Free luncheon, discussion to focus on watershed

BERKELEY SPRINGS – Organizers of next month’s Warm Springs Watershed Association conference hope to attract interested citizens from the Panhandle for a discussion and a free lunch.

Next week is the deadline to sign up for the March 1 event featuring a keynote address by Rich Batiuk, the Environmental Protection Agency’s associate director of science.

The gathering happens from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Morgan County Board of Education headquarters at 247 Harrison Ave., Berkeley Springs, according to Kate Lehman, the association’s president.

“The theme of the conference is the role that voluntary compliance with West Virginia’s Watershed Implementation Plan plays in achieving needed reductions of the flow of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment into the Chesapeake Bay,” Lehman said.

She notes that the states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed – Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – along with the District of Columbia and the EPA are working together to find solutions to the Bay’s problems.

Lehman said Batiuk will explore a number of issues, including the importance of local projects designed to help West Virginia meet WIP goals, the long-term consequences of failure to meet the goals and help available from the EPA to support West Virginia’s efforts.

Others set to speak include Lucinda Power, Watershed Implementation Plan specialist for the EPA, and Alana Hartman, the Potomac Basin coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Berkeley Springs Mayor Susan Webster will be part of a panel discussion on projects now underway to meet goals. Joining her will be Matt Pennington, Chesapeake Bay program coordinator, and Gale Foulds, president of the Sleepy Creek Watershed Association.

Lehman said those who attend will have time “for Q&A as well as free-ranging discussion of the issues.” She said anyone interested should RSVP to goldfairy39@gmail.com or 304-279-0717 by Tuesday.

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