
areas where there are restrictions on mechanical disturbance and road construction.
Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Plants
Based on field surveys of proposed activity areas and existing records, one (running buffalo
clover) of the four threatened and endangered plant species is known to occur within the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed. Potential habitat may occur for two other species, Virginia spirea and
small-whorled pogonia, although the likelihood of occurrence is relatively low.
Based on field surveys and existing records, three of the 54 Regional Foresters Sensitive Species
(RFSS) on the Forest are known to occur within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed: Appalachian
blue violet (Viola appalachiensis), butternut (Juglans cinerea), and rock skullcap (Scutellaria
saxatilis). Based on a Likelihood of Occurrence assessment, potential habitat could occur for 30
additional RFSS plants.
Site-specific field surveys for TES plants should cover all areas proposed for timber harvest, new
road construction, and other ground-disturbing actions. Known or discovered populations would
be protected through management requirements in the Forest Plan, and any additional mitigation
measures identified at the project level.
Non-native Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants
The role of non-native insects, diseases, and invasive plants as disturbance factors has increased
in the past century due to the introduction of these pests from other countries. Some of the
species known to influence the structure and pattern of vegetation in the watershed include:
• Insects: gypsy moth and hemlock woolly adelgid
• Diseases: beech bark disease and chestnut blight
• Non-native Invasive Plants: multiflora rose, autumn olive, tartarian honeysuckle, and
purple loosestrife.
Many non-native invasive plant species are known to occur in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
Of these, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) can
cause serious ecological impacts in forested ecosystems because of their ability to tolerate shade.
1 - 17
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Additionally, tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) could cause ecological disruption due to its
ability to capture canopy gaps in forests. Currently, all three of these species are closely
associated with roads, skid trails, and landings, indicating that these transportation features have
served as the primary invasion route in the watershed, probably through transport of seeds by
vehicles, horses, ATVs, boots, etc. Non-native invasive plants that are less shade tolerant—such
as multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellate) and Kentucky 31
fescue (Festuca arundinacea), have been seeded for wildlife food or facilitated by the disturbed
habitat provided by road corridors. Such species pose less of a threat to the forested ecosystems
that predominate in the watershed, but in some cases they can spread and cause ecosystem
disruption after being released by natural or human-caused disturbance.
Openings and Grazing Allotments
An estimated 2,164 acres of NFS lands in the watershed are in an open vegetative condition,
such as pastures, meadows, bogs, or clearcut areas. This acreage represents 3 percent of the NFS
land in the watershed. There are nearly 500 acres of grazing allotments within the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed, located in three allotments: Elk Mountain, Widney, and Allegheny
Battlefield. Allegheny Battlefield is also a Civil War site on the National Register of Historic
Places. Roughly 70-80% of these areas are suitable for cattle grazing, with the remaining land
dominated by forest or brush. Current concerns include encroachment of hawthorn and nonnative invasive species, primarily Canadian thistle. Livestock distribution could be improved by
providing additional water sources.
Ecological Areas
One Ecological Area exists in the watershed; the Max Rothkugel Plantation. This plantation of
about 150 acres was established in 1907 by Max Rothkugel, who was the forester for the George
Craig and Sons Lumber Company. Norway spruce and European larch were planted from
Austrian seed to provide for a succession of the valuable softwoods prevalent at the time. The
land with the plantation was sold to the federal government in 1924 as an early addition to the
newly formed Monongahela National Forest. The Forest gave the plantation protection as an 8.0
Botanical Area in its 1986 Forest Plan, and as an 8.4 Ecological Area in its 2006 Revised Forest
Plan. The plantation is believed to be the oldest of its kind in West Virginia.
Wildlife
This watershed contains a diversity of habitat types including forests, rivers, wetlands, beaver
ponds, a lake, and open/shrubby field areas. The landscape is dominantly (>95 percent) forested
uplands, with minor inclusions of agricultural fields, pastureland, wetlands, roads, water, and
developments. The elevation range of this area, from 2,700’ to 4,450’, may preclude the
presence of some species that commonly occur at lower elevations, such as bullfrog and northern
copperhead. High elevation spruce forests add to the variety of forest types, providing habitat
for species such as red-breasted nuthatch, snowshoe hare, and saw-whet owl (Stephenson 1993).
1 - 18
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Threatened and Endangered Species
The four federally T&E terrestrial animal species on the Forest are: Virginia big-eared bat,
Indiana bat, West Virginia northern flying squirrel, and Cheat Mountain salamander. All four
species are known to occur in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Forest Plan and other direction
would protect these species and their habitats, but there are also opportunities to proactively
enhance habitat conditions to aid in recovery of these imperiled species. Recommendations for
habitat maintenance and improvement are described in Chapters 3 and 4 of this assessment.
Sensitive Species
Nine species on the Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species (RFSS) list have confirmed occurrence
within the watershed, including the southern water shrew, Allegheny woodrat, southern rock
vole, northern goshawk, olive-sided flycatcher, red-headed woodpecker, golden-winged warbler,
timber rattlesnake, and hellbender. Other RFSS wildlife that have potential habitat within this
watershed are the eastern small-footed bat, Henslows sparrow, vesper sparrow, green
salamander, columbine duskywing, a noctuid moth, and cobweb skipper.
Bald eagle and riparian area direction in the Forest Plan should help protect streamside and
lakeside vegetation to maintain or provide for future eagle nesting and perching trees.
Recommendations for watershed and riparian restoration in this assessment (see Chapter 4)
would also provide improved habitat conditions over time for species such as the hellbender and
southern water shrew.
Spruce and spruce-hardwood forests appear to be gradually recovering within the watershed.
Further recovery, whether through natural processes or active management, would benefit the
northern goshawk, southern rock vole, olive-sided flycatcher, and a noctuid moth.
Where passive restoration is emphasized, forested stands will continue to move toward late
successional stage and uneven-aged structure, with an increase in features such as snags, large
logs, and humus. This trend will provide more habitat for species such as Allegheny woodrat,
southern water shrew, and green salamander. Where active management is emphasized, more
shrub/sapling habitat will be created for species like golden-winged warbler. Mixed hardwood
and oak forests can be managed to promote oak species that benefit species like the red-headed
woodpecker. Important habitat features, like snags and selected large trees, can be retained.
Relatively large open grass/shrub areas occur in three grazing allotments in the watershed.
However, openings are slowly being encroached by hawthorn, trees, and non-native species.
These areas should be managed to restore and maintain open habitat for species such as
Henslow’s sparrow, vesper sparrow, columbine duskywing, and cobweb skipper.
Localized disturbance is probably the greatest threat to species like the timber rattlesnake and
northern goshawk. For this reason, surveys that can help locate nest or den sites prior to projectlevel planning are very important. Indeed, additional wildlife surveys will be needed prior to any
proposal that involves vegetation or ground disturbance.
1 - 19
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Management Indicator Species
All four MIS for the Forest are known to occur within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. The
brook trout is addressed in the Aquatic Resources section of this assessment, and the West
Virginia northern flying squirrel is addressed under Threatened and Endangered Species.
Therefore, only cerulean warbler and wild turkey are addressed in this section.
Mid-late and late successional mixed hardwood forests are most likely to contain key structural
features that are believed to be important for breeding populations of cerulean warblers.
Currently, mixed hardwood forests cover an estimated 55 percent of the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed, and approximately 70 percent of those forests are believed to be in mid-late
successional stage. While cerulean warblers do not necessarily inhabit all of this area, and may
inhabit other areas not included in this forest cover type, it is believed to contain the best
potential habitat for this species. The primary areas that can serve as natural refugia for this type
of forest are the two MP 6.2 roadless areas, which comprise about 22 percent of the NFS land in
the watershed. An 11,000-acre refugia also lies just to the north of the watershed in the Laurel
Fork North and South Wildernesses. Forest management could also be beneficial in creating
desired vertical structure and canopy openings in appropriate settings in the watershed.
The indicator chosen for optimum turkey habitat is oak and pine-oak forests of optimum mastproducing age, plus openings, within MPs 3.0 and 6.1. The optimum mast-producing age range
for the oak and pine-oak forest type groups was considered to be 50 to 150 years. Currently only
about 7 percent of the entire Upper Greenbrier Watershed is considered to be oak or oak-pine
forests, and only part of that is on NFS land in MPs 3.0 or 6.1. However, oak does exist as a
component in the mixed hardwood stands that comprise 55 percent of the watershed. Most of
these stands are within the optimum mast-producing age range now, but there is little oak
regeneration occurring at present. Also, less than 2 percent of the watershed is considered
openings, with even less considered herbaceous openings. For these reasons, it is recommended
that silvicultural practices in oak and mixed hardwoods stands within MPs 3.0 and 6.1 promote
oak regeneration and crop tree release, as well as the creation and maintenance of herbaceous
openings. These practices would help increase optimum habitat for wild turkey in the watershed.
Species of Interest
Species of Interest for this assessment are white-tailed deer and black bear. Because a
substantial percentage of NFS land will remain forested under any possible management
scenario, cover and hard mast are not likely to limit deer populations over the short term.
However, mast production will begin to diminish as mature trees become over-mature and die,
unless mast-producing trees are regenerated to replace them. Within the range of management
activity that is likely to occur, an increase in young mast-producing forest and openings and edge
would increase the habitat capability for deer over time. Thus, the opportunities to increase
foraging habitat for deer would be similar to those described for wild turkey, above.
Black bear population densities in the Appalachians are inversely related to road densities
(SAMAB 1996). The open road density for NFS lands over the entire watershed is currently
only 0.5 mile per square mile, so open roads are not likely having significant effects on bear
1 - 20
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
populations in terms of vehicle-related disturbance. Black bears also depend heavily on hard
mast as a fall food source for successful over-wintering and reproduction (Pelton 1989).
Optimum mast-producing areas include oak and pine-oak forest types in the optimum oak mast
age range of 50 to 150 years. Within those MPs, only about 4,500 acres are mixed oak forests,
mostly in MP 6.1. However, there is an oak component in the mixed and northern hardwood
forests that comprise much of the watershed. These areas should provide opportunities to help
maintain and restore the oak component in watershed stands.
Birds of Conservation Concern
Recovery of spruce and hardwood forests within the watershed should benefit many of the birds
of conservation concern, particularly as more of the area is allowed to develop the characteristics
of late-successional or old growth forests. An increase in uneven-age structure, with associated
vertical complexity, snags, small natural canopy openings and large downed woody debris will
benefit a variety of species. Cavity nesters (e.g., the saw-whet owl, yellow-bellied sapsucker,
red-headed woodpecker) will benefit from both an increase in natural cavities and, like several
other forest-associated birds of concern, an increase in prey base (be it small mammal or insect)
associated with the downed woody debris and increased humus layer. Bird species associated
with riparian and wetland habitats (e.g., waterthrush, prothonotary warbler, and sedge wren) also
should benefit, as water quality conditions improve through Forest Plan direction associated with
those resources. Additionally, opportunities exist to create and restore wetlands within the
watershed to enhance opportunities for these and other wetland-associated bird species.
In areas of active forest management, a variety of techniques can be used to maximize habitat
suitability for birds of conservation concern. For example, red-headed woodpeckers and yellowbellied sapsuckers, both cavity nesters that prefer open woodlands, could benefit from thinning
and snag creation within oaks, mixed hardwood or other deciduous stand types; whip-poorwhills and other species that have experienced population declines due to a decrease in open
woodland habitat also could benefit from thinning or selective cuts. Snag creation also could
occur within stands that are not subject to harvest, but currently have a paucity of available
cavities. Forest management designed to encourage spruce restoration would be beneficial to
species such as the northern saw-whet owl and olive-sided flycatcher, by providing additional,
contiguous habitat for these species associated with northern hardwood/spruce-fir forests.
Existing grass/low shrub habitats in grazing allotments currently provide potential habitat for
bird species during both the breeding season (e.g., golden-winged warbler) and non-breeding
season (e.g., short-eared owl, upland sandpiper, and Bewick’s wren). Management of these
areas to maintain a mix of grassland and shrub habitat should occur to ensure continued habitat
for these species. Consideration should be given to developing additional long-term, earlysuccessional habitat within the watershed for species such as the Bachman’s sparrow and goldenwinged warbler, with the design of such areas taking into consideration the species’ habitat size
needs (e.g., territory sizes and minimum viable populations sizes) as well as desired vegetation
and the management schedule required to maintain suitable habitat.
1 - 21
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Forest Fragmentation
Over 95% of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is forested. Furthermore, a review of WV GAP
Analysis LULC data, in conjunction with digital orthographic quadrangle (DOQ) photos,
indicates that the forested habitat within the watershed also is relatively unfragmented, with nonforested areas generally clumped, such that forest patches are fairly contiguous. However,
temporary fragmentation, such as that resulting from timber harvest, is an issue that will still
need to be addressed. In some situations, particularly where T&E species like the Cheat
Mountain salamander may be at risk, avoidance of fragmentation may be the only alternative. In
other situations, maintaining some type of habitat connectivity can help offset potential impacts
and maintain local population viability for some species, while providing additional forest and
edge habitat for other species.
Human Uses
Recreation
Many forms of recreation are available in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Hiking, mountain
biking, horseback riding, camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, viewing scenery, and driving
for pleasure are all popular activities. Horseback riding opportunities are somewhat limited, and
off-road vehicle use is not allowed due to the current absence of designated routes. There are no
congressionally designated Wilderness areas or Wild and Scenic Rivers; however, there are two
Inventoried Roadless Areas (MP 6.2 backcountry areas) within the watershed.
There are nearly 60 miles of recreational trails in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Hiking
opportunities range from an easy 0.5 mile interpretive loop in the Gaudineer Scenic Area to a 21mile section of the state-wide Allegheny Trail (701). In addition, hiking, horseback riding and
mountain bicycling on the seventeen miles of the West Fork Rail Trail are popular, as is use of
several other multiple purpose trails.
Camping occurs in the developed Island Campground, as well as dispersed sites along the Little
River (Figure 1-2) and the West Fork Greenbrier River. The dispersed areas offer free camping
and provide for base camps during hunting and fishing seasons. Picnicking and family
gatherings are popular at Old House Run Picnic Area, Gaudineer Scenic Area and Picnic Area,
and Lake Buffalo.
Lake Buffalo is stocked with trout several times throughout the year and is a popular destination
for anglers. The East and West Forks of the Greenbrier River and Little River are also stocked
with trout. Several tributaries contain native brook trout for the more adventurous fisherman.
Hunting occurs mostly in the spring, fall, and early winter months. Game species include black
bear, white-tailed deer, turkey, fox and gray squirrels, ruffed grouse, rabbit, and raccoon.
Viewing scenery occurs throughout the watershed and especially at the Gaudineer Scenic Area,
which was designated by the Regional Forester in October 1964. Gaudineer Scenic Area is also
1 - 22
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
a Registered National Natural Landmark for its exceptional value as an illustration of the
nation’s natural heritage and its contribution to a better understanding of man’s environment.
Driving for pleasure occurs throughout the watershed and especially along the StauntonParkersburg Turnpike Scenic Byway, which is located along/near US Route 250 and runs from
the eastern state line to Beverly, WV and beyond to Parkersburg, WV. Driving along FR 14, FR
17 and FR 44 are also popular and allow access to the Gaudineer and East Fork of the Greenbrier
Inventoried Roadless Areas, which are managed as backcountry areas. There areas offer semiprimitive opportunities to hunt, fish, hike, and just get away from it all.
Figure 1-2. Dispersed Campsite Parking Area along the Little River Road
The old CCC Camp Thornwood is located in the watershed and is under special use permit to the
National Science Camp (Camp Pocahontas) as an organizational camp for youth.
Interpretive displays are located at the Greenbrier Ranger District office in Bartow, as well as the
Gaudineer Scenic Area. Both interpretative displays could be updated and improved. The
Rothkugal Plantation offers opportunities for research and interpretation. The watershed also
falls within the Proposed Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, when designated, may become a
source for partnerships.
Heritage Resources
The area is rich in upland resources that would have made it attractive to prehistoric peoples.
These resources include numerous sources of fresh water, land and riparian transportation routes,
access to lithic materials, game, and a wide variety of flora.
1 - 23
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
Historic Euro-American use of the landscape was focused primarily on logging activities that
centered around several logging mills and communities along the West and East Forks of the
Greenbrier River. These activities boomed in the first two decades of the 20th century, and
diminished after 1920. Historic logging activities have significantly impacted the landscape,
causing significant impacts to soil, water, vegetation, and habitats. Mineral activity began with
coal mining along the western edge of the watershed, but has since been focused on natural gas
exploration and development along two separate gas fields since the 1960s. National Forest
management has occurred since the 1920s, and a wide variety of activities are described
throughout this assessment.
Minerals
An estimated 11.3 percent of the watershed’s NFS land has privately owned mineral rights, with
the remainder being federally owned. However, this watershed has a fairly high amount of
minerals-related activity compared to most other watersheds on the Forest. The primary
minerals-related activity in this watershed has been the exploration and development of natural
gas. Columbia Gas Transmission began developing the Glady Storage Field in 1964, and has
been active in this area ever since. Work on the Horton Field, on the east side of the watershed,
began in the 1960s as well. Cabot Gas & Oil started trying to expand the Field in 1999, but has
had limited success.
About the southern half of the 50,000-acre Glady Storage Field is in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed. Under permit until 2013, the storage field runs roughly north and south between
Durbin and Forest Road 35, and east/west between Forest Road 44 and Middle Mountain Road
(FR14). The storage field consists of gathering pipelines which run to and from the storage wells
to a compressor station outside the watershed. Twenty-three storage well sites, over 31 miles of
access roads, and 7.5 miles of pipeline are currently in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed portion
of the Glady Storage Field.
The Horton Field lies roughly in the area between US 250 east of Bartow and the confluence of
Forest Road 106 and State Highway 28. The original plan was for Cabot to develop and produce
natural gas from 22 wells in the Oriskany Sandstone and Huntersville Chert Reservoirs.
Currently, there are 7 operating well sites, 10.8 miles of pipeline, and 3 abandoned/reclaimed
well sites within the Horton Field, two of which are maintained by the DNR as wildlife openings.
Lands and Special Uses
Currently, an estimated 81 percent (69,300 acres) of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is NFS
land, with the remaining 19 percent (15,800 acres) in private ownership. Current uses on private
lands include residential, agriculture, pastureland, forestry, and some commercial/industry in the
Durbin-Bartow corridor.
There are an estimated 120 miles of common Forest Service/private boundaries in the watershed
assessment area. Nearly 68 percent (80 miles) of those lines have been surveyed and marked to
1 - 24
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
standard. An estimated 12 percent (15 miles) have been identified as having a higher priority for
survey due to the potential for management activities in the foreseeable future.
Current special uses authorized in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed include utility corridors for
power lines (Monongahela Power) and telephone lines, rights-of-way to West Virginia
Department of Transportation, private road access permits, water developments, an
organizational camp, a manager residence area for West Virginia Division of Natural Resources,
a weather station, and a gas pipeline.
Roads
Road access on NFS land generally consists of two components: Classified roads, which are
typically part of the National Forest Road System or developed roads under other jurisdiction
(generally federal and state highways or routes); and unclassified roads, also known as “woods
roads”, which are typically user-created roads that have never been designed, constructed, or
maintained. There are an estimated 181 miles of Forest classified roads in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed, and an estimated 143 miles of unclassified roads. There are another 50.7 miles of
State/Federal roads in the watershed that are considered classified roads by the Forest but are not
under Forest jurisdiction.
Of the 117 classified roads in the watershed under Forest Service jurisdiction, 19 (16 percent) are
open to public motorized use year-round. Of the 181 miles of classified road under Forest
Service jurisdiction, an estimated 57 miles (31 percent) are open to public motorized use yearround. Of these open roads, 54 miles are arterial or collector, and only 3 miles are local roads.
Another 12.5 miles (7 percent) of road are open seasonally to the public. Over 111 miles (62
percent) of classified roads are closed year-round to public motorized use.
The total amount of road mileage in the watershed—including Forest classified and unclassified
roads, and private roads (36.6 miles)—adds up to an estimated 411.6 miles. Thus, the estimated
road density for the entire 85,100-acre watershed is 3.09 miles per square mile. For NFS land
within the watershed (69,300 acres), the total amount of Forest classified and unclassified roads
is estimated to be 324.4 miles, with an overall road density of 2.99 miles per square mile.
Facilities
The Forest Service facilities that need attention within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are
associated with administrative and recreation sites. They include a number of buildings and
utilities at the Greenbrier Ranger District Office site; toilets, bridges and a hand pump at Island
Campground; toilets, a pavilion, and hand pump at Old House Run Picnic Area, and toilets, hand
pump, lake, dam, and boat access ramp at Lake Buffalo. Chapter 4 includes recommendations to
maintain, improve, or replace these facilities.
Research
The Upper Greenbrier Watershed has two areas with a strong connection to past or potential
forest research. Both have 8.5 management prescription direction in the Forest Plan. These
1 - 25
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Characterization
areas are the Loop Road Research Area (800 acres) and the Red Spruce Candidate Research
Natural Area (60 acres). The Loop Road area is managed by the Fernow Experimental Forest of
the Northern Research Station, which is conducting at least two long-term studies on vegetation
response there. The Red Spruce area is being managed by the Monongahela National Forest to
conserve a relatively undisturbed example of the spruce-hardwood forest type.
Other
Vandalism – Some sites are vandalized every year. The most frequent vandalism is broken
toilet building windows, graffiti, and vehicles destroying vegetation beyond roadways.
Locks and pins on the gates of closed roads are often broken. Most of this vandalism occurs
during hunting season.
Off-Road Vehicle Use – At this time there are no authorized areas for the use of off-road
vehicles. Several areas of national forest land, adjacent to private property, show evidence of
recent and frequent off-road vehicle use. Most of this use is limited to all-terrain vehicles
(ATVs).
Figure 1-3. Upper Greenbrier Watershed From US Highway 250
1 - 26
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 2
Issues and Key Questions
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 2 – Issues and Key Questions
ISSUES AND KEY QUESTIONS
The development of priority issues is critical to focus the scope of a watershed assessment.
This chapter lists current priority issues and key questions identified within the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed. The issues and questions are organized by the core topics listed in Chapter 1 to assist
the reader/user in tracking the items throughout the document.
Soils and Erosion Processes
Issue: Areas of severe erosion hazard, soil sensitivity, and high potential for soil nutrient loss
within the watershed need to be identified as potential concerns related to past, current, and
future management activities.
¾ How much area within the watershed has severe erosion hazard and where does it occur?
¾ How much area within the watershed has sensitive soils and where does it occur?
¾ How much area within the watershed has high potential for soil nutrient loss due to acid
deposition, and where does it occur?
Hydrology and Stream Channels
Issue: Road construction and maintenance, timber harvesting, grazing, natural gas development,
transportation activities, and other present day and historic land uses have reduced channel
complexity and stability through the addition of sediment, reduction of large woody debris in
streams, and runoff modifications. Changes in storm flows and higher storm peak flows are
likely occurring within the watershed as a result of cumulative land use impacts. Some of these
effects are a result of early 1900s logging, and streams are in a long period of slow recovery.
¾ What are the basic morphological characteristics of streams and the general sediment
transport and deposition processes in the watershed?
¾ What are the causes of current, unstable hydrologic processes within the watershed?
¾ What are the sources of accelerated erosion/deposition processes, and what aquatic
resource effects are they having?
¾ How are current riparian conditions contributing to existing channel conditions?
¾ What are the dominant hydrologic characteristics (total discharge, peak flows, minimum
flows) and other notable hydrologic features and processes in the watershed (cold water
seeps, ground-water recharge areas)?
2-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 2 – Issues and Key Questions
¾ What is needed in terms of aquatic and riparian resource restoration within the
watershed?
Water Quality
Issue: The Upper Greenbrier River is an important source of cool, clear, high quality water that
supports the water resource beneficial uses within the watershed and downstream. The East and
West Forks and their tributaries provide important habitat to fish and the aquatic community.
¾ What water resource beneficial uses occur in the watershed?
¾ Which water quality parameters are critical to a healthy aquatic ecosystem?
¾ What are current water quality conditions, and are there problem areas?
¾ How is water quality being affected by land uses and facilities?
¾ What activities could occur in the Upper Greenbrier watershed that would help correct
existing sediment sources, or create additional ground disturbance and exacerbate
existing problems?
Aquatic/Riparian Resources
Issue: Aquatic habitat and populations have changed dramatically from presettlement times. In
general, stream sediment, acidity, and temperature have increased, while large woody debris
(LWD), shade, and pool habitat have decreased. Although aquatic ecosystems appear to be
slowly recovering, current conditions still limit naturally reproducing native populations of fish
and other aquatic organisms.
•
What is the condition of water quality characteristics (e.g. stream temperatures, water
chemistry, sedimentation) and what factors are contributing toward pollutants of
concern?
•
What is the condition of physical in-stream habitat characteristics (e.g. aquatic habitat
composition, pool quality, structural complexity) and what factors are influencing this
condition?
•
What is the condition of aquatic communities and what factors (e.g. habitat suitability,
habitat fragmentation, non-native invasive species) are influencing the distribution or
population viability of native and desired non-native aquatic species?
Issue: Timber harvest activities around 1900-1920 affected riparian conditions throughout the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed, and today most stream systems lack sufficient levels of LWD to
provide quality fish habitat. Present day land uses may contribute to problems. Degraded
2-2
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 2 – Issues and Key Questions
riparian conditions contribute to unstable streams, increased sedimentation, and higher water
temperatures.
¾ Native brook trout require cold clear water. Are current riparian habitat conditions
affecting stream shading and water temperatures?
¾ What activities could occur to improve riparian and fish habitat conditions?
¾ What activities could occur to improve riparian habitat conditions and improve fish
habitat conditions?
¾ What activities might occur that reduce riparian habitat conditions and reduce the
potential for recruitment of LWD and fish habitat improvement?
Vegetation
Issue: Management activities such as timber harvesting, road building, and grazing, along with
the introduction of exotic insects and diseases and non-native invasive plants, may have changed
tree species composition and structure, or altered biological diversity in the watershed.
¾ What is the array and landscape pattern of forest types and successional stages in the
watershed?
¾ What processes or activities caused these patterns (fire, wind, mass wasting, insects,
disease, timber harvesting, grazing)?
¾ What plant communities or species are in decline or are considered rare on the landscape?
¾ How do the current conditions compare with reference or desired conditions?
¾ How might the current conditions affect future land management objectives and
strategies, and what can be done to bridge the gap between current and desired vegetation
conditions?
Wildlife
Issue: The watershed features a wide variety of wildlife species and habitats, some of which are
relatively rare on the landscape. Species populations, distribution, and habitats have likely been
influenced by extensive logging, burning, and other vegetation-altering activities that have
occurred since European settlement of the area.
¾ What is the relative abundance and distribution of species of concern that are important in
the watershed (Threatened or Endangered Species, Management Indicator Species,
species of interest, Birds of Conservation Concern)?
2-3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 2 – Issues and Key Questions
¾ What is the distribution and character of their habitats?
¾ What needs and opportunities are there for habitat protection, maintenance, or
enhancement?
Human Uses
Issue: Human uses or features such as energy extraction, recreation, timber harvesting, roads,
and trails contribute to the economic health of local communities. The Forest must manage these
and many other uses to help meet the needs of the public while conserving natural resources.
¾ What are the major human uses in the area?
¾ Where do they generally occur in the watershed (map the location of important uses such
as recreation developments, gas well sites/pipelines, and infrastructure)?
¾ What impacts are the uses having, and what opportunities are there to reduce those
impacts?
¾ What needs or opportunities are there related to human uses or facilities in terms of
meeting management objectives and moving toward desired conditions in the Forest
Plan?
Issue: Management activities may affect pre-historic and historic sites within the watershed for
which the Forest has protection and interpretation responsibilities.
¾ What heritage surveys have been completed to locate pre-historic and historic sites?
¾ Where are prehistoric and historic sites likely to occur in the watershed?
¾ In what locations/settings would these types of sites have the greatest likelihood of
preserved features?
¾ What opportunities or needs are there to further evaluate and interpret heritage resources
in the watershed?
2-4
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3
Reference, Current, and Desired Conditions
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
INTRODUCTION
Chapter 3 describes reference, current, and desired conditions for each of the major resource
areas and issues identified in Chapter 1 and 2. Desired conditions from the 2006 Forest Plan
have been added to this assessment for two reasons.
First, where reference conditions for resources can be estimated, Forest managers may not be
able to achieve or reproduce them (or may not even want to), given the many dramatic changes
that have occurred since the time when reference conditions were the norm. For instance, there
were no constructed roads or highways during reference times, but the Forest has no intention of
removing all of the current roads now just so that we can return to reference conditions. Some
roads are needed for public/private access and Forest management. Therefore, we look to the
Forest Plan desired conditions that paint a more realistic picture of how we want to manage the
transportation system over the long term. This picture includes the removal or decommissioning
of unneeded roads in order to reduce impacts to other resources, as well as maintenance costs.
Second, many of the “Human Uses” resources did not exist, or exist in their present form, during
reference times or prior to the establishment of the Monongahela National Forest. Examples
include minerals, special uses, facilities, and even recreation to a large extent. Here again, we
need to have desired conditions to provide a basis of comparison with current conditions. The
discrepancies between current and desired conditions help us determine where we should focus
and prioritize our management actions. The ultimate objective of this assessment, after all, is to
identify recommendations to address management needs, concerns, or opportunities.
SOILS AND EROSION PROCESSES
Soils are typically formed through a combination of five factors: climate, landscape, biological
influence, parent material, and time. A sixth influential factor is human activity, and this factor
can sometimes have major effects on soil development and productivity.
Reference Conditions
Geology
The bedrock geology within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment Area includes
sedimentary rock units that range from the (oldest) Devonian-age Chemung Group rocks to the
(youngest) Pennsylvanian-age New River Group. Mountain building created folds in which
older rock was thrust upward as the Horton Anticline on the eastern edge of the watershed area,
and the Blackwater Anticline west of the center of the watershed area. Between these two
anticlines, younger rock underlies the surface marking the Job Syncline. Younger rocks on the
western fourth of the watershed area dip or slope toward the west on the east flank of the North
Potomac (Georges Creek) Syncline (Price 1929).
3-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Map SL-1. Elevation Profile of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3-2
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Alternating beds of gray to brown siltstone and sandstone with shale and conglomerate rock
types of the Chemung Group occur at the surface over more than half of watershed area. Nonmarine shales and fine mica-rich sandstones, mostly red to brownish gray, including siltstone,
sandstone and conglomerate of the Devonian-age Hampshire Formation also occur over a large
portion of the watershed area.
Mississippian-age Pocono Group rocks, comprised of predominantly hard gray massive
sandstone with some shale, overlie the Hampshire Formation, and often produce prominent
benches or ridges on the landscape. Stratigraphically above the Pocono Group and only several
tens of feet in thickness, the Maccrady Formation consists of red shale and mudrock, red and
green sandstone and minor limestone.
The Greenbrier Group, containing limestone and red and gray shale and minor sandstone beds,
outcrops along the western edge of the watershed area on the eastern slope of Shavers Mountain
and in an area along the northern boundary of the watershed area. Numerous caves and karst
features are present where the Greenbrier Group outcrops in the watershed area (Medville et.al.,
1976; Unpublished, 1992. Cave Resources of the Monongahela National Forest).
The Mississippian-age Mauch Chunk Group, occurring stratigraphically and topographically
above the Greenbrier Group, underlies the mid- to upper-east-facing slope of Shavers Mountain
on the western edge of the watershed area. Rock types present in the Mauch Chunk Group
include red, green and medium gray shale and sandstone, with a few thin limestones.
The bottom several hundred feet Pennsylvanian-age New River Group rocks occur within a
narrow band along the Shavers Mountain ridge at the western watershed area boundary. Rock
type includes sandstone, siltstone, shale with some coal and conglomerate.
Soils
Soil Erosion and Sedimentation – Soil erosion and sedimentation are natural processes that
have existed for billions of years. However, just as large natural mudslides can accelerate these
processes with impacts to other resources, so can large-scale ground-disturbing human activities
such as road building and ground-based timber harvest.
The soils of the watershed have parent material comprised of sedimentary geology that makes up
the Appalachia Ridge and Valley and the Allegheny Plateau Provinces. These soils have been
subject to the effects of extensive tree cutting and slash burning, most of which occurred between
1900 and 1920 in this area. These human-induced activities resulted in damaging floods, severe
erosion, topsoil loss, and pollution of streams used for water supply. Subsequent fires further
increased erosion. The fires at the turn of the century burned so hot that soil carbon was lost to
the atmosphere, and lost soil productivity in some areas of the Forest was irreversible. Although
there has been recovery over the past century, soils on many forested landscapes on the Forest
still have relatively thin surface horizons.
In this portion of the assessment, erosion is considered as soil movement and not soil loss. Soil
material may or may not move from a site or to a stream channel. Many factors influence soil
3-3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
movement, and when soil moves, it is deposited somewhere. Depositional areas may benefit
from this eroded soil. Gully erosion is an extreme case of soil movement that is considered a
long-term negative effect to soil productivity. Gully erosion is evidence that large amounts of
soil have moved away and can only be replaced over the long term (over 100 years). Other
forms of erosion are not as detrimental and only persist until vegetative cover is established.
Gully erosion is difficult to predict and depends on several factors. There is evidence that some
soil types are more susceptible to gully erosion and mass movement than others. For example,
soil series forming from Mauch Chunk geologies are susceptible to mass movement, as are soils
forming in unstable landscape positions in coves. In some areas, hidden ancient landslides dot
the landscape, posing potential risk for mass movement when disturbed. Steep slopes and the
dip of the geologic formation also increase the risk of mass movement. These areas are typically
identified in watershed assessments and are further scrutinized when planning for a project.
Many times avoidance is the best mitigation.
Soil Sensitivity – Soil sensitivity represents a fairly recent way of looking at soils on the Forest.
This methodology uses physical and chemical properties to develop interpretations of how soils
react to various management on those soils. These properties include wetness, slippage, slope,
limestone content, and predilection to flooding. All of these attributes can affect how the
environment responds to management on soils, and more than one attribute can be present on a
given site. For example soils can be both sensitive to wetness and form over limestone geology,
which may indicate the present of underground caves. From a management standpoint, it is
advantageous to know where inherent soil sensitivities may exist prior to proposing grounddisturbing activities that may exacerbate those sensitivities. Highly sensitive areas can be
avoided, and mitigation measures can be applied in other areas to allow activities to proceed
without greatly increasing the risk of unwanted soil movement, ground water contamination,
surface water contamination, or risk to the project from hazards that are known to occur on those
soil series such as landslides or flooding.
Soil Acidification - Soil acidification is a natural occurring process on the landscape in forested
ecosystems. Soils are continually leached of nutrients naturally by both vegetation growing and
infiltration of precipitation. Normal ranges of precipitation are in the pH 5.3 - 5.5 range. Since
European settlement and the coming of the industrial age, natural soil acidification has been
substantially supplemented by human-caused acid deposition. Soil acidification can be seen as a
balance between acid inputs and mineral weathering. Therefore, when soil-acidifying processes
(such as acid deposition and forest growth) exceed mineral weathering inputs of base cations,
acidification occurs. Base cations are non-acid positively charged ions of calcium, magnesium,
potassium, and sodium.
In more recent times, the Monongahela Forest has been the recipient of some of the highest
sulfate and nitrate deposition in the nation, mainly due to its location downwind of many older
coal-fired power plants that have had minimal or no pollution control required. Historically high
sulfate (SO4-2) deposition from sources in the Ohio River Valley has contributed to acidification
of streams and may affect soil productivity on parts of the Forest. There are recent and ongoing
research studies on nutrient depletion related to acid deposition occurring on or near the Forest.
3-4
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Sulfates are formed from emissions of sulfur dioxide from power plants and industrial sources.
The Forest lies downwind of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and parts of West Virginia;
states that continue to produce the highest sulfur dioxide emissions in the nation, in spite of
significant reductions made during the 1990s. The combination of high emissions and limited
buffering capacity of certain geologies and soil types found on the Forest, has led to increased
acidity in stream water and possible nutrient depletion in soils.
Current Conditions
Soil Series and Attributes
Soil surveys of the watershed span three Counties; primarily Pocahontas (>99%), with minor
inclusions (<1%) of Randolph and Pendleton. The surveys indicate that 110 soil map units have
been identified within the watershed, with 10 of those units representing 88 percent of the area
(Map SL-2). Within those 10 map units, seven soil series are dominant. Those seven soil series
are described below. Map units descriptions can be found within the county soil survey reports
referenced in this document. See Appendix C for a complete list of the soil units (Table C-1).
Berks: The Berks series consists of moderately deep, well-drained soils that form in acid
material weathered from interbedded shale, siltstone, and fine-grained sandstones. The soils are
mostly found on uplands. The available water capacity of Berks soil is very low to moderate,
permeability is moderate or moderately rapid, and runoff is very rapid. The root zone of some
types of plants is restricted by the depth of bedrock, 20 to 40 inches. Erosion on logging roads
and skid trails is a major management concern, and placing the roads and trails on the contour
helps to control erosion. Soil erosion and sedimentation would be lessened by maintaining
vegetative cover on unprotected areas and providing for proper surface water diversion.
Cateache: The Cateache series consists of moderately deep well-drained soils with moderate
permeability. These soils directly overlay the parent material from which they develop and are
described as being “residual.” This soil series weathered mainly from red interbedded siltstone
and shale. Cateache soils are on steep and very steep side slopes of mountains and ridges and on
gently sloping to moderately steep benches and ridgetops. Slope ranges from 3 to 80 percent.
Permeability is moderate, the available water capacity is moderate, and runoff is medium to very
rapid. In areas that have not been limed, Cateache soils are strongly acid to moderately acid.
These soils are highly erosive and prone to mass movement and slippage. These soils have
moderate shrink-swell potential and low shear strength. The depth to bedrock is 20 to 40 inches
and may restrict root growth. The bedrock is soft and weathers relatively easily.
Shouns: The Shouns series consists of very deep, well-drained, moderately permeable soils on
footslopes and in coves. These are colluvial soils formed from weathered sandstone, siltstone,
and shale. Colluvial soils are soils that have moved downslope from the landscape position
where they originally developed. The Shouns soil series primarily is located on the lower part of
hillsides, benches, and foot slopes. Runoff is medium to very rapid, permeability is moderate,
and available water capacity is moderate or high. In areas that have not been limed, reaction is
strongly acid to moderately acid. These soils are highly erosive and prone to mass movement
and slippage. These soils have moderate shrink-swell potential and low shear strength.
3-5
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Map SL-2. Soil Map Units in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3-6
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Udifluvents and Fluvaquents: Udifluvents are very deep, well-drained to somewhat poorly
drained soils that form in alluvial material derived from soils underlain by siltstone, sandstone, or
limestone. These soils in general have less clay than Fluvaquents. They are found on nearly
level floodplains along minor stream channels. The hazard of flooding ranges from frequent to
rare. The available water capacity, permeability, fertility, and many other characteristics vary.
Reaction ranges from extremely acid to strongly acid. The depth to bedrock is more than 60
inches. The major limitations of these soils are wetness and flooding. Major management
concerns are road construction in wet areas and across intermittent stream channels, operating
equipment on wet soils, and erosion generated by these activities.
Mandy: Mandy soils are moderately deep, well-drained, and gently sloping to very steep. They
are on ridgetops and side slopes. Mandy soils are medium-textured in the surface layer and
subsoil. Soils are dark brown and channery in the surface layer and dark yellowish brown to
yellowish brown, channery to very channery in the subsoil. The Mandy series consists of loamy
soils that formed in sandstone, siltstone, and shale on mountainous uplands and foot slopes. The
landscape is characterized by rough, rugged mountainous topography. It is a greatly dissected,
high plateau that has broad, gently sloping (1 to 8 percent slopes) ridgetops and knobs and very
steep (> 45 percent slopes) side slopes. This soil is found generally at elevations of more than
4,000 feet. Sandstone outcrops and stones and boulders on the surface are common. The native
vegetation is dominantly red spruce, red maple, yellow birch, and American beech.
Trussel: Trussel soils are very deep (>60 inches), poorly drained soils that form in colluvial
material derived from acid shale, siltstone, and sandstone. These soils are on gently sloping to
strongly sloping foot slopes and benches at elevations above 3,000 feet. Trussel soils are most
commonly located near the head of the East Fork of the Greenbrier River within the Upper
Greenbrier watershed. The available water holding capacity is very low or low, permeability is
moderate above the fragipan, and slow or moderately slow in the fragipan (dense layer). Runoff
is medium or rapid. The seasonal high water table is within a depth of 6 inches. It restricts the
root zone of most plants. The potential productivity of Red Spruce is high on this soil. Plant
competition and the wetness are the major management concerns. These soils are in the areas of
the Kanawha, New River, Bluestone, Princeton, Hampshire, and Chemung geologic deposits.
Soil Erosion and Sedimentation
Soil erosion and sedimentation are natural processes that can be accelerated by human-caused
soil disturbance. The effects of soil erosion to streams and water quality via sedimentation are
discussed in the Hydrology and Aquatic Resources sections of this assessment and will not be
repeated here. This section will instead describe erosion potential in the watershed.
Map SL-3 displays the erosion potential hazard rating as defined by the NRCS for soils in the
watershed. The majority of the soils (80 percent, 68,528 acres) are rated as having a severe
potential. This designation means that these soil types may be highly susceptible to erosion
when disturbed or used as road surface. This susceptibility has to do with factors such as slope,
texture, and rock fragment content. Steepness of slope is a major factor to consider in this
watershed, as a high portion of the soils fall into the 30-70 percent category.
3-7
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Map SL-3. Soil Erosion Potential in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3-8
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Management implications may vary on a localized basis depending on how steep the soils are on
the landscape. Soils on 30-50 percent slopes are typically going to be more resilient to
disturbance than soils on 50-70% slopes, for which the Forest Plan generally prohibits
wheeled/tracked motorized equipment operation. However, wetness, degree of disturbance, and
other factors can also influence soil stability, which is why the potential effects of grounddisturbing projects need to be analyzed and mitigated on a case-by-case basis. Mitigation may
include erosion controls, up to and including cancellation or relocation of the project.
Sensitive Soils
Soils in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are sensitive for flooding, hydric soil (a designation
often used in wetland delineations), slippage, steepness of slopes (30 to 70 percent), and wetness
(moderately well-drained or wetter). Table C-1 in Appendix C displays all of the soil map units,
and Table C-2 displays their respective sensitivity. This information can be used when planning
site-specific projects in the watershed that include activities such as road building, timber
harvesting, range management, or restoration activities. Table SL-1 displays the acres of soils by
sensitivity group within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Map SL-3 features a graphic depiction
of these sensitive soil groups.
Table SL-1. Acres by Soil Sensitivity Group on NFS Lands
Sensitivity Group
Flood
Flood-Wet
Flood-Wet-Hydric
Limestone
Limestone-Slope 30 to 70%
Prime Farm Land
Prime Farm Land-Flood
Prime Farm Land-Flood-Wet
Prime Farm Land-Limestone
Slippage
Slippage-Slope 30 to 70%
Slope 30 to 70%
Slope equal to or greater than 55%
Wet
Wet-Hydric
Total
Acres
582
148
3,376
890
665
215
204
163
33
1,579
1,807
41,342
1,639
768
2,531
55,942
An estimated 55,952 acres of soils in the watershed are considered sensitive; this represents 66
percent or about two thirds of the watershed, including NFS and private lands. About 81 percent
of the sensitive soils within the watershed have relatively steep slopes, 30 to 70 percent or
greater than 55 percent. Most all of the back slopes of the watershed fit into this sensitivity
group. An estimated 13 percent of the sensitive soils in the watershed are wet soils with perched
water tables or with ground water tables in floodplains. The wet soils are located in the
drainages and along flatter ridgelines. Other wet soils are located in floodplains and bogs.
3-9
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Map SL-3. Sensitive Soils in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 10
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Landslides and slumps are a management concern when soil is disturbed in this type of
topography with these types of soils and geology. Constructing roads and landing sites for
timber operations may be difficult in some areas without increasing the risk of mass movement.
Soils are susceptible to slippage in the head slope positions in the southeastern end of the
watershed. Also in this watershed are frigid soils that are not necessarily rated as sensitive
because of soil temperature but are considered to be noteworthy for this assessment. Soils at
higher elevations have different physical and chemical properties than soils at lower elevations.
This is due to several soil forming factors including soil temperatures and precipitation rates
(climate), native vegetation (primarily spruce ecosystems), and high-elevation unusual landforms
that allow wetlands to develop on mountain tops.
Acid Deposition
The majority of the geologic formations in this watershed are known to have moderate to high
potential capacity for acid buffering or neutralization (ANC) related to the geochemistry of the
formations. The amount of buffering or alkalinity that each formation has beneath the soil
profile is unknown exactly; however, water quality data suggests that acidity is being buffered
(Forest Water Quality Monitoring Reports from 2003-2007) to varying degrees. Data showing
ANC and stream pH levels for the watershed show adequate buffering capacity to acidic inputs.
The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has sampled soil series in the recent
past on the Forest (2002-2007). Data from these soil series for certain criteria (base saturation,
effective cation exchange capacity, calcium to aluminum ratios, and pH) indicate that the soils in
this area are still able to adequately buffer acidic inputs from the atmosphere. The Acid
Deposition Soil Nutrient Sensitivity Risk Assessment Map (Map C-1 in Appendix C) shows the
area as having a predominantly (79 percent) moderate risk for such effects. Table SL-2
summarizes the sensitivity of soil nutrients to acid deposition in the watershed.
Table SL-2. Acres by Soil Nutrient Sensitivity (High, Moderate, Low) to Acid Deposition
Soil Nutrient Sensitivity
Low
Moderate
High
Not applicable (water, pavement, etc.)
Data not available
Totals
Acres
6,014
67,149
5,318
3,409
3,182
85,072
Percent of Entire Watershed
7.1
78.9
6.3
4.0
3.7
100
Only 6 percent (5,318 acres) of the entire area is considered to be at high risk for soil nutrient
loss related to effects from acid deposition. These acres are broken out in descending order by
subwatershed as follows:
• West Fork Greenbrier River: 2,309 acres or 8 percent of the subwatershed
• Headwaters East Fork Greenbrier River: 829 acres, or 3 percent of the subwatershed
• Little River: 217 acres, or 2 percent of the subwatershed
3 - 11
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
•
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
Outlet East Fork Greenbrier River: 0 acres, or 0 percent of the subwatershed
The available data for soils forming on the same geologic formation in other watersheds—such
as the Hogback project area (Horseshoe Run watershed), Glady watershed, and other data
associated with soil surveys of the counties done by NRCS—suggest that there would be little to
no effect to soil productivity decline in the area. (The available data for these soil types is stored
in the USDA – National Soil Survey Center (Lincoln, Nebraska) Soil Survey Laboratory
Research Database accessible via the internet at http://ssldata.nrcs.usda.gov. Specific lab data
for the area mentioned above can be found under Tucker County, Randolph County for 2002 and
2004 at the above website. Other Forest data is located in the Hogback EA project file and the
Little Beech Mountain EA project file on file at the Monongahela National Forest.
