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The specific issues and findings that relate to these recommendations can be found in
Section 2 of the report. More detailed discussion of these topics and recommendations
can be found in the accompanying appendices.
a. Flood Warning System.The Task Force recommends the
1.Improve the existing flood warning system for the six counties by adding
ALERT communications to seven stream gauges, install an additional six rain gauges,
install six stream gauges with ALERT communications, and install one additional
combined rain and stream gauge. These changes would require $224,500 for the new
equipment and installation and an increase of $66,500 in the annual allocation of State
funds for operations and maintenance.
2. Improve the statewide flood warning system in incremental steps over a 3-year
period by adding ALERT communications to 81 stream gauges, install an additional 60
rain gauges, install an additional 19 stream gauges with ALERT communications, install
an additional 2 combined rain and stream gauges with ALERT communications, and
install an additional 9 radio repeaters for the ALERT communication system. These
changes would require $1,284,500 for the new equipment and installation and an increase
in the annual allocation of State funds for operations and maintenance to $627,500 over
the next 5 years. This $627,500 would match $900,500 in other funds for a total of
$1,528,000 and represents the State/Federal match for continuing operations and
maintenance of the statewide flood warning system. Figures in this section include those
regarding the changes to improve the flood warning system for the six counties detailed
in the previous paragraph above.
3. Provide adequate funds and staffing for the West Virginia Office of Emergency
Services to ensure adequate operations and maintenance of the expanded IFLOWS
gauges and system..VI - 2
4. Improve the dissemination of flood warnings and other disaster warnings by
mandating the rebroadcast of warnings on all fire, police, and emergency medical-service
freque ncies. Individuals and businesses with radio scanners will receive these warnings
in a more timely and reliable fashion.
5. Improve the regional and statewide flood warning system by providing each
county warning point one computer and the appropriate software dedicated to the Storm
Watch Program. This can be accomplished over a 3- year period through Federal grants
from the National Weather Service.
6. Encourage local communities through education to participate in the
StormReady program conducted by the National Weather Service.
7. Improve communications between the National Weather Service, the county
warning points, and the emergency services offices by upgrading the system with
8. Improve the maintenance of historical data by providing funding for archiving
of data from rain and stream gauges on a statewide level.
9. Improve the regional and statewide flood warning system by installing three
Specific Area Message Encoding (S.A.M.E.) radio transmitters to broadcast disaster
warnings throughout the state. This would cost approximately $90,000 for the
transmitters. This will assist local communities in participating in StormReady. This
technology (S.A.M.E.) can also be used to disseminate information on hazardous-materials
(HAZMAT) incidents, terrorist activities, and other disasters.
10. Improve dissemination of disaster warnings by requiring all public facilities
receiving state funds to purchase and use S.A.M.E. receivers to receive warnings of
disasters that apply to their local area. These receivers cost between $40 and $90 each.
This will assist local communities in participating in StormReady.
11. Improve dissemination of disaster warnings by encouraging the public to
purchase and use S.A.M.E. receivers to receive warnings of disasters that apply to their
local area. These receivers cost between $40 and $90 each.
12. Improve the dam-related Monitoring and Emergency Action Plans (EAP)
through public education and enhanced capability to review new and updated plans in
coordination with local OES offices. Perform tabletop and field exercises of existing
13. The WV Department of Transportation install warning signage at all public
stream crossings that are subject to frequent inundation. This high visibility signage
should indicate the potential for crossing inundation through graphics and text. A
graphics competition among all state high schools would heighten the awareness of the
dangers of flooded stream crossings among inexperienced drivers..VI - 3
b. Floodplain Mapping. The Task Force recommends the following actions:
1.Encourage FEMA and dedicate sufficient funds to re- map the 6-county region
using a modern suite of mapping technology that will:
(a) Create enhanced elevation and terrain data, as well as more detailed
hydrographic networks to improve flow models and flood risk assessment
(b) Accurately identify the channel shape
(c) Eliminate all "Approximate A" zones by conducting detailed studies to
delineate more accurate and realistic flood-prone areas
(d) Delineate floodplains in previously unmapped areas
(e) Upgrade the quality of floodplain maps statewide with priority given to
heavily populated floodplain areas, areas of repetitive losses, areas with high
levels of flood damages and areas with insufficient mapping as identified by the
Map Needs Update Support System (MNUSS).
2. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should consider providing floodplain
information to the MNUSS database in West Virginia. Similar assistance is being
provided to the Commonwealth of Virginia by the Corps.
3. All State and Federal agencies should adopt a standard for floodplain mapping,
in defined project areas, that’s consistent with the Federal Emergency Management
Agency’s document "Draft Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping
4. Fund Regional Planning Councils (RPC’s) or Economic Development
Authorities (EDA’s) to re-evaluate flood hazards in non-participating communities.