Harvesting can remove significant amounts of nutrients from a stand. However, because of the
relatively dispersed nature of past and probable harvesting patterns on the Forest, the removals
are not expected to be significant, particularly for nitrogen (Adams 1999.) Much of the
watershed is underlain by the Hampshire and Chemung geologic groups. Compared to other
geologies on the Forest, these geologies have moderate amounts of minerals that add nutrients
back into the system upon weathering.
Management Implications and Recommendations
Most soils concerns in this watershed revolve around management-created disturbance on steep
slopes and wet areas. Soil disturbance related to constructing/reconstructing roads and operating
heavy equipment in steep/wet areas is of particular concern. The Forest Plan has many
management requirements that address this concern, and additional measures can be identified
and used at the project level to reduce risks to soil stability and movement.
For example, the Forest Plan provides guidance for activities that include the use of wheeled
and/or tracked motorized equipment on steep and very steep slopes (Standard SW07, p. II-10)).
Slopes 40 to 50 percent allow the operation of this type of equipment on a case-by-case basis to
determine the best method of operation and the associated risks. Wheeled and/or tracked
motorized equipment is prohibited on slopes 50 percent or greater on all soil types unless the site
is analyzed by an interdisciplinary team and the activities receive line officer approval. To
calculate acreages of slopes 50 percent or greater, 30-meter Digital Elevation Model software
was used. There are an estimated 6,182 acres (roughly 7 percent of the watershed) in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed that have slopes 50 percent or greater (Map C-2 in Appendix C). It is
recommended that activities that require ground disturbance or add to the risk of slope instability
be avoided in these areas.
Other management-related recommendations are described below.
Road Management – Completion of a transportation management plan would help identify
roads that can be abandoned, stored, or obliterated to reduce erosion and protect water quality.
Road-related opportunities also include identifying culverts that may restrict the movement of
aquatic organisms and are considered passage barriers. It is advised that no new road
3 - 12
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Soils and Erosion Processes
construction or improvements occur to roads that will not be needed in the future. This may help
prevent or discourage an increase in illegal ATV activity in the watershed.
Trail Management – Trails will be maintained primarily for resource protection. A range of
trail maintenance levels may apply depending on the amount of trail use and needed resource
protection measures as well as the management prescription of the area. Trails should be
designed and maintained for specific uses such as hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking.
Erosion Control – Sources of sedimentation should be identified and measures taken to stabilize
affected sites. This would include identifying road-related sources and areas of slope instability.
Sediment sampling will help determine what streams are impaired by sedimentation and help
prioritize the areas for erosion control. Some measures to help control erosion and sedimentation
are listed below; others may be identified during project planning:
• Weed-free mulch should be used for short-term protection of disturbed soils.
• Seed mixtures should consist of native species and mixtures should be developed
appropriately for soil types and elevation. A nurse cover crop (small annual grain crop)
should be added to the mixture to provide immediate erosion control and mulch for the
following growing season.
• Biodegradable biogeotextiles should be used on unstable soils to control erosion for such
activities as restoring stream crossings on decommissioned roads.
• Energy dissipaters may need to be designed for culverts that direct surface flow onto highly
erosive soils.
• When opportunity exists trails should be moved from wet or hydric soils to a position on the
landscape where soils are better drained. Restoration of the former trail may include
scarification, seeding, mulching, and outsloping all done by hand. The new trail system
should be designed using BMPs and Forest Plan S&Gs.
Desired Conditions
Geologic processes, structure and materials are taken into account in the management of
appropriate Forest resources. Geologic resources—including cave and karst features, springs
and groundwater, ancient and recent landslides and debris flow, waterfalls, fossils and unique
geologic features—are managed for public safety and to provide a balance between public
enjoyment and protection of Forest resources (Forest Plan, p. II-45).
Soil protective cover, soil organic matter, and coarse woody material are at levels that maintain
the natural infiltration capacity, moisture regime, and productivity of the soil. Soils also have
adequate physical, biological, and chemical properties to support desired vegetation growth.
Exposed mineral soil and soil compaction from human activity may be present but are dispersed
and do not impair the productivity and fertility of the soil (Forest Plan, p. II-9).
Additional direction for reducing impacts to soils is found on pages II-9 through II-11 of the
Forest Plan.
3 - 13
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
HYDROLOGY AND STREAM CHANNELS
Stream Morphology
Reference Conditions
Reference conditions within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed can only be speculated upon, since
all the subwatersheds, and the streams that drain them, have been substantially altered by past
and, to a lesser extent, present day land use. The dominant land use that has affected how
streams and watersheds look and function today is logging and access development that occurred
primarily between 1900 and 1920. Also, substantial clearing for livestock grazing, and some hay
production, in some localized areas has substantially modified riparian and aquatic conditions in
those streams, and downstream. Some of the present day transportation system, and older access
roads and trails, also are having effects within the watershed.
Streams have developed in response to the soils/geologic/topographic and vegetation conditions
within the watershed, precipitation characteristics, and past and present land uses that occur.
Streams exhibit a combination of stable and unstable forms, which reflects the influence of
natural stream processes and the effects of certain land uses within the subwatersheds. Some
portions of channels exhibit channel bank erosion, and there are sections of channel deposition as
well. Some of this is a natural process, and part of the “dynamic equilibrium” nature of streams.
However, the effects of roads and other land uses, riparian clearing, and within channel
modifications such as loss of large woody debris contributes to channel changes from more
stable to less stable forms.
Stream channel morphology in the late 1800s, before extensive timber harvesting occurred, was
likely substantially different than the channel shape and condition of today. In general, channels
would have exhibited more stable forms, with narrower width and more quality habitat features.
There would have been considerably more large woody debris in the channels, contributing to
long-term morphological stability and habitat quality and complexity. Channel profiles would
have been more stable, with greater channel roughness to dissipate energy. Non-perennial
headwater channels, and small perennial channels would have exhibited more of a step-pool
profile. Less channel incision would exist, and floodplain function would have been improved.
Channels would have been better “connected” to their floodplains, and floodplains would have
performed their natural function of storing floodwaters more efficiently than in some present day
locations. These conditions would have reduced flood energy within the channels, reducing the
amount of bank erosion and instability. Overall, channels would have tended to be narrower, and
base flows deeper.
Current Conditions
There are at least 263 miles of perennial streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. The major
streams in this area are the East and West Forks of the Greenbrier River, Little River that drains
into the West Fork, and Little River that drains into the East Fork. There are no natural lakes,
but 22-acre Lake Buffalo was created in the 1960s (Map 3-1).
3 - 14
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
Map 3-1. Major Water Features in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 15
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
Streams within the assessment area have developed within watersheds underlain by sedimentary
rocks, predominantly shales, siltstones and sandstones, within topography of moderate to
relatively high relief. The maximum elevation difference within the watershed is approximately
1,900 feet. A thin band of Greenbrier limestone outcrops on the east flank of Shavers and Back
Allegheny Mountains, west of the West Fork. Slopes are moderately to very steep (up to 60%
and more) within some portions of the watershed, especially on slopes immediately west of the
West Fork, and on mountain sides in the southern half of the watershed. Large areas of moderate
to somewhat gentler slopes occur throughout the watershed however, particularly along the
upper ridges and ridgetops, and in the northern half of the watershed. Portions of the East and
West Forks of the Greenbrier River, Little River, and limited portions of some tributaries, have
developed moderately wider floodplains; otherwise floodplains are mostly narrow. Perennial
streams exhibit a range of channel entrenchment from high (narrower flood prone areas) to low.
Channels have developed under these conditions of geologic and soil parent materials,
topography, land uses, and climatic conditions. Stream morphology has been influenced by past
and present land uses, particularly the historic logging that occurred between 1901 and 1920.
Essentially the entire Upper Greenbrier Watershed was logged during that time, by especially
harsh methods that had severe impacts on soils and streams.
Turn of the century logging developments and practices that impacted stream stability and
morphology included the construction of logging camps and mill towns, mill ponds, log drives
on the East and West Forks, and logging railroad lines and roads, among others.
Figure HY-1. Mill Pond Dam at Burner, Circa 1905
There is no known physical evidence visible today of splash dams being used in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed, although log drives did occur on the main stems. Splash dams on
3 - 16
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
tributary streams are believed not to have been used because the tributaries were logged by
railroad transport.
These logging developments affected streams and rivers by removing the riparian forest,
converting riparian areas to wood processing and storage facilities and mill towns, damming
streams and rivers for mill ponds and modifying runoff characteristics, filling or occupying
channels, creating widespread severe erosion of the landscape, and delivering enormous amounts
of sediment for many decades. Channels still exhibit the effects of such practices, and are in a
long, slow state of recovery.
More recent land uses within the watershed that affect stream condition include natural gas well
development and pipelines associated with the Horton Field and Glady Storage Field, federal and
private timber harvesting, a dense network of state, Forest and private roads (some of which
closely follow and cross streams), some agriculture and livestock grazing, and residential and
industrial uses mostly in the Durbin, Frank, and Bartow corridor.
Stream Channel Types
Rosgen Stream Types (channel types) is a method of classifying and describing streams (Rosgen
1996) based on morphologic and pattern characteristics and channel substrates. Classification is
based in part on stream measures of channel entrenchment, width/depth, sinuosity and channel
slope, and the occurrence of single-thread or multiple channels. The method leads to classifying
a stream with a letter designation (A through G) that describes the range of stream types, and
lumps streams with similar physical and behavior characteristics together.
Very little quantitative data was available for stream classification in the assessment area. Field
observations and professional judgment are the primary basis for description of the stream types
represented within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
Smaller perennial and non-perennial channels are expected to be largely “A” and “G” channel
types, and with some segments of “B” channels as well (Rosgen 1996). “A” channels are
entrenched streams with low sinuosity, low width to depth ratios, and moderately steep to steep
gradients. “G” channels are entrenched with moderate sinuosity, low width/depth ratio and
moderate gradient, sometimes forming within gully-like channel segments, and often are
unstable streams with high bank erosion rates. “B” channels are moderately entrenched, with
moderate sinuosity, width/depth ratios and gradient, and generally are stable streams with stable
banks. Larger perennial tributaries to the East and West Forks are likely a mixture of stream
types, including “B” and “C” and “G” channels. “C” channels are also stable channels but with
low entrenchment and gradient, and higher width/depth ratio and sinuosity. Some “C” channel
segments have been typed (measured) in perennial tributaries to the West Fork.
Also, some “E” channel types have been found within low gradient segments of tributaries to the
West Fork, such as Mikes Run, and these tend to be highly sinuous with low entrenchment and
very low width/depth ratios. “E” channels are generally stable, with wider floodplains and wellvegetated banks, although some “E” channels may be forming in old alluvial deposits. The
causes of that deposition may include a variety of factors including natural landform shape,
3 - 17
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
historic beaver damming influence, and the disturbance and sedimentation associated with turn
of the century logging.
Few “D” channel type (braided channels with low entrenchment and high width/depth ratios)
streams have been observed within the assessment area, although they could potentially occur to
a greater extent than what is known. “D” channels often occur in aggrading stream situations
with higher bedload and eroding banks. Some areas in the upper East Fork may have “D”
channels, especially where grazing influence is greater (such as on some private lands), although
this is speculative. A segment of “D” channel occurs in the main stem of the East Fork
Greenbrier River upstream from Island Campground, and in short sections of Poca Run.
The main stems of the East and West Forks may have limited segments of “D” channel type.
But the predominant channel types in these rivers is expected to be “C”, “B” and “G”, with small
inclusions of “F” (wide, low gradient channels, highly entrenched and with moderate sinuosity,
and typically high bank erosion rates).
Stream morphology is influenced in portions of some perennial tributaries by substantial alluvial
deposits along those streams, especially within the watershed of the West Fork (Mikes, Fox,
Elklick, Gertrude, Mill and Cove Runs and Little River, for example). These lengthy stream
segments are largely devoid of woody overstory in the riparian zone, and portions of their
riparian habitats are typed as wetlands. Stream morphologies in these areas are likely to be
slowly evolving from less stable to more stable types, partly because of the open, herbaceous
nature of the riparian areas, although this is where some of the stable “E” channel type has been
observed.
In general, stream types within the assessment area are a combination of stable channels and
unstable channels. The unstable channels have likely developed in response to natural factors
(sedimentation and floods), but more so to historic and recent land uses. Historic logging in the
early 1900s is likely the dominant land use influencing channel morphology today, because of
the widespread harvesting of the entire watershed, and the destructive treatment of riparian areas
and the stream channels themselves. Other land uses that continue to influence morphology have
been mentioned above. Of these, roads are likely to be the dominant factor in driving channels
toward an unstable condition, largely by concentrating and speeding runoff to the stream system,
and increasing rates of sedimentation and bedload. Timber harvesting contributes to the problem
through truck and skid road development, and their effects on runoff and erosion rates. Grazing
also contributes with increased erosion rates and loss of woody riparian vegetation.
Desired Conditions
Stream channel and bank stability is protected during management activities. The physical
integrity of aquatic systems, stream banks, channel substrates and other habitat components are
intact and stable. Where channel shape is modified (e.g., road crossings), the modification
preserves channel stability and function (Forest Plan, p. II-9).
3 - 18
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
Flow Rates
Reference Conditions
Reference conditions of streamflow would also be somewhat different than flows as they exist
today. The primary factors that control those differences are the amount of present day roads,
skid roads, old woods roads and railroad grades, compaction, and land clearing. Streamflow
would have been somewhat less flashy in presettlement times, because there would have been
less channel extension from the present and old transportation network, and less compaction
from a variety of land uses. It is likely that base flows and low flows would have been somewhat
greater than the present day, because the effective drainage density (length of channel per unit
area) would have been less, and soil infiltration would have been greater.
In subwatersheds affected by present day clearing and conversion to livestock grazing, the
reference condition would have been a nearly intact forest throughout almost all of the
watershed. Primarily small openings would have existed as part of the natural forest condition,
caused by infrequent and small mass wasting events, fire, wind-throw and flood damage, and
some other naturally occurring influences. Largely intact forests would have had greater
evapotranspiration losses, so streamflow in those subwatersheds would have been somewhat less
during the growing season. The magnitude of this effect would have been relatively small.
However, greater infiltration and soil storage would have existed in the reference condition,
because roads and compaction from grazing would have been absent. So to some extent, there
would have been offsetting factors in those localized areas where openings now exist.
Also, timber harvesting (as we know it today) would not have existed in the presettlement era.
Timber harvesting in the East has been found to increase the annual water yield from harvested
area, with the majority of those increases occurring in the growing season and mostly as
increased base flows and low flows. But those water yield increases are relatively small and
short term, with streamflow returning to pre-harvest levels in about 10 years or less. In the
reference condition, streamflow would have been unaffected by harvesting, so yield increases
would not have occurred. However, compacted roads, skid roads, and railroad grades did not
exist, so precipitation would have infiltrated and been detained more efficiently.
Overall, streamflow in the reference condition was very likely to have been somewhat more
evenly distributed and not as flashy. Soil moisture storage was greater and release to the stream
channels was slower. Base flows were likely greater than the current condition, as well as low
flows. But the magnitude of this difference is difficult to assess. Greater base flows, especially
low flows under the reference condition, combined with narrower channels and more large
woody debris, would have maintained better quality habitat in the streams.
Current Conditions
Streamflow within the various subwatersheds tends to be highly variable, dependent on season,
rates of evapo-transpiration, and precipitation patterns. The nearest streamflow gage for
quantifying flow characteristics is on the Greenbrier River main stem just below the confluence
of the East and West Forks at the town of Durbin (immediately downstream of the Upper
3 - 19
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
Greenbrier assessment area). The drainage area for this gage is 133 square miles, the same as the
Upper Greenbrier assessment area. Mean annual discharge at this gaging station for the 1943 to
2003 period of record is 265 cfs (cubic feet per second; equivalent to 1.99 cubic feet per second
per square mile, or 27.07 area inches of annual runoff), but the highest and lowest annual means
were 472 cfs (1996) and 164 cfs (1999), respectively. Monthly mean discharge ranges from 570
cfs in March, to 71.7 cfs in September. The highest mean monthly discharge occurred in
November 1985 (1,336 cfs), while the lowest occurred in September 1953 (1.82 cfs). The
highest daily mean flow of 13,200 cfs, and the maximum peak flow of 37,100 cfs, occurred on
November 4, 1985, while the lowest daily mean flow of 0.5 cfs occurred in September/October
of 1953, 1968 and 1995. The variable nature of flows within the upper Greenbrier river system
is further described by the flow value exceeded for a specified percentage of time (in this case
the period of record):
10% of flows exceed
50% of flows exceed
90% of flows exceed
617 cfs
139 cfs
16 cfs
Thus, the highest 10% of flows exceed 617 cfs, while the lowest 10% of flows are 16 cfs or less.
The median flow is 139 cfs (compared to the mean annual discharge of 265 cfs). In the 2003
water year, mean annual discharge was 457 cfs, while the highest and lowest daily means were
4,120 and 39 cfs, respectively. The difference between high and low flows is, therefore, very
great.
These data, and what is known about the watersheds, indicates that streamflows are highly
variable by season, and dependent on seasonal and precipitation characteristics. Evapotranspiration losses in the vegetative growing season contribute most to lower streamflows.
Also, snowmelt in the late winter and spring contributes somewhat to higher streamflows.
As mentioned, streamflow tends to be not only variable, but higher runoff rates can be flashy,
responding quickly to the influence of topography and soil/geologic characteristics, soil moisture
conditions at the time of precipitation, rainfall amounts and intensity, and to land uses as well.
Also, intense summer storms and large frontal system storms are common, as are periodic
drought conditions, adding to the wide range of flow conditions in these streams.
As discussed above, streamflow has been influenced by land uses in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed. Some increased runoff occurs in certain portions of the streams where private land
clearing has taken place. Runoff rates are also affected by compaction within the watershed,
such as in grazing areas, on roads and highways, and other uses that substantially disturb and
compact soils. Also, roads and other facilities that intercept surface and shallow groundwater
have the effect of concentrating and speeding flow away from the upper portions of the
watershed. Less water is available for soil storage and floodplain recharge. This likely is having
the effect of increasing flows during storm runoff and snowmelt situations, but also reducing
base flows and low flows as well. Thus, flows are re-distributed to a less even flow condition.
The magnitude of this effect could be substantial in some localized areas, but its overall effect
within the watershed is less clear.
3 - 20
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
These changes in flow conditions are likely having an effect on the morphology of the upper
non-perennial streams, and to some extent the downstream perennial streams as well. Altered
flows also increase the fine sediment supply to aquatic habitats, and during low flows the
available aquatic habitat is reduced, putting an even greater stress on aquatic biota.
Desired Conditions
Streams are in dynamic equilibrium; that is, stream systems normally function within natural
ranges of flow, sediment movement, temperature, and other variables that provide for healthy
aquatic systems (Forest Plan, p. II-9).
Storm Flows
Reference Conditions
Reference conditions for storm flows would have been unaffected by the land uses that came
later, such as old roads and railroad grades, present day roads, timber harvesting, and land
clearing for hay and grazing. Of these, the dominant influences are felt to be old roads with
inadequate drainage, and lands cleared for grazing. In general, storm flows would have been
slightly to moderately less (less volume) because of the undisturbed nature of the subwatersheds.
Storm runoff would have been less concentrated and slower, with a greater percentage of the
precipitation being detained in the soil for slower release. The greatest difference between the
current and reference conditions would likely have been for the smaller to moderate sized storm
events. Also, floodplain function would have been more effective in presettlement times, and a
greater proportion of flood flows would have occupied the floodplain, reducing the erosive
energy within the stream channels.
Storm peak flows in presettlement times may have been substantially different compared to
today for major flood-producing storms, particularly during the dormant season when most
floods occur. Overall, smaller storm flows or longer storm flow duration, and greater floodplain
storage in presettlement times would have meant less erosive energy within the stream channels.
Stream channels would have generally been more stable, with less channel bank erosion and
sediment deposition within the channel. Aquatic habitat would have been higher quality because
of the greater bank stability, less sediment deposition, lower fine sediment, and other habitat
features. This condition of greater stability and less channel erosion would have existed in all of
the subwatersheds.
Current Conditions
Stormflow within the assessment area is characterized as intense and frequent. Streams are
frequently flashy in their response to larger storms, especially more intense storms. Streamflow
tends to rise rapidly under those conditions, and falls rapidly as well, returning to base flow
conditions rather quickly. Major frontal weather systems and tropical storms from the south can
carry very substantial quantities of rainfall. The largest 24-hour rainfall event for this area that
occurs annually, on average, is about 2.5 inches (US Weather Bureau 1961). However, periodic
storms occur with much greater amounts and intensities of rainfall. Major storm events can be
3 - 21
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
fairly frequent, and generally occur during the dormant season of the year (November through
mid-May) when evapotranspiration losses are minimal. This further adds to rapid storm runoff,
and in less frequent cases to downstream flooding. Examples of recent dormant season major
runoff events include the November 1985 flood, and the January and May 1996 floods.
Stormflows can be further influenced by land use activities and roads within the watershed.
Land uses that reduce soil infiltration and water holding capacity, and reduce riparian vegetation,
contribute to increased stormflow and stormflow effects on stream channels. Road development
can act to extend the channel system within the watershed, intercepting soil water, concentrating
flows, and speeding runoff to downstream areas. As mentioned above, the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed has a very dense system of roads in place, a combination of State, Forest and private
roads, and roads serving natural gas well sites. Ground-based timber harvest activities can have
some of these effects as well, through truck and skid-road development. Extensive watershed
harvesting of timber can sometimes alter the hydrology and stormflow characteristics of the
watershed. Historic logging, discussed above, is believed to have had substantial adverse effects
on watershed condition, runoff, and stormflow characteristics. Grazing and agriculture frequently
have detrimental effects on streams through soil compaction, reduced infiltration, and loss of
healthy riparian vegetation. Grazing occurs in the upper headwaters of the East Fork drainage.
More recent National Forest timber harvesting has occurred in various portions of the watershed,
totaling around 3,600 acres in the last 15 years, which is about 4 percent of the watershed, or
about 5 percent of NFS lands within the watershed. System, temporary, and skid roads were
developed for those activities. An extensive system of old woods roads and trails also occur on
NFS lands, and some on private lands. Old railroad grades from historic logging extend up most
of the perennial tributaries and along some intermittent streams as well. This assessment
describes numerous road types and their locations, and their collective mileages are very
substantial. There are an estimated 143 miles of old woods roads, with nearly 18 of those miles
in riparian areas. Forest classified roads total an estimated 181 miles within the watershed, and
over 30 of those miles fall within riparian zones. There are over 260 road stream crossings on all
classified and unclassified roads within the watershed, and most of the 80 or so crossings on
unclassified roads are likely directly through a stream channel. See the Roads section of this
chapter for more information on the existing road network.
State and federal highways occur within the watershed, especially Routes 28 and 250. These
highways concentrate and speed runoff to a greater extent because of their paved, wide surfaces,
ditchlines, and higher road cuts.
The cumulative effect of all these facilities and land uses is to capture and concentrate flows, and
speed runoff to downstream portions of the watersheds. Stormflows can be impacted when
water moving downslope in the soil is brought to the surface at road cuts, when infiltration and
evapotranspiration are reduced, and when surface runoff is concentrated and delivered to stream
channels more quickly. Rates of runoff, stormflows, and channel stability and morphology can
be affected by the cumulative impacts of these land uses and developments, but the magnitude of
the effect depends on a complex interaction of factors.
3 - 22
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Hydrology and Stream Channels
Desired Conditions
Wetlands and floodplains function as detention/retention storage areas for floodwaters, sources
of organic matter, and habitat for aquatic and riparian species. Streams are in dynamic
equilibrium; that is, stream systems normally function within natural ranges of flow, sediment
movement, temperature, and other variables that provide for healthy aquatic systems (Forest
Plan, p. II-9).
Figure HY-2. East Fork Greenbrier River Near Island Campground
3 - 23
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
WATER QUALITY
Water quality in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is generally moderate to good, and water
chemistry is adequate to support aquatic biota that range from cool water to cold water
communities. Sedimentation is a problem within much of the watershed, and streams typically
transport considerable fine sediment during periods of storm runoff. Otherwise streams
generally run fairly clear. There are an estimated 263 miles of mapped “blue line” streams in the
GIS layers for the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, although perennial and intermittent stream
mileage greatly exceeds that. Designated uses of the surface waters within the watershed include
propagation and maintenance of fish and other aquatic life (Category B), and water contact
recreation (Category C). In addition, the WVDEP Division of Water Resources considers the
public water supply designated use (Category A) as applying to all waters of the state, unless
such water has had Category A specifically removed. Category A applies to all known waters
within the assessment area, as well as Categories B and C.
Despite the previously discussed sediment issues within many streams, and some stream
temperature issues as well (refer to the Temperature section, below), all streams within the
assessment area are considered by the State of West Virginia to be meeting water quality
standards. No streams within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed have been identified by the State
as being acid impaired, and water chemistry generally demonstrates moderate to good conditions
from the acidity standpoint. See the acidity section, following. There are no streams listed in the
State’s 2006 303(d) List of impaired streams. (However, the entire length of the Greenbrier
River main stem, up to the confluence of the East and West Forks at Durbin, is included in the
303(d) List for reasons of fecal coliform impairment, although the cause is listed as “Unknown”.)
Some streams are listed as Category B2 Trout Waters in the State’s Legislative Rules (47CSR2,
Requirements Governing Water Quality Standards, Appendix A), and these include the West
Fork, and a number of tributaries of both the East and West Forks. This is far from a complete
list of streams that support trout, however. Further, in their 2001 list of High Quality Streams,
the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources included both the East and West Forks and
numerous of their tributaries as High Quality Streams.
West Virginia Legislative Rule 60CSR5 (Antidegradation Implementation Procedures) provides
“Tier 2.5” water quality protection for “Waters of Special Concern”, which are defined in
47CSR2. The Rule requires that no significant degradation of Tier 2.5 waters will be allowed.
Degradation is deemed significant if it exceeds the baseline water quality plus 10 percent of
available assimilative capacity (the difference between the baseline water quality and the water
quality criteria), whether from a single activity or cumulatively. No streams in the Upper
Greenbrier have been designated as Tier 2.5 streams by the WV Legislature, but 14 streams are
included in the “presumptive list” of streams that meet the criteria for Tier 2.5 designation
(Appendix C of 60CSR5). A more recent list and map of “Proposed Tier 2.5 Streams – June 7,
2007” maintained on the WVDEP website has 12 rivers and streams included, with a combined
mileage of 25.4 miles in the East Fork drainage, and 33.9 miles in the West Fork drainage.
Water quality is considered adequate to meet established state standards (47CSR2), despite the
recognized sedimentation problems in many of these streams. The high value that the State
places on streams and water quality within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is evident in the
3 - 24
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
several special designations assigned to many of these streams. Many other streams are not
specifically included in these lists, but these omissions may be due more to incomplete stream
inventories, or land use impacts that are reducing habitat and water quality (such as temperature
effects from reduced shade).
Sediment
Reference Conditions
Reference conditions for water quality would have reflected the undisturbed condition of the
subwatersheds. Essentially none of the present day human-caused conditions that affect water
quality in these subwatersheds would have existed prior to European settlement. Sediment
conditions in streams would have been controlled by natural processes, and not been influenced
by the variety of land-clearing and disturbance activities that exist today. Natural processes
would have included all of the types of erosion that occur today (sheet, rill, gully, slides,
streambank, etc), but in different proportions and amounts. Riparian areas would have remained
intact, leading to improved channel stability in areas that are now cleared. Overall, bedload
sediment and fine sediment would have been at moderately to substantially lower levels, and
suspended sediment during storm flow conditions would have also been lower. Aquatic habitats
throughout the Upper Greenbrier Watershed would have exhibited a higher quality because of
the reduced sediment conditions. The aquatic community in general would benefit, and trout
reproduction would have been maintained at a higher level.
Current Conditions
Fine sediment is high within the rivers and streams of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Field
work conducted over the last decade has resulted in observed and measured fine sediment levels
in streams that are considered to be detrimental to some fish populations, such as native brook
trout. Measured fine sediment levels in sampled stream substrates ranged from moderate, and
below the commonly accepted threshold of substantial adverse impact to brook trout spawning
success, to high fine sediment composition and well above the threshold. Refer to the Aquatic
Resource section, below.
Sediment is delivered to streams through channel bank erosion, and through sheet, rill and gully
erosion of upland slopes. Some gully erosion and headcut erosion occurs below roads where
flow concentration has altered drainage patterns, increasing substantially the sediment supply to
channels. There is a minor amount of mass wasting within the watershed, usually associated
with road cuts and fills. Mass wasting has occurred on small segments of Forest Road 44, but
delivered substantial quantities of sediment to the West Fork during those events. Some land
uses and facilities within riparian areas, such as roads along streams and grazing within riparian
areas, contribute to de-stabilized streambanks, accelerated channel bank erosion, and channel
widening. Forest Service grazing allotments and private land grazing occur in the Headwaters
East Fork, Little River, and Outlet East Fork subwatersheds. Numerous sediment sources exist
within these allotments.
3 - 25
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
Also, much of the present day erosion and stream channel sediment conditions are consequences
of the early 1900s logging and wood processing industry. Increased stormflows resulting from
such drastic land use had substantial channel stability effects, further compounded by removal of
most of the riparian vegetation, riparian development, and large wood from channels. The
aquatic and riparian resource condition that exists today has been and continues to be influenced
by effects of the logging industry from a hundred years ago. Recovery from those impacts is a
very long-term process.
Water quality and within-channel habitat conditions are impaired by the combined sediment
effects of historic and more recent land uses and facilities. The Aquatic Resources section below
addresses habitat aspects. Water quality sediment conditions are generally described as
measures of suspended sediment and turbidity. Sediments, especially fine sediments, are
mobilized in streams during periods of storm runoff, and increase suspended sediment and
turbidity levels. These effects are often readily observed and recognized by the untrained
observer. As stormflows fall and streams return to baseflow conditions, suspended sediment and
turbidity generally fall quickly to low levels and streams appear clear again. But fine sediments
stored in and on the surface of the stream substrates are readily available to be remobilized in
future runoff events. Stormflow sediment characteristics of streams within the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed are generally considered to be high to very high.
The effects of various roads, highways, and other land uses on hydrologic processes, erosion
sources, and channel conditions indicates that accelerated channel erosion is occurring in some
reaches, leading to deposition in others. Increased bedload from channel bank erosion and
sediment from upland sources has led to destabilized channels, simplified habitats and higher
fine sediment composition in many streams of the watershed. Impaired riparian vegetation
conditions, including some on private lands, has also led to increased channel bank erosion, and
increased bedload and fine sediment impairment of aquatic habitats. Early 1900s logging
industry impacts are responsible for much of these current conditions, but more contemporary
and present day land use and facilities also contribute to the current sediment conditions.
Sediment source areas are extensive throughout the subwatersheds, and affect many of the
various tributaries and rivers within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Sediment sources include
the range of facilities and land uses, including state, National Forest and private roads, old woods
roads and railroad grades, roads and well sites associated with the Glady Gas Storage Field,
some old logging skid roads, gas pipelines, and areas of grazing and agriculture. There are
several Forest Service grazing allotments within three of the subwatersheds, and some private
land grazing as well. Erosion and sedimentation from communities and industry along the East
Fork are likely substantial, but no good information on those sources is available at this time.
Finally, it is recognized that early 1900s logging throughout the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
was extremely damaging and destructive to uplands, riparian areas and streams. Much of the
present day erosion and sedimentation conditions and source areas are attributable to that historic
logging industry, but specific source areas are sometimes hard to pinpoint because of the
widespread and somewhat continuous impact on streams and riparian areas.
3 - 26
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
Table WQ-1. Partial List of Known Sediment Sources in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Sediment Source
FR97, FR756 in
May/Little R. EA
FR179 in May/
Little River EA
Woods Rds in
May/Little River
EA/DN
FR242, 428, & 451
in May/ Little
River EA
Other woods roads
throughout
subwatersheds
Subwatershed
Little River
Description of Work Needed
Road maintenance, drainage improvement, etc.
Miles
3.5
West Fork
Road maintenance, drainage improvement, grading, etc.
4.3
West Fork and
Little River
Abandon Woods Roads 00, 1, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 108, 109,
111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117. Block access, remove
drainage structures, restore drainage, revegetate soils.
Abandon Forest Roads. Block access, remove drainage
structures, restore drainage, revegetate soils.
8.1
??
Forest Roads
All 4
subwatersheds
Bennett Run unnamed road
Forest Road 51
Headwaters East
Fork
Headwaters East
Fork
Headwaters East
Fork
Numerous other woods roads and old railroad grades exist
throughout the 4 subwatersheds. Sediment reduction work is
needed, but no inventories exist. Block access, remove
structures, restore drainage, outslope, revegetate soil, etc.
All Forest Roads need routine maintenance, grading, drainage
improvement, ditchline repair, spot surfacing, etc on recurring
basis.
Drainage improvement and sediment reduction, revegetate bare
soil.
Block access past East Fork crossing at end of Abes Run Road;
other drainage improvements.
Isolated drainage/erosion problems near East Fork Greenbrier
and Bearwallow Run. Restore drainage and revegetate eroding
soil.
Road in un-named hollow (Townsend Hollow) north of Forest
Road 54 near Buffalo Lake. Major road erosion, stream running
in road. Restore flow to stream, obliterate road, revegetate soil.
FR286 up along Poca Run north of Hwy 28. Major erosion,
rutting, gullies. Restore drainage, stabilize rutting and gullies,
stabilize soil.
Gullies near Long Run. Stabilize gullies and soil.
Forest Road 804
West Fork and
Little River
All 4
subwatersheds
Townsend Hollow Outlet East Fork
unnamed rd.
Forest Road 286
Headwaters East
Fork
Forest Road 57
Headwaters East
Fork
Little River
Forest Roads 222
and 248
Trail 367
Little River
USFS grazing
allotments
Little River,
Headwaters &
Outlet East Fork
3.8
??
0.4 est.
0.5 est.
1.0 est.
1.3 est.
??
In addition to Forest Road 242 (Clubhouse Run), Forest Road
??
222 (Elklick Run) and Forest Road 248 (Hinkle Run) have
serious drainage and erosion occurring. Restore drainage,
obliteration if possible, erosion/gully stabilization.
Trail near Hinkle Run has drainage and stream crossing
??
problems. Restore drainage and stabilize stream crossings.
Riparian area treatments are needed to restore riparian conditions ??
and reduce sedimentation. Fencing and riparian planting are
likely options.
The above list of sediment sources and needed improvements to reduce erosion and sediment is
an incomplete list. Other sediment source areas are known or believed to exist within the various
subwatersheds, but specific sites have not been identified or inventoried. Some of the woods
road project work included in the May/Little River EA and Decision Notice may no longer be
needed, while many other woods roads have not been inventoried. Specific improvements
needed on state roads have not been identified. Sediment reduction projects on Forest Service
grazing allotments and on private land grazing have likely not all been identified, although
3 - 27
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
improvements in riparian management are needed. Roads in the Glady Gas Storage Field may
need additional improvements for sediment reduction. Numerous opportunities for stream bank
stabilization exist, resulting largely from the early 1900s logging industry impacts.
Despite current high sediment conditions in these streams, none are listed on the State’s 2006
303(d) List for reasons of sediment impairment. In terms of sediment, all streams within the
Upper Greenbrier River assessment area are considered by the WVDEP to be meeting their
designated uses. However, this does not mean that they are in a satisfactory condition in terms
of fine sediment and habitat relations, bank stability, nor even stormflow-related suspended
sediment levels.
Desired Conditions
Wetlands and floodplains function as detention/retention storage areas for floodwaters, sources
of organic matter, and habitat for aquatic and riparian species. Improving watershed conditions
contribute to the de-listing of water quality limited water bodies to meet Clean Water Act
requirements and state water quality management rules. Streams are in dynamic equilibrium;
that is, stream systems normally function within natural ranges of flow, sediment movement,
temperature, and other variables that provide for healthy aquatic systems. Streamside vegetation
contributes to the protection and maintenance of water quality, water quantity, nutrient inputs,
and physical channel integrity to support channel function, aquatic biota, aquatic and wildlife
habitat, floodplain function, aesthetic values and designated uses (Forest Plan, p. II-9).
Acidity (pH)
Reference Conditions
Stream acidity under reference conditions would have been governed by the natural buffering
capacity of the soils and bedrock, and by the natural acidity of precipitation and the influence of
vegetation. In general, most streams probably had slightly higher average pH values. And
during summer storms and snowmelt runoff, acid shock events were not a problem. The effect
on the aquatic community in most of the subwatershed streams may not be great, because most
maintain some buffering capacity.
Current Conditions
Water chemistry in the streams of the Upper Greenbrier River watershed is moderately good to
very good. Water samples taken by the Forest Service between fall 2001 and spring 2007 from a
sample of streams indicates generally good chemistry in terms of acidity relations. Refer to
Table WQ-2 for selected water quality results in these streams. Water quality data collected by
the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) since 1999 is presented in
Table WQ-3. The “alkalinity” metric used by WVDEP is replaced by the “ANC” or acid
neutralizing capacity metric in the USFS data. Alkalinity is measured in milligrams of calcium
carbonate per liter (CaCO3/L), while ANC is Acid Neutralizing Capacity, measured in microequivalents per liter (ueq/L). Also, “conductivity” is measured in micro Siemens per centimeter
in the USFS data, but in micro ohms per centimeter in the WVDEP data.
3 - 28
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
Table WQ-2. USFS Water Quality Summary for Upper Greenbrier Watershed Streams
Site (Stream Name)
pH
Conductivity Calcium
West Fork Greenbrier River
6.9 - 7.5
28 - ?
1.9 - 8.1
Snorting Lick Run
6.6
22
1.8
Mikes Run
6.3 - 7.0
18 - ?
0.6 - 1.6
Gertrude Run
6.5
22
1.5
Fox Run
6.6
19
1.3
Iron Bridge Run
6.4
21
1.4
Old Road Run
7.1
48
7.4
Little River (West Fork)
6.8 - 7.1
23 - 33
2.0 - 3.8
Span Oak Run
6.5
23
1.6
Clubhouse Run
6.4
20
1.5
Hinkle Run
6.2 - 7.0
15 - ?
1.0 - 2.0
Mountain Lick Creek
6.6
22
1.6
East Fork Greenbrier River
6.7 - 7.3
23 - ?
2.0 - 3.5
Poca Run
6.5 - 7.0
22 - 62
1.4 - 4.5
Long Run
6.6 - 7.1
24 - ?
1.6 - 3.7
Mullenax Run
7.0 - 7.3
25 - ?
3.2 - 3.9
Abes Run
6.4
30
1.8
Bennett Run
6.4
20
1.7
Fivemile Hollow
6.6
25
2.4
Lick Run
6.5
24
1.6
Buffalo Fork
6.5
24
1.7
Little River (East Fork)
6.8
41
3.2
Old House Run
6.6
25
1.9
Notes: Calcium is total calcium measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L)
ANC
108.7 - 525.7
74.4
20.1 - 122.8
60.3
48.2
43.5
324.2
78.0 - 208.4
44.0
34.0
12.6 - 98.9
58.3
76.9 - 172.7
44.6 - 334.0
69.1 - 190.5
114.9 - 254.3
69.0
49.2
85.3
72.9
83.5
142.9
77.6
Table WQ-3. WVDEP Water Quality Summary for Upper Greenbrier Watershed Streams
Site (Stream Name)
West Fork Greenbrier River
Snorting Lick Run
Mikes Run
Old Road Run
Braucher Run
Little River (West Fork)
Clubhouse Run
Mountain Lick Creek
East Fork Greenbrier River
Poca Run
Long Run
Grassy Run
Mullenax Run
Little River (East Fork)
pH
6.4-8.0
6.1
5.9-6.5
7.6
7.2
5.5-7.6
5.8-6.7
7.2
6.7-7.9
6.9
6.5-7.3
6.3
7.5
6.6-7.7
Conductivity
29-77
25
21-22
121
122
23-59
21-23
54
21-43
36
29-31
33
38
35-65
3 - 29
Calcium
3.7-10.4
2.2
1.8
20.5
18.1
7.6
1.7-1.9
5.3
2.4-4.7
3.4
2.4-2.8
Alkalinity
6.9-31.1
5.0
5.0
56.2
49.4
22.9
4.9-5.0
12.7
5.0-15.5
8.2
6.1-9.1
4.7
3.7-6.1
16.4
7.4-23.8
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
Although streams in the area are considered to be meeting water quality standards for acidity,
acid deposition is likely having some effect on water chemistry in all these streams. Water
chemistry is generally adequate in terms of acidity relations, and the streams are relatively not
susceptible to being acid deposition impaired. Limited portions of the watershed have some acid
sensitive geologic types, primarily along the top of Shavers Mountain in the West Fork
subwatershed (about 3100 acres), with another 2210 acid sensitive acres in the upper portions of
the Headwaters East Fork and Little River subwatersheds. However, perennial streams in these
areas gain better chemistry water as they flow through less sensitive strata immediately
downstream. The poorest chemistry streams are mostly in the headwaters of Little River (Hinkle
and Clubhouse Runs), and their pH stayed above 6.0 with ANC generally above 20. (WVDEP
data documented several streams with pH below 6.0, but these were isolated instances, and
otherwise pH remained above 6.0). Streams are otherwise adequate to good in their acid
buffering condition, not considered to be acid impaired, and should currently sustain their
aquatic communities. Several streams originating on the east flank of Shavers Mountain
(including Old Road, Fill, and Braucher Runs) flow through Greenbrier Limestone strata,
gaining considerable buffering capacity and have high ANC/alkalinity values.
Desired Conditions
Improving watershed conditions contribute to the de-listing of water quality limited water bodies
to meet Clean Water Act requirements and state water quality management rules. Streams are in
dynamic equilibrium; that is, stream systems normally function within natural ranges of flow,
sediment movement, temperature, and other variables that provide for healthy aquatic systems
(Forest Plan, p. II-9).
Stream Temperature
Stream temperature is one environmental factor that can influence the species composition of
aquatic communities and the relative health of individual populations that inhabit aquatic
ecosystems. Stream temperature affects various bio-physical and physicochemical properties
associated with aquatic environments (such as respiration rates and dissolved oxygen capacity),
which can place physiological constraints on the type and abundance of aquatic organisms that
could otherwise be supported by aquatic habitats.
Aquatic ecosystems typically exhibit signature stream temperature patterns or temperature
regimes that develop in response to prominent and persistent associations between land form,
climate patterns, watershed hydrologic properties, and other watershed characteristics. Aquatic
inhabitants frequently exhibit life history strategies that are adapted to specific temperature
regimes and the associated environmental cues that function to initiate behavior critical to
sustaining population viability for aquatic species over the long term. Changes to temperature
regimes can result in modifications to aquatic species composition as well as population vigor.
Reference Conditions
Reference stream temperature regimes for the upper Greenbrier River system are unknown and
cannot be quantified. However, reference conditions may be qualitatively assessed upon
3 - 30
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
consideration of correlations that typically exist between stream temperature regimes, watershed
conditions, and dependent aquatic communities. Insight to reference stream temperatures can
also be gained by comparing watershed conditions and aquatic communities in the upper
Greenbrier River system today with conditions that likely existed prior to European settlement.
Discussion that follows for the conditions of current stream temperatures supports a contention
that reference conditions in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed likely exhibited more stable ranges
for daily stream temperatures and more moderate extremes for seasonal stream temperatures (i.e.
cooler summer maximum stream temperatures and warmer winter minimum stream
temperatures) when compared to general stream temperature characteristics exhibited today.
Current Conditions
Stream temperatures can be influence by many factors. Various watershed and stream conditions
that can influence stream temperatures have been considerably altered from their reference
conditions in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Although timbering activities and other types of
disturbance continue today, the most pronounced changes to the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
arguably occurred as a result of timbering activities during the early 1900s. Results from the
timbering activities and subsequent fires effectively eliminated forest cover, increased road
densities, accelerated erosion and stream sedimentation rates, reduced natural stream channel
integrity, and degraded aquatic habitat composition and quality. Changes to any one of these
conditions could trigger alterations to stream temperatures. The dramatic changes that occurred
to watershed and stream conditions in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed suggest stream
temperature regimes likely experienced substantial alterations. Changes to stream temperature
regimes likely included increased daily temperature fluctuations as well as increased extent and
duration of summer maximum temperatures and winter minimum temperatures.
The greatest deviations from reference stream temperature conditions likely occurred toward the
mid-1900s following widespread deforestation and recurring wildfires. As early as 1935,
streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed were generally described as once being excellent
trout streams which had become poorly shaded, spread to several times their original width, and
possessed stream flows so low (or dry) and warm that they were no longer suitable for trout
during the summer months (McGavock and Davis 1935).
As forested areas gradually recovered in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, particularly in riparian
areas where the effects of stream shading could be realized, stream temperature regimes likely
began to experience a recovery trend toward reference conditions. Although the majority of the
of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is now in a forested condition, many other vital stream
channel processes and watershed hydrologic properties remain impaired and are in various stages
of recovery from the cumulative effects associated with historic and present day disturbances.
Recent monitoring of stream temperatures has been conducted in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed. Stream temperature data were recorded at 15 minute intervals from June to October,
2005 at 13 sites located in 11 different streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Figure WQ3 shows a graphical example of the dataset from one monitoring site. Since native brook trout
(Salvelinus fontinalis) are identified as the aquatic Management Indicator Species in the Land
and Resource Management Plan for the Monongahela National Forest (Forest Plan), stream
3 - 31
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
temperature data are summarized in Table WQ-4 for optimal, tolerable, and lethal temperature
ranges described for brook trout (Raleigh 1982).
Figure WQ-3. Stream Temperature Data for West Fork Greenbrier River, Summer, 2005
(2,800’ above sea level).
Stream Temperature - West Fork GB (2800')
24-hr Maximum
24-hr Mean
24-hr Minimum
10
/2/
20
05
9/2
2/2
00
5
9/1
2/2
00
5
9/2
/20
05
8/2
3/2
00
5
8/1
3/2
00
5
8/3
/20
05
7/2
4/2
00
5
7/1
4/2
00
5
7/4
/20
05
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
6/2
4/2
00
5
Degrees (Celcius)
Raw Data
Table WQ-4. Stream Temperature Data (Degrees Celsius) from June – September, 2005
(Optimal, tolerable, and lethal stream temperature data are summarized for brook trout)
Days with
Days with
Maximum Maximum Maximum
Days with
Averages
Maximum
Stream
Elevation
24-hr
24-hr
24-hr
Maximum
Acres
Exceeding Approaching
Name
(feet)
Minimum
Mean Maximum
Exceeding
Optimal
Tolerable
Temp.
Temp.
Temp.
Lethal
Temp.
Temperature
2798
38448
22.15
23.07
23.74
70
21
0
East Fork GB
2800
33294
21.89
24.06
26.87
76
35
13
West Fork GB
2840
2467
19.46
20.92
22.97
40
6
0
Mountain Lick Ck
Little River (WF
GB)
Old Road Run
Little River (EF
GB)
East Fork GB
Long Run
Mikes Run
Buffalo Fork
Hinkle Branch
Mullenax
East Fork GB
2920
2950
12459
2585
18.63
16.11
21.41
17.61
27.51
20.13
26
0
15
0
6
0
2995
3000
3005
3030
3120
3200
3280
3535
5737
15702
1497
1019
2642
1966
2217
4324
18.53
18.65
17.70
18.99
18.11
16.77
17.44
17.94
19.37
19.47
17.99
19.66
19.45
17.49
18.19
19.71
20.84
21.20
18.37
20.94
21.63
18.53
19.75
22.71
26
27
0
26
22
0
3
18
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
It is important to note that although stream temperature monitoring devices can accurately
capture stream temperature measurements where the device is placed, it is possible for streams to
possess micro-habitats associated with areas of up-wellings or springs where temperatures may
3 - 32
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Water Quality
deviate from those recorded. In this way, aquatic biota may be able to seek micro-habitats within
stream segments that would otherwise appear to be intolerable.
Stream temperature data show that eight of 13 stream sites monitored in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed clearly possess summer stream temperatures that would support brook trout
populations. The lower reaches of the West Fork Greenbrier River and its largest tributary, the
Little River, possess stream temperatures during the summer that are lethal to brook trout. The
East Fork Greenbrier River and lower reaches of Mountain Lick Creek exhibit maximum stream
temperatures that approach lethal levels during the summer. Summer stream temperatures
remained within the optimal range for brook trout in only two of the 13 stream sites monitored Long Run and Hinkle Branch. No streams within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are listed in
the State 303(d) List as temperature impaired.
Stream temperature data and other information (see Aquatic Habitat and Populations discussion)
available for streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed indicate portions of this stream system
possess temperature regimes capable of supporting cold-water biota typically associated with
native brook trout communities. Some stream reaches, particularly in larger streams such as the
East Fork and West Fork Greenbrier River, are currently transitional areas better suited for coolwater aquatic communities characteristic of smallmouth and rock bass communities. Water
temperatures in these cool-water transitional areas generally become too warm and stressful to
sustain viable populations of cold-water biota during the summer but these areas can still provide
critical seasonal habitat (e.g. over-wintering habitats) for cold-water biota during other times of
the year.
Assessment of watershed characteristics may help explain variation in stream temperature data
collected from different streams. Preliminary assessment of data from streams in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed indicate watershed area and stream length exhibit the greatest influence on
variation in the stream temperature dataset. However, this result may be more a function of a
relatively limited range of variation in other watershed characteristics being assessed for the
dataset than a true lack of correlation with these other seemingly less influential watershed
variables. Identical assessments of stream temperature datasets from other watersheds across the
Forest suggest significant correlations also exist between stream temperature and watershed
characteristics of stream elevation, percent forested area (for both riparian area and watershed
area), percent wetlands, road density (for both riparian area and watershed area), and stream
crossing density. Understanding relationships between stream temperatures and influential
watershed characteristics can help identify opportunities to manage watersheds for desired
conditions.
Desired Conditions
Streams are in dynamic equilibrium; that is, stream systems normally function within natural
ranges of flow, sediment movement, temperature, and other variables that provide for healthy
aquatic systems (Forest Plan, p. II-9). Restoration activities have resulted in maintaining
necessary water temperatures to sustain viable populations of native and desired non-native
aquatic species (Forest Plan, p. II-29).
3 - 33
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
AQUATIC RESOURCES
Aquatic Habitat and Populations
Aquatic ecosystems consist of complex interactions among and between the physical, chemical,
and biological environment. Aquatic habitats consist primarily of the physical and chemical
components that develop in relation to land-forming processes dictated primarily by the
geomorphic setting, climate patterns, watershed conditions, and disturbance regimes. The
biological component of aquatic ecosystems is largely dependent on characteristics associated
with available aquatic habitats.
Associations between aquatic biota and their habitats typically develop over extended periods of
time (e.g. thousands of generations) as a reflection of long-term survival strategies that are
adopted by aquatic species in assuming or exploiting their ecological niche. As such, aquatic
habitat requirements can vary considerably between different species or between developmental
stages (e.g. age classes of fish) of the same species. Though specific habitat requirements may
differ at the aquatic species level, development and maintenance of suitable habitats for aquatic
organisms associated with a particular aquatic community generally rely upon a shared set of
ecological processes and functions. Direct alterations to aquatic habitats, the processes
responsible for creating and maintaining them, or the ability for aquatic organisms to freely
move among them can influence the health, composition, and structure of dependent aquatic
communities.
Reference Conditions
Physical conditions and trends associated with fluvial aquatic habitats are most notably
structured around a foundation of stream channel and riparian area conditions and processes.
Reference conditions in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are described for stream morphology,
flow rates, storm flows, stream sedimentation, and riparian habitats under other sections in this
document. Water chemistry properties associated with aquatic habitats are largely a reflection of
geochemistry and soil nutrient properties of the contributing watershed area as well as
atmospheric deposition rates. Reference conditions for soil acidification, acid deposition, and
stream acidity (pH) are also described under other sections in this document.
Historical accounts from a fisheries survey of streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed also
provide insight into reference conditions for aquatic resources in the watershed. As early as
1935, streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed were generally described as once being
excellent trout streams which had become poorly shaded, spread to several times their original
width, and possessed stream flows so low (or dry) and warm that they were no longer suitable for
trout during the summer months (McGavock and Davis 1935).
In consideration of conditions that are believed to have existed in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed prior to the turn of the 20th century, it is concluded that reference aquatic habitat
conditions were considerably better suited to native brook trout populations and associated
coldwater biota than current conditions.
3 - 34
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
Aquatic habitat composition would have likely consisted of a greater percentage of pool habitats
that were larger and deeper than the infrequent, small, and shallow pools typically present today.
Much of this pool habitat would have been formed and maintained by complexes of large woody
debris that consisted of larger, more stable forms than streams possess today. The high quality
pools with complex woody debris features would have served as excellent trout rearing habitat as
well as cover and refugia for all aquatic inhabitants during periods of potential distress (e.g.
flooding, over-wintering, low flow conditions). In addition, woody debris complexes would
have provided excellent substrate for aquatic macro-invertebrates and other organisms that
would bolster aquatic food webs.
Given that streams would likely have been more stable in reference conditions, stream beds
likely consisted of deeper substrate profiles. This condition would have not only enabled deeper
scour for better pool development but it would have potentially provided higher quality
interstitial habitat for aquatic benthic organisms, facilitated higher quality spawning areas,
allowed for greater retention of water to potentially moderate the effects of seasonal low flows,
and helped reduce the flashy nature of stream discharge under certain circumstances.
In addition to possessing higher quality aquatic habitats, streams in reference conditions would
not have contained artificial barriers to suitable habitats. Many life history strategies exhibited
by aquatic species native to the Upper Greenbrier Watershed require movement along the stream
gradient to ensure long-term viability in the face of hazards and stochastic events associated with
the natural environment. Although natural barriers in the form of waterfalls and similar features
occasionally exist in streams, these typically occur more toward the steeper headwater extremes
of the watershed. Aquatic populations that are native to the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
continue to exhibit migration behavior that, under reference conditions would have enabled
favorable exploitation of suitable habitat to help sustain viable population levels.
The Upper Greenbrier Watershed did not possess lentic (lake) habitats in its reference condition.
Current Conditions
Streams within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are currently inhabited by 38 fish species
representing Catostomidae (sucker), Centrachidae (bass), Cottidae (sculpin), Cyprinidae
(minnow), Percidae (perch), and Salmonidae (trout) fish families (Welsh et al. 2007). Table
AQ-1 lists the distribution of the 29 native fish species and 9 non-native fish species for the four
6th level Hydrologic Units that comprise the Upper Greenbrier Watershed area. A single asterisk
(*) in the table indicates a Regional Foresters sensitive species; a double asterisk (**) indicates
the Forest Management Indicator Species; and a triple asterisk (***) indicates non-native species
to the Upper Greebrier Watershed.
3 - 35
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
Table AQ-1. Known Fish Species Distribution by 6th Level Hydrologic Unit
Common Name
Scientific Name
central stoneroller
rosyside dace
whitetail shiner
tonguetied minnow
striped shiner***
bigmouth chub *
silver shiner
rosyface shiner
New River shiner *
telescope shiner***
mimic shiner
Kanawha minnow *
mountain redbelly dace
bluntnose minnow
western blacknose dace
longnose dace
creek chub
white sucker
northern hogsucker
brown bullhead
channel catfish
rainbow trout***
brown trout***
brook trout**
mottled sculpin
Kanawha sculpin
rock bass***
redbreast sunfish
green sunfish
bluegill sunfish***
smallmouth bass***
largemouth bass***
greenside darter
rainbow darter
fantail darter
candy darter *
Appalachian darter *
Roanoke darter
Campostoma anomalum
Clinostomus funduloides
Cyprinella galactura
Exoglossum laurae
Luxilis chrysocephalus
Nocomis platyrhychus
Notropis photogenis
Notropis rubellus
Notropis scabriceps
Notropis telescopus
Notropis volucellus
Phenacobius teretulus
Phoxinus oreas
Pimephales notatus
Rhinichthys obtusus
Rhinichthys cataractae
Semotilus atromaculatus
Catastomus commersoni
Hypentelium nigricans
Ameiurus nebulosus
Ictalurus punctatus
Oncorhynchus mykiss
Salmo trutta
Salvelinus fontinalis
Cottus bairdii
Cottus kanawhae
Ambloplites rupestris
Lepomis auritus
Lepomis cyanellus
Lepomis macrochirus
Micropterus dolomieui
Micropterus salmoides
Etheostoma blennioides
Etheostoma caeruleum
Etheostoma flabellare
Etheostoma osburni
Percina gymnocephala
Percina roanoka
6th Level Hydrologic Unit and Code
Headwaters
Outlet East
West Fork
Little River East Fork
Fork
Greenbrier
Greenbrier
Greenbrier
050500030101
050500030102
050500030103
050500030104
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Four fish species, one aquatic amphibian species, and two mussel species listed as Regional
Foresters Sensitive Species (RFSS) have been documented in one or more streams in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed (Welsh et al. 2007; Clayton 2004; Stauffer et al. 1995; West Virginia
Heritage Database). These aquatic RFSS include candy darter (Ethoestoma osburni),
Appalachian darter (Percina gymnocephala), New River shiner (Notropis scabriceps), Kanawha
minnow (Phenacobius teretulus), eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), elktoe
3 - 36
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
(Alasmidonta marginata), and green floater (Lasmigona subviridis). The four RFSS fish species
along with bigmouth chub (Nocomis platyrhychus) are endemic to the New River drainage that
contains the Upper Greenbrier Watershed (Stauffer 1995). Brook trout is identified as the only
aquatic Management Indicator Species (MIS) in the Forest Plan for the Monongahela National
Forest. No aquatic species that are federally listed in association with the Endangered Species
Act (ESA) are known to occur within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
The concentrated collection and persistence of special status aquatic species within the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed suggests an elevated ecological importance for this aquatic ecosystem. A
recent study of candy darter provides an example of the potential ecological significance. In an
investigation of hybridization between native candy darter and an introduced darter species,
variegate darter (Etheostoma vriatum), Switzer et al. (2007) found candy darter populations in
the Upper Greenbrier Watershed to be free from the genetic introgression and genetic swamping
that is occurring with the introduced variegate darter in lower portions of the Greenbrier River
system. The authors raised the idea that increased conservation efforts may be needed in areas
possessing genetically pure candy darter populations to prevent the loss of these populations.
Many fish species that occur within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed (e.g. the Centrachids,
Catastomids, and many of the Cyprinids) are associated with warm-to-cool water habitats. These
communities primarily occur in larger stream reaches associated with the East Fork and West
Fork Greenbrier River, Little River of the East and West Forks, as well as smaller tributary
streams that have suitable temperature ranges. Most fish species that have been introduced and
continue to exist in streams within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are associated with warm-tocool water fish communities. It is believed that warmwater habitats are distributed more widely
throughout the Upper Greenbrier Watershed today than they would have been in reference
conditions.
Other species, particularly native brook trout, have a relatively low tolerance for warm stream
temperatures. These species are associated with coldwater aquatic communities that are
typically centered on stream reaches with the coolest stream temperatures. In the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed, coldwater aquatic communities are most likely to occur in streams
dominated by spring-fed discharges such as several tributaries draining slopes on the southwest
side of the West Fork Greenbrier River, and in smaller tributary streams that are predominantly
shaded from the effects of solar radiation. Though other trout species (i.e. rainbow trout and
brown trout) that have been introduced into the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are typically
associated with coldwater fish communities, these species were opportunistically introduced
(McGavock and Davis 1935) and continue to be stocked in part because they are a sport fish that
tolerate warmer, more impaired stream temperatures than native brook trout can tolerate.
The West Virginia Code of State Rules establishes general Water Use Categories and Water
Quality Standards for waters of the State (Title 47, Series 2.16). At a minimum, all waters in
West Virginia are designated for the Propagation and Maintenance of Fish and Other Aquatic
Life (Catergory B) as well as Water Contact Recreation (Category C) unless otherwise
designated by the State Rules. Certain waters of the State are specifically designated as Trout
Waters (Category B2) that are defined by West Virginia Code as “streams or stream segments
which sustain year-round trout populations” (Title 47, Series 2.18). Table AQ-2 identifies
3 - 37
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
streams within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed that are currently designated as B2 streams or
have recently been proposed for B2 designation.
Table AQ-2. West Virginia B2 Trout Water Status of Streams in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed
Stream Name
East Fork Greenbrier River
Johns Run
Little River/EF Greenbrier
Buffalo Fork Lake
Big Run
Old House Run
Reservoir Hollow
Rambottom Run
Gum Cabin Hollow
Fivemile Hollow
Poca Run
Long Run
Grassy Run
Lick Run
Walderman Run
Bearwallow Run
Campbell Run
Mullenax Run
Abes Run
Burning Run
Simmons Run
Bennett Run
West Fork Greenbrier River
Mountian Lick Creek
Fill Run
unnamed West Fork tributary
Little River/WF Greenbrier
Span Oak Run
Clubhouse Run
Elklick Run (Clubhouse Run)
Hinkle Run
Hansford Run
Lukins Run
Cove Run
Old Road Run
Iron Bridge Run
Mill Run
Gertrude Run
Elklick Run (WF Greenbrier)
Fox Run
Mikes Run
Snorting Lick Run
Stream Reach
above impoundment at tannery
entire length
road mile 1.5 to headwaters
entire length
entire length
entire length
entire length
Currently
B2 Stream
Proposed
B2 Stream
Brook
Trout
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
entire length
entire length
X
X
X
X
entire length
X
X
entire length
entire length below spring
road mile 3.9 to headwaters
entire length
entire length
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
3 - 38
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
Table AQ-2 also provides information on streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed where
brook trout have been documented within the last 25 years or so. Though brook trout have been
found in these streams, the health of their populations varies considerably by stream.
Annual and seasonal variation of habitat conditions such as stream flows and stream temperature
can bring about shifts in species distribution as aquatic organisms migrate to seek more favorable
habitat conditions. As such, coldwater fish species such as brook trout may be found in the
larger stream reaches during the cooler, wetter periods, yet retreat to more limited and
concentrated habitats that offer coldwater refugia with the onset of warmer summer conditions.
Areas offering coldwater refugia are typically associated with spring-fed streams and smaller
tributary streams that are predominantly shaded from the effects of solar radiation. By contrast,
warmwater species may expand their range toward the headwaters during warmer, summer
baseflow conditions.
The ability for aquatic populations to move between habitats in response to environmental
conditions or other instinctive behavior is dependent on the accessibility of these habitats. Road
stream crossings frequently inhibit or completely prevent aquatic organism passage between
suitable habitats. Spatial analysis of roads and streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
indicates the density of road stream crossings is 1.0 road crossing for every mile of road. Not all
of the 262 road stream crossings that potentially exist within the watershed would be expected to
inhibit aquatic organism passage. However, several road stream crossings that occur in perennial
streams within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed were surveyed in 2002 and during 2007
specifically for the purpose of assessing aquatic organism passage (see Table AQ-3). The
surveys were conducted upstream and downstream of specific road stream crossings. Information
from these surveys indicates that artificial barriers to aquatic organism passage are having
considerable effects on aquatic habitat connectivity (see Figure AQ-1). The resulting
fragmentation of aquatic habitats is likely contributing to impaired health of aquatic populations
and possibly extirpated segments of isolated aquatic populations.
Figure AQ-1. Fish Passage Barrier in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 39
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
Table AQ-3. Summary of Fish Population Assessments Conducted in Summer of 2002
Abundance
Brook
All Fish
Trout
Stream
Johns Run
Buffalo Fork - trib
Big Run
Poca Run
EF Greenbrier River
Abes Run - trib
Abes Run
Poca Run
Long Run
Long Run - trib
Long Run - trib
Buffalo Fork - trib
EF Greenbrier River
Mullenax Run - trib
Mullenax Run - trib
Walderman Run - trib
Cove Run
Cove Run
Iron Bridg Run
Iron Bridg Run
WF Greenbrier - trib
Mill Run
Gertrude Run
Elklick Run
WF Greenbrier - trib
Fox Run
Mikes Run
WF Greenbrier - trib
Snorting Lick Run
Mountain Lick Cr - trib
Little River (WF)
Little River (WF)
Little River (WF) - trib
Little River (WF)
Snorting Lick Run
Snorting Lick Run
Gertrude Run
Elklick Run - trib
Elklick Run - trib
Snorting Lick Run - trib
WF Greenbrier River?
WF Greenbrier - trib
WF Greenbrier - trib
WF Greenbrier - trib
WF Greenbrier - trib?
WF Greenbrier - trib
Road
Crossing
ef 01
ef 06
ef 08
ef 09
ef 10
ef 11
ef 12
ef 13
ef 14
ef 15
ef 16
ef 17
ef 18
ef 19
ef 20
ef 22
wf 01
wf 02
wf 03
wf 04
wf 05
wf 06
wf 07
wf 08
wf 09
wf 10
wf 11
wf 12
wf 13
wf 14
wf 15
wf 16
wf 17
wf 18
wf 19
wf 20
wf 21
wf 22
wf 23
wf 24
wf 25
wf 26
wf 27
wf 28
wf 29
wf 30
Road
CR250/4
FR54
FR54
FR52
FR51
FR51
FR51
SH28
FR57
FR57
FR57
FR54
FR254
FR51
FR51
SH28
FR44
railtrail
FR44
railtrail
FR44
FR44
FR44
FR44
FR45
FR44
FR44
FR43
FR44
CR250/8
FR17
FR17
FR17
CR250/9
FR35
FR854
FR178
FR178A
FR179
FR35
private?
FR44
railtrail
railtrail?
railtrail?
railtrail
US DS US DS
19
30
2
4
4
20
1
0
57
58
0
1
115
94 56 39
435 246
1
1
More Fish
Species found
downstream
than
upstream?
no
yes
yes
no
yes
Aquatic
MIS or
RFSS
Present?
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
Exotic
Species
DS but
not
upstream?
no
no
no
no
no
47
72
56
80
47
20
44 yes
36 no
yes
yes
no
no
0
247
12
146
2
0 yes
4 yes
no
yes
no
no
6
13
6
3 yes
yes
no
436
282
0 no
yes
no
121
11
0
154
180
245
186
21
10
126
229
275
2
0
1
0
7
0
1
3
1
1
6
no
yes
yes
yes
no
yes
no
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
no
no
no
no
no
150
0
58
6
150
4
36
111
0
3
1
0
4
15
0
no
yes
no
yes
no
yes
yes
yes
no
no
no
no
0
6
0
6 yes
yes
no
322
0
86
326
3
133
0
0
7
2 no
3 yes
0 no
yes
yes
yes
no
no
no
3 - 40
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
Abundance
Brook
All Fish
Trout
Stream
WF Greenbrier - trib?
Fox Run
WF Greenbrier - trib
WF Greenbrier - trib
Little River (WF)
Snorting Lick Run
Road
Crossing
wf 31
wf 32
wf 33
wf 34
wf 35
wf 36
Road
railtrail?
FR369
FR44
CR250/1
FR97
FR35
US
DS
US
DS
More Fish
Species found
downstream
than
upstream?
Aquatic
MIS or
RFSS
Present?
Exotic
Species
DS but
not
upstream?
8
70
1
6 yes
yes
no
60
76
0
39
75
29
9
10 no
0 no
2 yes
yes
no
yes
no
no
no
0
There are an estimated 263 miles of mapped streams in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed and 22
acres of an artificial impoundment (Lake Buffalo). The discussion of aquatic habitats is focused
on the fluvial stream system. As previously discussed, physical conditions and trends associated
with fluvial aquatic habitats are most notably structured around a foundation of stream channel
and riparian area conditions and processes. Current conditions in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed are described for stream morphology, flow rates, storm flows, stream sedimentation,
and riparian habitats under other sections in this document. This information in combination
with data from aquatic habitat and population surveys and other field observations provide the
basis for the discussion of current aquatic habitat conditions.
Aquatic habitat within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed remain in an impaired condition as a
result of the combined effects from historic and present day activities. Aquatic habitat
composition is an important consideration when assessing habitat quality and suitability for
various aquatic species. Aquatic habitat composition is highly skewed toward simplistic shallow
habitats that are typically characterized as riffles. Deeper water habitats such as pools are largely
under-represented and of poor quality and complexity. Though relatively scarce in streams,
large woody debris is a primary pool formative feature for the infrequent pools that exist. The
correlation between large woody debris and pool densities highlights the instrumental role that
woody debris plays in developing and maintaining important aquatic habitat conditions.
The aquatic habitat composition in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is likely influencing the
structure of aquatic communities. Riffle-dwelling species such as sculpin and darters may
potentially benefit from the abundant riffle habitat. Species such as native brook trout that rely
on quality pool habitat or a balance of different habitats to satisfy critical life history
requirements are likely to be experiencing reduced population levels which can be attributed, in
part, to poor habitat composition.
Another important habitat consideration relates to the quality of stream substrates. Most aquatic
species that are native to the Upper Greenbrier Watershed thrive in colder streams that possess
clean gravel and cobble dominated substrates. As larger particle sizes in the stream substrates
become embedded with smaller grains such as sand and silt, these finer sediments tend to clog
interstitial spaces between the larger substrate particles and impair the utility and productivity
associated with these habitats. Stream sedimentation rates and the accumulation of fine
sediments on the stream bottom have previously been discussed and characterized as high
3 - 41
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
relative to reference conditions. The increased stream sedimentation rate is having a negative
influence on the reproductive success of aquatic organisms and can adversely alter the
composition and productivity of aquatic benthic communities.
Water chemistry properties associated with aquatic habitats are largely a reflection of
geochemistry and soil nutrient properties of the contributing watershed area as well as
atmospheric deposition rates. Current conditions for soil acidification, acid deposition, and
stream acidity (pH) are also described under other sections in this document. Tables WQ-2 and
WQ-3 in the Water Quality section list water chemistry data that is available for streams in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Though the current status of stream water chemistry in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed may deviate from that of the reference condition, chemical analysis of
stream water samples indicates that current water chemistry is not likely to be playing a
significant role in limiting the productivity of the aquatic environment.
Aquatic habitat and populations in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed reflect the long-lasting
residual effects of human-induced and natural events that have altered hillslope hydrology,
compromised stream channel integrity, degraded in-stream habitat, impaired riparian areas,
introduced non-native aquatic species, and fragmented aquatic habitat. Though aquatic habitat
and populations have been compromised from their reference conditions, many of these
conditions have likely improved since the mid-1900s. Hill slopes are mostly reforested.
Riparian areas continue to progress toward conditions where floodplain stability and natural
woody debris recruitment will once again provide the vital structure needed for long-term stream
channel stability and enhanced aquatic habitats. Rehabilitation of sediment sources has helped
reduce stream sedimentation rates from conditions that likely prevailed following extensive
timber activities and fires in the early 1900s. Continuing a trend toward improved aquatic health
is largely dependent upon sustaining or advancing recovery trends for these and other critical
watershed processes.
Desired Conditions
Streams are in dynamic equilibrium; that is, stream systems normally function within natural
ranges of flow, sediment movement, temperature, and other variables that provide for healthy
aquatic systems. Stream channel and bank stability is protected during management activities.
The physical integrity of aquatic systems, stream banks, channel substrates and other habitat
components are intact and stable. Where channel shape is modified (e.g., road crossings), the
modification preserves channel stability and function. Streamside vegetation contributes to the
protection and maintenance of water quality, water quantity, nutrient inputs, and physical
channel integrity to support channel function, aquatic biota, aquatic habitat, floodplain function,
aesthetic values and designated uses (Forest Plan, p. II-9).
The amount, distribution, and characteristics of habitat are present at levels necessary to maintain
viable populations of native and desired non-native aquatic species. For Regional Forester
Sensitive Species (RFSS), management actions do not contribute to a trend toward federal
listing. Human activities do not prevent populations from sustaining desired distribution and
abundance, especially during critical life stages. Habitat conditions support populations of
species of ecological, socio-economic, cultural, and recreational significance.
3 - 42
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
Distribution of native and desired non-native fish and other aquatic species is maintained or is
expanding into previously occupied habitat, with inter-connectivity between and within metapopulations. Efforts are in place to prevent new introductions of undesirable non-native fish
species and to reduce degrading effects from past introductions. Restoration activities have
resulted in maintaining necessary water temperatures, reducing pollutants such as sediment, and
removing human-caused barriers to fish passage to restore populations and habitat connectivity
where genetic contamination to native fish species from exotic species is not an issue (Forest
Plan, p. II-29).
Riparian and Wetland Habitat
Reference Conditions
No reference, or undisturbed, watershed conditions exist within the Greenbrier River drainage in
which to compare and contrast the existing conditions. We can speculate that prior to
disturbances associated with creating agricultural openings and the extensive 1900-1920 logging
period, streams primarily flowed through forested riparian areas. The LWD that would fall into
the stream channels from these riparian forests were probably more mature and larger diameter
than the stands comprising the riparian areas today. Larger trees are generally more stable and
last longer than smaller-diameter trees. We can also speculate that spruce was a greater
component of LWD than what we see today. With the natural recruitment of LWD, channels
were more stable, had greater habitat complexity, pool development and cover. There was
probably more reach types characterized as step pool and/or pool-riffle than the dominance of
plane bed reaches under current conditions. With no roads to modify storm flows and increase
erosion, stream channels would be more stable and have lower levels of fine sediment than what
we find today. Stream shading was likely greater in the forested riparian areas, resulting in
cooler water temperatures.
Presettlement estimates of wetlands would be even more speculative. However, it is logical to
assume that the extensive logging and burning that occurred in the last century, along with
concurrent and subsequent mill site, community, and agricultural development, resulted in
significant changes to the wetland conditions that existed in the watershed prior to European
settlement.
Current Conditions
Riparian resources within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are primarily those associated with
riparian and streamside management zones along streams, and mapped wetlands that are
typically adjacent to streams. There are an estimated 6,322 acres or riparian area in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed today, or 7.4 percent of the total watershed area. An estimated 5,078 of
those acres are on NFS lands, the remainder are on private lands. Roughly 89 percent of the
riparian areas in the watershed are considered forested, 92 percent on NFS lands and 77 percent
on private lands. However, most riparian areas are still deficient in large trees, snags, and LWD.
The riparian forests have, for the most part, only begun to develop these characteristics in the
second-growth stands that are now reaching maturity. Non-forested areas are a mixture of
3 - 43
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Aquatic Resources
wetlands, pastureland, road corridors, recreational sites, and—on private lands—agricultural
fields and residential development.
Improved aquatic health is largely dependent upon the continued recovery and aging of riparian
forests to restore the LWD that was an important component of these systems. Protecting
riparian areas and timber stands along active channels will be an important element in restoring
the components for a healthy watershed. Rehabilitation of existing sources of sediment will also
help to reduce the amount of fine sediment influencing streams within the assessment area.
There are an estimated 660 acres of wetlands in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed; 430 acres (65
percent) on NFS lands and 230 acres (35 percent) on private lands. Numerous emergent,
scrub/shrub and forested wetlands of small to moderate size occur throughout portions of the
watershed. Blister Swamp is an emergent wetland (wet meadow) of better than 10 acres size,
mostly on private land in the extreme headwater of the East Fork. Additional wetland lines the
East Fork channel downstream on private and NFS lands. Many tributaries of both the East and
West Forks have wetland habitat adjacent to the stream channels. Land and shallow water
immediately surrounding Lake Buffalo is also considered riparian/wetland habitat (Figure 1-1).
Although wetlands comprise less than one percent of the watershed, they provide numerous
ecological benefits and are reservoirs of diversity, as seen in the rare plants and animals
associated with wetland habitat described in the Vegetation and Wildlife sections of this
assessment.
Wetlands and floodplains are protected by Executive Orders 11990 and 11988. The Forest Plan
also provides protection for sensitive wetland and riparian areas through many standards and
guidelines.
Desired Conditions
Wetland and floodplains function as detention/retention storage areas for floodwaters, sources of
organic matter, and habitat for aquatic and riparian species (Forest Plan, p. II-9).
Streamside vegetation contributes to the protection and maintenance of water quality, water
quantity, nutrient inputs, and physical channel integrity to support channel function, aquatic
biota, aquatic and wildlife habitat, floodplain function, aesthetic values, and designated uses
(Forest Plan, p. II-9).
3 - 44
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
VEGETATION
Forest Types and Age Classes
Reference Conditions
Prior to European settlement in the area, most of the forests in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
were likely spruce-northern hardwoods, with some mixed hardwoods and oak forests at the lower
elevations. Estimated presettlement forest distribution is shown in Map VG-1, and is largely
based on the vegetation potential within ecological land types.
The primary agents of change in these forests were natural processes and disturbances, such as
succession, fire, insects, diseases, wind storms, and floods. Presettlement forests were believed
to be predominantly late successional and uneven-aged, with different-sized gaps of even-aged
trees, brush, or herbaceous cover caused by the disturbances noted above. Fire return intervals
were long (200+ years) over most of the watershed, so landscape-scale stand replacement was
likely rare. Dominant and co-dominant trees were generally larger than they are today, and
decadent features like snags, logs, and humus were more prevalent across the landscape.
Figure VG-1. Burner Mill Site with Log Pond, Circa 1905
Extensive logging in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed occurred primarily between 1901 and
1920 (see Heritage Resources section). During this time, there were seven band saw mills and
associated communities along the West Fork Greenbrier River, and two mills/communities along
the East Fork. The photo above shows the mill site at Burner on the West Fork, circa 1905.
3 - 45
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Logging at the turn of the last century harvested almost all of the merchantable overstory trees in
the watershed at that time. These harvests were followed by extensive slash burning that
removed much of the understory. For this reason the forests that exist today are predominantly
even-aged. An estimated 70 percent of NFS land is in the mid-late successional stage. The early
clearcuts and burning affected forest types as well. For example, the prevalence of yellow birch
today is a result of it being a pioneer species that thrived in the open landscape after the turn of
the century logging; just as the reduction in spruce is likely because of the hot fires that removed
the spruce seed source. The reduction of large logs and snags on the landscape is also a result of
the historic logging and fires, and the fact that the forests growing today are not old enough yet
to provide these features to the extent that they existed in presettlement times.
Timber management methods and objectives have changed under the guidance of the Forest
Service. Many areas on the Forest—like the Gaudineer and East Fork Greenbrier Roadless
Areas—do not generally allow commercial timber harvest. Where allowed, most harvesting of
second growth forests has been to improve age class and habitat diversity. An estimated 3
percent of the watershed has been regenerated through harvest over the last 20 years to help
move toward desired conditions for age class distribution and improve mast production. About 5
percent of NFS lands in the watershed have received some type of timber harvest over the last 15
years, including regeneration cuts, two-aged cuts, shelterwoods, thinnings, and other small
salvage, locust post, and mine prop sales.
Timber harvesting has continued on private land as well. These harvests have been mostly
diameter limit cuts that remove most of the trees above a certain diameter measured at about 1
foot above ground level.
Current and Desired Conditions
The discussion below focuses on forested stands on NFS lands. Private land includes forested
land, openings, and water bodies as well. However, forest size and age class information is not
available for these lands, which are not managed by the Forest Service. Current and desired
conditions have been combined to give the reader a better idea of the discrepancies that exist,
and the needs and opportunities related to those discrepancies.
Forest Types
A forest type indicates the dominant tree species or group of species present in a forested stand,
but it does not always reflect all of the species present. Typically many other tree species are
also present with the tree species that define a forest type, but in fewer numbers. On the
Monongahela National Forest, plant species common to northern climates intermingle with plant
species common to southern climates. This results in stands with a large number of species and
species mixes. Over 40 commercial tree species occur on the Forest, and it is not uncommon to
find 10 to 15 commercial species growing in a 10-acre stand. This high level of diversity is due
to the unique geographic, climatic, and topographic features of this area.
3 - 46
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Map VG-1. Estimated Presettlement Forests in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 47
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Map VG-2. Current Forest Types in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 48
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Over time, a stand’s forest type may change as some short-lived tree species succumb to natural
mortality, while longer-lived tree species survive and become more prevalent. Other changes
may result from high mortality rates of specific species due to insects and disease, such as
hemlock wooly adelgid or beech bark disease. Deer may also affect forest types as they
selectively browse on seedlings. Forest type modifications over time may result in changes to
wildlife habitat, scenic quality, forest product availability, and recreation opportunities.
Map VG-2 shows the forest types that currently exist in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. This
map shows the watershed being dominated by mixed hardwoods and northern hardwood mixes
such as sugar maple-beech-yellow birch, and black cherry-white ash-yellow poplar. For
management purposes, these forest types have been lumped into the similar ecological groupings
found in Table VG-1.
Over 95 percent of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is forested. As seen in Table VG-1, the
watershed is dominated by Appalachian mixed hardwood and northern hardwood forest types
(85 percent). About 7 percent of the watershed has forest types dominated by oak, while about 5
percent has types dominated by conifers, most notably red spruce, eastern hemlock, and white
pine. Some plantations of red pine are also present, and red spruce and hemlock are commonly
found as components of northern hardwood communities.
Table VG-1. Acres of Forest Types by Management Prescription Area
Forest Type
Eastern Spruce-Fir
Eastern White Pine and Hemlock
Oak-Pine
Oak-Hickory
Bottomland Hardwoods
Appalachian (mixed ) Hardwoods
Northern Hardwoods
Open
MP
3.0
MP
4.1
302
327
10
2613
0
23958
8733
619
925
415
0
33
0
11250
2938
1120
MP
6.1
151
37
2
2385
0
1339
385
94
MP
6.2
863
910
0
131
9
3892
8824
322
MP
8.0
229
0
0
0
0
474
1310
9
Total
Acres
2470
1689
12
5162
9
40913
22190
2164
Percent of
Forested
Land in
Watershed
3
2
0
7
0
55
30
3
Most vegetation management opportunities in the watershed will be in response to age class
discrepancies between current and desired conditions. However, the spruce-fir, northern
hardwoods, and oak forest types have special management needs that are described below.
Spruce and Spruce-Hardwood Communities - Although red spruce has been slowly
expanding its range over the past few decades, red spruce and spruce-hardwoods mixed forests
once covered much more area than they do today (MNF FEIS, 2006, Chapter 3, Terrestrial
Ecosystem Diversity section). While opportunities for active restoration of the red spruce
community are limited in areas determined to be suitable habitat for the West Virginia northern
flying squirrel, there are areas in the watershed where red spruce and mixed red sprucehardwood forests could be actively managed to increase red spruce dominance. Depending on
3 - 49
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
stand conditions, and to some extent management prescription direction, there are a number of
management strategies that could be used to increase spruce dominance, including:
• Commercial timber harvest in northern hardwood stands adjacent to red spruce to release
understory spruce,
• Non-commericial girdling/herbiciding overstory hardwoods around understory spruce,
• Commerical and non-commerical thinning of young spruce or spruce-hardwood stands to
increase spruce growth, vigor, and composition,
• Commercial or non-commercial harvesting or thinning of mature spruce-hardwood stands
to increase spruce composition and to help develop uneven-aged stand conditions,
• Planting red spruce on appropriate sites, either alone or in conjunction with some of the
treatments described above,
• Commercial harvesting or thinning of red pine plantations to release existing understory
red spruce,
• Regeneration harvests of hardwood stands adjacent to red spruce stands to allow for
natural regeneration of red spruce.
For Management Prescription 4.1 areas, the desired conditions not only allow for the spruce
management strategies described above, they encourages them: “Stands with a viable spruce
component in the overstory or understory are managed to restore the natural species composition,
structure, and function of spruce and spruce-hardwood communities” (Forest Plan, p. III-12).
For Management Prescription 3.0 and 6.1 areas, there are no explicit desired conditions to
increase the spruce component in forested stands. However, stand prescriptions could still be
designed to maintain or establish a spruce component on appropriate sites, particularly those
adjacent to existing red spruce. Although Management Prescription 6.2 does allow for some
ecological restoration, management opportunities are limited due to access and disturbance
limitations. Some thinning, release, or planting treatments may be appropriate, however.
Oak Communities - Oak communities are currently in decline due to changes in stand density,
structure, age, and composition, leading to a decreasing trend in vegetation diversity. In areas
where fires helped perpetuate oak and oak-hickory forests, decades of fire suppression have
created conditions where oak species are not competing well with species such as striped and red
maple and American beech. Light conditions in the mid-story are not suitable for oaks to
regenerate. An overabundance of deer browsing in some areas has also reduced oak
regeneration. Timber harvest, thinning, and prescribed fire can be used to mimic the effects of
historic fire regimes in areas where these activities are both allowed by Forest Plan direction and
are considered ecologically appropriate.
Oaks are a primary producer of hard mast on the Forest, and, besides the oak types that are noted
in Table 3-1, oaks are also an important component of the mixed hardwood stands that comprise
an estimated 55 percent of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
For Management Prescription 6.1 areas, the oak management strategies described above are
encouraged: “On sites where existing vegetation includes an oak component, oak restoration
management focuses on achieving and maintaining oak-dominated species composition, as well
3 - 50
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
as developing the more open stand structure that likely existed in these communities prior to a
period of extensive fire suppression that began about 70-80 years ago” (Forest Plan, p. III-34).
For Management Prescription 4.1 areas, oak can be managed in stands with little or no potential
for spruce restoration. Desired conditions for these stands include: “Management activities
result in relatively high levels of sustainable mast production, and they contribute to the longterm sustained yield of timber products” (Forest Plan, p. III-13). Similarly, Management
Prescription 3.0 desired conditions state: “Management activities result in relatively high levels
of sustainable timber and mast production” (Forest Plan, p. III-6). Although Management
Prescription 6.2 does allow for some ecological restoration, management opportunities are
limited due to access and disturbance limitations.
Age Classes
A good distribution of age classes across the landscape indicates long-term sustainability and
improved forest health. Expectations to move toward a more balanced age or size class
distribution were not fully achieved in the last planning cycle. Goals and objectives were
adjusted for this planning cycle to help ensure that the desired composition and structure of
forest vegetation, in those Management Prescriptions that allow active management, can be
sustained into the future. The Forest Plan identifies long-term desired conditions for age classes
have been identified for those MPs where vegetation management is emphasized. Vegetation
management in areas that allow such activities, combined with natural disturbances in areas of
unmanaged forest, will help achieve these desired conditions.
An estimated 70 to 80 percent of the Forest is currently the same approximate age (70-100 years)
with similar stand conditions. Conversely, there are relatively few forest stands in younger age
conditions. The effects of an aging forest include: 1) an increasing susceptibility to forest
decline and mortality from insect and disease outbreaks; 2) a decrease in timber and mast
productivity and wildlife habitat diversity; 3) an increase in shade-tolerant tree species; and 4) an
increase in fuel loads from both down and standing dead trees that may result in a higher
potential of more severe fires during periods of extended or extreme drought.
The current age classes of forested areas on NFS lands in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed are
displayed in Table VG-2. Similar to Forest-wide conditions, an estimated 70 percent of the NFS
lands in the watershed are in a single age class (mid-late successional), and 91 percent of the
lands are in two age classes (mid successional and mid-late successional). Early and early-mid
successional stages, on the other hand, only account for about 4 percent of the watershed NFS
lands. Open/brushy areas comprise another 3 percent.
The figures in Table VG-2 indicate obvious opportunities to increase age class diversity within
the watershed. These opportunities can be influenced by not only by current and desired age
class conditions, but also by management emphasis and direction from the different Management
Prescription areas in the watershed. Conditions and opportunities are described below for each
of the Management Prescription areas (3.0, 4.1, 6.1) where vegetation management is
emphasized.
3 - 51
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
TableVG-2. Tree Vegetation Age Class Acres by Management Prescription Area
MP
3.0
Age Class
Open/Brush
Early Successional (0-19 years)
Early-Mid Successional (20-39 years)
Mid Successional (40-79 years)
Mid-Late Successional (80-119 years)
Late Successional (≥120 years)
619
763
824
4342
24796
1097
MP
4.1
1120
728
63
3680
10873
210
MP
6.1
94
284
0
102
3434
327
MP
6.2
322
121
0
6370
7882
256
MP
8.0
9
36
0
419
1269
298
% of NFS
Land in
Watershed
Total
Acres
2164
1932
887
14913
48254
2188
3
3
1
21
70
3
Management Prescription 3.0 - This MP area comprises 47 percent (32,443 acres) of NFS land
in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Of the NFS forested lands in the watershed, an estimated 2
percent are conifer communities, 24 percent are northern hardwood communities, 68 percent are
mixed hardwood communities, and 6 percent are oak communities. Less than 2 percent of the
3.0 MP areas are in an open condition. The forest communities in MP 3.0 are broken down by
age class in Table VG-3.
Table VG-3. Current Age Classes of Forest Communities in MP 3.0
Forest
Community
Conifer
Northern Hardwoods
Mixed Hardwoods
Mixed Oak-pine
Early
Successional
(0-19 years)
1%
2%
4%
6%
Percent by Age Class for Each Community
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Successional
Successional
Successional
(20-39 years) (40-79 years) (80-120 years)
1%
1%
40%
4%
15%
75%
1%
13%
79%
1%
16%
71%
Late
Successional
(>120 years)
56%
4%
3%
6%
The age class percentages for northern hardwoods, mixed hardwoods, and mixed oak-pine are
very similar, with most forest stands in the mid-late and mid successional stages. The difference
in the conifer community age classes is primarily due to this community being so small and thus
significantly influenced by a few areas that have received little management. However, it is
noteworthy that relatively little regeneration seems to be occurring in the conifer and other forest
communities. These numbers can be compared to the desired age class ranges for forest
communities in MP 3.0 displayed in Table VG-4 (Forest Plan, p. III-6).
The comparison indicates that there is both a need and opportunity to regenerate stands within
MP 3.0 in order to move toward desired conditions for age class distribution. Regeneration
would not only reduce the amount of stands in mid-late successional stage, but would also
increase the amount in the early successional stage, which over time would become early-mid
and mid successional stages. Management direction in MP 3.0 provides for this type of activity.
3 - 52
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Table VG-4. Desired Age Classes of Forest Communities in MP 3.0
Percent Range by Age Class for Each Community
Early
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Late
Successional
Successional
Successional
Successional
Successional
(0-19 years)
(20-39 years) (40-79 years) (80-120 years) (>120 years)
Conifer
10-20%
10-20%
20-40%
20-40%
10-15%
Northern Hardwoods
12-20%
12-20%
24-40%
24-40%
5-10%
Mixed Cove Hardwoods
12-20%
12-20%
24-40%
24-40%
5-10%
Mixed Oak
12-22%
12-22%
24-40%
24-40%
5-10%
Pine-Oak
12-24%
12-24%
24-40%
24-40%
5-10%
Note: “Conifer” opportunities would be primarily associated with pine plantations and native pine in this MP.
Spruce-dominated stands that are WVNFS suitable habitat would be managed as such under Forest-wide direction.
Forest
Community
“The Forest is a mosaic of stands of predominantly hardwood trees and associated
understories that provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species. The stands vary in size,
shape, height, and species depending on the silvicultural system applied. Management
activities result in relatively high levels of sustainable timber and mast production. Age
class distribution ranges from early to late successional stands, but the predominant age
classes are represented by mid and mid-late successional stands” (Forest Plan, p. III-6-7,
Desired Conditions).
“Over the next 10 years regenerate the following amounts of forest vegetation to begin
moving toward desired age class conditions for these forest types:
Northern hardwoods:
1,000-2,000 acres
Mixed cove hardwoods:
8,000-12,000 acres
Mixed oak:
3,000-4,000 acres” (FP, p. III-7, Objective 3002)
There is also an opportunity to increase openings within MP 3.0 areas, as the desired condition
range is 3 to 8 percent, and the current condition is at 1.7 percent.
Management Prescription 4.1 - This MP area comprises 24 percent (16,701 acres) of NFS land
in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. The management of vegetation communities under this MP
is distinctly different for spruce and spruce-hardwoods than it is for communities with little or no
potential to grow spruce. Red spruce, red pine, and hemlock were combined for the sprucespruce hardwood communities. For spruce and spruce-hardwood communities, current age class
conditions are shown in Table VG-5.
Table VG-5. Current Age Classes for Spruce/Spruce-Hardwood Communities in MP 4.1
Forest Community
Spruce and Spruce-Hardwood
Early
Successional
(0-19 years)
0
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Late
Successional Successional Successional Successional
(20-39 years) (40-79 years) (80-120 years) (>120 years)
2
78
18
1
Desired age class conditions for these communties are shown in Table VG-6.
3 - 53
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Table VG-6. Desired Vegetation Age Classes for Spruce and Spruce-Hardwoods in MP 4.1
Forest Community
Spruce and Spruce-Hardwood
Early
Successional
(0-19 years)
3-8
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Late
Successional Successional Successional Successional
(20-39 years) (40-79 years) (80-120 years) (>120 years)
3-8
5 - 15
5 - 15
60 - 80
Desired conditions for these stands are: “Stands with a viable spruce component in the overstory
or understory are managed to restore the natural species composition, structure, and function of
spruce and spruce-hardwood communities. Restoration management focuses on achieving
spruce and mixed spruce-hardwood species composition, as well as developing the multi-age
stand structure that likely existed in this community prior to exploitation. Most spruce and
spruce-hardwood stands are developing late successional conditions over time. At the stand
level, these conditions include a mix of trees of different ages, complex vertical habitat structure,
scattered small openings (< 2 acres) dominated by shrubs and saplings, scattered over-mature
trees, and an abundance of snags, den trees, and downed woody debris. Research projects or
administrative studies provide information and strategies for successfully restoring spruce and
spruce-hardwood communities” (Forest Plan, p. III-12).
Vegetation management opportunities in spruce and spruce-hardwood communities over the next
10 years should focus on research/administrative studies designed to provide information on
community restoration. These opportunities should be coordinated with the Northern Research
Station.
Age class conditions for stands in MP 4.1 with little or no potential for spruce restoration are
shown in Table VG-7.