Many communities were not originally mapped under the NFIP due to a lack of growth
potential or low frequencies of flooding. Many of these same communities are now
confronted with development issues in their floodplains through new growth or
annexations of county development. The RPC’s or EDA’s could assist any non-participating
community interested in joining the NFIP.
5. All hydraulic studies conducted by or through Federal and State agencies
within the State for the purposes of identifying, enhancing or developing floodplain areas
should be required to delineate a floodway zone (in accordance with procedures used in
the NFIP) with the study.
6. Delineate inundation areas resulting from sunny-day and heavy rainfall dam
failures on Flood Insurance Rate Maps and other floodplain maps as appropriate for
7. Promote the collection of accurate latitude, longitude, and elevation data on all
repetitive- loss sites, flood control facilities, and significant flood damage sites..VI - 4
8. Initiate a new "off-budget" State instrumentality (such as the West Virginia
State Mapping Board) to develop and maintain digital mapping statewide for flood and
other disaster planning. The program should be implemented and operated in
cooperation with Federal partners (FEMA, USGS, USACE, and EPA) and State agencies
with hydrologic- mapping expertise or regulatory responsibilities such as the Department
of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, Division of Natural
Resources, Geological and Economic Survey, Geographic Information System
Coordinator Office, and Geographic Information System Technical Center, or regional,
county, and local offices (E-911 Centers), and /or non-governmental watershed
organizations such as Canaan Valley Institute.
c. Existing Flood-Prone Structures and Facilities.
Numerous Federal and State flood damage reduction programs exist that can be applied
to address existing flood-prone structures in this region. Those projects and programs are
presented in Section 5. At this time, none of these programs, with the exception of
ongoing studies and projects in McDowell, Raleigh and Mercer counties, is proposed to
address the entire region’s needs for flood protection. Without specific authorization and
funding to proceed, most Federal flood protection programs are unable to initiate studies
or projects to reduce the number of flood-prone structures.
In an effort to proceed strategically in a long-term program of flood damage reduction for
this region, the Task Force recommends that the following actions be initiated:
1. Conduct an assessment of the 5 major watersheds affected by flooding in July.
The purpose of this assessment would be to determine whether there are any
opportunities to construct additional upstream flood storage/retention facilities in
the watersheds that would attenuate flooding, reduce downstream damages and
potentially provide a reliable source of potable water for the region.
This assessment could be incorporated into a larger study being proposed as a part
of the WV Statewide Plan for other major watersheds in the state that are devoid
of upstream flood storage facilities. The primary agencies involved in the study
would be the NRCS, USACE and WVCA. This assessment could be funded in
part through the USACE Section 22 PAS program for regional flood protection
studies. Full consideration of the environmental effects of these potential storage
facilities would be coordinated with the WVDNR, WVDEP and USFWS during
2. Conduct an assessment to determine whether existing municipalities (i.e.
county seats) within the region need to be protected in place to preserve their
commercial, service and governmental base that supports the surrounding county
This assessment would be conducted through a collaborative effort of the
USACE, NRCS and WVCA. The assessment may be conducted in concert with
(1) above as a statewide effort through the Section 22 PAS program. Full.VI - 5
consideration of the environmental effects of these potential structures would be
coordinated with the WVDNR, WVDEP and USFWS during the assessment.
3. A voluntary program of permanent acquisition be developed to address the
inventory of existing structures in the regulatory floodway. These structures and
their associated facilities are subject to frequent and severe flooding and damages
by water-borne debris. These structures also are a source of floatable debris and
stream pollution. This program would be initiated in the non- municipal areas to
avoid interference with possible structural protection of incorporated
This acquisition program would be best administered through FEMA in
cooperation with WVOES. The WVHDF and WVDO would support this effort
through identification of replacement housing and commercial relocation sites.
This region program would be incorporated within the proposed larger statewide
voluntary floodway acquisition program.
4. A voluntary program of nonstructural protection be developed for structures
located in the flood fringe areas of the region that cannot be protected by
structural floodwalls, upstream retention, or channel modifications. Nonstructural
protection would include floodproofing, replacement on-site or permanent
acquisition depending upon the height of flooding at the structure, the structure
type and comparative costs.
This program would not be initiated until the assessments in (1) and (2) above are
completed. This nonstructural program would be best administered through the
USACE, NRCS, WVCA and WVOES.
These proposed programs for reducing flood damages in this region would be
incorporated into the larger statewide plan being developed by the Task Force. By virtue
of the recent flooding in this region in July 2001 and May 2002, these proposed programs
should be initiated as soon as funds can be appropriated to begin the assessments and
floodway acquisitions in this region.
d. Building Codes. The Task Force recommends the following actions:
1. The State should adopt the "2000 International Building Code". Developed by
the International Code Council in 1999, this updated code covers residential building,
plumbing, mechanical, fuel-gas, and private sewage-disposal requirements and meets
minimum flood-resistant design standards of the NFIP. This code would replace the
existing Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) and the Council Of
American Building Officials (CABO) codes included by reference in 87CSR4 (State
2.The State should mandate that all counties adopt and enforce the International
Residential Code within 5 years after legislative adoption. At a minimum these codes.VI - 6
should apply to new construction within the floodplain and to significant improvements
to existing structures.