Table VG-7. Current Vegetation Age Classes for MP 4.1 Areas with Little or No Potential
to Restore Spruce
Forest
Community
Northern Hardwoods
Mixed Hardwoods
Mixed Oak-Pine
Early
Successional
(0-19 years)
5
6
15
Percent by Age Class for Each Community
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Successional Successional Successional
(20-39 years) (40-79 years) (80-120 years)
0
28
60
0
17
76
0
85
0
Late
Successional
(>120 years)
6
0
0
“Stands with little or no potential for spruce restoration are managed to promote healthy
hardwood communities with a mix of age classes. Management activities result in relatively
high levels of sustainable mast production, and they contribute to the long-term sustained yield
of timber products. Age class distribution ranges from openings maintained for wildlife habitat
to a network of late successional stands, but the predominant age class is represented by mid
3 - 54
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
successional and mid-late successional stands that feature sustainable mast production” (Forest
Plan, p. III-13). The following table displays desired vegetative conditions in MP 4.1 hardwood
management areas:
Table VG-8. Desired Vegetation Age Classes for MP 4.1 Areas with Little or No Potential
to Restore Spruce
Forest
Community
Northern Hardwoods
Mixed Cove Hardwoods
Mixed Oak
Pine-Oak
Early
Successional
(0-19 years)
15-20%
15-20%
10-15%
15-20%
Percent by Age Class for Each Community
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Successional Successional Successional
(20-39 years) (40-79 years) (80-120 years)
15-20%
35-45%
15-25%
15-20%
35-45%
15-25%
10-15%
25-35%
20-30%
15-20%
25-35%
20-30%
Late
Successional
(>120 years)
5-10%
5-10%
15-20%
10-15%
The comparison of current and desired age class tables for MP 4.1 indicates that there is both a
need and opportunity to regenerate stands within MP 4.1 to move toward desired conditions for
age class distribution. Management direction in MP 4.1 provides for this type of activity.
“Over the next 10 years regenerate approximately 2,000 to 5,000 acres of hardwoods on
suited timberlands where spruce cannot be restored to begin moving toward desired age
class and habitat diversity conditions” (Forest Plan, p. III-14, Goal 4108).
An estimated 6.7 percent of the MP 4.1 areas are in an open condition, including range allotment
pastureland, meadows, and wetlands. The desired condition for openings is “up to 5 percent”
(Forest Plan, p. III-12). Although this desired condition should not affect the management of
existing range allotments, it does indicate that there is no real need to create new permanent
openings during other vegetation management activities.
Management Prescription 6.1 - The 6.1 MP areas comprise about 6 percent (4,292 acres) of
NFS land in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Of the NFS forested lands in the watershed, most
are in mixed hardwood or oak forest communties. Just over 2 percent of the 6.1 MP areas are in
an open condition. The forest communities in MP 6.1 are shown by age class in Table VG-9.
Table VG-9. Current Age Classes of Forest Communities in MP 6.1
Forest
Community
Conifer
Northern Hardwoods
Mixed Hardwoods
Mixed Oak-Pine Oak
Early
Successional
(0-19 years)
56
0
4
8
Percent by Age Class for Each Community
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Late
Successional Successional Successional Successional
(20-39 years) (40-79 years) (80-119 years) (>120 years)
0
0
44
0
0
1
99
0
2
0
93
1
1
1
77
13
3 - 55
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
The age class percentages fall dominantly within the mid-late successional stage for the northern
hardwoods, mixed hardwoods, and mixed oak communities. The difference in the conifer
community age classes is primarily due to this community being so small and thus significantly
influenced by fairly recent harvest activity. Again, it is obvious that relatively little regeneration
is occurring in the other forest communities. These numbers can be compared to the desired age
class ranges for forest communities in MP 6.1 displayed in Table VG-10.
Table VG-10. Desired Age Classes of Forest Communities in MP 6.1
Forest
Community
Conifer
Northern Hardwoods
Mixed Cove Hardwoods
Mixed Oak
Pine-Oak
Percent Range by Age Class for Each Community
Early
Early-Mid
Mid
Mid-Late
Late
Successional Successional Successional Successional Successional
(0-19 years) (20-39 years) (40-79 years) (80-119 years) (>120 years)
15-20%
15-20%
30-40%
20-30%
8-12%
15-20%
15-20%
30-40%
20-30%
5-10%
15-20%
15-20%
30-40%
20-30%
5-10%
10-15%
10-15%
25-35%
20-30%
15-20%
15-20%
15-20%
25-35%
20-30%
10-15%
The comparison indicates that there is both a need and opportunity to regenerate stands within
MP 6.1 in order to move toward desired conditions for age class distribution. Management
direction in MP 6.1 provides for this type of activity.
“This area provides a diversity of habitats for wildlife species, as well as abundant
security areas to provide habitat for local wildlife populations that are sensitive to
disturbance. Management activities result in relatively high levels of sustainable mast
production in important species such as oak, hickory, and black cherry. Age class
distribution ranges from early to late successional stands, but the predominant age classes
are represented by mid and mid-late successional stands” (Forest Plan, p. III-34, Desired
Conditions).
“Over the next 10 years regenerate an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 acres of mixed and
northern hardwoods to begin moving toward desired age class and habitat diversity
conditions” (Forest Plan, p. III-36, Objective 61065).
“Over the next 10 years regenerate the following amounts of forest vegetation to begin
moving toward desired age class and habitat diversity conditions for these forest types:
White oak:
700-1,200 acres
Red oak:
2,000-4,000 acres
Mixed oak:
1,000-3,000 acres” (Forest Plan, p. III-36, Objective 6106)
There is also an opportunity to increase openings within MP 6.1 areas, as the desired condition
range is 3 to 8 percent, and the current condition is at 2.1 percent.
Management Prescription 6.2 - Management Prescription 6.2 comprises about 20 percent
(14,953 acres) of NFS land in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Although Management
3 - 56
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Prescription 6.2 does allow for some ecological restoration, management for age class diversity
is generally not an option. Management of existing wildlife openings and grasslands may occur.
Other Vegetation Management Opportunities
Timber Stand Improvement - Most of the areas that were harvested with even-aged cuts in the
1960s and 70s resulted in stands of overcrowded trees (too many trees trying to live in one area).
Natural mortality can eventually reduce this overcrowding; however, timber stand improvement
(TSI) techniques can select which trees will live and die. These TSI treatments are designed to
improve the health and increase the growth of residual trees. One method of TSI is a noncommercial thinning in a crop tree release (CTR). Roughly 2,700 acres of young tree stands
received this type of treatment in the past 10 years in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Crop
trees are selected based on species, mast capability, health, potential wood value, and form. The
stands in this area that were treated with CTR are now or, within the next 5 years, will be in the
poletimber size class. There is the potential to further improve the health and growth of these
stands through commercial and non-commercial thinnings using various TSI methods.
Additionally, many stands that were harvested with even-aged cuts in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed in the 1980s and early 1990s are now overcrowded with young trees. These stands
will be ready for a non-commercial thinning using the CTR method within the next 5 years.
Most of these stands are presently in the sapling stage of growth.
Prescribed Fire – Numerous, large fires occurred in the watershed after the extensive logging in
the early 1900s. Damaged soils from the intensity of the fire and subsequent erosion have
resulted in some areas of shallow soils, or exposed rock with little soil cover. Fire has been
virtually excluded from the Upper Greenbrier Watershed over the past 60 years due to effective
fire suppression activities. Most of the watershed, however, is considered to be in Fire Regime
5, Condition Class I, with fire return intervals of 200+ years (Map VG-3).
There are about 500 acres within the watershed that are in Fire Regime 1, Condition Class 3, and
about 4,000 acres of Fire Regime III, Condition Class 2. These 4,500 acres represent about 6
percent of NFS land in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Most of these acres are in the Outlet
East Fork Greenbrier River subwatershed (Map VG-3). These areas are at the highest risk of
losing key ecosystem components, particularly in oak-dominated forests. Prescribed fire could
be used to help restore composition and structure within fire-adapted ecosystems, and to reduce
fuels, especially in the wildland urban interface near Bartow. Fire could also be used to create or
maintain openings, savannahs, and early successional stages, to thin out understory vegetation, or
to treat vegetation in Management Prescription 6.2 areas where there are restrictions on
mechanical disturbance and road construction.
Desired Conditions
Additional Forest-wide desired conditions for vegetation, timber, and fire management include
the following.
3 - 57
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Map VG-3. Fire Regimes and Condition Classes in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 58
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Vegetation – “Forested lands exhibit variable patterns of size classes, densities, structural stages,
and species composition due to a combination of successional development, disturbance regimes,
and management activities. Age class distribution ranges from openings maintained for wildlife
habitat to a network of late successional stands” (Forest Plan, p. II-17).
“Where vegetation development is influenced by management actions, forest succession will be
interrupted in some areas to perpetuate early and mid-successional tree species and create age
class diversity between stands. In some areas, forest management will perpetuate shadeintolerant or moderately tolerant tree species such as oaks. In these managed areas, a mixture of
management activities and natural processes creates variety in size classes, structural stages, and
species composition” (Forest Plan, p. II-17).
Timber – “Suited timberlands provide sustainable and predictable levels of forest products.
Forest products include, but are not limited to, fuelwood, post and poles, and sawlogs. The
Forest provides a dependable source of large-diameter, high-quality sawtimber. Commercial
timber harvest is a viable tool for accomplishing vegetation management objectives” (Forest
Plan, p. II-40).
Prescribed Fire – “Fire is used as a tool to achieve and maintain desired vegetative conditions
and fuel levels…Fire operates within fire regimes appropriate to the vegetation type and
management objectives, and helps maintain fire-adapted ecosystems” (Forest Plan, p. II-15).
Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Plants
Four federally-listed threatened and endangered plant species are known to occur on the
Monongahela National Forest: running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum), shale barren
rockcress (Arabis serotina), Virginia spirea (Spiraea virginiana), and small whorled pogonia
(Isotria medeoloides). Fifty-four plant species are listed as Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species
(RFSS) on the Forest.
Reference Conditions
It is assumed that all of the TES plants known within the watershed today existed here prior to
European settlement of the area. It is not known how much post-settlement activities have
influenced the amount and distribution of these species. Some species may have always been
rare on the landscape, while others may have become rare through human-caused effects.
Regardless of how these plants reached their current status, Forest managers are now obligated
through law and agency directives to provide habitat for these rare species, to promote the
recovery of federally listed species, and to keep RFSS from a trend toward federal listing. Our
goal is to have these species continue to contribute to the overall biodiversity of the Forest.
Current Conditions
Threatened and Endangered Plants
3 - 59
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Likelihood of occurrence is based on field surveys of the proposed activity areas, historic
records, and the presence of potential habitat in the project area. Based on field surveys of
proposed activity areas and existing records, one of the four threatened and endangered species is
known to occur within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Potential habitat may occur for two
other species.
Virginia Spirea - Virginia spirea is a clonal shrub found on damp, rocky banks of large, highgradient streams (USFWS 1992a). The shrub may be found in either full sun or shade. Within
the watershed, potential habitat for Virginia spirea is limited to the channels and banks of large
streams such as the West and East Forks of the Greenbrier River. Elevation range for known
occurrences in West Virginia is 1000 to 1800 feet, which is lower than any elevation in the
watershed. The only known occurrence on the Forest consists on two subpopulations along the
Greenbrier River at the southern edge of the White Sulphur District.
Running Buffalo Clover - Potential habitat for running buffalo clover typically exists in lightly
disturbed forests and woodlands on soils derived from circumneutral geologic features
(NatureServe 2006a, USFWS 2007). The Monongahela National Forest is a stronghold for
running buffalo clover, with the largest and highest quality populations range-wide occurring on
the Forest (USFWS 2007). Most of the Forest’s populations are associated with old skid trails,
lightly used roads, or other features that cause moderate soil disturbance. Potential habitat in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed is likely concentrated in areas of favorable geology and past soil
disturbance. Existing records show occurrences of running buffalo clover within the watershed.
Small Whorled Pogonia - Habitat preferences for small whorled pogonia are poorly known, but
could include a variety of forested habitats. The available literature indicates occurrence in
mixed deciduous and pine-hardwood habitats of a variety of ages, often near partial canopy
openings (USFWS 1992b). Likelihood of occurrence for small whorled pogonia is considered
low because it is not known to occur within the watershed, and site-specific surveys have not
located it. However, potential occurrence cannot be completely ruled out based on habitat
preferences and due to the difficulty of locating this species using conventional survey
techniques.
Shale barren Rockcress - Shale barren rockcress is not likely to occur within the watershed due
to lack of shale barren habitat. Shale barrens are limited to the drier areas on the eastern side of
the Forest.
Regional Forester’s Sensitive Plants
Based on field surveys and existing records, three of the 54 RFSS plants are known to occur
within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed: Appalachian blue violet (Viola appalachiensis),
butternut (Juglans cinerea), and rock skullcap (Scutellaria saxatilis). Appalachian blue violet is
known from 15 locations in the project area. Butternut is known from two locations in the
project area, and rock skullcap is known from one location.
3 - 60
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Based on the Likelihood of Occurrence assessment, potential habitat could occur for 30
additional RFSS plants. However, given the lack of known occurrences despite site surveys, it is
unlikely that the watershed supports substantial populations that are crucial for the continued
viability of these species on the MNF.
The total for potential and known RFSS plants in the watershed is 33 species. To facilitate
analysis, RFSS plants have been grouped according to their primary habitat (Tables VG-11
through VG-13). The three habitat groupings are wetland/riparian habitat, mesic/cove forest, and
rocky habitat.
Table VG-11. Known or Potential Wetland and Riparian Habitat RFSS Plants in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Scientific Name
Common Name
Baptisia australis var. australis
Botrychium oneidense
Euphorbia purpurea
Hasteola suaveolens
Hypericum mitchellianum
Ilex collina
Juncus filiformis
Marshallia grandiflora
Menyanthes trifoliata
Pedicularis lanceolata
Poa paludigena
Polemonium vanbruntiae
Potamogeton tennesseensis
Taxus canadensis
Blue wild indigo
Blunt-lobed grapefern
Darlington’s spurge
Sweet-scented Indian plantain
Blue Ridge St. John’s wort
Long-stalked holly
Thread rush
Large-flowered Barbara’s buttons
Bog buckbean
Swamp lousewort
Bog bluegrass
Jacob’s ladder
Tennessee pondweed
Canada yew
Vitis rupestris
Woodwardia areolata
Sand grape
Netted chain fern
Habitat Comments
Primarily early successional wetlands
Wooded wetlands
Open or closed canopy
Riverbanks and disturbed wetlands
Riverbanks and disturbed wetlands
Open or closed canopy
Open canopy
Flood-scoured stream banks in full sun
Bogs
May prefer circumneutral soil
Sun to partial shade
Swamps, bogs, riparian zones
Standing or slow-flowing water
Occurs in spruce forests, or in riparian
areas or wetlands in lower elevations.
River banks and washes
Swamps and wet woods
Table VG-12. Known and Potential Mesic Forest and Cove Habitat RFSS Plants in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Scientific Name
Common Name
Habitat Comments
Botrychium lanceolatum var.
angustisegmentum
Corallorhiza bentleyi
Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum
Cypripedium reginae
Juglans cinerea
Lance-leaf grapefern
Moist, shady woods and swamp margins
Bentley’s coral root
Small yellow lady’s slipper
Showy lady’s slipper
Butternut
Triphora trianthophora
Viola appalachiensis
Nodding pogonia
Appalachian blue violet
Habitat preferences poorly understood
Moist to wet sites
Swamps and woods
Most likely in rich alluvial soil, but could
occur elsewhere
Deep leaf litter or humus
Often in riparian areas, but can occur in
other mesic situations
3 - 61
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Table VG-13. Known and Potential Rocky Habitat RFSS Plants in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Scientific Name
Common Name
Cornus rugosa
Gymnocarpium appalachianum
Heuchera alba
Juncus trifidus
Oryzopsis canadensis
Pycnanthemum beadlei
Scutellaria saxatilis
Roundleaf dogwood
Appalachian oak fern
White alumroot
Highland rush
Canada mountain rice grass
Beadle’s mountainmint
Rock skullcap
Syntrichia ammonsiana
Taenidia montana
Ammon’s tortula
Virginia mountain pimpernel
Trichomanes boschianum
Appalachian bristle fern
Habitat Comments
Rocky areas within forests
Rocky woods
Most likely in dry microsites
Rock crevices
Open canopy, sandstone
Open canopy over rocks
Rocky areas within forests. Also seen
in shaded cut banks and shoulders of
infrequently used forest roads.
Wet, cool microsites
Dry outcrops. Typically a shale
barren species, but one occurrence in
Tucker County.
Dripping rocks
Management Implications
Site-specific field surveys for TES plants should cover all areas proposed for timber harvest, new
road construction, and other ground-disturbing actions. Known or discovered populations will
be protected through management requirements in the Forest Plan, and any additional mitigation
measures identified at the project level.
Desired Conditions
Although all threatened, endangered, or proposed species on the Forest may not be individually
addressed in the Forest-wide management direction, the Forest is obligated to provide sufficient
habitat to contribute to their survival and recovery. This obligation is spelled out in more detail
in the Endangered Species Act, Forest Service Manual and Handbook direction, and various
recovery plans, conservation strategies and agreements, and Memoranda Of Understanding. In
addition, Section 7 consultation will occur at the project level for all proposed actions that may
affect these species or their habitat (Forest Plan, p. II-22).
Rare plants and their habitats are protected and enhanced across the Forest through designation
and management of Botanical Areas and Research Natural Areas, and through continued surveys
and mitigation for species on the RFSS list. Rare plants and communities contribute to the
biodiversity of the Forest and region (Forest Plan, p. II-17).
Non-native Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plant Species
Reference Conditions
There are many insects and diseases within the watershed that are not only native to this area but
also critically important to basic ecosystem function and processes such as plant fertilization,
3 - 62
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
forest succession, and nutrient cycling. This assessment, however, focuses on non-native
invasive species (NNIS) that tend to have more detrimental effects to the environment. By
definition, NNIS are species that are not native to this area; therefore, reference conditions did
not include NNIS prior to European settlement. Most NNIS have been introduced to the
watershed within the last 100 years through a wide variety of means.
The role of non-native insects, diseases, and invasive plants as disturbance factors has increased
in the past century due to the introduction of these pests from other countries. Some of the
species known to influence the structure and pattern of vegetation are discussed below. The
species listed here are not all inclusive of non-native insects, diseases, and invasive plants that
may be present in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
Current Conditions
Non-native Insects
Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar L.) - Gypsy moth was introduced from France to the United
States in 1869. The first defoliation outbreak occurred in 1889 (McManus, Schneeberger,
Reardon and Mason 1989).
A population crash of the gypsy moth, caused by the fungus Entomophaga maimaiga, has kept
the population under control for many years. High humidity, frequent periods of rain, and fairly
constant temperatures between 14°C to 26° C are needed for the fungus to germinate and spread
(Reardon and Hajek 1998). Without these conditions, increases in the number of gypsy moth
egg masses on the Forest may result in a population build-up, causing defoliation in numerous
“hot spots” in the eastern section of Pocahontas County where oaks predominate. Population
increases do not always cause significant tree mortality in the first year. However, continued
increases in populations, with successive years of defoliation, may cause extensive tree
mortality. A return to a control program may be necessary to slow the spread of this insect and
reduce tree mortality.
Oak trees (especially of the white oak group) are the preferred host for this insect pest. Less than
6% of the forest types in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed feature oak, and most of those are the
mixed and red oak groups. Therefore, this area is considered to be at relatively low risk for
massive defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars.
Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) (Adelges tsugae) - This sapsucking insect, introduced to the
United States from Asia in 1924, was detected in Pocahontas County in 1993 (Hutchinson 1995).
The insect feeds on twigs causing the foliage to discolor and drop prematurely. Defoliation and
death usually occurs about 4 years after a tree is infested. Eastern and Carolina Hemlocks are
highly susceptible to this insect and no resistant trees have been located to this date. However,
several common predators (including the Japanese Ladybug) of the adelgid have been released
and may prove to be an effective control (Kajawski 1998; Montgomery and Lyon 1996). Severe
cold weather also seems to control HWA. In January, 1985 and the winter of 1993-1994 severe
cold weather (-20° to -28° F) greatly reduced HWA populations (Souto, Luther, and Chianese
1995). Infestations of HWA are not apparent above the Hudson River corridor in New York. It
3 - 63
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
appears cold weather may be a limiting factor in the spread of this insect. The cooler climate of
the Upper Greenbrier Watershed may help to limit the impact of this exotic pest.
Non-native Diseases
Beech Bark Disease (BBD) - The beech scale insect (Cryptococcus fasigua), native to Europe,
arrived in Nova Scotia around 1890. By 1932 trees in Maine were dying from BBD. The
disease results when the bark is attacked by the beech scale, then invaded by fungi, primarily
Nectria coccinea var. faginata and N. galligena which eventually kills or severely injures beech
(Houston and O’Brien 1983). Beech trees over 8 inches diameter are more severely affected
then smaller trees. Mortality occurs in about 30% of the trees that are infected. Up to 90% of
the remaining beech trees in a stand become severely injured and do not produce quality wood
(Leak and Smith 1995). It appears there are greater disease levels in stands containing hemlock
(Gavin and Peart 1993). Hemlock provides high shade and moisture preferred by the fungi that
attack the tree after infestation by the scale.
The advancing front of the scale is presently in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Cutting
infected and high risk trees would provide an opportunity to salvage some of the material and
improve the health and diversity of the stand (Ostrofsky and Houston 1988).
Chestnut Blight (Cryphonectria parasitica) - This fungus (probably introduced through the
importation of chestnut trees from Asia) was first reported in the United States in 1904. Within
50 years the fungus occupied the entire range and had killed 80% of the American chestnut
(Kuhlman 1978). Nearly all the remaining live trees were infected with the fungus and dying.
Prior to the infestation, the American chestnut was a major component of the eastern hardwood
forest comprising 25% of all tree species on over 200 million acres from New England to
Georgia (MacDonald, Cech, Luchok, and Smith 1978; and Schlarbaum 1989). This tree, which
once grew up to 120′ tall and over 7′ in diameter, now rarely attains heights over 30′ with
diameters up to 6″ before the fungus kills the stem. The process starts over when the tree
resprouts. A few resistant trees have been found. There is hope that some time in the future the
American chestnut will return, as a valuable timber and wildlife tree, to the eastern hardwood
forest (Newhouse 1990). An opportunity exists to plant disease resistant chestnut in this area.
Non-native Invasive Plant Species
Non-native invasive plants have been recognized as a major threat to conservation of native
biological diversity (Westbrooks 1998). They out-compete native species and homogenize
ecosystems, thereby threatening to destroy the distinctiveness of communities whose component
species evolved in the absence of these aggressive competitors. They can also degrade forage
quality on range lands, compete with desirable regeneration after timber harvest, and reduce the
diversity of habitat niches available to a wide variety of wildlife species.
Many non-native invasive plant species are known to occur in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
(Table VG-14). Of these, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and Japanese stiltgrass
(Microstegium vimineum) can cause serious ecological impacts in forested ecosystems because
of their ability to tolerate shade. Additionally, tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) could cause
3 - 64
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
ecological disruption due to its ability to capture canopy gaps in forests. Currently, all three of
these species are closely associated with roads, skid trails, and landings, indicating that these
transportation features have served as the primary invasion route in the watershed, probably
through transport of seeds by vehicles, horses, ATVs, boots, etc. Non-native invasive plants that
are less shade tolerant—such as multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), autumn olive (Elaeagnus
umbellate) and Kentucky 31 fescue (Festuca arundinacea), have been seeded for wildlife food or
facilitated by the disturbed habitat provided by road corridors. Such species pose less of a threat
to the forested ecosystems that predominate in the watershed, but in some cases they can spread
and cause ecosystem disruption after being released by natural or human-caused disturbance.
Table VG-14. Non-native Invasive Plants in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Scientific Name
Alliaria petiolata
Ailanthus altissima
Microstegium vimineum
Vinca minor
Phalaris arundinacea
Festuca arundinacea
Rosa multiflora
Common Name
Garlic mustard
Tree of heaven
Japanese stiltgrass
Periwinkle
Reed canary grass
Kentucky 31 fescue
Multiflora rose
Currently, surveys for invasive plants focus on proposed activity areas, so it is likely that other
infestations exist within the watershed. The overall strategy for addressing non-native invasive
plants is perhaps best expressed in Management Goal VE19 of the 2006 Forest Plan (p. II-19):
Manage NNIS with an Integrated Pest Management approach, using prevention, education, eradication,
containment, and control strategies in a coordinated effort that includes potentially affected resources, users, funding
sources, and activities.
a) Work to prevent new infestations of NNIS, with emphasis on areas where species have a high probability for
establishment and spread.
b) Work with WVDNR, utility companies, and special use operators to control NNIS in openings, rights-of way,
and other use areas.
c) During project-level analysis, identify and map areas of non-native invasive plants. Identify areas with
extensive infestations where precautionary measures are necessary when planning and implementing
management activities.
d) Develop a Forest Non-native Invasive Species Management Plan in coordination with county, state, and federal
agencies, including USFWS.
e) Provide training to field-going personnel for detecting evidence of NNIS with potential for broad-scale
vegetation impacts.
f) Use the Forest-wide database and map library of NNIS and susceptibility to develop site-specific Integrated
Pest Management approaches and strategies to manage these species.
Desired Conditions
An early detection/rapid response strategy is employed to respond to new occurrences of nonnative invasive plants that threaten forest, non-forest, and aquatic ecosystems. Existing and new
occurrences are prioritized for treatment based on threats to specific resources (rare plant species,
tree species regeneration, visual effects, etc.) and ability to control the species. Native species
3 - 65
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
and desired non-invasive non-native species are used to revegetate disturbed areas (Forest Plan,
p. II-17).
Outbreaks and resident populations of native and non-native pests are controlled to acceptable
levels through careful use of pesticides and integrated pest management. An early detection/
rapid response strategy is employed by the Forest to respond to new occurrences of plants,
insects, and diseases that threaten forest and non-forest vegetation. Pesticide treatments achieve
management objectives and pose little or no risk to humans and the environment (Forest Plan, p.
II-18).
Ecological Areas
Only one Forest Ecological Area exists in the watershed, the Max Rothkugel Plantation.
Figure VG-2. Max Rothkugel Plantation
Reference Conditions
This plantation of about 150 acres was established in 1907 by Max Rothkugel, who was the
forester for the George Craig and Sons Lumber Company. Norway spruce and European larch
were planted from Austrian seed to provide for a succession of the valuable softwoods prevalent
at the time. Black locust were also planted to help protect the seedlings from grazing cattle. The
land with the plantation was sold to the federal government in 1924 as an early addition to the
newly formed Monongahela National Forest. The Forest gave the plantation protection as an 8.0
3 - 66
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
Botanical Area in its 1986 Forest Plan, and as an 8.4 Ecological Area in its 2006 Revised Forest
Plan. The plantation is believed to be the oldest of its kind in West Virginia.
Current Conditions
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the plantation, and it has changed considerably in the
intervening years. A thriving hardwood forest has grown up around the spruce and larch, but
spruce trees are still dominant in the coves, and many larch trees can be found along the ridges
and drier areas. The Norway spruce have grown particularly well, and most trees are 24-30
inches in diameter at breast height (DBH) and 100 feet or more in height. Some specimens are
over 30 inches DBH. The larch are smaller in girth, generally from 15-20 inches DBH, but
nearly as tall. Neither species, however, appears to be regenerating. Understory trees are
predominantly beech and striped maple, with some hemlock.
The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area has recently expressed interest in researching and
documenting the area as it exists today, and developing an interpretive trail and informational
materials for the area. They have a proposal that includes fieldwork, trail restoration, site
interpretation, self-guiding walking tours, brochures, a parking area, and nomination of the site
to the National Register of Historic Places. The Forest Archeologist does not believe that the
plantation would technically qualify for the National Register, but he is open to working with the
AFHA to improve the historical interpretation at the area (Personal Communication).
Desired Conditions
As an 8.0 Special Area, the plantation has the following general desired conditions (Forest Plan,
p. III-49): “Special Areas retain the values and qualities for which they were originally
designated. Areas contribute to the diversity of the Forest by preserving rare species,
communities, habitats, and features. These areas also provide opportunities for scientific
research and public enjoyment.”
As an 8.4 Ecological Area, the plantation also has the following management goal (Forest Plan,
p. III-62):
“Emphasize plantation development and protection.
a) Release, thin, and display planted trees.
b) Study and promote the regeneration of Norway spruce and European larch.
c) Use Integrated Pest Management methods to minimize development of pest problems.”
Openings and Grazing Allotments
Reference Conditions
Although it is difficult to say how much of this or the general forest landscape was in openings
prior to European settlement, it is widely believed that Native Americans kept some areas fairly
open with fire, and that some natural openings always existed in the form of bogs, wet and dry
meadows, mountain heaths, and forest gaps created by natural succession, and disturbance
processes such as fire, insects, and diseases. Domestic cattle and sheep grazing likely did not
3 - 67
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
occur before the arrival of settlers. However, there were a variety of large native ungulates such
as deer, elk, and bison.
Current Conditions
Less than 2,000 acres are currently typed as openings across the entire watershed. These
openings represent a little more than 2 percent of the landscape. Although there are numerous
small natural and man-made openings (including roads and even-aged harvest units) that have
not been included in the open types, the Upper Greenbrier Watershed can still be characterized as
a dominantly forested landscape, with relatively little forest fragmentation.
On private lands, most of the openings are agricultural fields, pasturelands, or land cleared for
residential or commercial purposes. Many of these openings are concentrated along a southern
strip of land on the East Fork Greenbrier River that includes the communities of Durbin, Frank,
and Bartow. On Forest, grazing allotments, wildlife openings, and some roadside areas are
presently maintained to remain open areas. A large portion of the acres in openings on NFS land
in this watershed are located in three grazing allotments (see discussion below). Less than 4
percent (2,700 acres) of forested area has been temporarily fragmented by regeneration
harvesting on NFS land in the past 25-30 years.
Grazing Allotments
Currently, all of the Widney and Elk Mountain Grazing Allotments lie within the watershed
boundaries. Roughly 100 acres of the 168-acre Allegheny Battlefield Allotment also lie within
the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Descriptions of the allotments are presented below.
Allegheny Battlefield - The Allegheny Battlefield Allotment is a high-elevation, mostly ridge
top allotment, with some sloping ground. The elevation averages over 4000 feet. The portion in
the watershed lies to the west of U.S. Highway 250 in the upper drainage of the Little River
tributary to the East Fork Greenbrier River, in the Outlet East Fork Greenbrier subwatershed.
The allotment is split by a watershed divide, with the remaining acres falling in the North Fork
Deer Creek subwatershed to the south. The allotment allows 25 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) of
grazing from May 15 through October 15. Currently, a continuous grazing system is used. The
allotment lies within Management Prescription 3.0 where livestock grazing is allowed. The
management goal (Forest Plan, p. III-7) for grazing is:
“Management of open areas within allotments shall be primarily for livestock grazing.
Intensive management for livestock grazing may occur.”
At present, the allotment has one spring/wetland/water trough livestock watering development.
The spring and the small wetland below it are fenced out. On the east side of the allotment is an
un-named, wooded, intermittent creek that flows into the headwaters of Little River of the East
Fork of the Greenbrier River. This riparian area is wooded and downhill from forage. It is not
fenced out from livestock grazing. Monitoring has shown little livestock use of this area.
3 - 68
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
The allotment is primarily native pasture consisting of velvet grass and Allegheny flyback.
Other forage species include orchard grass, bluegrass, sweet vernal grass, fescue, timothy, white
clover, and red clover. Noxious and/or non-native invasive brush is not considered a substantial
problem on this allotment, although the area is currently being treated for a thistle infestation.
As the Forest continues to refine its draft list of non-native invasive species, some herbaceous
plant species that in the past were typically considered to serve as forage for livestock and
wildlife are being placed on the Forest’s draft list of non-native invasive species. Examples of
these include crown vetch, Kentucky 31 fescue, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass.
Figure VG-3. Allegheny Battlefield
The Allegheny Battlefield Allotment makes up part of an historic Civil War battlefield, a
National Register of Historic Places site. Past and present Forest Archeologists have felt it is
very important to continue to use livestock grazing as a tool to slow the rate of tree and brush
invasion on this area and to maintain this portion of the battlefield in a pastoral condition to
maintain the area’s character as it likely appeared at the time of the battle.
Currently the Allegheny Battlefield Allotment only has one developed livestock watering
facility. The allotment is relatively long and narrow. Usually, the farther the distance from a
livestock watering source, the less grazing occurs. The addition of a livestock watering facility
on the western one third of the allotment and another on the eastern one third of the allotment
3 - 69
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
would improve livestock distribution and forage utilization over the allotment. Development of
livestock water on the western one third of the allotment would also allow implementation of a
rotational grazing system on the allotment.
Portions of the roads leading to and within the Allegheny Battlefield Allotment are open to the
public year-round and are rutted or contain mud holes. Water runs down these ruts causing soil
movement, and further damage to the roads. There is a need to drain mud holes, to place gravel
in spots, to install water bars, and to grade portions of these roads.
Widney – The Widney Allotment lies about 0.5 mile north and east of the Middle Mountain
Road (State Route 10), about 11 miles northeast of the Greenbrier Ranger District Office, in the
headwaters area of the Little River subwatershed. The main access road in FR 430. The
allotment is an estimated 336 acres of high-elevation land (3460-4000 feet), with slopes ranging
from 3 to 55 percent. The recommended season of use is from June 1 to October 1, though this
season may be extended during warmer years. Roughly 45-50 cows/calves and 1 bull are grazed
in a 2-pasture rotational system, and livestock are moved every three weeks. One of the pastures
is on the permittee’s adjacent private land.
This allotment is located in Management Prescription 4.1 where livestock grazing is allowed.
The management goal (Forest Plan, p. III-14) for grazing is:
“Maintain open areas within allotments predominantly by grazing cattle. Maintain a
mixture of grass species suitable for supporting livestock through the grazing season.”
An estimated 27 percent of the allotment was forested in 1995, and the remaining grasslands
were undergoing varying degrees of hawthorn encroachment. One of the main management
objectives in this area is to keep the grassland areas with relatively light hawthorn composition
open to grazing. Canada bluegrass and Allegheny flyback are the most common grasses on the
allotment. Scattered ferns, reeds, rushes, and sedges are indicative of wetter areas. Non-native
plants, particularly Canadian thistle, are increasing.
The most recent Allotment Management Plan (AMP) and NEPA analysis for this area occurred
in 1995 and 1988, respectively. Management concerns and opportunities need to be updated to
reflect changed conditions and improvements since that time period.
Elk Mountain – The Elk Mountain Allotment lies on Elk Mountain, about 10 miles northeast of
Bartow, in the upper portion of the Headwaters East Fork Greenbrier River subwatershed. It is
bordered on the east by FR 112, one mile north of State Route 28. The allotment is an estimated
49 acres of high-elevation land (3620-4920 feet), with slopes averaging around 20 percent. The
recommended season of use is generally from May 15 to October 1, although it may vary
somewhat depending on climate and use levels. Roughly 20 cows/calves and 1 bull are grazed in
continuous system. This allotment was vacant in 2006.
This allotment is located in Management Prescription 4.1 where livestock grazing is allowed.
The management goal (Forest Plan, p. III-14) for grazing is:
3 - 70
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Vegetation
“Maintain open areas within allotments predominantly by grazing cattle. Maintain a
mixture of grass species suitable for supporting livestock through the grazing season.”
In 1993 the allotment had 40 acres of grassland, 2 acres of savannah, 2 acres of forest, and 5
acres of brushland. Hawthorn encroachment was a major concern at that time. Some of the
hawthorn has recently been cut, but additional mowing is needed over the next few years to keep
the hawthorn from growing back.
Canadian thistle infestation was also a concern, and recommendations included improving
grazing distribution by adding water sources and salting, and converting to a deferred system
through water development and interior fencing.
The most recent Allotment Management Plan (AMP) and NEPA analysis for this area occurred
in 1993 and 1988, respectively. Management concerns and opportunities need to be updated to
reflect changed conditions and improvements since that time period.
Desired Conditions
Vegetation - Forested lands exhibit variable patterns of size classes, densities, structural stages,
and species composition due to a combination of successional development, disturbance regimes,
and management activities. Age class distribution ranges from openings maintained for wildlife
habitat to a network of late successional stands (Forest Plan, p. II-17).
Range - Grazing allotments are managed primarily for livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, visual
diversity and dispersed recreation. A sustainable level of forage, consistent with other resource
management direction, is available for use through the grazing permit system. Rangeland forage
quality is maintained or improved in areas where vegetation management projects and range
management actions occur. Riparian and upland areas within range allotments are functioning
properly or have improving trends in vegetative composition, structure, and vigor. The
composition and densities of tree, shrub, and herbaceous vegetation are variable and dynamic
(Forest Plan, p. II-43).
Management Prescriptions 3.0 and 6.1 – Roughly 3 to 8 percent of the presciption area units
are in maintained or natural openings, including beaver meadows, shrub and brush fields,
savannahs, grazing allotments, seeded log landings and logging roads, mine reclamations, utility
corridors, and natural disturbance gaps (Forest Plan, p. III-7 and p. III-35).
Management Prescription 4.1 – Up to 5 percent of these areas (spruce and spruce-hardwood
communities) are in openings (Forest Plan, p. III-12).
3 - 71
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
WILDLIFE
The Upper Greenbrier Watershed provides diverse habitat for many wildlife species. This
assessment does not attempt to cover all of the species or habitats present, but rather focuses on
relatively rare species, representative or “management indicator” species, and species of concern.
Some of these species may have always been rare on the landscape, while others may have
become rare through human-caused effects. Regardless of how these species reached their
current status, Forest managers are now obligated through law and agency directives to provide
habitat for native and desired non-native species, to promote the recovery of federally listed
species, and to keep RFSS from a trend toward federal listing. Our goal is to have these species
continue to contribute to the overall biodiversity of the Forest.
Threatened and Endangered Species
The four federally T&E terrestrial animal species on the Forest are: Virginia big-eared bat
(Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus), Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), West Virginia northern
flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus), and Cheat Mountain salamander (Plethodon
nettingi). All four species are known or likely to occur in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
The eastern cougar (Puma concolor couguar); gray wolf (Canis lupis); and gray bat (Myotis
grisescens) are currently listed species. However, according to WVDNR records, the last
confirmed occurrence of eastern cougar was 1887. Similarly, the last confirmed occurrence of
the gray wolf was in 1900, and both species are considered extirpated from West Virginia. There
is a single record of gray bat in West Virginia from a winter bat count in Hellhole Cave in 1991.
At this time, that occurrence is considered accidental in West Virginia. Due to their lack of
occurrence, these species will not be discussed further in this analysis. The bald eagle
(Haliaeetus leucocephalis) was removed from the list of federally threatened and endangered
species in July 2007. However, this species is still protected and will be discussed in the
Sensitive Species (RFSS) section of this document.
Reference Conditions
It is assumed that all of the T&E species known within the watershed today existed here prior to
European settlement of the area, and that T&E species with potential habitat may have existed
here as well. It is not known how much post-settlement activities have influenced the amount
and distribution of these species; however it is believed that habitat conditions have changed
considerably, and those changes have likely had effects on species populations and distribution.
For example, as reported in the Vegetation section, spruce and spruce-hardwood forests were
likely far more common in this watershed during presettlement times than they are today (Map
VG-1). As West Virginia northern flying squirrel and Cheat Mountain salamander are largely
dependent on these forests, they may have been more common as well. The likelihood that their
preferred habitat was not only more abundant but also more contiguous and better connected
would have increased their opportunities for reproductive success and genetic interchange.
3 - 72
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Indiana bats and Virginia big-eared bats likely had similar hibernacula to utilize, but the caves
were less impacted by human activities, and the potential occurrence of large roost and maternity
colony trees would have been more prevalent and less threatened by commercial timber harvest.
However, the big-eared bats prefer to forage in more open scrubby habitat, which may have been
much more limited prior to European settlement.
Current Conditions
Table VG-1 lists the threatened and endangered wildlife species on the Forest and indicates their
likelihood of occurrence within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel
Northern flying squirrels have been identified during nest box or live trap surveys in several
areas of the watershed. The preferred habitat of the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel
(WVNFS) in the Appalachians is conifer/northern hardwood ecotones or mosaics consisting of
red spruce and fir associated with beech, yellow birch, sugar maple/red maple, hemlock and
black cherry (NFS Recovery Plan, 1990). Until the late 19th century, spruce forests covered
more than 200,000 hectares of the state, but these forests were almost completely eliminated by
logging from 1880 to 1920 (Millspaugh 1891; Clarkson 1964). Currently spruce forests occupy
about 24,000 hectares in the state (Stephenson and Clovis 1983).
Mixed spruce/fir and northern hardwood forests cover an estimated 33 percent of the Upper
Greenbrier River Watershed. Most of these forest stands are in the mid-late successional stage,
but they lack certain features that would have been found in the late successional forests that
were prevalent during presettlement times. These features include uneven-aged stand structure,
large snags, large logs, and thick layers of humus and duff. Some of the habitat today is only
marginally suitable for WVNFS, but has potential for future use. There are an estimated 452
acres of optimal WVNFS habitat in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
To support the aims of the Northern Flying Squirrel Recovery Plan (NFSRP 1990), efforts
should be made where possible in this watershed to manage marginally suitable habitat, i.e.
conifer release, to enhance its conifer content. Because little research has been done on the
effects of silvicultural management on the WVNFS, opportunities exist in suitable habitat to
study effects of management, such as releasing conifer, enhancing yellow birch, and thinning
man-made spruce plantations. In addition, the Upper Greenbrier Watershed offers some real
opportunities to provide connectivity between what are now isolated patches of suitable WVNFS
habitat. While currently not considered suitable habitat, several high-elevation areas on the
watershed have a strong spruce component in the understory or seedling strata, providing good
potential to be restored to what, historically, was probably spruce/northern hardwood forest.
Because these areas are not currently considered to be suitable habitat, silvicultural management
could include commercial harvest as well as more fine-scale gap opening using less-intensive,
non-commercial silvicultural methods; if effective, this type of spruce restoration could provide
increased connectivity between existing WVNFS habitat patches and potentially enhancing
species viability.
3 - 73
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Cheat Mountain Salamander
The Cheat Mountain salamander is a relict species with isolated populations. It is geographically
restricted to high-elevation forests containing a red spruce component and mixed deciduous
forests with a Bazzania-dominated forest floor. The species’ entire range is limited to the higher
portions of the Allegheny Mountains in northeastern West Virginia (Pauley 1997). This lungless
salamander requires microhabitats with high relative humidity or moisture, as respiration occurs
through the skin. Old, structurally complex forests are more likely than young forests to provide
the necessary moist, stable microenvironment (USDA Forest Service 2001).
Cheat Mountain salamanders have been found in several locations along the western boundary of
the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, associated primarily with Cheat Mountain. However, “high
potential” habitat, as identified by Dr. Thomas Pauley, a world-renowned expert on the species,
is also present in several patches within the northeastern portion of the watershed. These areas
are located generally along and east of Beech Mountain, often overlapping with WV northern
flying squirrel habitat. Because potentially suitable habitat across the entire Forest has yet to be
comprehensively surveyed, this species may occur within other areas in the watershed as well.
Since this species is a habitat specialist, restricted to high-elevation forests, efforts to expand
spruce and spruce-hardwood forests described above for the WVNFS may have a beneficial
effect on this species’ abundance and distribution as well. However, any proposals that include
ground-disturbing or canopy-altering actions in known or potential Cheat Mountain salamander
habitat would need to follow Forest Plan direction for this species (Forest Plan, p. II-26):
Standard TE58 – Prior to proposed vegetation or ground disturbance in known or potential
habitat, field surveys must be conducted and occupied habitat must be delineated.
Standard TE59 – Ground and vegetation-disturbing activities shall be avoided within
occupied habitat and a 300-foot buffer zone around occupied habitat, unless analysis can
show that the activities would not have an adverse effect on populations or habitat.
Other potential threats to the Cheat Mountain salamander include inter-specific competition, as
they do not compete well with other more common and widespread species such as the redbacked salamander. In addition, the Cheat Mountain salamander is highly susceptible to
disturbance and less likely to repopulate an area than more common, widespread amphibian
species that are habitat generalists.
Indiana Bat
The Indiana bat occupies 26 hibernacula in the state of West Virginia (Biological Assessment).
There are no hibernacula in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, but there is a cave on private land
within a 5-mile radius of this area that is a known Indiana bat hibernacula. In late summer and
fall, male and female Indiana bats swarm or gather in large numbers near cave entrances, before
entering the caves for winter hibernation. Indiana bats emerge from hibernacula from mid-April
3 - 74
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
through May, and males may use a variety of sites as foraging and roosting habitat before
returning to the hibernaculum for winter; forested habitats within 5 miles of hibernacula are
considered especially important and are referred to as primary range.
Indiana bats tend to use multiple roost trees during summer, and so may use any suitable tree for
roosting during the non-hibernation period. Because of this, felling trees for timber harvesting
within 5 miles from a hibernaculum is restricted from April 1 through November 15 on the
Monongahela National Forest. See Map WL-1 for the area affected by this restriction. There are
many other restrictions associated with management activities in Indiana bat primary range, key
areas, or maternity sites (Forest Plan, pp. II-24 through II-26) that are designed to protect this
species and its habitat. However, there are also many opportunities to enhance Indiana bat
habitat on the Forest, both within and outside the 5-mile buffers associated with hibernacula.
Indiana bats are known to forage in upland areas, and use snags or live trees with loose bark for
daytime roosting (e.g., shagbark hickory and white oak). Maternity sites generally are in mature
hardwood forests; maternity roosts are usually associated with large diameter trees with
exfoliating bark, well exposed to solar radiation (Menzel et al. 2001). At this time, only one
confirmed maternity colonies has been found on the MNF, over 20 miles north of the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed; however, potential habitat exists within this watershed as well. Stands of
mixed hardwoods greater than 70 years old could provide maternity and foraging habitat. These
stands comprise at least 73 percent of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed (see Table VG-2).
Because of this species’ foraging and roosting habits, canopy cover of 60-80 percent is
considered optimal, preferably without dense understory vegetation (Romme et al. 1995). In
addition, radio-telemetry work on the Forest and elsewhere has indicated that many Indiana bat
roost trees are located adjacent to small canopy openings within a forested matrix (e.g., fields,
local woods roads or streams). One male Indiana bat was captured during a mist-netting survey
in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed (well outside the 5-mile buffer from known hibernacula) and
was subsequently tracked to two roost trees – one along a riparian corridor and the other found a
snag located in a small emergent wetland adjacent to a road. The maternity site found was
located within an old burn site adjacent to both fields and mature hardwood forest, near a known
hibernaculum. Thus, selective thinning of closed canopy stands or creation of small canopy
gaps, snag creation, prescribed fire, wetland creation, and other carefully managed and
monitored forest management activities could be beneficial to the species, improving the
potential for use of the watershed by Indiana bats during the summer season.
Desired Conditions
Although all threatened, endangered, or proposed species on the Forest may not be individually
addressed in the Forest-wide management direction, the Forest is obligated to provide sufficient
habitat to contribute to their survival and recovery. This obligation is spelled out in more detail
in the Endangered Species Act, Forest Service Manual and Handbook direction, and various
recovery plans, conservation strategies and agreements, and Memoranda Of Understanding. In
addition, Section 7 consultation will occur at the project level for all proposed actions that may
affect these species or their habitat (Forest Plan, p. II-22).
3 - 75
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Map WL-1. Indiana Bat Primary Range in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 76
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Virginia Big-eared Bat
The Virginia big-eared bat is listed as endangered throughout its range in western North
Carolina, eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and western Virginia due to population declines
primarily caused by human disturbance at hibernacula and maternity roosts. Unlike other bats in
the state, the Virginia big-eared bats (VBEB) use caves year-round, although they may use a
different cave in the winter than in summer. Females form maternity colonies where they
aggregate to rear their young. These colonies usually seek out the warmest areas of the cave,
and colonies may roost in dome pits where the dome probably serves to trap the bats’ body heat
to create a pocket of warm air. Maternity colonies in West Virginia range from 100 to 1,300
adult females, which each give birth to a single young. Male bachelor colonies have also been
documented; these bats may visit additional caves during the transition period between summer
and winter.
While no VBEB caves are known to occur in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, five are located
within 6 miles of the watershed. As such, the watershed is likely to provide foraging habitat for
the species.
Sensitive Species
Nine species on the Regional Forester’s sensitive species (RFSS) list have confirmed occurrence
within the watershed, including the southern water shrew (Neomys anomalus), Allegheny
woodrat (Neotoma magister), southern rock vole (Microtus chrotorrhinus), northern goshawk
(Accipiter gentilis), olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi), red-headed woodpecker
(Melanerpes erythrocephalus), golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera), timber
rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), and hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). Of those
species, the northern goshawk and hellbender are of particular interest because of their relative
prevalence within this watershed. The Monongahela NF is located at the fringe of the northern
goshawk’s range; however, the species is known to nest on the Forest, and the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed contains at least two historic nest sites, with additional breeding season observations.
The hellbender has been found at several locations along the West Branch and the East Branch of
the Greenbrier River, and it probably occurs elsewhere within the watershed, in areas that have
yet to be surveyed.
Another RFSS species of special interest is the bald eagle, which was removed from the federal
T&E species list in July of this year. This species will be on the RFSS list for at least the next
five years (FSM 2670, R9 RO Supplement 2600-2000-1), and will also receive protection under
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Potential habitat
for the bald eagle is present along the East and West Forks of the Greenbrier River.
Other RFSS wildlife that have potential habitat within this watershed are the eastern small-footed
bat, Henslows sparrow, vesper sparrow, green salamander, columbine duskywing, a noctuid
moth, and cobweb skipper. Mist-net surveys on the Forest have resulted in captures of smallfooted bats within 2 miles both north and south of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, so it is likely
that suitable habitat for this species occurs within the watershed as well. More concerted survey
efforts are needed to determine whether these other species do indeed occur within the
3 - 77
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
watershed. Table WL-1 shows all of the RFSS on the Forest and their likelihood of occurrence
in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. For species that are known to occur, or that have potential
habitat in the watershed, important habitat features or conditions are described.
Table WL-1. TES Wildlife Species Likelihood of Occurrence in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Known Potential Not Likely
Comments
to Occur Habitat to Occur
Threatened or Endangered Species
WV northern flying squirrel
Spruce-fir forests and northern hardwood forests
X
with conifer component.
Gray wolf
X
X
Considered extirpated from WV since 1900.
Eastern cougar
X
X
Presence unconfirmed in WV at this time.
No hibernaculum within watershed but several
Virginia Big-eared Bat
X
within 6 mile buffer of watershed.
Within 5 miles of known hibernaculum. Foraging
Indiana bat
X
habitat present.
Moist spruce and spruce-hardwood forests.
Cheat Mountain salamander
X
Emergent rocks and bazzania in understory.
Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species - Mammals
Moist rocky areas or mossy logs in spruce and
Southern rock vole
X
spruce-hardwood forests.
Roosts in buildings, caves, rock crevices, tunnels &
Eastern small-footed bat
X
bridges. Forages over streams, ponds
Rocky areas in hardwood or mixed hardwood and
Allegheny woodrat
X
conifer stands, cliffs, talus, river banks, caves,
buildings.
Streams and other water bodies, with nearby heavy
Southern water shrew
X
vegetation cover, rocks, logs, crevices.
Eastern spotted skunk
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species - Birds
Uses a variety of forest types, structure, and age
Northern goshawk
X
classes. Nests in trees > 12 inches dbh.
Large rivers and lakes. Tall large trees for nesting
Bald eagle
X
and perching.
Large areas of grass habitat. Not known to breed on
Henslow’s sparrow
X
the forest, but could occur in larger range allotments
or adjacent private pastureland.
Openings in boreal forests with snags. Known in
Olive-sided flycatcher
X
Gaudineer Knob and Blister Swamp.
Watershed does not have any recorded nesting sites
Peregrine falcon
X
or known occurrences.
Watershed does not have any recorded nesting sites
Migrant loggerhead shrike
X
or known occurrences.
Open oak and mixed hardwoods with large trees and
Red-headed woodpecker
X
snags.
Vesper sparrow
X
Grasslands greater than 30 acres.
Shrub/sapling habitats with patches of herbaceous
Golden-winged warbler
X
growth and trees. Prefers 25 to 37-acre patches.
Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species – Reptiles and Amphibians
Timber rattlesnake
X
Forested areas with rock outcroppings and ledges.
Common Name
3 - 78
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Known Potential Not Likely
Comments
to Occur Habitat to Occur
Wood turtle
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Green salamander
X
Rock crevices, logs, tree bark in moist shaded areas.
Hellbender
X
Cool, clear, large permanent streams.
Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species – Insects and Invertebrates
Boreal fan moth
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Northern metalmark
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
A tiger beetle
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Barren’s tiger beetle
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Cow path tiger beetle
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Columbine duskywing
X
Open areas containing columbine.
A Noctuid moth
X
Northern hardwoods with starry campion.
Dry, grassing openings with bluestem or
Cobweb skipper
X
broomsedge.
A cave beetle
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Timber Ridge cave beetle
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
A cave beetle
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Dry Fork Valley cave beetle
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Gandy Creek cave springtail
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
A springtail
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Appalachian Grizzled skipper
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
A springtail
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Diana fritillary
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Dry Fork Valley cave
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
pseudoscorpion
Cheat Valley cave isopod
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Greenbrier Valley cave
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
isopod
An isopod
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
An isopod
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
An underground crayfish
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Hoffmaster’s cave flatworm
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
A cave obligate planarian
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Greenbrier Valley cave
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
millipede
South Branch Valley cave
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
millipede
Culver’s planarian
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Culver’s cave isopod
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Greenbrier cave amphipod
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Pocahontas cave amphipod
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Minute cave amphipod
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
WV blind cave millipede
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
Grand Caverns blind cave
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
millipede
Luray Caverns blind cave
X
Watershed outside range &/or no known occurrence.
millipede
If species is known to occur, it is assumed that suitable habitat is also present.
Common Name
3 - 79
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Reference Conditions
It is assumed that the RFSS that are known to occur in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed today
existed in the watershed prior to European settlement, although their population sizes and
distributions are not known. Species with potential habitat today may or may not have occupied
the watershed in presettlement times, as habitat conditions have changed considerably since then.
Reference conditions for forested stands are generally described in the Vegetation section of this
assessment, and they are summarized here in relation to RFSS and their associated habitats. It is
also important to note that habitat changes were dramatic and widespread in the watershed from
1900 to 1920. Therefore, radical changes likely occurred in wildlife populations and distribution
during and directly after that time period. Some species may have never recovered from those
changes, and other species may have slowly recovered as their habitats underwent gradual
restoration over the past 80-100 years. Still other species may have colonized the area, taking
advantage of new or somewhat different habitats that developed.
Preferred habitat for the bald eagle would have been the same larger river corridors that exist
today, the East and West Forks of the Greenbrier River. However, habitat conditions would have
been substantially better along and within the river forks for the eagle and its prey fish species.
Riparian areas would have had more snags to from which to perch and hunt, and more large trees
to support eagle nests, which are built over many successive years and can sometimes weigh a
ton or more. Fish would have been more abundant and sizeable due to better pool and spawning
habitat, cooler water temperatures, less sediment, and less acidic water chemistry. Lake Buffalo,
on the other hand, could provide habitat that did not exist prior to the 1960s.
The predominance of spruce-fir and northern hardwood forests prior to European settlement
would have likely have offered more habitat for the northern goshawk, southern rock vole, olivesided flycatcher, and a noctuid moth. The green salamander, once associated with mature
chestnut trees, is now limited largely to rocky outcrop habitats within mature forest. Similarly,
the more decadent and moist presettlement forests may have provided better foraging conditions
and cover for species like the Allegheny woodrat and southern water shrew. Although stream
size and distribution has not likely changed substantially from presettlement times, stream and
riparian area conditions have (see Water Quality and Aquatic Resources sections), and these
changes may have negatively affected populations of hellbender, southern water shrew, or
eastern small-footed bat.
Due to past and recent timber harvest, early successional habitat has been and is now more
extensive that it was in presettlement times, and this change would benefit species such as the
golden-winged warbler. Oak forests are probably somewhat more prevalent now, but they may
also have less snags and large trees for red-headed woodpeckers.
Although some open grasslands may have occurred in the watershed, it is doubtful that they
occurred to the size and extent of the range allotments and private pastureland that exist today.
Thus, species like Henslow’s sparrow, vesper sparrow, columbine duskywing, and cobweb
skipper may have been even rarer in presettlement times than they are now.
3 - 80
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
In addition to the habitat changes noted above, many of the sensitive species on the Forest may
have been adversely affected by an increase in human-caused disturbance, particularly during the
1900-1920 period of extensive logging. Timber rattlesnakes, goshawks, and other species that
were considered threats or pest species were often hunted down, while more coveted species,
such as the wood turtle, were often subject to heavy collection by people for the pet trade.
Current Conditions
Bald eagles are known to nest in the upper Potomac River drainage, northeast of the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed. There are currently no known occurrences or nest sites in the watershed.
Although streams within the watershed do not provide optimum habitat for bald eagles, portions
of the East and West Forks could be utilized for summer breeding, as could Lake Buffalo. Bald
eagle and riparian area direction in the Forest Plan should help protect streamside and lakeside
vegetation to maintain or provide for future eagle nesting and perching trees. In addition, the
higher ridges of the watershed, especially above the East and West Forks or Lake Buffalo, could
provide stopping points for eagles as they migrate across this area. Maintaining snags and
forested areas on the majority of these ridge tops would maintain the potential for use as
migration stopping points.
Spruce and spruce-hardwood forests appear to be gradually recovering within the watershed.
Further recovery, whether through natural processes or active management, would benefit the
northern goshawk, southern rock vole, olive-sided flycatcher, and a noctuid moth. Stream
channel and riparian area conditions are gradually recovering as well, and Forest Plan direction
currently in place should help continue that recovery through protection and restoration
strategies. Recommendations for watershed and riparian restoration in this assessment (see
Chapter 4) would also provide improved habitat conditions over time for species such as the
hellbender and southern water shrew.
Management Prescriptions within the watershed provide opportunities for both natural or passive
restoration (6.2, 8.0) and active management (3.0, 6.1) (MP 4.1 is a combination of passive and
active strategies). Where passive restoration is emphasized, forested stands will continue to
move toward late successional stage and uneven-aged structure, with an increase in features such
as snags, large logs, and humus. This movement will provide more habitat for species such as
Allegheny woodrat, southern water shrew, and green salamander. Where active management is
emphasized, more shrub/sapling habitat will be created for species like golden-winged warbler.
Mixed hardwood and oak forests can be managed to promote oak species that benefit species like
the red-headed woodpecker. Important habitat features, like snags and selected large trees, can
be retained.
Relatively large open grass/shrub areas occur in three range allotments in the watershed.
However, openings are slowly being encroached by hawthorn, trees, and non-native species.
These areas should be managed to restore and maintain open habitat for species such as
Henslow’s sparrow, vesper sparrow, columbine duskywing, and cobweb skipper.
For species that use a wide variety of forest settings and features, like the northern goshawk and
timber rattlesnake, habitat will likely be present in both managed and unmanaged areas. The
3 - 81
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
larger concern may be reducing direct disturbance to these species and their nest or den sites that
could be caused by management activities. Localized disturbance is probably still the greatest
threat to these species. For this reason, surveys that can help locate these sites prior to projectlevel planning are very important. Indeed, additional wildlife surveys will be needed prior to any
proposal that involves vegetation or ground disturbance.
Desired Conditions
The amount, distribution, and characteristics of habitat are present at levels necessary to maintain
viable populations of native and desired non-native wildlife and fish species. For Regional
Forester Sensitive Species (RFSS), management actions do not contribute to a trend toward
federal listing (Forest Plan, p. II-29).
Management Indicator Species (MIS)
All four MIS for the Forest are known to occur within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. The
brook trout is addressed in the Aquatic Resources section of this assessment, and the West
Virginia northern flying squirrel is addressed under Threatened and Endangered Species above.
Therefore, only cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea) and wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) are
addressed below.
Reference Conditions
It is assumed that cerulean warblers and wild turkey existed in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
prior to European settlement, although their population sizes and distributions are not known.
Reference conditions for forested stands are generally described in the Vegetation section of this
assessment, and they are summarized here in relation to cerulean warbler and wild turkey.
Cerulean Warbler
Although there were likely few oak and mixed hardwood stands in the watershed, the age and
structural features of all hardwood stands were probably more conducive to cerulean warbler
habitation than the forests of today. For example, presettlement forests likely provided more
complex vertical structure in the canopy with abundant natural gap opening as opposed to
human-induced forest fragmentation. Conifer-dominated forests, which were probably more
prevalent, would likely not have provided suitable habitat conditions.
Wild Turkey
There were likely fewer oak in presettlement forests to provide hard mast for turkey, though
some oak and mixed hardwood stands occurred at lower elevations within the watershed.
Natural openings existed and these may have been supplemented through periodic burning by
Native American Indians; this burning would have also kept some stands in a more open
condition. As with cerulean warblers, the more prevalent conifer-dominated forests would likely
not have provided suitable habitat conditions for wild turkey.
3 - 82
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Current Conditions
Cerulean Warbler
Mid-late and late successional mixed hardwood forests are most likely to contain key structural
features that are believed to be important for breeding populations of cerulean warblers. These
features include tall, large-diameter trees, a mostly closed canopy with some canopy gaps and
complex vertical structure, and large tracts with forest interior conditions (Hamel 2000 and
references therein). Cerulean warblers avoid abrupt edges between forests and large areas of
open land, although they are known to associate with small canopy gaps and small internal forest
openings (Wood et al. 2006, Perkins 2006).
Currently, mixed hardwood forests cover an estimated 55 percent of the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed, and approximately 70 percent of those forests are believed to be in mid-late
successional stage. While cerulean warblers do not necessarily inhabit all of this area, and may
inhabit other areas not included in this forest cover type, it is believed to contain the best
potential habitat for this species. The primary areas that can serve as natural refugia for this type
of forest are the two MP 6.2 roadless areas, which comprise about 22 percent of the NFS land in
the watershed. An 11,000-acre refugia also lies just to the north of the watershed in the Laurel
Fork North and South Wildernesses. In addition, there are numerous smaller areas of mid-late
successional mixed hardwood forest that would likely not be harvested in the future due to
restrictions related to access, slope, riparian area, or scenic integrity. While relatively
undisturbed forests will likely achieve the vertical structure preferred by cerulean warblers over
time, forest management does not have to adversely affect the species, and could be beneficial in
creating desired vertical structure and canopy openings in appropriate settings in the watershed
(e.g., ridge tops and north- or east-facing slopes).
Wild Turkey
Acorns are a preferred food of wild turkey, and availability of acorns can affect their movements,
condition, survival rates, vulnerability to hunting, and reproduction rates (Steffen et al. 2002,
Ryan et al. 2004). Hard-mast-producing hardwood stands are generally considered to be the
cornerstone of wild turkey habitat in the eastern U.S. (Wunz and Pack 1992). However, turkeys
also need other habitat types interspersed with mast-producing hardwoods. Numerous authors
have noted the need for interspersed herbaceous openings, which turkeys use for brood-rearing
habitat (e.g., Wunz and Pack 1992, Everett et al. 1985, Pack et al. 1980). Turkeys also need
dense, shrubby cover for nest sites. Although such cover can exist and is used by turkeys in
mature forest, often turkeys select shrubby nest cover along the edges of openings and in recent
even-aged harvest units (Wunz and Pack 1992, Everett et al. 1985). Therefore, the indicator
chosen for optimum turkey habitat is those oak and pine-oak sites of optimum mast-producing
age, plus openings, within MPs 3.0 and 6.1. The optimum mast-producing age range for the oak
and pine-oak forest type groups was considered to be 50 to 150 years.
Currently only about 7 percent of the entire Upper Greenbrier Watershed is considered to be oak
or oak-pine forests, and only part of that is on NFS land in MPs 3.0 or 6.1. However, oak does
exist as a component in the mixed hardwood stands that comprise 55 percent of the watershed.
3 - 83
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Most of these stands are within the optimum mast-producing age range now, but there is little
oak regeneration occurring at present. Also, less than 2 percent of the watershed is considered
openings, with even less considered herbaceous openings. For these reasons, it is recommended
that silvicultural practices in oak and mixed hardwoods stands within MPs 3.0 and 6.1 promote
oak regeneration and crop tree release, as well as the creation and maintenance of herbaceous
openings. These practices would help increase optimum habitat for wild turkey in the watershed.
Desired Conditions
The amount, distribution, and characteristics of habitat are present at levels necessary to maintain
viable populations of native and desired non-native wildlife and fish species (Forest Plan, p. II29).
Species of Interest
Species of Interest for this assessment are white-tailed deer and black bear. The white-tailed
deer is the most popular game animal in West Virginia (Evans et al. 1998). However, in addition
to its value as a game animal, the white-tailed deer is a voracious browser, and high deer
densities can affect the composition and structure of forest communities. At high population
densities, deer becomes a keystone species with the capacity to hinder forest regeneration,
change the composition and structure of the understory, and affect other wildlife species through
direct competition and changes in habitat (Feldhamer 2002).
The black bear is a popular game animal in the region, and is also popular with wildlife
watchers. Compared to most other wildlife, black bears have large home ranges and require
habitats with low densities of open roads to serve as refuges from disturbance and hunting
mortality (Brody and Pelton 1989). Because of this special requirement for large blocks of
relatively remote habitat, the Forest provides much of the prime bear habitat in the region.
Reference Conditions
It is assumed that white-tailed deer and black bear existed in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
prior to European settlement, although their population sizes and distributions are not exactly
known. Reference conditions for forested stands are generally described in the Vegetation
section of this assessment, and they are summarized here in relation to white-tailed deer and
black bear.
White-tailed Deer
Although there was a mixture of forests, thickets, and openings available for white-tailed deer in
presettlement times, the mixture was likely somewhat different than it is today. For example,
there were no large agricultural fields or open range allotments or as there are now. There were,
however, effective natural predators of deer—wolf and cougar—that have since been extirpated
from the landscape. The elimination of natural predators, extensive timber harvest, managed
wildlife openings, more edge habitat, agricultural development, and the promotion of deer as a
popular game species have all contributed to populations today that are likely much greater than
3 - 84
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
they were 150 years ago. For example, the widespread clearcutting of 80-100 years ago has
created even-aged stands of timber across the landscape that are at their maximum mastproducing capacity.
Black Bear
In terms of forest cover and security area, presettlement habitat conditions in the watershed were
likely close to ideal for black bear. There was abundant forest canopy and there were no
constructed roads on the landscape. There may have been somewhat less hard oak mast (acorns)
in the area, but black bear are opportunistic omnivores, and they would have likely found other
food sources to compensate, or ranged farther to the south in the fall where oak were more
prevalent.
Current Conditions
White-tailed Deer
White-tailed deer are adaptable to a wide variety of habitats. The white-tailed deer is an edge
species that does best in a mixture of forests, thickets, and fields (DeNicola et al. 2000). Such
mixed habitat provides a combination of abundant browse, mast, and cover. Therefore, the area
of early successional forest plus the area of herbaceous openings provides a simple index to the
availability of edge habitats and browse. Because a substantial percentage of NFS land will
remain forested under any possible management scenario, cover and hard mast are not likely to
limit deer populations over the short term. However, mast production will begin to diminish as
mature trees become over-mature and die, unless mast-producing trees are regenerated to replace
them. Within the range of management activity that is likely to occur, an increase in young
mast-producing forest and openings and edge would increase the habitat capability for deer over
time. Thus, the opportunities to increase foraging habitat for deer would be similar to those
described for wild turkey, above.
Black Bear
Black bear population densities in the Appalachians are inversely related to road densities
(SAMAB 1996). The open road density for NFS lands over the entire watershed is currently
only 0.5 mile per square mile, so open roads are not likely having significant effects on bear
populations in terms of vehicle-related disturbance. This statement is partially supported by the
fact that more bears were harvested in Pocahontas County last year than any other county in the
State, except neighboring Greenbrier County (WV Hunting and Trapping Regulations, 2007).
Areas that will continue to have low open road densities in the watershed include MPs 4.1, 6.1,
and 6.2. These MPs comprise an estimated 35,900 total acres in the watershed, or about 52
percent of the NFS lands. The Forest will continue to work with the West Virginia Division of
Natural Resources to provide security areas for bear and species that are sensitive to disturbance.
Black bears in the Appalachians also depend heavily on hard mast as a fall food source. Hard
mast is the key to successful over-wintering and reproduction (Pelton 1989). Optimum mastproducing areas include oak and pine-oak forest types in the optimum oak mast age range of 50
3 - 85
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
to 150 years. Within those MPs, only about 4,500 acres are mixed oak forests, mostly in MP 6.1.
However, there is an oak component in the mixed and northern hardwood forests that comprise
much of the watershed. These areas should provide opportunities to help maintain and restore
the oak component in watershed stands.
Desired Conditions
The amount, distribution and characteristics of habitat are present at levels necessary to maintain
viable populations of native and desired non-native wildlife and fish species. Habitat conditions
support populations of species of ecological, socio-economic, cultural, and recreational
significance. The Forest works with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
(WVDNR) to achieve agreed-upon wildlife management objectives (Forest Plan, p. II-29).
Birds of Conservation Concern
Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980 (FWCA), as amended, and other
authorities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was directed to “identify species, subspecies, and
populations of all migratory non-game birds that, without additional conservation actions, are
likely to become candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.” As a result,
the USFWS developed the 2002 List of Birds of Conservation Concern (USFWS 2002, currently
under revision). In order to prevent or remove the need for additional ESA bird listings by
implementing proactive management and conservation actions, Federal Agencies were directed
to consult this list as part of Executive Order 13186. Among other things, this Order directed
Federal agencies to ensure that environmental analyses of Federal actions or review processes
evaluate the effects of those actions and agency plans on migratory birds, with emphasis on
species of concern.
Within the list of Birds of Conservation Concern, species were identified at three geographic
scales, the smallest of which is the Bird Conservation Region (BCR). West Virginia falls within
BCR 28, which includes a list of 27 species, not all of which could occur within the range or
habitats types on the Monongahela Nation Forest (refer to USFWS 2002 for full list). Several of
the species on the BCR 28 list are also considered sensitive species or MIS on the Monongahela
NF. These include the peregrine falcon, olive-sided flycatcher, red-headed woodpecker, goldenwinged warbler, Henslow’s sparrow, and cerulean warbler. Table WL-2 shows the remaining
species on the BCR 28 list, their general habitat, and probability of occurrence based on Forest
point count surveys, the WV Breeding Bird Atlas (Buckelew and Hall 1994) and other ancillary
information.
Reference Conditions
As with the sensitive species, it is assumed that the Birds of Conservation Concern that are
known to occur in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed today existed in the watershed prior to
European settlement. As their status implies, these species have generally experienced
downward population trends, largely as a result of habitat loss or alteration. Within the Upper
Greenbrier watershed, this is particularly true for those bird species (e.g., Northern saw-whet
3 - 86
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
owl) that are associated with high elevations spruce-fir and northern hardwood habitats, which
were likely far more prevalent prior to European settlement.
While the total percentage of forest in the watershed has not changed substantially over time, the
structure and character of the forests has changed greatly. Presettlement forests generally had
higher species diversity, more structure (greater vertical complexity), downed woody debris,
snags, and natural gap openings. These changes likely had a negative effect on bird species in a
variety of ways. For example, fewer snags and old growth trees would result in limited habitat
for cavity-nesting species such as the yellow-bellied sapsucker and prothonotary warbler.
As noted previously, habitat changes were dramatic and widespread in the watershed from 1900
to 1920, with concurrent radical changes in bird species ranges, distribution, and habitat use
during and directly after that time period. Some species may have never recovered from those
changes, and other species may have slowly recovered as their habitats underwent gradual
restoration over the past 80-100 years. Still other species may have colonized the new or
modified habitats that developed.
Table WL-2. Birds of Conservation Concern within BCR 28 and Probability of Occurrence
Habitat and Species
Status1
Probability of Occurrence in Watershed (UGB)
Grassland
Upland sandpiper
3
Buff-breasted sandpiper
3
Short-eared Owl
3
No confirmed breeding on Forest, but probably uses grassland habitats during
migration.
Does not breed in WV, but as a long-distance neotropical migrant, may use
short grass habitats on the Forest during migration.
Does not breed in WV, but may use grasslands and other open habitats on the
Forest during migration and when occasionally wintering in the state.
Early successional habitat
Bewick's Wren
3
Prairie Warbler
3
Only two confirmed breeding records in WV; does not breed on the Forest,
but has been recorded during migration
No observations within UGB; but a probable breeder elsewhere on the Forest;
suitable early successional and pine-oak habitat exists on the UGB
Deciduous forest
Bachman’s Sparrow
3
Chuck-will's-widow
3
Whip-poor-will
3
Wood Thrush
3
Acadian Flycatcher
2
Worm-eating Warbler
3
Swainson’s Warbler
3
Kentucky Warbler
3
No confirmed breeding records in WV. Prefers open woodlands with a
grassy, shrubby understory
Does not breed on the Forest, but may occur uncommonly in the western part
of the state in varying forested habitats
A once common, but declining breeder in WV in open woodlands; one
breeding record on the Forest, but no confirmed breeding in UGB though
suitable habitat is present
Common to abundant in deciduous forest on the Monongahela; detected in
several breeding bird routes in and around UGB
A common woodland species in WV, detected as a breeder in several routes
in and around UGB
Present and relatively common in the vicinity of UGB
Not known to breed on the Forest, but does breed in woodlands in the
southwestern portion of the state.
A widespread breeder in WV; detected breeding in two routes near the UGB,
but not common in the watershed
3 - 87
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Northern hardwood /spruce-fir
forests
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1
Black-billed Cuckoo
3
Northern Saw-whet Owl
1
Red Crossbill
1
An uncommon breeder in the state, but recorded breeding in several locations
in and around UGB
Detected as a breeder in several locations near the UGB
No observations in UGB, but potential habitat is available; known to breed
elsewhere on the Forest, but uncommon
Detected as a breeder at several locations near the UGB
Wetland/riparian habitats
Only one confirmed historic breeding record in WV; no breeding records on
the Forest, but may use marshes and grasslands here during migration
Common species, nesting throughout the state; detected as a breeder in
Louisiana Waterthrush
3
several routes near UGB, and probably breeds in suitable riparian habitat
within the watershed
Sparse breeding records in WV outside the Ohio River Valley; no breeding
Prothonotary Warbler
3
observations within Forest, but likely uses riparian habitats on the Forest
during migration
1
Status refers to the geographic conservation status of the species on the list: 1) BCR only, 2) Regional species of
concern, 3) National species of concern.
Sedge Wren
3
For example, early successional habitat was less prevalent in presettlement times; additional
open grasslands and shrubby habitats may have allowed birds such as the golden-winged warbler
and short-eared owl to exploit breeding and wintering habitats in areas that were previously
unsuitable. In the following years, beginning in the 1940’s, much of the abandoned pastures and
fields began to grow up into shrubs, saplings and eventually forest; this transition resulted in the
loss of species that had started to expand their ranges into those early successional habitats (e.g,
Bachman’s sparrow, which was once widespread in parts of WV and is now nearly extirpated
from the state; Buckelew and Hall 1994).
While larger streams may not have changed substantially in size or distribution from
presettlement times, smaller streams and wetland habitats have greatly declined within West
Virginia and across the country as a whole. Wetland destruction and degradation associated with
timber harvest, farming and other activities has probably resulted in the loss of quality habitat for
species such as the sedge wren and Louisiana waterthrush, though these species may never have
been abundant in the watershed.
Current Conditions
Recovery of spruce and hardwood forests within the watershed should benefit many of the birds
of conservation concern, particularly as more of the area is allowed to develop the characteristics
of late-successional or old growth forests (e.g., within Management Prescriptions 6.2, 8.0 and
portions of 4.1). An increase in uneven-age structure, with associated vertical complexity, snags,
small natural canopy openings and large downed woody debris will benefit a variety of species.
Cavity nesters (e.g., the saw-whet owl, yellow-bellied sapsucker, red-headed woodpecker) will
benefit from both an increase in natural cavities and, like several other forest-associated birds of
concern, an increase in prey base (be it small mammal or insect) associated with the downed
woody debris and increased humus layer. Bird species associated with riparian and wetland
habitats (e.g., waterthrush, prothonotary warbler, and sedge wren) within these Management
3 - 88
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Prescriptions also should benefit, as water quality conditions improve through Forest Plan
direction associated with those resources. Additionally, opportunities exist to create and restore
wetlands within the watershed to enhance opportunities for these and other wetland-associated
bird species.
In areas of active forest management, a variety of techniques can be used to maximize habitat
suitability for birds of conservation concern. For example, red-headed woodpeckers and yellowbellied sapsuckers, both cavity nesters that prefer open woodlands, could benefit from thinning
and snag creation within oaks, mixed hardwood or other deciduous stand types; whip-poorwhills and other species that have experienced population declines due to a decrease in open
woodland habitat also could benefit from thinning or selective cuts. Snag creation also could
occur within stands that are not subject to harvest, but currently have a paucity of available
cavities. Forest management designed to encourage spruce restoration (e.g., within MP 4.1) also
would be beneficial to species such as the northern saw-whet owl and olive-sided flycatcher, by
providing additional, contiguous habitat for these area-sensitive species that are associated with
northern hardwood/spruce-fir forests.
The existing grass/low shrub habitats associated with the grazing allotments currently provide
potential habitat for bird species during both the breeding season (e.g., golden-winged warbler)
and non-breeding season (e.g., short-eared owl, upland sandpiper, and Bewick’s wren).
Management of these areas to maintain a mix of grassland and shrub habitat should occur to
ensure continued habitat for these species. Consideration should be given to developing
additional long-term, early-successional habitat within the watershed for species such as the
Bachman’s sparrow and golden-winged warbler, with the design of such areas taking into
consideration the species’ habitat size needs (e.g., territory sizes and minimum viable
populations sizes) as well as desired vegetation and the management schedule required to
maintain suitable habitat.
Desired Conditions
The amount, distribution, and characteristics of habitat are present at levels necessary to maintain
viable populations of native and desired non-native wildlife and fish species. Habitat conditions
support populations of species of ecological, socio-economic, cultural, and recreational
significance (Forest Plan, p. II-29).
Maintain, enhance, or restore habitat for migratory birds, with an emphasis on Birds of
Conservation Concern for the Appalachian Mountains Bird Conservation Region, as
identified by USFWS. During watershed or project-level analysis, identify current and
proposed activities that are likely to affect populations of Birds of Conservation Concern (FP, p
II-30, Goal WF05)
In conjunction with ongoing inventory and monitoring efforts, and in coordination with
monitoring conducted by WVDNR, Forest Service Research, Universities, and other
interested organizations, monitor populations and habitats of RFSS, MIS, Birds of
Conservation Concern, and other species of interest sufficient to inform watershed and
project-level analyses of potential negative effects, as well as opportunities for maintenance,
3 - 89
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
enhancement, or restoration of habitat (FP, p II-30, Goal WF06)
.
Forest Fragmentation
Generally, permanent habitat fragmentation is not an issue in West Virginia. Permanent habitat
fragmentation occurs when forested land is converted to another use such as roads, grassy
openings, or construction of buildings where trees once covered the landscape. Over 75% of
West Virginia is forested; > 90% of the Monongahela National Forest is forested, and > 95% of
the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is forested (Map WL-2). Furthermore, a review of WV GAP
Analysis LULC data, in conjunction with digital orthographic quadrangle (DOQ) photos,
indicate that the forested habitat within the watershed also is relatively unfragmented, with nonforested areas generally clumped, such that forest patches are fairly contiguous. Such large
patches of contiguous forest provide essential habitat for large mammals and forest interior
(edge-sensitive) bird species, such as the bobcat, fisher, northern goshawk, Acadian flycatcher,
worm-eating warbler, and wood thrush. A variety of studies of neotropical migrants and other
breeding birds have been conducted on the Monongahela NF throughout the last fifteen years.
Results of these studies suggest that the Monongahela National Forest is providing abundant
habitat for Neotropical migrants and interior species, with forest fragmentation effects evident
only at the local scale. At this time, the Upper Greenbrier Watershed seems well-suited to
provide habitat for a variety of forest-interior wildlife species; because the Forest Service has
land ownership across most of this watershed, it is our responsibility to ensure that sufficient
contiguous forest remains to maintain viable populations of these and other forest interior
species.
In addition to permanent habitat fragmentation, temporary fragmentation, such as that resulting
from timber harvest or temporary road construction, is an issue that should be addressed. The
effects of such fragmentation are relatively short-lived and cause little harm to most species
populations, particularly on National Forest land, where the total acreage of regeneration cut, as
well as individual harvest unit size and distance between harvest units is regulated. However,
even such temporary fragmentation can adversely affect some populations, particularly those of
less mobile species, such as the Cheat Mountain and green salamander and other amphibians and
reptiles that rely on specific habitat features and may require a particular type of microclimate.
If the distance between remaining suitable habitat patches does not allow for movement between
them, smaller local populations may become extirpated. In some situations, particularly where
T&E species are at risk (e.g., the Cheat Mountain salamander), avoidance of fragmentation may
be the only alternative. In other situations, maintenance of some type of habitat connectivity
(e.g, maintaining corridors or suitable habitat “stepping stones” within managed areas) can help
to offset potential impacts and maintain local population viability for these species, while
providing additional forest and edge habitat for other species.
3 - 90
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Wildlife
Map WL-2. Forest Fragmentation in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 91
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
HUMAN USES
Recreation
Reference Conditions
On April 28, 1920 President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation establishing the
Monongahela National Forest. Recreational facilities on the Monongahela National Forest
developed very slowly at first because early management emphasis focused on building roads for
access, replanting trees following the extensive harvests between 1880 and 1935, and providing
fire protection. As a result recreational use was low. It wasn’t until the CCC program in 1930s
that recreational facilities began to appear across the Forest. One of the first recreational
developments was the Frank Mountain Campground on the Greenbrier Ranger District.
Following WWII, recreation management funds were not sufficient to manage or construct
facilities until the 1960s, when Island Campground, Old House Run Picnic Area, and Lake
Buffalo were built. The Gaudineer Scenic area was established in 1964 during this wave of
recreational development, which included the establishment of the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks
National Recreation Area and the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. In 1983, Laurel Fork
North and Laurel Fork South Wilderness Areas were established just to the north of the
watershed (Berman et al. 1992; McKim 1970).
Current Conditions
Recreational activities within the watershed consist mostly of dispersed recreation including
hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, driving for pleasure, and camping.
In general, recreational use is low with the exception of fishing and hunting seasons when
dispersed sites and developed sites, like Lake Buffalo and Island Campground, are heavily used.
Recreational use of the West Fork Rail Trail is increasing and has the potential to increase
exponentially. The same may be true for heritage tourism along the Staunton-Parkersburg
Turnpike Scenic Byway, especially if partnerships are made with the Appalachian Forest
Heritage Area group and the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance.
Scenery
As tourism increases, concerns for scenic integrity should also increase. Views from the Scenic
Byway and the West Fork Trail will likely become more important in the future.
The Landscape Character of the area has its origins in, and is formed by, early settlement
patterns and land uses that have taken place over the years. Early and continuing influences
affect the attitude toward landscape uses today. The area is mountainous and therefore activities
are more visible and more difficult to screen from the public view. Two of the main Landscape
Character Zones in the watershed, Red Spruce and Northern Hardwood, are described below.
The Red Spruce Zone usually appears as a dark finely textured cap on an otherwise hardwoodclothed mountain. For visitors to the Red Spruce Zone, views are usually of foreground timber
stands but, because of its location on top of the mountains, this zone offers more than an average
3 - 92
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
number of panoramic background views (see photo on Appendices divider). Historically some
of the most extensive red spruce stands in the country were found here. Large expanses of red
spruce can still be found within this zone. Spruce stands are often thickly stocked and the
understory is often open because of the lack of light penetrating to the forest floor. Gaudineer
Scenic area is an example of this zone. Towns or communities are rare in this zone, which is
true for the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
The Northern Hardwood Zone consists of the dissected Appalachian plateau at its juncture with
the ridge and valley section. Landforms are rolling to steeply sloped mountains with narrow,
winding valleys. Visitors encounter mostly enclosed, foreground views. Temporary openings of
less than 40 acres from timber harvest are common, as are changes in vegetative texture brought
about by partial harvest, such as two-aged or shelterwood cuts. Mountainsides within the zone
typically have an even-textured appearance, often punctuated by temporary openings. The lines
introduced by road construction on mountainsides is most evident during leaf-off periods.
Landscape visibility is characterized in Table RC-1, with the majority of the area falling within
the High visibility codes of Foreground 1 and Middleground 1.
Table RC-1. Landscape Visibility Distribution in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Visibility
Code
Fg1
Mg1
Bg1
Fg2
Mg2
Bg2
Fg3
Mg3
Bg3
ns
Visibility Classification
Foreground (0-1/2 mile) High
Middleground (1/2 - 4 miles) High
Background (4 miles - horizon) High
Foreground (0-1/2 mile) Moderate
Middleground (1/2 - 4 miles) Moderate
Background (4 miles - horizon) Moderate
Foreground (0-1/2 mile) Low
Middleground (1/2 - 4 miles) Low
Background (4 miles - horizon) Low
None
Totals
Acres
45786
31605
3
114
958
46
1729
904
1
3938
85084
Percent of
Watershed
53.8
37.2
0.0
0.1
1.1
0.1
2.0
1.1
0.0
4.6
100.0
The Scenic Attractiveness is primarily typical, with some distinctiveness along the West Fork of
the Greenbrier River, Lake Buffalo, and the Gaudineer Scenic Area. The existing Scenic
Integrity is 86.5 percent moderate, with some high integrity (7.2 percent) near Lake Buffalo and
along the West Fork of the Greenbrier River, and some low integrity (6.3 percent) (Map RC-1).
Maps of Scenic Attractiveness, Landscape Visibility, and Scenic Condition are in Appendix E.
Developed Recreation Sites
Island Campground – This campground has basic developed facilities and the area retains a
more primitive setting. The campground is adjacent to Long Run and the East Fork of the
Greenbrier River and is a favorite among fisherman. It includes six single campsites and 2 vault
toilets. Facility improvements at Island Campground are needed and include the following:
3 - 93
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Map RC-1. Scenic Integrity in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 94
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
replace 2 vault toilets with 1 accessible one (including accessible pathway); replace road bridges
with bridges or culverts to allow safe public road access, provide additional vehicle barriers
around camp sites, and install bear-proof trash cans.
Old House Run Picnic Area – This picnic area is located along US 250 and serves as the first
restroom stop as people enter West Virginia along US 250. It includes six family picnic sites
with tables, grills, and waste receptacles. One group picnic shelter, two vault toilets and a nonaccessible hand pump are also featured at this site. The following facilities at Old House Run
Picnic Area need to be improved: replace rotten wood barriers with rock or other form of barrier
to prevent vehicles from leaving the road; replace vault toilets with one unisex accessible toilet;
paint some picnic tables; gravel parking areas, improve accessibility features where possible,
improve existing horseshoe pit, and replace 2 large picnic grills at the large shelter.
Figure RC-1. Lake Buffalo
Lake Buffalo – Located along Buffalo Run, this 22-acre lake is stocked several times throughout
the year and is a popular destination for anglers. Parking, a vault toilet, a boat ramp, and garbage
cans are provided. In addition, the Lake Buffalo Trail encircles the lake, providing hiking,
fishing, and photo opportunities. Improvement opportunities and needs include more accessible
access to the lake, lengthening the boat ramp, improving the trail around the lake by constructing
boardwalk across the upper end of the lake, constructing 3 new bridges and replacing 2 bridges,
rerouting the trail and providing an accessible fishing pier.
3 - 95
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Gaudineer Knob Picnic Area –This picnic area sits high atop Gaudineer Knob where an old
fire tower once stood. There are five picnic sites, an accessible vault toilet, and a short 0.5 mile
hiking trail. The improvements needed are to replace tables/grills/gravel at picnic sites, widen
and improve gravel on all pathways. There are opportunities for additional interpretation at this
site, although the parking area is not actually in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
Gaudineer Scenic Area – The Scenic Area was designated by the Regional Forester in October
of 1964, and in 1981 it was registered as a National Natural Landmark for its exceptional value
as an illustration of the Nation’s natural heritage and its contribution to a better understanding of
man’s environment. In 1983 it was also registered by the Society of American Foresters as an
outstanding example of a vegetative community in a near natural condition dedicated for
scientific and educational purposes. Gaudineer Scenic Area contains an estimated 50 acres of
virgin Red Spruce within its 150 acres that are representative of vegetation that originally
occupied large portions of the West Virginia highlands. The Scenic Area Interpretative Trail
(#374) runs through the area. Blow down is common because of old and dying red spruce and
dying/diseased American beech, so the public is advised to avoid the area when it is windy. The
interpretative trail could be upgraded with more current signs and trail improvements.
Figure VG-2. - Gaudineer Scenic Area
3 - 96
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Dispersed Recreation
Many dispersed recreation sites are located along Forest Road 17 along Little River. These sites
are free to the public and offer graveled pull-outs/spurs where the public can camp. These
campsites were recently improved with gravel and large rocks to better define vehicle access and
reduce environmental impacts. They are currently well used, particularly on weekends.
Dispersed recreation sites are also located along Forest Road 44, mainly south of the intersection
with Road 17. The sites are associated with old timber sale landings, which feature relatively
flat openings, but also have native surface that is easily eroded and no obstacles in place to keep
vehicle traffic from driving on banks, wet areas, or areas where revegetation is desired. These
sites could be improved with gravel to harden surfaces and large rocks to keep vehicles out of
sensitive areas. Opportunities to create additional dispersed campsites exist in three old landings
south of Forest Road 17. This would reduce congestion along Forest Road 44 during hunting/
fishing season and create hardened campsites near the West Fork Rail Trail. An estimated 15
sites could be created along with parking for the West Fork Rail Trail within these old landings.
Additional dispersed campsites are located throughout the watershed, but are not concentrated.
The Staunton Parkersburg Turnpike National Scenic Byway - The Staunton-Parkersburg
Turnpike is the historic highway from Virginia’s upper Shenandoah Valley to the Ohio River.
Begun in 1838 and completed in 1845, the road was designed by master engineer Claudius
Crozet. The road was prized by both Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War as
essential for the control of western Virginia, and the road was the western gateway to the
Shenandoah Valley, the “Breadbasket of the Confederacy”.
Today, much of the route follows modern highways (US 250 within the watershed). Other
portions are along back roads, offering excellent opportunities for visitors to experience the
turnpike much as it was 150 years ago. The Byway and its backways pass through Pocahontas
and Randolph Counties in the high Allegheny Mountains of the central Appalachians, crossing
some of the most scenic, historic, and rugged terrain in West Virginia. They continue westward
through Upshur, Lewis, Gilmer, Richie, Wirt, and Wood Counties, an area of varied topography
and land uses. Opportunities exist for scenic byway project grants for recreation improvements
and interpretation.
Max Rothkugel Plantation – The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area group has expressed
interest in researching and documenting the Max Rothkugel Plantation and developing an
interpretive trail and potential parking area. Their proposal includes fieldwork, trail
restoration/development, site interpretation, self-guided walking tours, brochures and nomination
of the site the National Register of Historic Places.
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area - Many partnership opportunities exist with the
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area group for other projects as well. If the proposed Appalachian
Forest Heritage Area is designated, there would be future opportunities for partnering with them
on forestry and heritage projects.
3 - 97
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Trails
Numerous trails within the watershed provide a variety of dispersed recreation opportunities.
Most of these are maintained system trails that are described below and shown on Map RC-2.
Laurel River Trail South (306) – Most of this 7.6 mile trail runs from Lynn Divide to the
Laurel Fork Campground, through the Laurel Fork South Wilderness. The portion in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed (0.5 mile) follows an old road through the Loop Road Research Area.
County Line Trail (311) – Trail 311 follows the county line ridgeline between FR 35 and the
Beulah Trail (310) for 4.1 miles, but only a small portion (0.8 mile) lies within the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed.
West Fork Rail Trail (312) – As the name implies, Trail 312 follows an old railroad grade from
Durbin to Glady, a distance of 22.2 miles. The first 17.1 miles are in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed. With only a 400-foot elevation gain over those 17.1 miles, the trail is well suited for
hiking, horseback riding or bicycling, and it offers a scenic mix of river, mountains, woods, wild
flowers, meadows, and pools. Some improvements that are needed are install benches, install
new culvert and place stone in wet area near May, improved passage around several gates is
needed to better accommodate bicycle and horse traffic along this trail. The West Fork Rail
Trail could be showcased and serve as a destination in northern Pocahontas County. There are
several interpretive opportunities for this trail as well.
Figure RC-3. West Fork Rail Trail
Lynn Knob Trail (317) – Trail 317 begins at a parking area on Elklick Run Road (FR 179), 0.6
miles west of FR 14. It climbs gradually to Lynn Knob (3990 feet) within 0.4 miles and then
descends 850 feet over the next 2.7 miles to FR 17. The trail is well-drained and easy to follow,
and forested with beech, cherry and maple.
3 - 98
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Map RC-2. Trails and Other Recreational Features in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 99
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Span Oak Trail (321) – The eastern terminus of Trail 321 is on FR 15, just across from the
Burner Mountain Trail, described below. It runs west 3.7 miles to the Little River Road (FR 17),
just above where Little River meets the West Fork Greenbrier River. The elevation gain/loss is
1,150 feet, and the trail passes through several maintained wildlife openings. Approximately 1
mile of trail needs to be rerouted to reduce user-related sedimentation that is occurring.
Burner Mountain Trail (322) – Trail 322 traverses Burner Mountain for 3.5 miles, from FR 14
to FR 15. This is a high-elevation trail, with only about 400 feet of elevation gain. It follows an
old woods road most of the way, and is suitable for hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding.
Smoke Camp Trail (324) – Trail 324 begins on WV Highway 28, just north of the turnoff to
Lake Buffalo, and climbs relatively steeply to FR 58, just below Smoke Camp Knob. There are
several springs along this trail. The trail is 1.8 miles and has a 1,300 foot elevation gain. The
lower section passes through the Max Rothkugel Plantation, which was seeded to Norway spruce
and European larch in 1907.
Poca Run Trail (335) – Trail 335 begins and ends on WV Highway 28. From the western
trailhead, the trail climbs gradually up to the headwaters of Poca Run, where it eventually
crosses a ridge near Colow Knob and then descends back down to the highway. The trail is 2.5
miles, with an elevation gain of around 740 feet.
Johns Camp Trail (341) - Trail 341 begins where FR 317 ends. Within the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed this trail follows old woods roads for 0.1 mile and intersects the Allegheny Trail near
the Johns Camp Shelter.
Table RC-2. Trails in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Trail
No.
Laurel River Trail (south)
306
County Line Trail
311
West Fork Rail Trail
312
Lynn Knob Trail
317
Span Oak Trail
321
Burner Mountain Trail
322
Smoke Camp Trail
324
Poca Run Trail
335
Johns Camp Trail
341
Balsam Trail
344
East Fork Trail
365
Lake Buffalo Trail
368
Gaudineer Knob Scenic Trail
373
Gaudineer Interpretive Trail
374
Allegheny Trail
701
Total Trail Miles in Watershed
Trail Name
Total
Miles
7.6
4.1
22.2
3.7
3.7
3.5
1.8
2.5
0.8
0.3
8.0
0.8
0.5
0.5
300
Miles in
Watershed
0.5
0.8
17.1
3.7
3.7
3.5
1.8
2.5
0.1
0.3
8.0
0.8
0.4
0.5
16.2
59.9
3 - 100
Primary Uses
Hiking, backpacking
Hiking, mountain biking, horse riding
Hiking, bicycling, horse riding
Hiking, horseback riding
Mountain biking, hiking
Hiking, mountain biking
Hiking
Hiking, mountain biking, horse riding
Hiking
Hiking
Hiking, fishing
Fishing, hiking
Hiking
Hiking
Backpacking, hiking
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Balsam Trail (344) – Trail 344 provides access to the Allegheny Trail near US 250 off of FR
27. The trail passes 0.3 mile through red spruce, northern hardwoods and a meadow.
East Fork Trail (365) – Trail 365 follows the East Fork of the Greenbrier River for
approximately 8 miles, never straying far from the river and passing through three pine
plantations. It has an easy to moderate grade, gaining only 550 feet over 8 miles. Part of the
trail is on an old road and is easy to follow, but its floodplain location makes it wet or muddy in
places. The trailhead is at Island Campground, with the northern terminus at the Pigs Ear Road,
FR 254.
Lake Buffalo Trail (368) – Trail 368 begins at the north end of the Lake Buffalo dam on Forest
Road 54, crosses the dam to the south, and travels along the southern and eastern shores of the
lake, for a distance of 0.8 mile. The grade is easy, with little elevation gain or loss, and the trail
provides good access to the lake for fishing, photography, or nature watching. The trail to the
south and east needs to be rerouted and a to have a bridge installed.
Gaudineer Knob Scenic Trail (373) – Trail 373 begins and ends at the parking lot for the
Gaudineer Knob Picnic Area. There are several picnic areas along its 0.5 mile length, as well as
a scenic overview of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
Gaudineer Scenic Area Interpretative Trail (374) – Trail 374 begins and ends at the parking
lot for Gaudineer Scenic Area on Forest Road 27. The trail loops easily through an old sprucehardwood forest for about 0.5 mile. There are signs along the way that interpret the old growth
ecosystem. Due to the many dead trees in the area, hikers are advised not to use this trail during
windy conditions.
Allegheny Trail (701) – The Allegheny Trail runs from Pennsylvania to the Appalachian Trail
in Virginia, nearly 300 miles. In between it traverses almost the entire Forest, north to south.
The segment in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed winds along the crest of Shavers Mountain and
then descends steeply, nearly 1500 feet, to the West Fork Greenbrier River near Durbin. The
total distance is about 20.8 miles, of which 16.2 miles are in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
The trail features spectacular views, shelters, and a section through the Gaudineer Scenic Area.
Tread work is needed on the section from Balsam Trail to Simmons Run Road.
The MNFLMP provides standards and guidelines for the density of designated trails and system
roads on national forest land by area depending on the management prescription.
Table RC-3. Trail Density by Management Prescription Area
MP Area
Trail Miles
MP 3.0
MP 4.1
MP 6.1
MP 6.2
MP 8.0
24.3
7.5
0.6
19.9
1.8
3 - 101
Trail Density
(miles/square mile)
0.48
0.29
0.09
0.82
1.06
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Table RC-3 indicates trail density on NFS lands in the watershed by Management Prescription
area. Trail miles by MP area do not equal total trail miles in the watershed because some trail
routes cross private land that is not in any MP area. Overall, trail density is low and should not
exceed guidelines for Management Prescription 4.1 (2 mi./sq. mi.), 6.1 (2 mi./sq. mi.), 6.2 (4
mi./sq. mi.), or 8.0 (4 mi./sq. mi.) areas. However, density estimates by MP area will need to be
confirmed should any new trail construction be proposed in the future.
Activities That Impact Recreation
Development activities such as mining, utility placement, and road building can impact human
uses, both negatively and positively. Additional roads can create more roaded access within the
area which may or may not be desirable depending on the type of recreation sought. Renewable
activities such as timber harvest can also cause temporary impacts to recreational activities and
usually can be mitigated to lessen the effects. Activities on private lands can also impact users
on national forest; however we have no or little control over those impacts.
Desired Conditions
People visiting the Forest find a wide spectrum of recreational opportunities. Diverse landscapes
offer a variety of settings for recreational activities, ranging from semi-primitive non-motorized
where there are opportunities for solitude, risk, and challenge; to a rural setting where there are
opportunities for social interaction, comfort, and less risk. A variety of environmentally
responsible access is provided for recreation users.
Recreation facilities are managed to provide a range of opportunities and development scales in a
relatively safe environment. Recreation programs and facilities meet all applicable local, state,
and national standards for health and safety. Accessibility is incorporated into facility and
program access projects, while maintaining the development scale and setting of the area.
Dispersed recreation sites and uses are located in an environmentally responsible manner and
managed to established standards. Various methods are used to manage recreation activities and
facilities, and to mitigate adverse effects from recreation to other resources.
Conflicts between recreationists are reduced or addressed; while a broad array of recreation
opportunities are available. Collaboration among users results in decisions that reduce conflicts
between recreational and environmental needs. Local communities, partners, and volunteers are
involved and benefit from their roles in providing recreational opportunities.
Interpretive exhibits, displays, and programs provide learning opportunities that enhance Forest
visitor’s experiences. Interpretive and educational efforts increase visitor awareness of the
environmental effects of recreation use, and result in reduced adverse effects to other resources.
Authorized commercial developments and services meet established national standards and
broaden the range of recreation opportunities and experiences provided on NFS lands (Forest
Plan, p. II-32).
3 - 102
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Management Areas
Management Prescription 3.0 (32,443 acres) - A system of roads and trails provides access
within the area for public recreation and for administrative and management purposes, including
transportation of forest products. Motorized recreation opportunities are featured and public
motorized vehicle use is generally provided. Road densities vary considerably but average
within 1.0 to 2.0 miles per square mile. Open road densities average 0.5 to 1.0 miles per square
mile.
Roads and trails provide abundant opportunities for motorized recreation, including driving for
pleasure, forest product gathering, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. All of the area is
managed for a Roaded Natural ROS setting. High scenic integrity is maintained along visually
sensitive viewpoints and travel ways.
Management Prescription 4.1 (16,701 acres) - A system of roads provides access within the
area for administrative and management purposes, including transportation of forest products.
Non-motorized recreation opportunities are featured and public motorized vehicle use is often
restricted. Some roads may be open to provide public access or motorized recreation
opportunities. Road densities vary considerably but average within 1.0 to 2.0 miles per square
mile. Open road densities are considerably lower, averaging 0.1 to 0.5 miles per square mile,
primarily to reduce disturbance to wildlife and soils. New collector and local roads are typically
gated or closed by barricade. Many roads are seeded and managed for wildlife habitat and travel
routes.
Trails and closed roads provide opportunities for dispersed recreation; including hiking,
mountain biking, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The area provides limited motorized
settings and opportunities. High scenic integrity is maintained along visually sensitive
viewpoints and travel ways. Special uses and facilities do not detract from the desired ROS
settings for the area.
Management Prescription 6.1 (4,240 acres) - A system of roads and trails provides access
within the area for administrative and management purposes, including transportation of forest
products. Non-motorized recreation opportunities are featured and public motorized vehicle use
is generally restricted. Where roads are temporarily open, motorized opportunities are available.
Road densities vary considerably but average within 1.5 to 2.5 miles per square mile. Open road
densities are considerably lower, averaging 0.2 to 0.8 miles per square mile, to reduce
disturbance to wildlife. New collector and local roads are typically gated or closed by barricade.
Many roads are seeded and managed for wildlife habitat and travel routes.
Trails and closed roads provide abundant opportunities for semi-primitive non-motorized
recreation, including hiking, camping, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
The area is managed for a combination of ROS settings (SPNM, SPM, RN). High scenic
integrity is maintained along visually sensitive viewpoints and travel ways.
3 - 103
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Recreation
Special uses and facilities such as utility corridors are compatible with minimizing disturbance to
wildlife populations and the ROS settings for the area.
Management Prescription 6.2 (14,953 acres: part of Gaudineer and all of East Fork Greenbrier
Inventoried Roadless Areas) - Areas are managed to meet the physical, managerial, and social
settings consistent with the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum descriptions for semi-primitive
non-motorized recreation. They provide a wide variety of dispersed recreation opportunities and
settings. Natural processes are the primary agents for vegetative change, with vegetation
management used only to protect the resource or complement the recreational value. Recreation
facilities—including bridges, signs, fire rings, shelters, and sanitation structures—are relatively
uncommon and rustic in appearance.
The transportation system is closed to public motorized use. Non-motorized recreation
opportunities are featured. Trails and closed roads provide abundant opportunities for semiprimitive non-motorized recreation, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding,
hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing, although some restrictions may occur in order to achieve
management prescription objectives. The area is managed for a SPNM ROS setting. High
scenic integrity is maintained along visually sensitive viewpoints and travel ways.
Management Prescription 8.0 (1,110 acres: Gaudineer Scenic Area, Loop Road Research Area,
Max Rothkugel Plantation, Red Spruce candidate RNA) - Special Areas retain the values and
qualities for which they were originally designated. Areas contribute to the diversity of the
Forest by preserving rare species, communities, habitats, and features. These areas also provide
opportunities for scientific research and public enjoyment.
Additional Direction for these areas is found in the 8.0 section of Chapter III in the Forest Plan.
3 - 104
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Heritage Resources
Heritage Resources
The vast majority of the watershed has felt the impact of human use. Some impacts, although
not currently measurable, occurred between the 18th and mid-19th centuries. These would have
included impacts to forest tree species age and diversity, wildlife populations, soils, viewsheds,
fragmentation/openings ratios, and the demographic profile of the area (Indian-to-colonial at
low-to-moderate population density). The most dramatic changes, however, took place after the
development of rail lines into the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Reference Conditions
Pre-historic – Pre-historic conditions for this area are integral to understanding the presence of
people on the landscape for the last several thousand years. Studies of pollen and spores from
the region and comparative data (e.g., Carbone 1976; Davis 1983; Wilkins 1977) indicate that a
southward displacement of boreal floral and faunal species followed the terminal glacial retreat.
Pockets of tundra vegetation, dominated by spruce, fir and pine, extended from the north into the
uplands region of the Appalachian range between 25,000 and 15,000 BP (before present). The
transition to more modern flora begins between 12,500 and 10,000 BP with an increase in
deciduous forest species, including oak and ironwood. This period coincided with the first
probable human use of the region. This epoch also saw the extinction of many faunal species
including elephant, camel, mastodon, giant bison, giant peccary, giant beaver, ground sloth, and
woodland musk ox. By 10,000 BP, the transition to a mixed coniferous-deciduous forest had
begun.
By 7,500 BP, mixed hardwood forests were present on the Allegheny Plateau, with the
expansion of birch, oak and hickory communities. Continued warming trends led to mixed
hardwood forests at higher elevations. Around 5,000 BP spruce forests experienced resurgence
in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, probably indicating the spread of diverse open forest
canopies and bog settings (i.e., the growth of Picea rubens). Modern climatic conditions were
probably in place by around 3,000 BP, although various peaks-and-valleys in temperature and
moisture regimes continued to the present. These conditions affected both the vegetation mixes
and fish/wildlife species and by direct extension, subsistence patterns for people.
Human use of the landscape during the PaleoIndian and Early/Middle Archaic sequences (ca.
11,000-6,000 BP) was largely restricted to hunting/gathering/fishing, and establishment of
domestic sites. The bedrock types in this area may have encouraged quarrying for raw material
to make stone tools. The presence of potential campsites in the form of rock shelters also may
have encouraged human use of this and nearby landscapes at this time.
The implications of the early prehistoric period on the reference condition of the watershed are
minimal. Some modification of plant communities occurred through harvest and selective
protection; some animal populations were controlled through hunting and trapping; and the use
of fire as a habitat management tool may have occurred. However, by and large, human
populations are perceived to have been too small during the early periods (Paleo-Indian and
Early/Middle Archaic) to cause significant effects on the environment.
3 - 105
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Heritage Resources
In contrast, Late Archaic and Woodland Period societies (ca. 6,000 BP to 1600+ AD, including
early European colonization/contact) had increasingly noticeable impacts on the environment.
Larger populations, new technologies, an evolving subsistence strategy, and associated increases
in the size and duration of occupation of villages, all led to deeper and more widespread human
impacts. The major activities that changed the environment were: intentional encouragement
and protection of plant communities; burning to open up the understory and enhance game
habitat, targeting berry and mast species, and contributing to an oak presence; the adoption of
horticulture and agriculture over the last 2,000 years, requiring cleared gardens and fields, many
near streams and rivers; and biodegradation of local environments associated with, for example,
long-term village locations.
In summary, subsistence activities and residential sites would have had an effect on the health
and diversity of the forest community, size and behavior of wildlife species, and fragmentation
of the forest. Activities and presence also increased sedimentation rates in the streams near
villages. The Native American population was displaced through disease and war, starting in the
17th century. The effect of smallpox on the Native American was enormous; by some estimates
more than half the pre-European population was killed by smallpox before they had even laid
their eyes upon a wagon. Thus, the pre-contact patterns of their lifestyle are now known only
through archaeology, oral history and a handful of early settlers’ or explorers’ accounts.
Historic Conditions – Much of what follows below is derived from the Monongahela’s Historic
Property Management Plan (Swanson et al. 2004). By the early 1750s, the Greenbrier Valley
had a number of small settlements, with pioneers moving into the area from the Valley of
Virginia. By 1754, on the eve of the French and Indian War, an estimated 50 families had settled
in the valley, particularly around Muddy, Howard, Anthony, Spring Lick, and Knapp Creeks
(Rice and Brown 1993:20-21). Even then, it appears there were settlements in what is now
Pocahontas County.
After Braddock’s Defeat in 1755, the frontier erupted in violence, and some of this was directed
at settlements along the Greenbrier. There were at least two forts built to defend that region.
Beginning with the surprise attack by the Shawnee in 1755, Indian raids drove the settlers out of
the valley and back across the Alleghenies (Rice 1986:21-25).
The next wave of settlement entered the upper Greenbrier Valley after 1769. By the time of
Dunmore’s War in 1774, the region was already settled, at least at the lower elevations (Rice
1986:7, 29-34; Rice and Brown 1993:28-29; Environmental Protection Agency 1981a:2.123).
By that time, settlement had again reached up into what is now Pocahontas County, with settlers
spreading along streams like Knapp, Anthony, Indian Draft, Deer, Wolf, Second, and Sitlington
Creeks. When Lewis’s army left for Point Pleasant, it has been estimated that the total number
of settlers within the Greenbrier Valley was between three and four thousand (Davis 1978:60;
Rice 1986:31). These settlers erected forts for protection. Most were little more than fortified
residences for neighboring families. Among them was Fort Greenbrier, near what is now
Marlinton.
By around 1800, it is estimated that some 150 families lived in what is now Pocahontas County.
Two decades later, in 1821, the county was created from northern Greenbrier and southern
3 - 106
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Heritage Resources
Randolph counties. Huntersville was designated the county seat the following year (Flegel
1992:11; Doran 1987:42; Pocahontas County 1997:4, 72).
One of the most important events to occur in upper Pocahontas County was the construction of
the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike. Initial surveys began in 1823. Even though work began in
the 1820s, serious construction did not commence until 1838, with work simultaneously
progressing from the east and west ends. Irish immigrants did most of the labor. Completed in
1847, the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike generally followed the course of what is now U.S.
Route 250 across the crest of the Alleghenies (Hriblan et al. 1996:5, 13-14, 23-25). The route
went through the communities of Bartow and Durbin (Daley and McClung c. 1990).
The successful completion of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike inaugurated the construction of
smaller, auxiliary turnpikes that connected with the main line. Foremost of these were the
Huttonsville and Marlin’s Bottom Turnpike, and its extension, the Lewisburg and Marlin’s
Bottom Turnpike, both constructed in the 1850s. Other roads constructed or improved during
this period included the Beverly-Fairmont Turnpike; the Huntersville Road, between Bartow and
Huntersville; and the Huntersville Turnpike, between Huttonsville and Huntersville (Davis
1978:69; Rice 1986:141-144; Lesser 1993:1).
The Staunton-Parkersburg Pike was important to the course of the Civil War. By the end of
1861, there were Federal fortifications on Cheat Mountain just west of Pocahontas County. In
opposition were Confederate fortifications at Camp Bartow, near the present day Ranger Office,
and at Camp Allegheny, atop Allegheny Mountain on the east side of the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed. All of these positions were along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike.
On October 3, 1861, a Federal force out of Fort Milroy, on Cheat Mountain, attacked Camp
Bartow in the battle of Greenbrier River. The Federals were repulsed and fell back to Cheat
Summit. Camp Bartow was soon abandoned as the Confederates pulled back to Camp
Allegheny, located further east on the turnpike (Davis 1978:73). Camp Allegheny itself was
attacked on December 13, 1861 by 1,900 Federal troops out of Fort Milroy, under the command
of Brigadier General Robert H. Milroy. Col. Edward Johnson and his 1,200 Confederate
defenders repulsed the attack.
After the assault on Camp Allegheny, the situation along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike
remained static for the rest of the winter. There was, however, a small raid from that area down
into the Greenbrier Valley. In early January 1862, after skirmishing with Confederates at
Marlin’s Bottom (Marlinton), a few hundred Federals conducted a raid on Huntersville. After
destroying Confederate supplies, the Federals returned to their base in the mountains (Davis
1978:74; Pocahontas County 1997:45-46).
As late as 1873, upper Pocahontas County was only sparsely settled, and covered by thick forest.
The northern, higher regions were carpeted by red spruce, while the lower portion of the county
had stands of white pine (White 1873). In the years that followed, from the early 1870s to the
early 1900s, river logging became a prominent economic activity, particularly along the lower
reaches of the Greenbrier River, from the Marlinton area and south. In 1891, the county seat was
moved from Huntersville to the logging and tanning town of Marlinton, which had become the
center of the local timber industry (Flegel 1992:11).
3 - 107
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Heritage Resources
By the end of the 1890s, the county had its first and greatest railroad. A subsidiary of the
Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, it was later known as the “Greenbrier Division of the
Chesapeake and Ohio,” usually referred to as the Greenbrier Division. Work began on this
railroad in 1899 with a crew of 1500 men, laying up to one mile of track a day. In this fashion,
the line was constructed to Marlinton and Cass by 1900, to Durbin by 1902 and finally reaching
Winterburn by 1905 (Lewis 1998:77, 80; Pocahontas County 1997:179). This rail line allowed
timbering on a scale previously unimaginable in the county. Between 1901 and 1920, there were
seven band saw mills and associated communities along the West Fork Greenbrier River, and
two mills/communities along the East Fork. The photo below shows the mill site at Burner on
the West Fork circa 1905.
Figure HR-1. Burner Mill Site, Circa 1905
The area was also subjected to slash fires and was more severely flooded as a result of increased
surface runoff. Recognizing the devastation brought about by unregulated logging, President
Wilson declared the boundaries of the Monongahela National Forest in 1920. Subsequently,
significant reforestation was accomplished through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation
Corps in the 1930s. Under the stewardship of the National Forest, the area is once again
thriving, albeit with significantly altered floral, faunal, sediment, and hydrological regimes.
3 - 108
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Heritage Resources
Exhaustion of the forests, coupled with the Great Depression, brought about a precipitous
economic and social decline. Many towns and small communities were abandoned. Within the
assessment area, the infrastructure aspects of this settlement/industrial system (i.e., homes,
farms, schools, mill sites, transportation systems, etc.) tended to cluster around the Bartow –
Durbin corridor, and the West and East Forks of the Greenbrier River. Within NFS lands, much
of this infrastructure now exists only as archaeological sites and some “cultural landscapes”.
From 1750 to 1870 the population of Pocahontas County increased from 2 to 4,069. By 1920,
near the end of the railroad logging era, the population was over 15,000 (Lewis 1998). For the
past 10 years the population of Pocahontas County has remained near the 9,000 level.
Current Conditions
Given the current state of research in the watershed area, it is not possible to characterize in any
meaningful way prehistoric use of landscape. This inability is due to the fact that relatively few
site evaluations (beyond administratively dismissing Isolated Finds and severely disturbed sites)
have been conducted. Thus, while many sites have been identified, we do not know when they
were occupied or what types of activities their inhabitants were engaged in. Some of the
previously recorded sites have a very high potential for yielding important information on
prehistoric utilization of the area. Until these sites are evaluated, however, our knowledge of the
prehistory of the project area will remain unknown. It is known that the area has a high potential
for locating prehistoric resources based on the results of previous surveys, coupled with the facts
that the area is a natural transportation hub: the East and West Forks of the Greenbrier River
meet near Durbin where they form the Greenbrier River, rivers flow both north and south
(Shaver’s Fork flowing north and the Greenbrier flowing south) and gaps over the Allegheny
Front are located directly to the east.
The results of previous archaeological surveys indicate that most historic period activity in the
area was related to resource extraction, particularly mining and logging. A comparatively small
proportion of historic period sites located in the watershed were devoted to human habitation.
The historic period occupation of the area directly within the watershed was, and continues to be,
focused on the towns of Durbin and Bartow, although there were many smaller communities and
mill sites along the West and East Forks of the Greenbrier River.
There are numerous sites and features left on the landscape. They are the correlates to the
standing architecture and functional outbuildings of the historic economy. We would therefore
expect the remains of communities, houses, barns, outbuildings, mills, blacksmith shops,
schools, logging camps, mining structures, etc. to still be identifiable. Also, the footprints of
transportation systems, and vegetative “artifacts” in the form of complete and partial cultural
landscapes (apple orchards, pine plantations, sugar bushes, openings, and more) will likely be
located. Their distribution is heavily biased toward the main transportation arteries.
Cultural resource surveys have been conducted over a portion of the watershed assessment area,
in order to determine more accurately the types and locations of sites that may be affected by
construction disturbance related to watershed improvement and other Forest Service
management activities. Potential ground-disturbing impacts related to watershed improvement
3 - 109
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Heritage Resources
include alterations to roads, drainages and riparian systems. Road alterations may consist of
creating new roads or improving or closing existing roads. Drainage improvements may include
enlarging existing culverts and drainages, and constructing more cross-drains. Potential riparian
modifications include the construction of in-stream structures, as well as stream bank
stabilization. Other potential Forest Service activities include the implementation of ongoing
land management plans such as timber sales, range activities, and mineral and natural gas
leasing, among others.
Other potential threats to the integrity of historic and prehistoric sites (discovered and
undiscovered) include unregulated development on private lands, natural/anthropic processes
such as erosion, and vandalism/looting.
Currently, the nature, extent, and scope of potential impacts in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
from future projects have yet to be determined. Therefore, it is not possible to identify specific
areas that require archaeological survey. The work reported on here thus represents an attempt to
provide a broad characterization of the types and density of cultural resources to be found in the
project area.
The most recent surveys of the assessment area located a number of archaeological sites.
Prehistoric sites ranged from small lithic scatters covering only a few square meters to large base
camps that extend over several thousand square meters. Historic sites consisted primarily of the
remains of activities associated with resource extraction. These include railroad grades and other
transportation-related features, and logging and mining camps. A single historic period home
site was located.
A total of 53 Heritage Resource surveys have been conducted either wholly or partially within
the current watershed assessment area between 1980 and 1994. The total area in acres covered
by these surveys is shown at the base of Table HR-1. It should be kept in mind that many of
these surveys were not conducted in a manner consistent with current standards; many of these
areas would need to be re-surveyed prior to any management actions involving ground
disturbance.
This previous survey data indicates that all of the heritage surveys were project-driven. Surveys
have been conducted primarily for timber sales, but have also been conducted for special use
permits, recreation, energy extraction, roads, and lands.
A total of 126 heritage resources have been recorded in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Of
these, 39 represent the remains of prehistoric resource exploitation and/or habitation, while 83
represent Euro-American historic period activities; four represent multi-component prehistoric
deposits. Heritage sites include old sawmills, school, home sites, bridges, cemeteries,
transportation arteries, railroad grades, logging camps, other campsites, rock shelters, lithic
scatter, mines, and unidentified structures. Also, and significantly, several Civil War battlefields
and camps are located within the watershed. It should be noted that a good portion of these sites
were recorded in 1977 and 1978 during the initial Cultural Resources Survey of the Forest
(Davis 1978). This survey involved checking old maps and West Virginia Geological Survey
site records for sites on Forest lands. It did not involve any fieldwork.
3 - 110
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Heritage Resources
Table HR-1. Previous Heritage Surveys in the Upper Greenbrier River Watershed
Project Name
Little River West TS
Mountain Lick Creek TS
Laurel Fork May and West Campground
Small Sales, FY 1982
Frank Mountain TS
Small Sales, FY 1983
Simmons Run TS
Wildell TS
Pig Ear Pine TS
Johns Camp Sale
Fox Run Sale
Little River Flagstone Quarry
Beulah Sale
Mullenax Run Sale
5-mile Flagstone Permittee
Newman ROW
Little River Camp Spruce
Small Sales
Small Sales
Fox Run TS (add-on)
Small Sales
Buffalo Fork Lake Road
Pocahontas County 4h Road
Frank Mtn. Wildlife Opening and TS
4H Camp Bath House
Little Beech Mountain TS
Acres in
Watershed
600
738
24
163
952
333
214
1185
419
20
114
21
265
1007
12
1
131
28
12
54
20
113
0.5
18
24
505
Acres in
Watershed
Abes Run TS
396
Mullenax Run TS (add-on)
18
Vista-Cheat Mountain 250-92
1.2
Elklick TS
740
Buffalo Lake Trailhead Parking
2
Small Sales, FY 1991
22
Miles Run TS
197
Buffalo Ridge TS
2
Mountain Lick OA
1025
Burner Settlement OA
827
Gaudineer Knob Toilet Replacement
1.4
Burner Mountain OA
5845
Phase I Survey, Timber Sales
2030
May OA
6288
Phase I Survey, Timber Sales
7291
Suter Run OA
155
East Shavers Fork OA
201
Thornwood Gas Pipeline Amendment
1.8
Columbia Gas Wells
1.3
Natural Gas Drilling Sites
76
Helicopter Landing
10
Glady Fork Watershed
83
Divide Pulp TS
3
Grassy Mountain TS, Compartment 82
81
Osceola OA
23
TOTALS
32,341
Project Name
As previously mentioned, numerous sites have already been recorded in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed assessment area. These sites have, however, only been identified and avoided during
Forest management activities (flagged and avoided); their true potential to aid in understanding
the long-term ecological conditions of, and human impact to, the watershed have not been
realized. Potential for sites in the assessment area is high. Given the previous patterns of site
location in the watershed, and the relative ubiquity of water, any area (e.g. bottom, bench,
terrace, saddle) with a slope of 10 percent or less has the potential to yield both prehistoric and
historic resources. There is a strong trend towards prehistoric horticultural/agricultural (and
fishing) village/base-camp sites along the lower terraces and floodplains; lithic workshops and/or
quarries (at outcrops); “traditional use” sites at higher elevations and vistas; and
hunting/gathering sites scattered throughout the area. There are so few burials known throughout
the state that there is no reliable pattern that can be inferred at this point.
Except in flood plains and core areas of historic development, existing sites should have retained
much of their physical integrity. Speculation for locating additional sites is that many of the
same factors making an area attractive in the past (e.g., water, vistas, drainage, slope) makes
them attractive today. Thus, an increased emphasis on site discovery (vs. site area avoidance)
3 - 111
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Heritage Resources
during “compliance” archaeology would increase our sample size.
No prehistoric sites have been intensively evaluated or investigated to date. Preservation of
features within sites that contain organic (or carbonized) remains is relatively uncommon in the
region’s acidic soils, but can occur, particularly in protected locations. Historically, frequent
large-scale flooding events have probably reduced the preservation potential of valley-bottom
sites, but first and second order terraces, and bedrock-protected streamside locations, may offer
good preservation potential. Within prehistoric archaeological sites, fire hearths and storage pits
tend to retain the greatest amount of organic or carbonized/organic materials for analysis. In
addition, natural features such as ancient ponds, bogs, and wetlands offer the opportunity to do
palynological cores reflecting changes, which may complement such analyses. Just about all site
types have the potential to have hearths (which may contain the charred remains of nuts, seeds,
bones, wood). Storage pits are generally associated with more sedentary, horticultural societies,
both later in time and generally lower in elevation than other sites types/time periods.
The floodplains along the Greenbrier River have been well scoured over time, and the slopes in
much of the watershed would be prohibitive (or at least discouraging) for agriculture; therefore,
these areas may not have good potential for the presence or preservation of such features.
Finally, we know that the highest elevations have little or no potential or history for long frostfree seasons; so, by process of elimination, we would expect that the lower hills would be prime
“preservation” areas for sites with features associated with agricultural/horticultural settlements.
Desired Conditions
Heritage resources are identified and their eligibility as historic properties for inclusion in the
National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) determined. If warranted, eligible sites are
nominated for listing in the NRHP. Qualified researchers and scholars are provided access to
data needed to further our knowledge of the prehistory and history of the area of the Forest and
the region.
People visiting the National Forest can find opportunities to explore, enjoy, and learn about
cultural heritage. As visitors travel through landscapes and experience diverse environments and
cultures, they can make a personal connection with the land and people and have the opportunity
to reflect on the relevance of the past and the land to their daily lives (Forest Plan, p. II-38).
3 - 112
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Minerals
Minerals
Reference Conditions
Commercial mining of natural gas and coal did not occur prior to European settlement of this
area. Some historic coal mining occurred along the Shavers Mountain ridgeline within the last
century. Past mining sites have been reclaimed, and no new development has occurred since the
federal government acquired all of the mineral rights to coal in the area.
Mineral materials removal has been negligible. There have been occasional requests for personal
use rock permits for a few tons of native stone, and this type of request is not expected to change
substantially in the foreseeable future. Currently, the Forest issues permits for less than 5 tons of
stone per year.
An estimated 11.3 percent of the watershed’s NFS land has privately owned mineral rights (Map
MN-1 And Table MN-1); the rest of the rights on NFS land are federally owned. This watershed
has had a fairly high amount of minerals-related activity compared to most other watersheds on
the Forest. By far, the primary minerals-related activity in this watershed has been associated
with the exploration and development of natural gas. Columbia Gas Transmission began
developing the Glady Storage Field in 1964, and has been active in this area ever since. Work on
the Horton Field, on the east side of the watershed, began in the 1960s as well. Cabot Gas & Oil
started trying to expand the Field in 1999, but has had limited success. Current condition
descriptions below focus on the natural gas activities and potential in the area.
Table MN-1. Privately Owned Mineral Rights by Subwatershed
Subwatershed
Little River
Headwaters EF Greenbrier River
West Fork Greenbrier River
Outlet EF Greenbrier River
Totals
Acres of Privately Owned Minerals
Subwatershed Percent of P.O.
All
Oil/Gas/
Acres
Rights
Total
Minerals
Hydrocarbons
251
0
251
12,470
2.0
2,557
639
3,196
24,220
13.2
2,324
1,596
3,920
28,200
13.9
2,257
0
2,257
20,210
11.2
7,388
2,235
9,623
85,100
11.3
Current Conditions
Natural Gas Production
Roughly the southern half of the 50,000-acre Glady Storage Field is in the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed. Under permit until 2013, the storage field runs roughly north and south between
Durbin and Forest Road 35, and east/west between Forest Road 44 and Middle Mountain Road
(FR14). The Glady Storage Field agreement was authorized in 1964, and grants the operator
(Columbia Gas Transmission) the right to use and occupy NFS land within the bounds of the
storage field to construct, operate, maintain, replace, abandon and remove wells, pipelines and
3 - 113
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Minerals
Map MN-1. Privately Owned Mineral Rights Within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 114
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Minerals
roads for the purposes of gas storage. The storage agreement requires the operator to obtain
Forest Service approval of plans for gas storage facilities on NFS land.
The storage field consists of gathering pipelines which run to and from the storage wells to a
compressor station outside the watershed. Twenty-three storage well sites, numerous access
roads, and 7.5 miles of pipeline are currently in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed portion of the
Glady Storage Field.
To access these developments, Columbia Gas Transmission holds a Road Use Permit with the
Monongahela National Forest. The permit covers approximately 60 miles of roads and road
segments to be maintained by Columbia Gas yearly. An estimated 31.2 of these miles are within
the Upper Greenbrier Watershed (Table MN-2). These roads may be used for other purposes
such as hauling timber, as needed by the Monongahela. This permit is reviewed annually and
outlines the maintenance techniques for the variety of road types. There have been some recent
changes in the roads used, and the permit should be updated to incorporate those changes.
Table MN-2. Roads Under Permit with Columbia Gas Transmission
Road No.
176
177
177A
178
178A
178AA
178AB
179
179A
179B
179D
35
35A
35B
369
369A
369B
369C
369E
464
464A
477
756
817
817A
817C
854
17
Road Name
Iron Bridge Run
Mill Run
Mill Run Spur
Gertrude Run
Gertrude Run Spur
Gertrude Run Spur AA
Gertrude Run Spur AB
Elklick Run
Elklick Spur
Elklick Spur
Elklick Spur
Snorting Lick
Snorting Lick Spur
Snorting Lick Spur
Fox Run
Fox Run Spur
Fox Run Spur
Fox Run Spur
Fox Run Spur
Mike’s Run
Mike’s Run Spur
Upper Mtn Lick
Little River West
Fox Ridge
Fox Ridge Spur
Fox Ridge Spur
Wildell
Little River
3 - 115
Miles
1.9
.8
.5
1.8
2.3
1.8
0.4
4.3
.2
.3
.1
4.0
.3
.1
2.6
.3
.4
.1
.2
.5
.1
1.8
2.5
1.9
.2
.1
1.4
.3
Gate
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Minerals
Columbia Gas Transmission’s foreseeable activities in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed include
maintenance of existing storage field facilities. Examples of typical maintenance activities
include replacing impaired pipeline, well cleanout, wire-lining, pigging, road maintenance
completed under the terms and conditions of the Forest Service issued Road Use Permit, mowing
well sites, pipelines, and road rights-of-ways. No new storage wells, roads, or pipeline proposals
are foreseen by Columbia Gas Transmission at this time.
The Horton Field lies roughly in the area between US 250 east of Bartow and the confluence of
Forest Road 106 and State Highway 28. The original plan was for Cabot to develop and produce
natural gas from 22 wells in the Oriskany Sandstone and Huntersville Chert Reservoirs. They
planned to drill seventeen new wells from a total of 8 strategically-placed well pads. Five
additional new wells would have been drilled from three existing well pads within the field. The
proposed development was planned to take place over a five-year period, from 1999-2003. Four
new well pads were developed and one well was developed successfully. Another new well was
then drilled dry, the site was reclaimed successfully and is now maintained as a wildlife opening
by the WVDNR. A second new well was then directionally drilled on the existing pad of a nonviable well and was dry as well. That site was also reclaimed successfully and is maintained as a
wildlife opening by the WVDNR.
Following the failure of drilling two dry wells, the company withdrew their focus on the drilling
program and further development of the Horton Field. Development of the Horton Field is no
longer a priority for the company, and in fact, there is no plan to return in the immediate future.
In 2005, an existing well that had failed was plugged and abandoned, and the well site and road
were successfully reclaimed and closed out. Currently, there are 7 operating well sites and 3
abandoned/reclaimed well sites within the Horton Field, two of which are maintained by the
DNR as wildlife openings.
Desired Conditions
Exploration, development, and production of mineral and energy resources are conducted in an
environmentally sound manner. Although some areas (designated wilderness, campgrounds,
administrative sites, areas dedicated to recreation activities in a remote setting, and scenic areas,
for example) are not available for exploration and development of federally owned minerals,
most areas of the Forest remain available to mineral activities. Exploration and development of
private mineral rights are consistent with deed terms and law, and make reasonable use of the
land surface. Approved operating plans include appropriate mitigation measures. Operations are
bonded commensurate with law or the costs of anticipated site reclamation. Sites are returned to
a condition consistent with management emphasis and objectives.
3 - 116
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Lands and Special Uses
Lands and Special Uses
Reference Conditions
Federal land in the United States is owned in common by its citizens and is intended to be
managed for their common benefit. Our country grew rapidly after the revolution and the
opening of federal lands to settlement east of the Mississippi River. Most acquisition of lands by
the United States occurred between the late 1700s and the late 1800s, adding to the public
domain that is subject to the control of and disposition by Congress.
Over the past 200 or more years, Congress has given away, sold, or otherwise disposed of about
two-thirds of the nearly 1.8 billion acres of public land once owned in common by the citizens.
This was done to pay national debts and operating expenses and to foster settlement, basically to
achieve national economic and social goals.
By the late 1800s, disposal of the federal estate had brought about wide perception and concern
of public land scarcity and a desire to reserve special natural areas of the country for public use.
While the western United States still consisted of substantial areas of public domain, the East had
been mostly conveyed to private interests. Various Acts of Congress have been passed over the
last century or so to reserve lands in the public domain and to purchase additional lands to
protect watersheds or other values and to manage natural resources for the public benefit.
Approximately 635 million acres of various federal lands existed in the United States in 2002.
Numerous agencies have been given the responsibility to manage our present federal public land
base, to serve as stewards dedicated to providing long-term benefits from these lands for present
and future generations. The United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
administers the National Forests including the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.
Approximately 193,000,000 acres were being administered by the Forest Service nationally in
2006, mostly in the West.
The Monongahela National Forest is comprised of just over 919,000 public acres. Prior to the
establishment of the Forest in 1920, there was no need for federal rights-of-way, landlines, or
land acquisition within the Upper Greenbrier Watershed. Since then, as the amount and
distribution of National Forest System (NFS) land has changed, the Forest has had to continually
adapt to changing private needs, laws and agency policies in order to effectively manage the
federal estate. Many, scattered, private lands within the boundaries of national forests have led
to the need for realty specialists to work with diverse neighbors and forest users in matters
relating to boundary management, rights-of-way, occupancy and use of public land, claims,
encroachments, reserved and outstanding rights, purchases, exchanges, and sale of public lands.
PROPERTY BOUNDARY MANAGEMENT – LANDLINES
Background
Probably the most critical activity of the lands program affecting other resource management
programs is property boundary management. This involves establishing, marking, and
3 - 117
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Lands and Special Uses
maintaining the property lines between NFS lands and private lands. When land was plentiful
and cheap, exact surveys and boundaries were not perceived as so important, but as it increases
in value, a few feet can make a great difference. Probably no other land issue can flare into
emotional confrontation as quickly as disputes over landownership.
It is essential that lands managed by the Forest Service be identified on the ground, not only to
prevent unauthorized use of national forest resources but also, to ensure that Forest Service
personnel do not unknowingly authorize use of resources owned by others. Well-established,
well-marked property lines allow for maximum management and use of all resources, including
the identification of lands for public use. In the past, many managers backed off private
boundaries that had not been marked on the ground rather than survey the line, or just marked
them in the approximate location. These practices resulted in millions of acres of land across the
country not being used or managed by the Forest Service. A USDA audit of the Forest Service
in 1977 estimated that more than 25 million dollars a year of annual revenue was being lost
because of backing off, or using substandard surveys. The enforcement of Forest Service
regulations also requires on-the-ground identification of areas where regulations apply.
The Forest Service implements some key policies related to landline location. One is that all
National Forest System property boundary lines adjoining private, state, and public trust lands
shall be located, monumented (corners), marked, and posted to prescribed Forest Service
standards prior to undertaking land management activities that occur near or adjacent to the
property line. In addition, all land management practices shall use, occupy, and/or protect the
land and resources of the United States up to the property line to prevent the creation of a false or
misleading use line. Although most acquired NFS lands were surveyed prior to acquisition,
many have not been surveyed to modern standards and some of the old corner monumentation
and marking of lines has been lost due to time and lack of maintenance. Boundary lines must be
maintained every few years to keep them visible and functional.
Responsibility for property line surveys between National Forest and private lands is shared
equally between the landowner and the government. Locating and posting lines should be a
cooperative undertaking. Landowners are likewise responsible for ensuring that their activities
do not infringe on public lands. Landline location is very expensive and involves sophisticated
equipment and highly trained personnel. Budgets are most often insufficient to allow surveying
of many miles of lines to standard on an annual basis. Prioritization of surveys is necessary to
make the best use of available dollars as follows: 1) where known litigation is pending or a title
claim asserted; 2) where significant resource values exist and utilization is planned (including
necessary easements); 3) where encroachment is suspected or probability can be reduced; 4) all
remaining property lines.
Current Conditions
Currently, an estimated 81 percent (69,300 acres) of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is NFS
land, with the remaining 19 percent (15,800 acres) in private ownership. Current uses on private
lands include residential, agriculture, pastureland, forestry, and some commercial/industry in the
Durbin-Bartow corridor.
3 - 118
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Lands and Special Uses
Map LS-1. Priority Landlines in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 119
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Lands and Special Uses
A review of the landlines between National Forest System land and private land was completed
for this analysis. Map LS-1 graphically displays the status of property boundaries. In summary,
there are approximately 120 miles of common Forest Service/private boundaries in the watershed
area. Nearly 68 percent (80 miles) of those lines have been surveyed and marked to standard.
Approximately 12 percent (15 miles) have been identified as having a higher priority for survey
due to the potential for management activities in the foreseeable future. Another 20 percent (25
miles) are a lower priority and should be considered for survey as dollars become available or
circumstances dictate a higher need. Specific needs related to landlines or other property
management issues should be identified as early as possible in the project planning process in
order to complete these often protracted activities in a timely fashion.
Desired Conditions
National Forest property boundaries and corners are located on the ground, monumented,
marked, and posted to properly identify lands managed by the Forest. Pro-active efforts to mark
and maintain property boundaries and educate and inform users and adjacent landowners result
in reduced levels of unauthorized uses, encroachments, and user conflicts. Boundaries and
corners are maintained to Forest Service standards to prevent their loss over time to damage and
neglect. Well-established property lines support enforcement of Forest Service regulations
(Forest Plan, p. II-50).
LANDOWNERSHIP ADJUSTMENT
Background
Landownership adjustment involves a group of activities whose primary function is to change
the landownership pattern within the National Forest System. The purposes of these changes are
to facilitate management or reduce administrative costs by obtaining an optimum pattern of
landownership and resources to meet the public’s present and future needs. They include
purchase (acquiring partial or all interests in a property by cash payment), donation (private gifts
of real property rights), exchange (land-for-land, land-for-timber, or partial interest), transfer
(jurisdictional change between federal agencies--usually one way), interchange (jurisdictional
change between federal agencies-- two way or a Small Tracts Act expedited exchange) or,
condemnation (rights taken through the Eminent Domain Act of 1888). Disposal of property by
grants are very limited and can relate to rights-of-way. Special laws are occasionally passed for
sale or other disposal of certain federal lands.
Acquisition can reduce management costs by reducing the need for very expensive landline
surveys and subsequent upkeep. It can also reduce the need for acquiring needed rights-of-way
to access NFS lands often isolated by natural features and private properties. More efficient fire
protection is a benefit of a consolidated land ownership pattern. Protection and/or enhancement
of threatened, endangered and sensitive floral and faunal species can often be realized by
acquisition of key properties. The demands for special use authorizations are reduced, especially
for access and utilities to serve private lands, from those required in an otherwise fragmented
ownership pattern. Public recreational opportunities can be greatly enhanced through the
purchase of properties exhibiting certain characteristics such as waters supporting fishing and
3 - 120
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Lands and Special Uses
boating, cliffs for climbing, highly productive forests for hunting, camping, etc. Heritage
resources can be protected, interpreted, and enjoyed by present and future generations. Rightsof-way afford public and administrative access to federal lands.
Current Conditions
Currently, an estimated 81 percent (69,300 acres) of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is NFS
land, with the remaining 19 percent (15,800 acres) in private ownership. Current uses on private
lands include residential, agriculture, pastureland, forestry, and some commercial/industrial in
the Durbin-Bartow corridor. Locations of national forest and private lands are apparent on
various maps which are a part of this document.
Opportunities should be considered as they avail themselves on a willing seller basis for
acquisition of private lands to consolidate federal ownership. Opportunities or needs related to
land acquisition should be identified as early as possible in the planning process to allow time to
complete these often protracted transactions.
Desired Conditions
Consolidation of landownership is aimed at reducing management costs, reducing miles of
landlines necessary to survey and maintain, reducing numbers of rights-of-way needed to access
public lands, consolidating transportations systems, and providing more efficient fire protection.
Land adjustments reflect Forest Priorities for acquisition and conveyance. Landownership
adjustments reduce limitations posed by private lands, rights, or authorizations. They provide
public access to NFS lands that are isolated. Managers allow adequate time to accommodate
needed adjustments prior to proposed management activities.
SPECIAL USES
Background
Various laws provide direction to managers to govern the occupancy and use of National Forests.
Special use authorizations provide for the use of National Forest System Lands by individuals,
companies, organized groups, other federal agencies, or state and local units of government.
They may be of short- or long-term duration and include such things as pipelines, roads, power
lines, electronic or communication sites, telephone lines, cable TV lines, agriculture,
organizational camps, recreational outfitting and guiding, ski areas, sanctioned recreational
competitions, community uses, industrial uses, and water uses. Uses can be authorized by a
permit that does not transfer an interest in real property or by granting of specific rights such as a
road easement that does, in fact, convey an interest in real property. The type of authorization is
dependent on the use requested and on the applicant requesting the use.
Proposals for use by persons or entities are screened for: consistency with laws, regulations,
orders and policies; consistency with the forest land and resource management plan; potential
risks to public health and safety; elimination of potential for exclusive or perpetual rights to use
3 - 121
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Lands and Special Uses
and occupy national forest, not unreasonably interfering with agency administrative use or other
authorized existing uses of national forest or use of adjacent private lands among other criteria.
Proponents can be assessed administrative fees to process their applications as well as land use
fees associated with their activities. Authorized Forest Service officials evaluate the effects of
accepted applications, including effects on the environment, and decide whether to approve the
proposed uses, approve the uses with modifications, or deny the uses.
Current Conditions
Numerous authorizations have been approved, permitting occupancy and use of NFS land in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed. The wide variety of current special use authorizations in the
Upper Greenbrier Watershed are summarized in the following list:
• Six utility corridors for power lines (Monongahela Power)
• Three utility corridors for telephone lines (Citizens, Mountain State, Spruce Knob/Seneca
Rocks)
• Three rights-of-way to West Virginia Department of Transportation
• Two private road access permits (Plyler and Newman)
• One well and spring
• One waterline for domestic use
• One communication site/TV antenna
• One organizational camp (Pocahontas 4H)
• One manager residence area for West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
• One weather station
• One gas pipeline (Cabot Oil and Gas Company)
Special uses have been mapped and are on file at the Forest Supervisors Office, but are not
displayed here for national security reasons.
It is hard to anticipate what specific uses of national forest may be requested or exactly where
they might be proposed. Program managers attempt to be responsive to proposals that may come
at any time. Discovery of unauthorized uses sometimes accompanied by enforcement actions
may lead to subsequent follow-up proposals submitted by those users in an attempt to continue to
use national forest in compliance with governing laws. Once uses are authorized, they are
monitored for compliance with permit conditions. Problems with special uses are typically
addressed as non-compliance issues as part of permit administration. There is a general need to
continue monitoring special uses and their effects so that issues can be identified and addressed
in a timely and effective fashion. Opportunities or needs related to rights-of-way or easement
special uses should be identified as early as possible in the project planning process to allow time
to complete these often protracted transactions.
Desired Conditions
Proposed private uses of NFS lands are generally met on private lands. Conflicts between
authorized special uses and other uses and resources are mitigated or eliminated (Forest Plan, p.
II-49).
3 - 122
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
Roads
Reference Conditions
Although Native American Indians likely used trails in and through the watershed for thousands
of years, constructed roads did not exist prior to European settlement. Many early roads built to
access the area likely mirrored Native American Indian trails because the explorers and colonists
climbed over the same passes, followed the same river valleys, and eventually settled in many of
the same village sites. As time went by and more people arrived in the area, the road network
branched out to new residential areas, and eventually to areas of timber and mineral extraction.
During the timber boom that occurred primarily between 1901 and 1920 in this area, roads or
railroad grades were constructed in nearly every drainage. As the railroad logging played out,
many of the towns and mill sites and railroads disappeared, but a legacy of roads and railroad
grades remained.
Under Forest Service management, the road transportation system has continued to change.
Some roads were abandoned by the Forest, others were improved, and most railroad grades were
abandoned or converted to roads. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed or reconstructed
a number of roads in the 1930s in order to provide better public access, sometimes to recreation
or administration sites that they also constructed during that period. Fire towers and associated
roads were also built in these early years to help provide fire protection. Later, natural gas was
discovered in the area, and roads were constructed to well sites and along pipelines. As
previously cutover areas grew trees to merchantable size in the 1960s and 1970s, more roads
were constructed for timber production. Finally, many user-created or “woods roads” have
developed over time. The Forest does not maintain these roads, and in some cases, does not even
have records or knowledge of their existence.
Roads have impacts, and as more people visited this and other national forests, the management
of National Forest System (NFS) roads became an issue of national concern. Specific concerns
linked to the road management include public access, resource damage, habitat loss and
fragmentation, the need for roadless areas, maintenance capabilities, and economics. Through all
the controversy, the Forest Service has maintained that some level of road development is
needed for public access and to produce the goods and services that Americans expect from their
national forests. A long-term and nation-wide approach to address many of these road issues
was developed in the Forest Service Road Management Strategy adopted January 12, 2001.
Sometimes referred to as the “Roads Rule”, this policy established the scope and scale of roads
analyses needed to inform road management decisions regarding new road construction,
reconstruction, and decommissioning.
The Forest has adopted the agency’s road management policy, and has incorporated many of the
policy’s premises into Forest Plan direction. These premises are largely reflected in Goals RF01
and RF02 for Transportation Planning and Development:
Goal RF01: Provide a transportation system that is safe, cost efficient, meets access
needs, and minimizes adverse impacts to natural resources.
3 - 123
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
Goal RF02: Provide developed roads to the density and maintenance level needed to
meet resource and use objectives. During watershed or project-level planning:
a) Update inventory of area transportation system.
b) Determine the minimum transportation system necessary to achieve access
management objectives.
c) Incorporate cost efficiency into construction, reconstruction and maintenance needs.
d) Identify roads to decommission, obliterate, replace, or improve that are causing
resource damage.
e) Integrate needs for off-road parking.
Current Conditions
Classified and Unclassified Roads
Access to the Forest and the Upper Greenbrier Watershed is provided by a complex and
integrated transportation system of roads under Forest Service, state, and private jurisdiction.
The entire system of roads ranges from double-lane paved highways to narrow, native-surface
roads. Roads are important facilities on the MNF, providing access for recreation activities,
timber removal, resource utilization, wildland fire protection, and for facilities operated under
special use authorizations. However, roads also have the potential to adversely affect a number
of resources in various ways. Forest road systems are dynamic in that roads may be constructed
or reconstructed for needed access, or they may be closed or decommissioned in an effort to
reduce impacts to other resources.
Road access on NFS land generally consists of two components: Classified roads, which are
typically part of the National Forest Road System or developed roads under other jurisdiction
(generally federal and state highways or routes); and unclassified roads, also known as “woods
roads”, which are typically user-created roads that have never been designed, constructed, or
maintained. There are an estimated 181.2 miles of Forest classified roads in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed. There are another 50.7 miles of State/Federal roads in the watershed that
are considered classified roads by the Forest but are not under Forest jurisdiction. These roads
are shown in Table RD-1.
Table RD-1. State/Federal Roads in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Name and Number
State Hwy 92/Federal Hwy 250
State Hwy 28/Federal Hwy 250
State Hwy 92/State Hwy 28
State Hwy 28
Federal Hwy 250
State Secondary Route 1
State Secondary Route 3
Burner Mountain Road
Middle Mountain Road (from Burner Mtn Road north)
Total Miles
3 - 124
Miles
7.7
2.3
1.1
7.7
7.1
2.2
7.4
10.1
5.1
50.7
Status
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Surface
Paved
Paved
Paved
Paved
Paved
Paved
Gravel/Native
Gravel/Agg
Gravel/Agg
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
Please note that all road mileages and other road-related calculations in this section are estimates
based on the best information that was currently available from various Forest databases, maps,
aerial photos, and decision documents. Exact road figures, locations, and conditions will need to
be confirmed on the ground during project-level planning and analysis.
Classified roads under Forest jurisdiction are shown in Table RD-2. Maps RD-1 and RD-2 show
the location of the known classified and unclassified roads in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed.
Table RD-2. Forest Classified Roads in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Name
No.
Miles Function
Status
Middle Mountain
Little River
Gaudineer
Gaudineer A
Snorting Lick
Snorting Lick A
Island Campground
Glady-Durbin
Abes Run
Abes Run A
Abes Run B
Abes Run D
Abes Run E
Abes Run F
Abes Run G
Dilly Hollow
FS14
FS17
FS27
FS27A
FS35
FS35A
FS36
FS44
FS51
FS51A
FS51B
FS51D
FS51E
FS51F
FS51G
FS52
4.9
6.3
1.5
0.3
3.5
0.8
0.3
17.4
4.6
2.5
1.0
0.5
0.5
0.4
0.4
2.0
Arterial
Collector
Collector
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Arterial
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Collector
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Open
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Dilly Hollow
Dilly Hollow A
Buffalo Fork
Buffalo Fork A
Buffalo Fork B
Long Run
Long Run A
Smoke Camp
Smoke Camp A
Smoke Camp B
Smoke Camp BA
FS52
FS52A
FS54
FS54A
FS54B
FS57
FS57A
FS58
FS58A
FS58B
FS58BA
0.2
0.5
5.5
0.1
0.1
3.2
0.9
2.9
2.3
1.4
0.1
Local
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Closed
Closed
Open
Open
Open
Open
Closed
Seasonal
Closed
Closed
Closed
Smoke Camp C
Little River Plantation
Little R. Plantation B
Allegheny
Allegheny A
Allegheny C
Allegheny CA
FS58C
FS97
FS97B
FS106
FS106A
FS106C
FS106CA
0.2
3.1
0.5
3.2
1.1
0.9
0.1
Local
Local
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Closed
Closed
Closed
Open
Closed
Closed
Closed
Allegheny D
Allegheny E
FS106D
FS106E
0.6
0.9
Local
Local
Closed
Closed
3 - 125
Surface
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Native
Improved
Improved
Maint.
Comments
Level
4
SR28 to Burner Mtn Rd
3
4
3
3
3
3
4
2
1
2
Improved
1
Agg/Gravel
3
Agg/Gravel
Native
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Agg/Gravel
Native
Agg/Gravel
Native
3
1
4
4
3
3
1
3
1
Native
Native
Agg/Gravel
3
2
3
Converted to trail for
Smoke Camp TS- 1999
Access to well site
Linear wildlife opening
Parking at Lake Buffalo
Parking at Lake Buffalo
No gate on visitor map
Open 8/15 – 4/15
Added in Smoke Camp
To gas well site. NonFS on GIS map.
Added in Smoke Camp
Loop Road R. Area
Private maintenance
Shared with GW-Jeff
Added in Smoke Camp
Added in Smoke Camp
MNF1 - To gas well
site (Thornwood Bloc)
Added in Smoke Camp
Added in Smoke Camp
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Name
No.
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
Miles Function
Status
Surface
Spruce Mountain
Span Oak
Span Oak A
Iron Bridge
Iron Bridge A
Mill Run
FS112
FS174
FS174A
FS176
FS176A
FS177
2.6
3.6
1.2
1.9
0.5
2.1
Arterial
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Local
Open
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Mill Run
Mill Run A
Gertrude Run
FS177
FS177A
FS178
0.8
0.5
1.1
Local
Local
Local
Seasonal Native
Seasonal Native
Closed
Native
Gertrude Run A
FS178A
2.3
Local
Seasonal Agg/Gravel
Gertrude Run AA
FS178AA
1.8
Local
Seasonal Native
Gertrude Run AB
FS178AB
0.4
Local
Seasonal Native
Elklick Run
Elklick Run B
Elklick Run D
Mikes Run
Mikes Run B
Elklick
Span Oak
Hinkle Run
Blister Swamp
Blister Swamp A
Pigs Ear
Pigs Ear A
Pigs Ear B
Greenbrier
High Knob
High Knob A
Tower Road
Poca Ridge
Toolbox Hollow
Left Side 5 Mile
Beulah
Buelah A
Hawchen Hollow
Hawchen Hollow A
Hawchen Hollow B
Fox Run
Fox Run A
Fox Run B
Fox Run C
Fox Run E
Buffalo Wells
Widney Allotment
Widney Allotment A
FS179
FS179B
FS179D
FS180
FS180B
FS222
FS224
FS248
FS250
FS250A
FS254
FS254A
FS254B
FS270
FS271
FS271A
FS284
FS286
FS287
FS289
FS338
FS338A
FS340
FS340A
FS340B
FS369
FS369A
FS369B
FS369C
FS369E
FS393
FS430
FS430A
4.2
0.2
0.2
1.7
0.2
3.6
2.3
2.0
0.4
1.2
1.6
0.4
0.8
1.1
0.8
1.3
2.4
2.5
1.4
2.5
0.6
0.6
1.5
0.4
0.3
2.5
0.3
1.8
0.1
0.2
0.4
1.0
0.4
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Collector
Collector
Collector
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Seasonal
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Open
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
3 - 126
Agg/Gravel
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Agg/Gravel
Native
Improved
Improved
Native
Maint.
Comments
Level
4
1
1
3
1
3
Converted to trail for
May/LR TS - 2000
3
Open 8/15 to 12/15
3
Open 8/15 to 12/15
3
Reduced by 0.6 mile
and converted to trail
for May/LR TS
3
Reduced by 1.0 mile in
May/LR TS – 2000.
Open 8/15 to 12/15
3
New road for May/LR
TS. Open 8/15 to 12/15
3
New road for May/LR.
Open 8/15 to 12/15
3
Open 8/15 – 12/15
2
Access via FR179
3
Access via FR179
2
Access via gated 180
1
3
1
No gate on Visitor Map
2
2
3
Improved
Native
Native
Native
Improved
Native
Native
Native
Improved
Native
Agg/Gravel
Improved
2
2
1
1
2
2
1
1
1
1
2
1
Native
Native
Improved
Native
Native
Improved
Native
Native
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
1
Not on map
Linear wildlife opening
Private maintenance
Private maintenance
Private maintenance
Private maintenance
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Name
Old Pike Spur
Big Run Spur
Upper Mikes Run
Upper Mikes Run A
Fill Run
Upper Mountain Lick
Simmons Ridge
Rough Knob
Little River West
Mountain Lick
Mountain Lick A
Cove Run
No.
FS434
FS435
FS464
FS464A
FS475
FS477
FS494
FS495
FS756
FS794
FS794A
FS795
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
Miles Function
1.2
1.1
0.6
0.1
0.5
3.4
0.8
0.5
2.9
3.8
1.7
0.4
Bear Wallow
FS804
4.3
Bear Wallow A
FS804A
0.7
Campbell Run
FS805
0.4
Colaw Knob
FS806
1.1
Colaw Knob A
FS806A
0.8
Old House Run
FS812
2.6
Fox Ridge
FS817
1.7
Fox Ridge A
FS817A
0.1
Fox Ridge B
FS817B
1.6
Fox Ridge D
FS817D
0.4
Cherry Run
FS821
0.4
Cherry Run A
FS821A
0.6
Johns Run
FS822
0.4
Right Fork Johns Run FS823
1.0
Right Fk Johns Run A FS823A
2.4
Burning Run
FS852
0.2
Wildell
FS854
1.3
Wildell A
FS854A
1.0
Little River East
FS855
1.2
Frank Mountain
FS1537
2.4
Frank Mountain A
FS1537A 2.4
Frank Mountain B
FS1537B 1.8
Frank Mountain C
FS1537C 0.9
Old House Run P. Area FS1836
0.1
Total Miles 181.2
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Status
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Surface
Native
Native
Native
Native
Agg/Gravel
Other
Native
Native
Native
Maint.
Level
1
2
3
3
3
1
1
1
2
Comments
Linear wildlife opening
Private maintenance
Same as 106A?
Not on SC TS map.
Non-FS on GIS map.
Collector Closed
Local
Closed
Native
Improved
2
2
Collector
Local
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Local
Collector
Local
Local
Local
Local
Agg/Gravel
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Native
Improved
Improved
Native
Agg/Gravel
Native
Improved
Improved
Native
Improved
Improved
Improved
Native
Native
Native
Agg/Gravel
Paved
2
2
1
1
1
1
3
3
2
2
3
3
1
2
2
2
2
2
1
2
2
2
2
5
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Open
Open
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Open
Need to seed and take
off system: May/LR TS
Private maintenance
Private maintenance
Private maintenance
Private maintenance
Picnic area on Hwy 250
Of the 117 classified roads in the watershed under Forest Service jurisdiction, 19 (16 percent) are
open to public motorized use year-round. Of the 181 miles of classified road under Forest
Service jurisdiction, an estimated 57 miles (31 percent) are open to public motorized use yearround. Of these open roads, 54 miles are arterial or collector, and only 3 miles are local roads.
Another 12.5 miles (7 percent) of road are open seasonally to the public. Over 111 miles (62
percent) of classified roads are closed year-round to public motorized use.
In addition to the classified roads listed above, there are an estimated 143.2 miles of unclassified
or “woods” roads on NFS lands in the watershed. Because these roads have not been designed,
constructed, or maintained by the Forest, sometimes little is known about their use and condition.
3 - 127
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
Map RD-1. Forest Classified Roads in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 128
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
Map RD-2. Forest Unclassified Roads (Woods Roads) in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
3 - 129
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
They may range from obvious features on the landscape, with substantial impacts from ongoing
illegal vehicle use, to vague linear features that have not been used in so long that they are
growing trees and are barely discernable. Woods roads that are found to be unused, stabilized
with tree vegetation, and without structures that may fail over time are often just removed from
the woods roads database and allowed to return to productivity, as rehabilitation treatments
would only result in unneeded disturbance to the land. Other woods roads that are being used
may require treatments to reduce detrimental disturbance and sedimentation, as well as physical
obstacles (gates, boulders, tank traps, etc.) to prevent further use. Still other woods roads may be
in an acceptable location to use for long-term management, and the Forest may improve them to
standard and add them to the system of classified roads. These types of actions are typically
made through project-level surveys, planning, analysis, and decisions.
Road Densities
The total amount of road mileage in the watershed—including Forest classified and unclassified
roads, and private roads (36.6 miles)—adds up to an estimated 411.6 miles. Thus, the estimated
road density for the entire 85,100-acre watershed is 3.09 miles per square mile. For NFS land
within the watershed (69,300 acres), the total amount of Forest classified and unclassified roads
is estimated to be 324.4 miles, with an overall road density of 2.99 miles per square mile.
Of course, the road density figures above are averages over a very large area. To better show
how these densities are distributed across the landscape, they are displayed by subwatershed in
the table below. This table includes all Forest classified and unclassified roads, as well as private
roads, federal highways, and state highways/routes for the entire 85,100-acre watershed.
Table RD-3. Upper Greenbrier Watershed Road Density by Subwatershed
Subwatershed Name
Little River
Headwaters East Fork Greenbrier River
West Fork Greenbrier River
Outlet East Fork Greenbrier River
Subwatershed Road
Acres
Miles
12,480
50.8
24,210
103.1
28,210
138.4
20,180
119.4
Road Density
(miles/square mile)
2.6
2.7
3.1
3.8
The Forest Plan provides guidelines for the density of system roads on NFS land for the
Management Prescription areas where there are the most opportunities for new road construction
or road decommissioning. These guidelines are shown below.
Management Prescription 3.0: “New road construction should not cause road density within
the prescription area unit to exceed 1.0 mile per square mile for collector roads, or 4.0 miles per
square mile for any combination of collector and local roads” (Forest Plan, p. III-8).
Management Prescriptions 4.1 and 6.1: “New road construction should not cause road density
within the prescription area unit to exceed 1.0 mile per square mile for collector roads, or 2.5
miles per square mile for any combination of collector and local roads” (Forest Plan, pp. III-16
and III-39).
3 - 130
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
The primary reason that collector and local roads are used for these density guidelines is that
these are the roads that the Forest has the most influence over in terms of road construction or
decommissioning. Arterial roads are the main conduits of traffic across the Forest, often linking
one community to another or to a state/federal highway. It is therefore assumed that arterial
roads will be used for public access over the long term. It is also assumed that woods roads will
not be used over the long term, and that they will typically be allowed to return to productivity,
or they will be converted to a classified road, based on project-level decisions. Table RD-4
shows the current road densities of collector and local roads by Management Prescription area.
Table RD-4. Collector and Local Road Density for MP Areas 3.0, 4.1, and 6.1
MP Area
3.0
4.1
6.1
MP
Acres
32,300
16,690
4240
Road
Miles
77.7
41.2
10.3
Road Density
(miles/square mile)
1.54
1.58
1.55
Table RD-4 indicates that combined collector and local road densities are likely well below the
2.5 or 4 mile/square mile limit suggested by Forest Plan guidelines for the relevant Management
Prescription areas. Collector and local road densities are currently at 0.99 mi/mi2 for MP 6.2,
and 1.86 mi/mi2 for MP 8.0. Table RD-5 shows the current road densities of collector roads only
by Management Prescription area.
Table RD-5. Collector Road Density for Management Prescription Areas 3.0, 4.1, and 6.1
MP Area
3.0
4.1
6.1
MP
Acres
32,300
16,690
4240
Road
Miles
32.0
14.7
1.5
Road Density
(miles/square mile)
0.63
0.56
0.23
Table RD-5 indicates that collector road densities are likely well below the 1,0 mi/mi2 limit
suggested by Forest Plan guidelines for these Management Prescription areas. Collector road
densities are currently at 0.42 mi/mi2 for MP 6.2, and 0.32 mi/mi2 for MP 8.0.
Please note that these road densities are only for existing collector and local classified roads
within the watershed. Road densities will need to be recalculated for future projects in the
watershed, incorporating any proposed roads in the projects and existing roads in matching
contiguous Management Prescription areas adjacent to the watershed.
3 - 131
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Roads
Conclusions and Recommendations
A number of conclusions can be drawn from the information in the road tables above. First,
there is an abundance of roads in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, which means that there
should be a solid transportation infrastructure from which to manage resources and provide
public access in the future. Furthermore, this abundance means that there should be ample
opportunities and options to manage the road transportation system. For example:
•
•
•
•
Opportunities for retiring or improving woods roads
Opportunities for adjusting current road system based on needs, values, and impacts (see
Appendix D tables for Maintenance Level 3, 4, 5 roads)
Needs related to improving road conditions (see range, watershed sections)
Discrepancies in road data need to be investigated and corrected.
The following recommendations can be made based on the conclusions above:
•
It is recommended that an on-the-ground inventory of roads be made within the project
area of any major federal action proposal. Special attention should be given to
identifying unclassified roads and the condition of classified roads.
•
It is recommended that project planning and analysis identify as many opportunities as
applicable to move the road transportation system toward Forest Plan desired conditions
(see below).
•
It is recommended the Roads Transportation database and maps be updated to reflect new
information gained from this assessment or from subsequent projects. Additional roadspecific information gained from this assessment is included in Appendix D.
Desired Conditions
The road network matches the level of management activities occurring on the Forest and
supplies the transportation system needed for recreation, special uses, timber harvest, range
management, minerals development, fire protection, and other resource management needs. The
transportation network is managed, using a variety of tools, to reduce adverse effects to
resources. Roads needed for long-term objectives are maintained to provide for user safety and
resource protection. Roads not needed for long-term objectives are decommissioned and
stabilized (Forest Plan, p. II-54).
3 - 132
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Research
Research
The Upper Greenbrier Watershed has two areas with a strong connection to past or potential
forest research. Both have 8.5 Special Area management direction in the Forest Plan. These
areas are the Loop Road Research Area (800 acres), and the Red Spruce Candidate Research
Natural Area (60 acres). They are described below.
Loop Road Research Area
Reference and Current Conditions
The Loop Road Research Area is an area that has been historically managed by the Fernow
Experimental Forest. This 800-acre area on the Greenbrier Ranger District on Middle Mountain
is managed by the Experimental Forest staff for conducting research studies related to the
management of Appalachian timber types, specifically growth and yield studies of managed and
unmanaged stands. A study started in 1981, for example, is designed to test different levels of
thinning on stand development. Another study begun in 1997 is investigating the effects of
harvest and acid deposition on hardwood forests. The current management strategy in this area
is to have the Fernow continue its long-term studies without any additional Forest-related
disturbance. Additional research studies may be appropriate, but would be coordinated through
and conducted by the Experimental Forest staff.
Figure RS-1. Loop Road Research Area
3 - 136
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 3 – Human Uses: Research
Desired Conditions
The Fernow Experimental Forest supports an active research program that includes both longterm and short-term experiments, and research that is manipulative as well as observational in
nature. The research program addresses research needs of a wide variety of clients. Ongoing,
long-term research is continued and opportunities for new research are available (Forest Plan, p.
III-64).
Red Spruce Candidate Research Natural Area
Reference and Current Conditions
Roughly 20 acres of this 60-acre Candidate Research Natural Area (CNRA) lie within the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed, in the West Fork Greenbrier River subwatershed. The remaining acreage
drains into the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River. The area is at 4000 to 4200 feet in elevation. It
was logged in the early 1900s, and it has since returned to a predominantly red spruce forest.
Portions of the area also have yellow birch, beech, and sugar maple, with mountain holly, shield
fern, mountain laurel, and mosses in the understory. The area is habitat for the endangered West
Virginia northern flying squirrel (proposed for de-listing), and the federally listed Cheat
Mountain salamander may be found here as well.
The Monongahela National Forest recommended this area as a Research Natural Area in 1987 in
order to preserve the red spruce forest cover type (SAF 32). The Forest protected the area with
an 8.0 CRNA Management Prescription in the 1986 Forest Plan. This status was carried forward
into the revised 2006 Forest Plan as an 8.5 CRNA.
Ecologically, this area appears to be slowly moving toward conditions that will likely be similar
to presettlement: stands dominated by red spruce, with northern hardwood inclusions and an
increasing uneven-aged structure featuring large trees, large down wood, gaps, and patches of
regeneration. Therefore, there is no identified need for management at this time.
Desired Conditions
As an 8.0 Special Area, the plantation has the following general desired conditions (Forest Plan,
p. III-49): “Special Areas retain the values and qualities for which they were originally
designated. Areas contribute to the diversity of the Forest by preserving rare species,
communities, habitats, and features. These areas also provide opportunities for scientific
research and public enjoyment.”
As an 8.5 Candidate Research Natural Area, the plantation also has the following management
goal (Forest Plan, p. III-62): “Maintain designated cover types for research purposes.”
3 - 137
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4
Findings, Recommendations, and Actions
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND ACTIONS
Table 4-1 contains the summary, by core topic, of significant findings and recommendations
documented within this watershed assessment. The table has been separated into the resource
issues and areas addressed in the assessment. Detailed information to support the
recommendations can be found in Chapter 3. The action(s) required to implement the
recommendations are included in the third column of the table.
Table 4-1. Significant Findings, Recommendations, and Actions Needed
Soil and Erosion Processes
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
An estimated 81 percent of the watershed
has been mapped as having severe erosion
potential, and 66 percent of the watershed
has been mapped as sensitive soils. Soil
areas of concern have been mapped at the
broad scale. These soils may have an
inherently increased risk for mass
movement, detrimental soil disturbance, or
other soil-related impacts.
Verify and adjust mapped areas of
severe erosion potential and soil
sensitivity at the project level as needed.
Use maps in project planning and
analysis to help protect soils in future
ground-disturbing projects.
Coordinate with Forest Soil
Scientist in planning for
ground-disturbing projects
in the watershed to ensure
that high-risk and sensitive
soils are avoided or that
potential effects are
mitigated to reduce the risk
of mass movement or
detrimental soil disturbance.
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
Stream channels are degraded by historic
and present day uses and facilities.
Channels receive accelerated upland
sediment and storm runoff. Within channel
sediment relations are out of balance.
Some stream segments tend toward less
stable channel types.
Reduce sedimentation and storm runoff
from land uses and facilities. Restore
channel stability by treating sediment
and storm runoff source areas. Improve
riparian conditions to help move
channels toward stability. Use natural
channel design/Rosgen structures as
appropriate. Project sites determined
through site-specific analysis.
Identify project opportunities through established and
on-going inventory process.
Complete NEPA on
appropriate projects with the
highest likelihood of
success. Coordinate with
WVDOH/Forest Engineer
on maintenance projects.
Hydrology and Stream Channels
Water Quality
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
Forest classified and unclassified (woods)
roads contribute substantial sediment and
accelerated runoff to many streams.
Sediment loads and channel bank erosion
are elevated. Refer to project list in
Chapter 3.
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
Correct sediment source areas and
runoff problems on priority roads.
Improve road maintenance and drainage,
revegetate and stabilize soil where
needed. Decommission or obliterate
roads not needed in near or long term.
Various watershed and stream channel
Foster forested riparian conditions that
Identify project opportunities through watershed
assessment, erosion inventtory, and NEPA analysis.
Implement in conjunction
with NEPA projects, or
routine maintenance.
Identify specific treatments
4-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
conditions likely contribute to increased
daily stream temperature fluctuations as
well as increased extent and duration of
summer maximum stream temperatures and
winter minimum stream temperatures.
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
RECOMMENDATION
can provide shading from solar
radiation; facilitate lateral and vertical
stream stability to encourage quality
pool habitat formation; reduce road
densities to decrease the effect of roads
on hillslope hydrologic processes.
ACTION NEEDED
that address the items
discussed under
recommendations; prioritize
and target these areas for
project development and
implementation.
Aquatic Resources
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
Aquatic habitat fragmentation is likely
contributing to impaired health of aquatic
populations and possibly extirpated
segments of isolated aquatic populations by
reducing the availability of aquatic habitats.
Aquatic organism passage is adversely
impacted by numerous USFS and State
roads. Passage barriers create isolated
populations and reduce available aquatic
habitat and connectivity.
Aquatic habitat composition is highly
skewed toward simplistic shallow habitats
that are typically characterized as riffles.
Deeper water habitats such as pools are
largely under-represented and of poor
quality and complexity.
Though relatively scarce in streams, large
woody debris is a primary pool formative
feature for the infrequent pools in the upper
Greenbrier River Watershed.
Eliminate barriers to aquatic organism
passage where they pose a greater threat
to native and desired non-native aquatic
species than they help protect (as in the
case of restricting encroachment of nonnative invasive species).
Identify and prioritize road
crossings and other artificial
structures that are passage
barriers to aquatic
organisms. Plan and
implement corrective
actions needed to provide
aquatic access. Coordinate
actions with WVDOH and
Forest Engineers.
See Actions Needed for
Hydrology/Stream
Channels.
The proportion and persistence of special
status aquatic species within the upper
Greenbrier River Watershed suggests an
elevated ecological importance for this
aquatic ecosystem..
Substantial riparian area acreage is
degraded well below its potential, due to
roads, grazing, historic use impacts, etc.
Effects include reduced riparian and
aquatic habitat quality, warmer water
temperatures, decreased channel stability
and increased channel bank erosion.
See Recommendations discussed for
Hydrology/Stream Channels.
Foster forested riparian conditions that
can provide for increased large woody
debris recruitment, and pursue other
efforts that may help increase the
abundance of in-stream large woody
debris.
Identify specific treatments
that address the items
discussed under
recommendations; prioritize
and target these areas for
project development and
implementation.
Facilitate aquatic resource conditions
Pursue studies of special
that enable the upper Greenbrier River status species to identify
Watershed to continue to serve an
conservation needs;
important ecological role in the
incorporate findings into
conservation of special status species.
species conservation
strategies and resource
management practices.
Restore riparian areas to a condition that Identify project opportuntrends toward healthy and fully
ities through established and
functioning riparian systems over time. on-going inventory process.
Do this through a combination of natural Complete NEPA on
process and project work, such as
appropriate projects with the
woody vegetation planting, road
highest likelihood of
obliteration, allotment fencing and
success. Project sites
planting, etc.
determined through sitespecific analysis.
Coordinate with partners
such as Trout Unlimited.
4-2
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
Vegetation – Age Class Diversity, Species Composition, and TES Plants
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
Age Class Diversity and Species Composition
Age classes for hardwood stands in MP 3.0 Regenerate hardwood stands in this MP
areas are dominantly in the mid-late
to begin moving age class distribution
successional stage, whereas the desired age toward desired conditions. It is
classes for this MP are more evenly
estimated there are roughly 3,600 to
distributed among all stages.
7,200 acres available for harvest.
Age classes for hardwood stands in MP 4.1 Regenerate hardwood stands in this MP
areas are dominantly in the mid and midto begin moving age class distribution
late successional stages, whereas the
toward desired conditions. It is
desired age classes for this MP are more
estimated there are roughly 1,500 to
evenly distributed among all stages.
2,300 acres available for harvest.
Age classes for hardwood stands in MP 6.1 Regenerate hardwood stands in this MP
areas are dominantly in the mid-late
to begin moving age class distribution
successional stage, whereas the desired age toward desired conditions. It is
classes for this MP are more evenly
estimated there are roughly 600 to 900
distributed among all stages.
acres available for harvest.
The range of spruce and spruce-hardwood In MP 4.1 areas, identify opportunities
communities is substantially less than it
to expand or establish a spruce
was prior to extensive logging that
component in existing hardwood stands
occurred 80-120 years ago. This has
to help expand the range and
affected the biodiversity of vegetation and connectivity of spruce and sprucedependent wildlife species in the area.
hardwood communities in MP 4.1.
Timber Stand Improvement
Stands that were harvested within the last Do timber stand improvement and crop
30 years are overcrowded and need timber tree release on stands <30 years old. It
stand improvement to increase growth and is estimated that up to 2,700 acres on
vigor and to enhance species composition. suited timberlands qualify for treatments
Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Plants
Projects may be proposed in areas with
Project areas that may receive ground
TES plants, and those projects may have
disturbance or canopy removal need to
the potential to affect the plants and their
be surveyed for TES plants.
habitats.
ACTION NEEDED
Develop a silvicultural
prescription for the stands,
complete NEPA (EA), and
implement prescription.
Develop a silvicultural
prescription for the stands,
complete NEPA (EA), and
implement prescription.
Develop a silvicultural
prescription for the stands,
complete NEPA (EA), and
implement prescription.
Identify specific treatments
that address the items
discussed under
recommendations; prioritize
and target these areas for
project development and
implementation.
Develop a silvicultural
prescription for the stands,
complete NEPA (CE), and
implement prescription.
Identify proposed project
areas and coordinate with
Forest Ecologist for TES
plant surveys.
Vegetation – Openings and Range Allotments
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
Openings
The amount of permanent openings in MPs Increase the amount of opening in MP Develop a silvicultural
3.0 and 6.1 are well below the desired
6.1 by roughly 100 acres and in MP 3.0 prescription for the stands,
condition ranges for these features.
up to 800 acres.
complete NEPA (EA), and
implement prescription.
Coordinate with Wildlife
Biologist to incorporate
wildlife needs.
Some openings in MPs 3.0, 4.1, 6.1, and
Manage selected openings in MP 3.0,
Develop a silvicultural
6.2 are being affected by woody tree
4.1, 6.1, and 6.2 to reduce tree
prescription for the areas,
encroachment and the loss of native
encroachment and increase native
complete NEPA (CE), and
grasses.
grasses. Consider fire as a management implement prescription.
4-3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
tool in these areas.
Allegheny Battlefield Range Allotment
Structural improvements (such as fences
and livestock watering facilities) have
deteriorated over years of use, exposure to
the elements, and low intensity of
maintenance. There is a need to make
major repairs to, or to reconstruct, some of
these structural improvements.
Good fences are needed to contain
livestock within the allotment, to reduce
impacts from grazing to sensitive areas
such as riparian areas and wetlands, and
to prevent trespass of livestock to
adjacent National Forest and private
lands. See watering facility
recommendations below.
Survey allotment fences and
continue to work with the
permittee to make needed
improvements over time.
Note: NEPA for this
allotment was completed in
2004 and should cover all
the allotment actions
described in this assessment.
Currently the allotment only has one
Develop two new livestock watering
Construct a small pond in
developed livestock watering facility. The facilities, one in the western portion of the western third of the
allotment is relatively long and narrow.
the allotment around a constructed pond, allotment, in a no-channel
Usually, the farther the distance from a
and one in the eastern portion around
ephemeral drain. Fence the
livestock watering source the less grazing existing springs.
pond and provide a graveled
occurs. The addition of a livestock
lane to it to allow livestock
watering facility on the western third of the
to drink. Develop one of the
allotment and another watering facility on
springs in the eastern third
the eastern third of the allotment would
with either a spring box or
improve livestock distribution and forage
headwall. Run water lines
utilization over the entire allotment.
from the spring to a new
trough and back to the
riparian area. Harden the
area around the trough with
gravel and fence out the
nearby springs.
Development of livestock water on the
After a reliable water source is
Construct a short amount of
western third of the allotment would allow developed in the western third of the
new interior fence and a
implementation of a rotational grazing
allotment, convert the allotment to a two gate near the present main
system on the allotment.
pasture rotational grazing system.
entrance gate and cattle
guard.
Fencing may be needed to reduce impacts After installing the spring development If livestock grazing causes
from grazing to sensitive areas such as
on the east side of the allotment,
adverse effects to the
riparian areas and wetlands.
monitor stream channel and riparian
channel and riparian area,
area conditions of the wooded drain in fence this area to prohibit
the eastern portion of the allotment.
livestock access.
Portions of the roads leading to and within Repair portions of the road system
Grade the roads for better
the allotment are open to the public and are leading to and within the allotment.
drainage, spot gravel and
rutted or contain mud holes. Water runs
water bar as needed. NEPA
down these ruts causing soil movement and
was completed for all of
damage to the roads.
these actions in 2004.
The allotment is relatively long and
Change the season of use and adjust
Initially, permit the grazing
narrow. Usually, the farther the distance
over time as management practices,
of 20 animal units from
from a livestock watering source, the less such as rotational grazing, liming,
around May 15th to October
grazing occurs. The addition of a livestock fertilizing, and reseeding are
1st. Exact put on and take off
dates can be adjusted
watering facility on the western one third implemented, and as grazing capacity
depending on readiness or
of the allotment and another on the eastern increases.
condition of the vegetation.
one third of the allotment would improve
livestock distribution and forage utilization
over the allotment.
Several species of desirable grasses and
Legumes, such as clovers, are high in
Reseed the area to desirable
legumes have declined over time. Just as
protein and are especially nutritious to legume and grass forage
residential lawns need reseeding at
wildlife and livestock for general health, species. Use native species
4-4
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
intervals, pasture reseeding helps to
maintain important forage species for use
by livestock and wildlife.
Liming of soils increases soil pH, or
reduces soil acidity. This favors the growth
of legumes and other beneficial vegetation.
Increasing soil pH also allows the release
of existing nutrients within the soil for
uptake by plants and indirectly acts to
increase fertility of the limed area. Plants
grow more vigorously and are more
nutritious when growing in more fertile and
near neutral soils.
Weeds and brush compete with other more
preferred vegetation for limited soil
moisture, sunlight, and nutrients. They
shade out herbaceous vegetation and spread
to adjacent areas. Some of these weeds are
poisonous, noxious, non-native, and/or
invasive.
Elk Mountain Range Allotment
The AMP and NEPA documentation for
this allotment are well over 10 years old,
and allotment conditions and needs have
changed considerably in the interim.
Hawthorn has been encroaching on this
allotment for many years. Many clumps
were recently cut, but they are already
starting to come back.
Widney Range Allotment
The AMP and NEPA documentation for
this allotment are well over 10 years old,
and allotment conditions and needs have
changed considerably in the interim.
Hawthorn has been encroaching on this
allotment for many years, reducing the
amount of land available for grazing.
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
growth, milk production for nursing
young, and for healthier offspring.
where possible.
Soils in the areas and their resulting
vegetation would benefit from reseeding
and from the addition of soil
amendments/supplements, such as lime
and/or fertilizer.
Determine schedule and
means to fertilize the soil
with lime and/or other soil
supplements in conjunction
with reseeding.
Weeds and woody vegetation have
invaded this allotment and require
selective control. There is a need to
identify and prioritize treatment based
on risks to native and desirable forage
vegetation.
Prioritize treatment and then
treat weeds and woody
vegetation with a
combination of cutting,
mowing, and herbicide
application.
There is a need and opportunity to
update both the AMP and NEPA
documentation for this allotment.
Complete Range EA for
allotment, identify needs,
update AMP, and implement
improvements.
Continue to mow the hawthorn in this
Complete Range NEPA and
area for a couple of years to keep it
incorporate need for treating
under control. Herbicide may be needed hawthorn. Treat hawthorn
in areas too steep for a mower.
by force account or contract.
There is a need and opportunity to
update both the AMP and NEPA
documentation for this allotment.
The hawthorn should be treated to
reclaim open grazing land on the
allotment.
Complete Range EA for
allotment, identify needs,
update AMP, and implement
improvements.
Incorporate the need to treat
hawthorn into Range NEPA
and AMP.
Vegetation – Ecological Areas
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
The Max Rothkugel Plantation has not
received any treatments in decades, and it
is becoming an old forest with little or no
spruce or larch regeneration. The
management goal is to emphasize
plantation protection and development.
The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area has
recently expressed interest in researching
and documenting the area as it exists today,
and developing an interpretive trail and
informational materials for the area.
The area should be treated to promote
spruce and larch regeneration, and to
reduce the risk of fire, disease, and
insect infestation. Treatments would
likely be some combination of thinning
and prescribed fire.
Coordinate with the Appalachian Forest
Heritage Area to explore interpretive
and informational opportunities.
Develop a silvicultural
prescription for the area,
complete NEPA (CE/EA),
and implement prescription,
or change the management
goal for the area.
If coordination is successful,
pursue opportunities with
AFHA for partnerships or
grants to enhance site
interpretation.
4-5
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
Wildlife – Threatened and Endangered Species
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
West Virginia northern flying squirrel
(WVNFS) is present within the watershed.
WVNFS habitat is arterial in nature with
extensive opportunities to increase the red
spruce composition and vertical structure
of the forest to reconnect existing areas of
red spruce forest and improve existing
habitat.
Identify areas in close proximity to
existing optimal WVNFS habitat to
expand the red spruce composition and
improve forest structure through snag
retention/creation and/or cavity creation
and under planting of red spruce.
Similar planting opportunities exist to
expand the balsam fir composition in
Blister Swamp in the East Fork
Greenbrier drainage.
Work with the Northeastern
Research Station to develop
and implement a
comprehensive red spruce
restoration plan for the
watershed. This would
include receipt of a research
permit from the USFWS and
include a wide range of
activities and appropriate
monitoring to achieve
adaptive management.
Conduct 100-150 acres of
red spruce restoration in the
Research Loop Areas (MP
8.0). Treat an estimated 45
acres (1/2 of the existing red
pine) in MP 3.0 and 200
acres (1/2 of the existing red
pine) in MP 4.1 under a
research permit from FWS.
Improve habitat structure
through snag/cavity creation
on approximately 200 acres
(1/2 of the existing red pine)
in MP 4.1.
Identify suitable stands
within the watershed for
thinning and snag/pond
creation, and take steps to
implement Indiana bat
habitat enhancement. Also,
create snags and/or provide
bat boxes at the interface
between suitable forest
habitat and adjacent open
(e.g., field) habitats to
promote roost tree use
Conduct surveys in potential
habitat and consider habitat
restoration or connectivity
where appropriate (see
spruce restoration actions
above). Identify proposed
project areas and coordinate
with District Biologist to
review for potential effects
to CMS and avoid any areas
of occupied habitat.
As a result of scattered plantings roughly
Treat red pine plantations to improve
70-80 years ago, red pine plantations
habitat structure and increase red spruce
currently exist in and adjacent to suitable
overstory composition.
WVNFS habitat within the watershed. The
pine plantations are even-aged, and a
number contain a red spruce component.
The northwestern portion of the watershed
is within 5 miles of a known Indiana bat
hibernacula. Also, radio-telemetry work
indicates that male Indiana bats are using
the southern portion of the watershed for
roosting habitat. Forest management could
be used to enhance the suitability of
existing forested areas as both foraging and
roosting habitat.
Deciduous forest stands with a dense
forest canopy could be thinned through
selective harvest to reach the optimal
60-80% overhead cover preferred by the
species. The focus should be on stands
with an oak-hickory component, leaving
large-diameter trees with exfoliating
bark, and creating snags and water
sources (often a critical habitat
component for these bats.)
The Cheat Mountain salamander is a
habitat specialist, restricted to moist, high
elevation forested habitat, much of which
was lost as a result of a history of heavy
logging and fire on the Forest. The species
is known to occur along Cheat Mountain at
the western boundary of the Watershed,
with additional potential habitat the
northeast.
All potential habitat should be surveyed
for CMS to determine the distribution of
the species within the Watershed, and
the potential for habitat restoration
between isolated populations. Any
proposed project areas in potential CMS
habitat that may receive ground
disturbance or canopy removal need to
follow Forest Plan direction for this
species (Forest Plan, p. II-26)
4-6
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
Wildlife – Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
The historic loss of spruce and mature
northern hardwood habitat in upper
elevations likely had an adverse affect on
populations of several species that are now
on the RFSS list, including the northern
goshawk, southern rock vole, Allegheny
woodrat, and olive-sided flycatcher. While
spruce and northern hardwood forests
appear to be gradually recovering within
the watershed, populations of these species
are still vulnerable to the effects of local
disturbance associated with management
activities and special uses in the Forest,
particularly during the breeding season.
Several RFSS species on the Forest are
associated with ledges and rocky outcrops
within forested habitats, including the
small-footed bat, timber rattlesnake,
Allegheny woodrat, and green salamander.
Because these habitats are limited in size
and are often relatively isolated,
fragmentation of forested habitat
connecting local rocky habitat patches can
adversely affect the species both through
direct mortality (e.g., road kill and
intentional killing of rattlesnakes) and
through a loss of gene flow across local
populations (i.e., metapopulations).
Identify and protect known breeding
locations of the northern goshawk and
other sensitive species in spruce and
northern hardwood habitats within the
watershed. Project areas in potential
goshawk habitat should be rigorously
surveyed for goshawk presence, and
disturbance avoided during the breeding
and fledgling period near known nest
sites. Look for opportunities to provide
connectivity or expand spruce and
northern hardwood habitats as noted
above.
Identify proposed project
areas and coordinate with
District Biologist to review
for potential effects to
northern goshawk and other
sensitive species.
A better knowledge of the abundance
and distribution of ledge and rocky
outcrop habitats within the watershed is
critical to maintaining viable
populations of these species in the area.
Projects in the vicinity of these habitats
should avoid direct impacts to the
outcrop areas and provide for suitable
forested habitat surrounding these
outcrops; where rattlesnake dens are
found, minor forest management in the
immediate vicinity of outcrops may be
beneficial if the canopy has begun to
completely close.
Imagery analysis and field
surveys should be conducted
throughout the watershed to
identify rocky outcrop and
ledge habitats. Once
identified and digitized as a
permanent spatial Forest
layer, these sites should be
surveyed for RFSS species
during appropriate periods
(e.g., spring and fall for
rattlesnakes and green
salamanders).
Wildlife – Management Indicator Species and Birds of Conservation Concern
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
Cerulean warblers have experienced a
long-term population decline, at a rate of ~
3% per year over the last 40 years, with a
concurrent restriction of its breeding range;
it is now common only in its core habitat in
the central Appalachians. Loss and
fragmentation of mature deciduous forests
and the structural components
characteristic of those forests continue to
threaten viability of the species, as do
threats to their wintering habitats.
Maintain extensive patches of deciduous
habitat in late successional stages (e.g.,
within 6.2 and 8.0 MP areas). Enhance
habitat for the species through forest
management, particularly on ridgetops
and north or easterly slopes, providing
gap openings and additional vertical
habitat structure and canopy complexity
through selective harvest techniques.
These management recommendations
will also favor maintenance or increase
in populations of other declining forestinterior species.
Wild turkey need herbaceous openings and Create and/or maintain herbaceous
steady supply of oak mast. Beech bark
openings and steady supply of oak mast.
disease has devastated the supply of mast
for wild turkey in the large portion of the
watershed.
4-7
ACTION NEEDED
Identify suitable stands for
habitat enhancement and
work with timber program
managers and other resource
areas to implement harvest
opportunities to provide
mature and old-growth
structural characteristics.
Favor oak in young stands
through crop tree release.
Develop and maintain
herbaceous openings.
Identify and protect existing
stands of healthy beech.
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
Although the amount of permanent
openings in MPs 3.0 and 6.1 are well below
the desired condition ranges for these
features, the Forest and WVDNR are
having logistical difficulty maintaining the
small openings that are developed with
most projects. Also, the value of these
openings, from a broad wildlife population
standpoint is questionable, especially if
they are only maintained on a “short-term”
basis. Many RFSS and BCC species could
benefit from creation and long-term
maintenance of grassland/early
successional habitats, including the goldenwinged warbler, Henslow’s and vesper
sparrow, prairie warbler, sedge wren,
Columbine duskywing, and Cobweb
skipper, as well as the endangered Virginia
big-eared bat.
Develop a watershed-based plan for
development and maintenance of early
successional habitat that considers the
practicability of maintaining these forest
openings over a long time scale as well
as site and landscape-level patch metrics
(e.g., patch size and specific vegetative
characteristics, spatial configuration,
interpatch distance, fragmentation
affects, etc.) Openings should be
designed based on the specific life
history needs of multiple species and
should be large enough and configured
on the landscape to maximize support
for viable populations of multiple
species.
ACTION NEEDED
Establish and implement a
landscape-level early
successional habitat
management plan for the
watershed. Determine
which existing openings
should be allowed to
revegetate (i.e., return to
forest) and where new
openings should be created
to maximize benefits to
wildlife across the
watershed. Work with all
resource groups to design
new grassland/early
successional habitat
openings.
Human Uses - Recreation
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
Island Campground
The outdated vault toilets are difficult to
maintain and they are not fully accessible
to the public.
Two wooden bridges in the campground
are functionally deficient and present a
growing hazard to the public.
More site definition and better vehicle
control in campsites is needed.
Trash cans are not accessible nor are they
bear proof.
Lake Buffalo
The accessible pathways need upgrades.
The boat ramp is not meeting current needs
of the public and drops off sharply. The
trail around the lake needs to be improved
and have bridges and a boardwalk over wet
areas. An accessible fishing pier is needed.
The earthen dam is currently used for
hiking and fishing access to the lake.
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
Replace two toilets with one pre-cast
concrete vault toilet that would be easier
to maintain and that is fully accessible.
To reduce/eliminate this hazard, replace
the bridges or close the access road to
vehicle traffic beyond the bridges.
Provide additional vehicle barriers
around campsites.
NEPA analysis/decision,
procure funding source, and
implementation.
NEPA analysis/decision,
procure funding source, and
implementation.
NEPA analysis/decision,
procure funding source, and
implementation.
Procure funding for cans
and replace as maintenance.
Replace trash cans with those that are
accessible and bear proof.
Improve handicap accessible pathway to
the lake, lengthen the boat ramp,
improve the trail around the lake,
including a reroute, boardwalk, build 3
new bridges, replace 2 bridges, and
build an accessible fishing pier.
To continue these uses, maintenance
needs to include liming, fertilizing and
mowing the dam embankments to
maintain a grassy surface.
The lower valve in the lake dam can drain The lower drain valve needs to be
the entire lake, but the valve is old and has inspected and possibly repaired.
not been used in a long time (20+ years).
There is concern that it may break if used.
Old House Run Picnic Area
The outdated vault toilets are difficult to
Replace toilets with one pre-cast
4-8
NEPA analysis/decision,
procure funding source, and
implementation.
Maintenance.
Maintenance.
NEPA analysis/decision,
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
maintain and they are not fully accessible
to the public.
Wooden vehicle barriers are deteriorating
and need to be replaced to prevent vehicles
from leaving the road/parking area.
The hand pump is an older model with a
long handle that has to be cranked up and
down. It is difficult or impossible to use by
younger children, people in wheelchairs, or
people who have problems gripping or
holding large metal objects. Newer model
pumps exist that make pumping accessible.
Gravel areas, picnic tables, horseshoe pits,
large picnic grills, and accessibility need to
be upgraded or replaced.
concrete vault toilet that would be easier
to maintain and that is fully accessible.
Replace rotten wood barriers with rock
or other form of barrier.
ACTION NEEDED
procure funding source, and
implementation.
NEPA analysis/decision,
procure funding source, and
implementation.
The old pump should be replaced with a Procure funding for pump
newer, more accessible model.
and replace as maintenance.
Paint picnic tables; gravel parking areas, Maintenance.
improve horseshoe pits, replace grills,
and improve accessibility features as
funding and personnel are available.
Gaudineer Knob Picnic Area and Trail
Tables, grills, and gravel at picnic sites are Replace tables/grill/gravel at picnic
in need of replacement. Pathways should
sites, widen and improve gravel on all
be widened with additional gravel. There
pathways. Replace interpretive signage.
are opportunities to upgrade interpretation
at this site.
Gaudineer Scenic Area Interpretive Trail
Interpretive signs are old and need
Replace interpretive signage. Maintain
updating. Trail needs maintenance.
trail.
Dispersed Sites
Dispersed sites along FR 44 are muddy and Upgrade existing dispersed campsites
need hardened. Motor vehicles are also
with more vehicle control and harden
widening sites and creating mud holes.
surfaces with gravel. Plan and develop
Too many dispersed campers are camping additional dispersed campsites in three
along FR 44, especially during hunting and landings along FR 44 south of FR 17
fishing seasons, creating congestion along near the West Fork Trail. This would
the FR 44. Campsites are small and
reduce congestion along FR 44 during
encroach onto the system road.
hunting and fishing seasons and create
an estimated 15 additional hardened
campsites and parking near the West
Fork Rail Trail.
Scenic Byway
Opportunities exist for grants for scenic
Explore partnering with the Stauntonbyway projects for recreation
Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance on
improvements and interpretation projects. potential improvement projects near the
Scenic Byway.
West Fork Rail Trail
Passage around several gates is needed to Create passage around gates for bicycle
better accommodate bicycle/stroller and
and horse traffic. Improve trail and
horse traffic along this trail. The West
market as a destination. Install benches
Fork Rail Trail could be showcased and
for fisherman/hikers. Install culvert/add
serve as a destination. There are several
stone in wet area near May.
interpretive opportunities for this trail.
Benches along the trail would provide
additional improvements/amenities for
users. Trail is muddy and lacks proper
drainage in an area near May.
4-9
Complete interpretive plan
for this site. Maintenance.
Complete interpretive plan
for this site. Maintenance.
NEPA analysis/decision,
procure funding source, and
implementation.
Develop partnership and
grants.
Possible NEPA analysis/
decision for grounddisturbing improvements.
Some work may be done as
maintenance. Work with
PAO to develop marketing
strategy.
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
Human Uses – Heritage Resources
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
Prehistoric and historic heritage resource
sites provide valuable information of past
and reference forest conditions.
RECOMMENDATION
Continue to conduct heritage resource
surveys to locate prehistoric and historic
sites. Seek funding to excavate/evaluate
some sites to learn more about past and
reference forest conditions.
ACTION NEEDED
Prepare NEPA documents
and work plans to evaluate
sites. Monitor/protect
known sites. Consult with
representatives of Native
American tribes known to
have occupied/visited area.
Human Uses - Roads
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
There are likely a number of unclassified
roads that have not been identified in the
watershed. In addition, the condition of
many classified and unclassified roads in
the watershed is unknown.
There were a number of changes to the
road transportation system that were not
reflected in the transportation system
database.
RECOMMENDATION
Gather additional information about
project area roads during project-level
planning and analysis in order to make
informed decisions on the Forest road
transportation system.
Identify changes at the watershed (see
Appendix D) and project levels and
ensure that these changes are
incorporated in Forest databases.
ACTION NEEDED
Conduct road inventories
during project-level
planning and incorporate
data into project planning
and decision-making.
Project managers coordinate
with SO engineering and
GIS database managers to
incorporate changes.
Human Uses - Facilities
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
Greenbrier Ranger District Administrative Site
The wastewater treatment system has parts The disinfecting and pumping portions Identify as Forest facilities
that are old, and much of the system is
of the system should be replaced, and
need and apply for funding.
buried much deeper than it needs to be,
the Forest should consider relocating the Do NEPA if needed.
which makes maintenance and repair more system to a more accessible site and/or
difficult and costly than it needs to be.
depth for maintenance/repair purposes.
The CCC-era warehouse is historic but was There is a need to maintain the historic Identify as Forest facilities
not built to accommodate the storage needs character of the site, while constructing need and apply for funding.
of today. The restroom facilities are old
more warehouse space and upgrading
Do NEPA if needed.
and in need of an upgrade.
restrooms, either as improvements to the
original site or as separate facilities.
The existing residence/bunkhouse built by There is an opportunity to provide
Identify as Forest facilities
Job Corps was not constructed to house
housing for crews, volunteers and others need and apply for funding.
crews of seasonal employees, and there are that is accessible, energy efficient, and Do NEPA if needed.
problems with the heating, cooling, and
meets the requirements for a bunkhouse.
plumbing.
The current facilities at the administrative There is an opportunity to identify an
Identify as Forest facilities
site are a hodgepodge of architectural
architectural theme and alter siding
need and apply for funding.
design and appearance.
and/or other building components to
Do NEPA if needed.
comply with the theme.
Additional Facilities needs or opportunities can be found in the Recreation section of this chapter.
4 - 10
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Chapter 4 – Significant Findings and Recommendations
Human Uses - Minerals
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
There were no specific needs or opportunities identified. Minerals management must respond to identified needs
on a case-by-case basis in order to address legal compliance issues.
Human Uses – Lands and Special Uses
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
RECOMMENDATION
There are roughly 15 miles of landlines that
have been identified as a higher priority for
survey due to the potential for management
activities in the foreseeable future.
Specific needs for landline surveys
should be identified as early as possible
in project planning in order to complete
these often protracted surveys in a
timely fashion.
There were no specific identified needs or Opportunities or needs related to rightsopportunities for special uses. However,
of-way or easement special uses should
there may be existing or potential needs or be identified as early as possible in the
opportunities related to easements and
project planning process to allow time to
rights-of-way on roads to be used in future complete these often protracted
projects.
transactions.
ACTION NEEDED
Project managers need to
coordinate with Lands
program manager to identify
and arrange needed surveys
1-2 years prior to project.
Project managers need to
coordinate with Lands and
Special Uses personnel to
identify easement or rightof-way needs 1-2 years prior
to project implementation.
Human Uses - Research
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
The Loop Road Research Area has two
long-term vegetation research projects
being conducted by the Fernow
Experimental Forest.
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
Avoid conducting any projects within
this area that may affect vegetation,
unless they can be coordinated with the
Fernow for mutual benefit.
Coordinate with the Fernow
before conducting activities
that may affect this area and
its vegetation.
RECOMMENDATION
ACTION NEEDED
Human Uses - Other
SIGNIFICANT FINDING
Vandalism
Some sites are vandalized every year. The
most frequent vandalism is broken toilet
building windows, graffiti, and vehicles
destroying vegetation beyond roadways.
Locks and pins on the gates of closed roads
are often broken. Most of this vandalism
occurs during hunting season.
Illegal ATV Use
There are no authorized areas for the use of
off-road vehicles. Several areas of national
forest land, adjacent to private property,
show evidence of recent and frequent offroad vehicle use. Most of this use is
limited to all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Increase patrols of the area through
cooperative agreements and funding
with local law enforcement agencies.
Monitor and
coordinate with law
enforcement.
Monitor and increase patrols of known
areas where illegal use is occurring.
Monitor and coordinate with
law enforcement
4 - 11
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendices
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix A – Contributors
APPENDIX A
CONTRIBUTORS
Interdisciplinary contributors to the Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment include the
following employees of the Monongahela National Forest:
John Calabrese – Forest Archeologist
Jennifer Condon – Soil Scientist
Stephanie Connolly – Forest Soil Scientist, Program Manager for Soils and Range
David Ede – Forest Planner; Team Leader and Writer-Editor for this assessment
Barry Edgerton – Forest Hydrologist
Laura Hise – Special Uses
Cathy Johnson – Wildlife Biologist
Shane Jones – Wildlife Biologist
Kent Karriker – Forest Ecologist
Sam Lammie – GIS Program Manager
Mike Owen – Aquatic Resources Program Manager
Don Palmer – Recreation Program Manager
Joe Rozich – Lands and Special Uses Program Manager
Deb Sholly – Minerals Specialist
Kevin Taylor – Forester/Silviculturist
Todd Thompson – Recreation Technician
Linda Tracy – Minerals and Geology Program Manager
Lauren Turner – Greenbrier District Ranger
Jay Vestal - Hydrologist
Carol Whetsell – Recreation Specialist
We would like to thank local historian Rob Whetsell for allowing us to use his photos of the
historic mill site at Burner. All other photos were taken by David Ede. Maps were created by
Sam Lammie.
A-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix B – Literature Cited
APPENDIX B
LITERATURE CITED
Berman, Gillian Mace, Melissa Conley-Spencer, and Barbara J. Howe. 1992. The Monongahela
National Forest 1915-1990.
Carbone, Victor A. 1976. Environment and Prehistory in the Shenandoah Valley. Unpublished
PhD Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, The Catholic University of America,
Washington, D.C.
Clarkson, Roy B. 1964. Tumult on the Mountains: Lumbering in West Virginia, 1770-1920.
McClain Printing, Parsons, West Virginia. First published 1964; eleventh printing, 2002.
Daley, Scott, and Kevin McClung. c.1990. Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Maps: From Mabie,
West Virginia, to Staunton, Virginia. Map delineation supplementing “Unite… the Most
Remote Quarters: An Archaeological and Historical Survey of the Staunton-Parkersburg
Turnpike.” Cover sheet and 14 maps. Drawn by Scott Daley and Kevin McClung. Institute for
the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology. On file, MNF Headquarters.
Davis, M.B. 1983. Holocene Vegetational History of the Eastern United States. In: Late
Quaternary Environments of the United States, Volume II: The Holocene. H.E. Wright, ed., pp.
166-181. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Davis, R. P. Stephen, Jr. 1978. Final Report, A Cultural Resources Overview of the MNF, West
Virginia. Submitted to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, MNF, Elkins, West
Virginia. Prepared by West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, Morgantown, West
Virginia, September 1978.
Doran, Michael F. 1987. Atlas of County Boundary Changes in Virginia, 1634-1895. Iberian
Publishing, Athens, Georgia. On file, West Virginia University Downtown Campus Library.
Environmental Protection Agency. 1981. Supplemental Information Document to the Areawide
Environmental Assessment for Issuing New Source NPDES Permits on Coal Mines in the
Gauley River Basin, West Virginia. Prepared by Environmental Protection Agency, Region III,
Philadelphia, with assistance of WAPORA, Inc., Berwyn, Pennsylvania, February 1981. On file,
MNF Headquarters.
Flegel, Donald G. 1992. Soil Survey of Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Natural Resources
Conservation Service, in cooperation with West Virginia Agricultural and Forestry Experiment
Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and Pocahontas County Commission.
On file, MNF Headquarters.
B-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix B – Literature Cited
Gavin, D. G. and D. R. Peart. 1993. Effects of beech bark disease on the growth of American
Beech (Fagus grandifolia). Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23: 1566-1575.
Houston, D. R. 1997. Beech bark disease. In: Exotic Pests of Eastern Forests, Conference
Proceedings - April 8-10, 1997, Nashville, TN, Edited by: Kerry O. Britton, USDA Forest
Service & TN Exotic Pest Plant Council.
Hriblan, John T., Kevin McClung, Billy Joe Peyton, and Anne-Marie Turnage. 1996. “Unite…
the Most Remote Quarters,” An Archaeological and Historical Survey of the StauntonParkersburg Turnpike. West Virginia University Institute for the History of Technology and
Industrial Archaeology, Morgantown, West Virginia, in partnership with the MNF. June 1996.
On file, MNF Headquarters.
Hutchinson, S. F. 1995. 1995 Wooly Adelgid Surveys. WV Department of Agriculture.
Unpublished report.
Kajawski, R. 1998. Biological Control of Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. City Trees: The Journal of
The Society of Municipal Arborists, January/February, 1998. p. 17.
Kuhlman, E.G. 1978. The Devastation of American Chestnut by Blight. In: Proceedings of the
American Chestnut Symposium, January 4-5, 1978, Morgantown, WV. p. 1-3.
Leak, W. B. and M-L. Smith. 1996. Sixty Years of Management and Natural Disturbance in a
New England Forested Landscape. Forest Ecology and Management 81: 63-73.
Lesser, W. Hunter. 1993. Battle at Corricks Ford: Confederate Disaster and Loss of a Leader.
McClain Printing, Parsons, West Virginia. On file, Elkins-Randolph County Public Library.
Lewis, Ronald L. 1998. Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation,
and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel
Hill.
MacDonald, W. L., Cech, F. C., Luchok J., and Smith, C. 1978. In: Proceedings of the
American Chestnut Symposium, January 4-5, 1978, Morgantown, WV. 122 pp.
McKim, C.R. 1970. 50 Year History of the Monongahela National Forest.
McManus, M., N. Schneeberger, R. Reardon, and G. Mason. 1989. Gypsy Moth. USDA Forest
Service, Forest Insect & Disease Leaflet No. 162. 13 pp.
Medville, Douglas M. and Hazel E. Medville. March 1976. Caves and Karst Hydrology in
Northern Pocahontas County. West Virginia Speleological Survey, Bulletin 6. 174 pages.
Montgomery, M. E. and S. M. Lyon. 1996. Natural Enemies of Adelgids in North America:
Their Prospect for Biological Control of Adelges tsugae (Homoptera: Adelgidae), In:
B-2
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix B – Literature Cited
Proceedings of the First Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Review, October 12, 1995, Charlottesville,
VA, p. 89-102.
NatureServe 2006. NatureServe Explorer: An encyclopedia of live (web application). Version
5.0. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. Available at hyyp://www.natureserve.org/explorer.
Newhouse, J. R. 1990. Chestnut Blight. Scientific American, July 1990. p. 106-110.
Ostrofsky, W. D. and D. R. Houston. 1988. Harvesting Alternatives for Stands Damaged by the
Beech Bark Disease, In: Proceedings of the 1988 Society of American Foresters National
Convention, October 16-19, Rochester, NY, p. 173-177.
Pocahontas County. 1997. History of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, 1981. Published by
Pocahontas County Historical Society, Marlinton, West Virginia. Taylor Publishing, Dallas,
Texas. Originally published 1981. Third Printing, September 1997.
Price, Paul H. 1929. Pocahontas County Geologic Report. West Virginia Geological Survey. 531
pages.
Price, Paul H. 1929. Map II Pocahontas County showing General and Economic Geology. West
Virginia Geological Survey.
Reardon, R. and A. Hajek. 1998. The Gypsy Moth Fungus Entomophaga maimaiga in North
America. USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Morgantown, WV,
FHTET-97-11, 22 pp.
Rice, Donald L. 1986. A History of Greenbrier County. Greenbrier Historical Society,
Lewisburg, West Virginia. McClain Printing, Parsons, West Virginia.
Rice, Otis K., and Stephen W. Brown. 1993. West Virginia: A History. Second Edition.
University Press of Kentucky, Lexington.
Schlarbaum, S.E. 1989. Returning the American Chestnut to Eastern North America, In:
Workshop Proceedings, Southern Appalachian Mast Management, August 14-16, Knoxville, TN,
p.66-70.
Soil Survey Staff. 1998. Soil Survey of Pocahontas County, West Virginia. National
Cooperative Soil Survey.
Souto, D., Luther, T., and Chianese, B. 1995. Past and Current Status of HWA in Eastern and
Carolina Hemlock Stands, In: Proceedings of the First Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Review,
October 12, Charlottesville, VA, p. 9-15.
Swanson, Mark T., Faith Meader, and Mary Beth Reed. 2004. Historic Property Management
Plan. Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia. Volume I.
B-3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix B – Literature Cited
Unpublished. January 1992. Cave Resources of the Monongahela National Forest. Inventory
prepared by EEI Geo, contract # 40-3434-1-0152.
USDA Forest Service. 2003. Roads Analysis Report. Forest Scale Roads Analysis for the
Monongahela National Forest. January 13, 2003.
USDA Forest Service. 2006. Monongahela National Forest Land and Resource Management
Plan (Forest Plan).
USDA National Soil Survey Center (Lincoln, Nebraska). 2007. Soil Survey Laboratory
Research Database accessible via the internet at http://ssldata.nrcs.usda.gov.
USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992a. Small Whorled Pogonia (Isotria medeoloides)
Recovery Plan. Newton Corner, MA. 75 pages.
USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992b. Virginia Spiraea (Spiraea virginiana Britton)
Recovery Plan. Newton Corner, MA. 47 pages.
USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 2007. Running Buffalo Clover (Trifolium stoloniferum)
Recovery Plan: First Revision. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, MN. 76 pp.
Westbrooks, R. 1998. Invasive Plants, Changing the Landscape of America: Fact Book.
Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds
(FICMNEW), Washington DC. 109 pages.
White, M. Wood. 1873. White’s New County and District Atlas of the State of West Virginia,
Comprising 54 Counties; 327 Township Districts; and 2567 School Districts; from the Most
Recent Surveys and Authentic Sources. S. A. Mitchell, Philadelphia. On file, West Virginia
Downtown Campus Library.
Wilkins, Gary R. 1977. Cultural Ecology of Prehistoric Mountaintop Sites in the Kanawha
Basin, West Virginia. Unpublished MA Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of
Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas.
B-4
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix C - Soils
APPENDIX C
SOILS
Information Sources
The information contained within in the geology report was compiled from various published
and unpublished geologic maps and reports as cited, and the personal knowledge of the preparer.
The source of bedrock geology information is the West Virginia Geological and Economic
Survey Pocahontas County Geologic Map and Report which has been converted to digital format
and is stored in the Monongahela National Forest GIS library as mnf_geology_0204
(J:\fsfiles\ref\gis\library\mon\shapefiles).
The MNF geologic shapefile, mnf_geology_0204 (i.e., layer) map has limitations for use in sitespecific project analyses primarily due to differences in mapping scales. The mnf_geology_0204
layer is based on a compilation (i.e., scanning and mosaicing) of paper or hardcopy West
Virginia Geological and Economic Survey County Maps produced in the early 1900’s at a scale
of 1:62,500. When overlaid on more detailed maps, such as 1:24,000 topographic maps, their
inaccuracy is apparent. A second source of inaccuracy is that because the county geologic maps
were generated by separate mapping projects, geologic information may not match across county
lines.
As the maps show the general location of rock units exposed within a watershed area, the maps
serve as a first screen for potential geologic concerns. Depending on concerns related to geology
that are identified in the analysis, more detailed geologic or soils information may be needed. In
many cases, detailed soils maps provide sufficient information to complete an analysis. In the
case where more detailed geologic information is needed for the analysis, consulting the original
county geologic map and/or field exam of a particular site may be required.
Information for the soil resource is located in the County Soil Survey Reports for Pocahontas
(1998), Pendleton (1992) and Randolph, Main Part, (1984) Counties. The USDA Natural
Resource Conservation Service, Soil Survey, is the author of these documents in cooperation
with the USDA Forest Service, West Virginia University Agricultural Experiment Station, and
local county authorities. The county soil survey report provides a map of the soil types (map
units) at a scale of 1:24,000, soil map unit descriptions, typical soil series descriptions for the
county, and soil map unit interpretations for various land management activities and soil
properties. Soil characterization data for series used in this watershed is limited. However,
because of the nature of soil survey and the principles on which soil is defined to form under, it
is accepted that for large scale planning, soil characterization data for typical soil pedons from
surrounding areas may be used to develop general analyses of soil chemistry and soil physical
properties. Soil chemistry data for these typical pedons is stored in a National Soil Survey Center
laboratory database.
C-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix C - Soils
Known discrepancies in the data are as follows:
• There are more acres of colluvial soils existing on the landscape than originally mapped.
Many of these colluvial soils are mapped as residual soils.
• The concept of frigid soils was not used in the Randolph County, Main Part, Soil Survey;
however, frigid soil concepts were used in the Pocahontas County Soil Survey. Therefore
there are discrepancies in the soils data at the Pocahontas-Randolph County line. This may
have relevance to habitat for vegetative communities like red spruce, nutrient cycling
processes, and soil moisture. However, Randolph County inclusions were minimal.
• The counties do not have correlated soil surveys.
Soil Map Units In The Upper Greenbrier Watershed
The soil survey of the Upper Greenbrier Watershed spans three counties; primarily Pocahontas
(>99%), with minor inclusions (<1%) of Randolph and Pendleton. Table C-1 lists those map
units. The map unit symbol included alpha characters that identify the map unit and a number
place that identifies the county. The follow legend can be used.
05 = Pendleton County
06 = Pocahontas County
08 = Randolph County
Table C-1. Acres per Map Unit of Soil Series in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Soil Map Units
AlB06
AlC06
At06
BaB06
BaB08
BaC06
BaC08
BaD06
BbC06
BbD08
BbE06
BbE08
BbF06
BbF08
BeB06
BeC06
BeD06
BfC06
BfE06
BfF06
BgC06
BgC08
BgD08
Soil Map Unit Descriptions
Acres
Allegheny Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
144
Allegheny Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
40
Atkins Silt Loam
71
Belmont Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
33
Belmont Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
0
Belmont Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
72
Belmont Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
2
Belmont Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
19
Belmont Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Rocky
56
Belmont Stony Silt Loam-Rock Outcrop Complex, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
2
Belmont Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Rocky
632
Belmont Stony Silt Loam-Rock Outcrop Complex, 25 To 35 Percent Slopes
2
Belmont Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Rocky
661
Belmont Stony Silt Loam-Rock Outcrop Complex, 35 To 70 Percent Slopes
1
Berks Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
19
Berks Channery Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
68
Berks Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
23
Berks Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
124
Berks Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
1451
Berks Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
5011
Berks-Dekalb Complex, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
28
Berks Channery Silt Loam, Moist, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
1
Berks Channery Silt Loam, Moist, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
0
C-2
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Soil Map Units
BgE06
BgF06
BgF08
BhG06
BoB06
BsC08
BtC08
BtE08
BuC05
CaC06
CaC08
CaD08
CaE08
CbC06
CbC08
CbE06
CbF06
CcE08
CcF08
CdF05
CeC06
CfC06
CfE06
CfF06
Ch06
CsC08
DbB08
DbC08
DbD08
DbE08
DhE06
DmC08
DrC08
DrE08
DsF08
EnC08
EnD08
GaC06
GaE06
HdC05
HdE05
HdF05
Ho06
LeC06
LeD08
LhD05
LlB06
Appendix C - Soils
Soil Map Unit Descriptions
Acres
Berks-Dekalb Complex, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
284
Berks-Dekalb Complex, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
827
Berks Channery Silt Loam. Moist, 35 To 70 Percent Slopes
0
Berks, Weikert And Calvin Soils, 55 To 80 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
82
Blairton Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
33
Brinkerton Variant Very Stony Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
1
Buchanan And Ernest Stony Soils, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
3
Buchanan And Ernest Stony Soils, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes
0
Buchanan Channery Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
1
Calvin Channery Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
7
Calvin Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
2
Calvin Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
0
Calvin Channery Silt Loam, 25 To 35 Percent Slopes
5
Calvin Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
42
Calvin Silt Loam, High Base Substratum, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
0
Calvin Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
347
Calvin Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
236
Calvin Stony Silt Loam, High Base Substratum, 25 To 35 Percent Slopes
2
Calvin Stony Silt Loam, High Base Substratum, 35 To 70 Percent Slopes
0
Calvin-Dekalb-Hazleton Complex, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Stony
0
Cateache Channery Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
1
Cateache Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes
109
Cateache Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
197
Cateache Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
1714
Chavies Fine Sandy Loam
33
Cookport Varient Very Stony Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
17
Dekalb Channery Loam, Moist, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
8
Dekalb Channery Loam, Moist, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
14
Dekalb Channery Loam, Moist, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
3
Dekalb Channery Loam, Moist, 25 To 35 Percent Slopes
0
Dekalb-Hazleton Complex, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
1
Dekalb Extremely Stony Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
0
Dekalb Extremely Stony Loam, Moist, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
4
Dekalb Extremely Stony Loam, Moist, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes
6
Dekalb Rubbly Loam, 25 To 80 Percent Slopes
24
Ernest Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
0
Ernest Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
0
Gauley Channery Sandy Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
150
Gauley Channery Sandy Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
60
Hazleton-Dekalb Complex, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Stony
5
Hazleton-Dekalb Complex, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Stony
0
Hazleton-Dekalb Complex, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Stony
1
Holly Silt Loam
82
Leatherbark Silt Loam, 0 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
25
Leetonia Rubbly Loamy Sand, 3 To 25 Percent Slopes
20
Lehew And Dekalb Soils, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
0
Lily Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
11
C-3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Soil Map Units
LlC06
Lo06
MaB06
MaC05
MaC06
MaD05
McC06
McE06
MdC06
MdD06
MdE05
MdF05
MfC06
MfE06
MfF06
MfG06
Mh06
MkC08
MkE08
Or06
Ph06
Po06
Pt06
Pu06
ShB06
ShC06
ShC08
ShD08
SsC06
SsE06
SsF06
SwE06
Tg06
TrC06
Uf06
Us06
W06
WeC06
WeD06
WeF06
Appendix C - Soils
Soil Map Unit Descriptions
Lily Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
Lobdell Silt Loam
Macove Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
Macove Channery Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
Macove Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
Macove Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Stony
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Stony
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 55 To 80 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
Medihemists, Very Deep
Meckesville Stony Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
Meckesville Stony Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes
Orrville Silt Loam
Philo Silt Loam
Potomac Loam
Potomac Very Gravelly Loam
Purdy Silt Loam
Shouns Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
Shouns Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
Shouns Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
Shouns Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
Shouns Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
Shouns Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
Shouns Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
Snowdog Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
Tioga Fine Sandy Loam
Trussel Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
Udifluvents-Fluvaquents Complex
Udorthents, Smoothed
Water
Weikert Channery Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
Weikert Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
Weikert Channery Silt Loam, 25 To 55 Percent Slopes
Total Acres
A map of these soil map units can be found on page 3-6 of this assessment.
C-4
Acres
38
154
17
9
31
3
183
69
474
274
1
4
6169
16838
34804
1560
40
2
1
149
10
366
217
17
44
95
0
0
1681
1276
95
691
169
2498
3218
1
105
205
287
459
85072
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix C - Soils
Sensitive Soils
Current analyses of the soil resource are conducted using the Forest GIS database system and
field visits to the watershed. A digital layer of the soils exists for 9 of 10 counties within the
Forest proclamation boundary. A digital layer depicting the sensitive soils is also available in the
GIS database. Soils rated as sensitive may require mitigation measures beyond those in the
Forest Plan that are routinely applied during project implementation. Sensitive soils are grouped
in the following categories: soils that are prone to mass wasting and/or slippage, slopes > 3070%, prime farmland, hydric soils, flood plain soils, soils that form on limestone and karst
topography, and soils that are moderately well-drained or wetter.
Soils in the Upper Greenbrier River Watershed are sensitive for flooding, hydric soil designation
often used in wetland delineations, slippage, steep slopes (30 to 70 percent), and wetness
(moderately well-drained or wetter). Table C-2 displays the soil map units and their respective
sensitivity. Map C-2 visually displays the patterns of sensitive soils within the watershed. This
information will be utilized when planning site-specific projects within the watershed for
activities such as road building, timber harvesting, range management, or restoration activities.
Table C-2. Soil Sensitivity by Map Unit in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
Soil Map
Units
Sensitivity
Soil Map Unit Descriptions
Acres
AlB06
Prime Farm Land
Allegheny Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
At06
Flood-Wet-Hydric
Atkins Silt Loam
143
BaB06
Prime Farm Land-Limestone Belmont Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
33
BaB08
Prime Farm Land-Limestone Belmont Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
0
BaC06
Limestone
Belmont Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
BaC08
Limestone
Belmont Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
1
BaD06
Limestone
Belmont Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
38
55
71
BbC06
Limestone
Belmont Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Rocky
BbD08
Limestone
Belmont Stony Silt Loam-Rock Outcrop Complex, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
BbE06
Limestone
Belmont Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Rocky
BbE08
Limestone
Belmont Stony Silt Loam-Rock Outcrop Complex, 25 To 35 Percent Slopes
BbF06
Limestone-Slope 30-70%
Belmont Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Rocky
BbF08
Limestone-Slope 30-70%
Belmont Stony Silt Loam-Rock Outcrop Complex, 35 To 70 Percent Slopes
BfF06
Slope 30-70%
Berks Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
BgF06
Slope 30-70%
Berks-Dekalb Complex, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
BgF08
Slope 30-70%
Berks Channery Silt Loam, Moist, 35 To 70 Percent Slopes
138
3
650
2
664
1
5010
828
0
BhG06
Slopege55%
Berks, Weikert And Calvin Soils, 55 To 80 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
82
BoB06
Wet
Blairton Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
33
BrF06
Slope 30-70%
Briery-Rock Outcrop Complex, Very Steep
3
BsC08
Wet
Brinkerton Variant Very Stony Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
1
BtE08
Wet
Buchanan And Ernest Stony Soils, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes
0
BuC05
Wet
Buchanan Channery Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
1
CbE08
Slippage
Calvin Silt Loam, High Base Substratum, 25 To 35 Percent Slopes
0
CbF06
Slope 30-70%
Calvin Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
CcE08
Slippage
Calvin Stony Silt Loam, High Base Substratum, 25 To 35 Percent Slopes
C-5
197
3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Soil Map
Units
Sensitivity
Appendix C - Soils
Soil Map Unit Descriptions
Acres
CfC06
Slippage
Cateache Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
CfE06
Slippage
Cateache Channery Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
109
198
CfF06
Slippage-Slope 30-70%
Cateache Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
1712
Ch06
Prime Farm Land-Flood
Chavies Fine Sandy Loam
33
CsC08
Wet
Cookport Variant Very Stony Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
17
DbF08
Slope 30-70%
Dekalb Channery Loam, Moist, 35 To 70 Percent Slopes
DsF08
Slope 30-70%
Dekalb Rubbly Loam, 25 To 80 Percent Slopes
EnC08
Wet
Ernest Silt Loam, 8 To 15 Percent Slopes
Fu08
Flood-Wet
Fluvaquents-Udifluvents Complex
Ho06
Flood-Wet-Hydric
Holly Silt Loam
0
24
0
0
83
LeC06
Wet
Leatherbark Silt Loam, 0 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
24
LlB06
Prime Farm Land
Lily Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
10
Lo06
Prime Farm Land-Flood-Wet Lobdell Silt Loam
MaB06
Prime Farm Land
Macove Channery Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
MdF05
Slope 30-70%
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Stony
4
MfF05
Slope 30-70%
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
0
MfF06
Slope 30-70%
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
34817
MfF08
Slope 30-70%
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
0
MfG06
Slopege55%
Mandy Channery Silt Loam, 55 To 80 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
1557
153
Mh06
Wet-Hydric
Medihemists, Very Deep
MkE08
Limestone
Meckesville Stony Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes
Or06
Flood-Wet
Orrville Silt Loam
Ph06
Prime Farm Land-Flood-Wet Philo Silt Loam
Po06
Flood
17
40
3
148
10
Potomac Loam
365
217
Pt06
Flood
Potomac Very Gravelly Loam
Pu06
Flood-Wet-Hydric
Purdy Silt Loam
16
ShB06
Prime Farm Land
Shouns Silt Loam, 3 To 8 Percent Slopes
45
ShC08
Slippage
Shouns Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes
0
ShD08
Slippage
Shouns Silt Loam, 15 To 25 Percent Slopes
0
SsE06
Slippage
Shouns Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
SsF06
Slippage-Slope 30-70%
Shouns Silt Loam, 35 To 55 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
SwE06
Wet
Snowdog Silt Loam, 15 To 35 Percent Slopes, Extremely Stony
Tg06
Prime Farm Land-Flood
Tioga Fine Sandy Loam
TrC06
Wet-Hydric
Trussel Silt Loam, 3 To 15 Percent Slopes, Very Stony
2491
Uf06
Flood-Wet-Hydric
Udifluvents-Fluvaquents Complex
3206
WeF06
Slope 30-70%
Weikert Channery Silt Loam, 25 To 55 Percent Slopes
TOTAL ACRES
1269
95
692
171
459
55942
C-6
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix C - Soils
Map C-1. Soil Nutrient Sensitivity in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
C-7
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix C - Soils
Map C-2. Slopes 50 Percent or Greater in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
C-8
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix D - Roads
APPENDIX D
ROADS
Information Sources
Sources for road-related information in this assessment include the Forest Road Transportation
Databases, GIS databases and roads layers, past environmental assessments and decision notices
for area timber sales, aerial photos, engineer files, and consultation with Forest personnel.
Database Adjustments
The roads shown below are recently constructed roads that are not currently on the Forest
Classified Road database or GIS layer as Forest Roads. They are included in road mile and
density calculations for this assessment, but they need to be added to the Forest Classified Road
database and associated GIS layer. The Forest Planner will work with the Engineering and GIS
Program Managers to update this information.
Name
No.
Miles Function
Status
Smoke Camp B
FS58B
1.4
Local
Closed
Smoke Camp BA
FS58BA
0.1
Local
Closed
Smoke Camp C
FS58C
0.2
Local
Closed
Allegheny A
FS106A
1.1
Local
Closed
Allegheny C
FS106C
0.9
Local
Closed
Allegheny D
FS106D
0.6
Local
Closed
Allegheny E
FS106E
0.9
Local
Closed
Allegheny CA (?)
FS106CA
0.1
Local
Closed
Gertrude Run AA
FS178AA
1.8
Local
Seasonal
Gertrude Run AB
FS178AB
0.4
Local
Seasonal
Buffalo Fork D
FS54D
1.8
Local
Closed
Frank Mountain CA FS1537CA
2.0
Local
Closed
No name or number
0.2
11.5
Local
Closed
Total Miles
Surface
Maint.
Level
Comments
Added in Smoke Camp TS.
Non-FS on GIS map.
Spur to well site off 58B.
Non-FS on GIS map.
Added in Smoke Camp TS.
1999 Decision
Added in Smoke Camp TS.
1999 Decision
Added in Smoke Camp TS.
1999 Decision
Added in Smoke Camp TS.
1999 Decision
Added in Smoke Camp TS.
1999 Decision
MNF1 – To gas well site
(Thornwood Block)
Added in May/LR TS. 2000.
Season 8/15 to 12/15
Added in May/LR TS. 2000.
Season 8/15 to 12/15
Added in Frank Mountain
TS, 1999 Decision
Added in Frank Mountain
TS, 1999 Decision
Gas well road off 106
The following roads were identified in the May/Little River Timber Sale Decision Notice (2000)
for abandonment, but they have not been decommissioned on the ground or removed from Forest
D-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix D - Roads
databases as yet. These roads represent opportunities to reduce the overall road transportation
system in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed, as well as the impacts they may be having.
Name
Club House
Little River 1
Grub Hollow
Cove Run
No.
Miles Function
FS242
FS428
FS451
FS795
2.4
0.5
0.8
0.4
Local
Local
Local
Local
Status
Closed
Closed
Closed
Closed
Surface
Native
Native
Native
Improved
Maint.
Level
1
1
1
2
Comments
May/LR TS Decision, 2000.
May/LR TS Decision, 2000.
May/LR TS Decision, 2000.
May/LR TS Decision, 2000.
The following are roads that have been abandoned, but have not been administratively removed
them from the Road Transportation System, as stated in the Smoke Camp EA (p. 11). This
would include updating our GIS system roads layer.
Name
No.
Miles Function
Status
Surface
Rambottom
FS493
1.3
Local
Closed
Native
Grassy Run
FS807
1.6
Local
Closed
Native
Townsend
FS808
0.9
Local
Closed
Native
Buffalo Wells 2
FS393A
0.7
Local
Closed
Agg/Gravel
Gertrude Run
FS178
0.6
Local
Closed
Native
Gertrude Run A
FS178A
1.0
Local
Closed
Agg/Gravel
Total Miles
6.1
Maint.
Comments
Level
1
Abandoned for Smoke
Camp TS - 1999
1
Abandoned for Smoke
Camp TS - 1999
1
Abandoned for Smoke
Camp TS - 1999
2
Abandoned/rehabbed.
Spur to dried up well.
3
Part of road abandoned
in May/LR TS – 2000
3
Part of road abandoned
in May/LR TS – 2000
The following are system roads that have been “converted” to trails, but they have not been
removed from the Forest Road Transportation System and added to the Forest Trail System.
This would include updating our GIS system roads and system trails layers.
Name
No.
Miles Function
Status
Surface
Dilly Hollow
FS52
2.0
Collector Open
Agg/Gravel
Mill Run
FS177
2.1
Local
Closed
Native
Gertrude Run
FS178
1.1
Local
Open
Native
Maint.
Comments
Level
3
Most of road converted to trail
for Smoke Camp TS - 1999
3
Part of road converted to trail
for May/LR TS - 2000
3
Part of road converted to trail
for May/LR TS - 2000
Value and Risk Tables
High, moderate, and low resource value and risk ratings were assigned to Maintenance Level 3,
4, and 5 classified roads in the Roads Analysis Report (2003) completed for Forest Plan revision.
D-2
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix D - Roads
Table D-1. Relative Resource Values of Level 3, 4, and 5 Classified Roads in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed
Road Name
Middle Mountain
Little River
Gaudineer
Gaudineer A
Snorting Lick
Snorting Lick A
Island Campground
Glady-Durbin
Abes Run
Dilly Hollow
Buffalo Fork
Buffalo Fork A
Buffalo Fork B
Long Run
Smoke Camp
FS # Minerals Recreation Timber
Wildlife
14
H
H
H
4 openings, 3 seeded roads, orchard
17
H
M
H
8 openings, 3 seeded roads
27
H
L-M
H
27A
M
H
L
35
H
M
L
35A
H
L
L
Access to 2 openings
36
M
M
L
H: used for trout stocking
44
H
H
L-M H: stock trout, many openings and orchards
51
H
M
H
1 opening, 1 orchard
52
M
H
2 openings, 1 seeded road
54
H
H
H
H: 14 openings, 5 seeded roads, orchard
54A
L
H
L
54B
L
M
L
57
M
L
H
H: 3 openings, 2 seeded roads, apple trees
58
H
L
H
2 openings, 1 seeded road, waterhole,
orchard
Little R. Plantation
97
L
L
H
Allegheny
106
H
M
H
1 opening, 2 pipelines
Iron Bridge
176
H
L
H
H: 3 openings, 1 seeded road
Mill Run
177
H
L
H
Mill Run A
177A
H
L
L
Gertrude Run
178
H
L
H
Gertrude Run A
178A
H
L
H
Elklick Run
179
H
L
H
2 openings, 1 seeded road
Elklick Run D
179D
H
L
L
Span Oak
224
H
L
H
Pigs Ear
254
M
L
H
Bartow Admin. Site 360
M
H
L
Fox Run
369
H
L
H
Apple trees along road
Fox Run A
369A
H
L
L
Apple, crabapple trees
Fox Run B
369B
H
L
H
1 opening, 1 seeded road, apple trees
Fox Run C
369C
H
L
L
Apple, crabapple trees
Fox Run E
369E
H
L
L
Apple, crabapple trees
Upper Mikes Run
464
H
L
L
H: 5 openings, 1 seeded road, apple trees
Upper Mikes Run A 464A
H
L
L
1 wildlife opening
Fill Run
475
M
L
L
Upper Mtn. Lick
477
H
L
H
Little River West
756
H
L
H
H: 3 openings, 1 seeded road, apple trees
Fox Ridge
817
H
L
H
H: 6 openings, 2 seeded roads, apple trees
Fox Ridge A
817A
H
L
L
Fox Ridge C
817C
H
L
L
Cherry Run
821
M
L
L
Cherry Run A
821A
M
L
H
Old House Run Area 1836
M
H
L
Resource management value for Heritage Resources was considered low for all roads listed above.
Resource management value for Range was considered low for all roads except FS14, which was high.
Resource management value for Watershed was considered low for all roads except FS 27 and 27A (moderate).
D-3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix D - Roads
Table D-2. Relative Resource Risks of Level 3, 4, and 5 Classified Roads in the Upper
Greenbrier Watershed
Public
Soil
Watershed Wildlife
Heritage
PFSR
Access
Middle Mountain
FS14
H
M
M
L
H
X
Little River
FS17
H
H
H
M
H
X
Gaudineer
FS27
H
H
H
H
L(U)
X
Gaudineer A
FS27A
L
H
H
H
L(U)
X
Snorting Lick
FS35
H
H
H
M
H
X
Snorting Lick A
FS35A
L
H
M
M
L
Island Campground
FS36
L
H
H
L
L
Glady-Durbin
FS44
H
H
H
M
H(U)
X
Abes Run
FS51
H
M
H
L
H(U)
Dilly Hollow
FS52
H
H
H
M
L(U)
X
Buffalo Fork
FS54
H
H
H
M
H(U)
X
Buffalo Fork A
FS54A
L
H
M
L
L
Buffalo Fork B
FS54B
L
H
M
M
U
Long Run
FS57
H
H
H
L
H(U)
X
Smoke Camp
FS58
M
H
M
M
H
Little River Plantation FS97
L
H
H
M
H
Allegheny
FS106
H
H
M
M
H(U)
X
Iron Bridge
FS176
L
H
H
M
H
Mill Run
FS177
M
H
H
M
H
Mill Run A
FS177A
L
H
M
M
L
Gertrude Run
FS178
M
H
H
L
H
Gertrude Run A
FS178A
M
M
H
L
L
Elklick Run
FS179
M
H
H
M
H
X
Elklick Run D
FS179D
L
H
H
L
L
Span Oak
FS224
L
H
M
M
H
Pigs Ear
FS254
H
H
H
H
H(U)
Bartow Admin. Site
FS360
L
M
M
L
L
Fox Run
FS369
L
H
H
L
H
Fox Run A
FS369A
L
H
M
L
L
Fox Run B
FS369B
L
H
M
L
L
Fox Run C
FS369C
L
M
M
L
L
Fox Run E
FS369E
L
H
H
L
H
Upper Mikes Run
FS464
L
H
M
L
L
Upper Mikes Run A
FS464A
L
H
M
L
L
Fill Run
FS475
L
H
M
M
H(U)
Upper Mountain Lick
FS477
L
H
H
M
U
Little River West
FS756
L
M
M
L
L
Fox Ridge
FS817
L
H
M
L
L
Fox Ridge A
FS817A
L
H
M
L
L
Fox Ridge C
FS817C
L
M
L
Cherry Run
FS821
L
H
M
M
L
Cherry Run A
FS821A
H
H
M
M
L
Old House Run P. Area FS1836
L
H
M
L
L
PFSR = Primary Forest Service Road (Part of the “backbone” system needed for adequate public access.
Road Name
FS No.
D-4
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix E - Recreation
APPENDIX E
RECREATION
Maps for Scenic Attractiveness, Visibility, and Scenic Condition are included in this appendix.
These maps were used to help determine the Scenic Integrity ratings for the Upper Greenbrier
Watershed (see Recreation section in Chapter 3 of this assessment.
E-1
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix E - Recreation
Map E-1. Scenic Attractiveness in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
E-2
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix E - Recreation
Map E-2. Visibility in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
E-3
Upper Greenbrier Watershed Assessment
Appendix E - Recreation
Map E-3. Scenic Condition in the Upper Greenbrier Watershed
E-4

Similar documents