3. The State should provide $10,000 to every county and an additional $10,000 to
every city with a population that exceeds 10,000 people as a 50-50 match for the salary of
any building inspector trained and certified under the International Residential Code and
the International Building Code. (The total estimated cost is $630,000.)
4. The State should expand the Division of Labor’s Manufactured Housing
Section enforcement unit to a total of 11 field enforcement people with appropriate
supervisory and support staff. An alternative recommendation would be to eliminate the
Manufactured Housing Section and reorganize it into a new Building Codes Division.
5. The Department of Labor should require all staff to become conversant with
floodplain management issues and incorporate the use of Flood Insurance Rate Maps in
6. The West Virginia Development Office should prepare and disseminate to
counties and municipalities a model sub-division regulation that contains a requirement
that every residential, commercial or industrial lot include a portion of developable land
that is out of the floodway for construction of a structure.
e.Floodplain Management. The Task Force recommends the following
1. Increase staff in West Virginia’s Office of Emergency Services to support local
floodplain managers statewide. Adequate support to the 55 counties and 248
municipalities requires a minimum of 18 additional people. This increase in staff would
(a) One staff member to handle training and education of State agencies
and regional floodplain technical specialists (as outlined below)
(b) One staff member to handle disbursement of grant funds and to
coordinate regional meetings of floodplain managers that will focus on
training and peer support for county and local floodplain managers
(c) Fourteen staff members to provide technical support to local
government units and State agency projects throughout the state
(d) Two staff members to develop and maintain flood-related databases.
2. Allocate 25 percent of the Governor’s "Rainy Day Fund" annually as the
"Flood Loss Reduction Fund. " This fund would provide
(a) Non-Federal cost share to match Federal funds for flood damage
reduction projects (structural or non-structural).
(b) Stand alone funds for State initiated flood damage reduction projects..VI - 7
(c) Grants to improve local floodplain management.
3. FEMA should meet its stated goal of conducting a Community Assistance Visit
in every community once every 5 years to ensure that the floodplain ordinances are being
properly implemented and enforced. This would require them to conduct approximately
72 Community Assistance Visits each year.
4. The State should provide monetary incentives to encourage communities to
participate in FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) program. More information
can be found at http://www./fema.gov/nfip/crs.html. The State should further promote the
CRS by coordinating activities too extensive for every community to do on their own.
5. Require that the 55 counties and 248 municipalities adopt and enforce
improved floodplain ordinances or to enter into enforcement compacts with adjacent
6. Require that all counties and municipalities have a certified floodplain manager
(CFM) on staff or on retainer within 5 years. In those cases where either a county or
municipality is unable to comply with this requirement due to fiscal restraints, the
Regional Planning & Development Councils should coordinate establishment of regional
floodplain manager services.
7. Assist in the establishment of a West Virginia Floodplain Management
Association in coordination with the Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc.
8. Require Real Estate Agents to determine location of structures by latitude and
longitude, city-style street address, or Tax Parcel number and whether the structure is
within the regulated floodplain before the structure is listed for sale. The agent must
notify potential purchasers of the location and whether the structure is within the
regulated floodplain prior to their application for a mortgage.
9. Require that all structure renovation valued at $10,000 or more, and all new
structures obtain a permit document legally certifying whether they are in the floodplain
or not. All permits should allow for on site inspection of construction activities.
Construction, installation, or renovation of a structure within the floodplain without a
permit would be punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000 and removal of the structure.
A copy of this permit must be provided to the utility company before the utility is
connected. All utility companies must receive and keep a copy of the approved permit
prior to connecting utility. Should no permit be obtained prior to construc tion, the
builder, homeowner, utility company, and property owner shall be held liable..VI - 8
10. Require that the builder, homeowner, mobile-home installer, or property
owner provide a copy of a certification signed and sealed by a professional engineer,
confirming that the mobile home is properly installed to the utility company before the
utility is connected. Require all utility companies to receive and keep a copy of this
certification. If a certification is unavailable, the mobile home must be inspected and a
certificate signed and sealed by a professional engineer. This document confirms that the
manufactured home has been properly installed before any utility can be connected.
11. Prohibit residents from returning to housing sites with inoperable sewer
systems following a flood. Floodplain residents must eliminate all straight-pipe
discharge systems or resolve inoperative sewer-treatment systems prior to re-occupancy.
12. As itemized in Section D, above, encourage all counties regardless of their
population and municipalities with a population greater than 10,000 people to issue
permits and inspect construction by reimbursing them $25 for every building permit
issued up to a limit of $10,000 if, and only if, they have a certified floodplain manager or
a certified building inspector. (The total estimated cost for permit reimbursement and
salary reimbursement is $1,300,000).
13. Require all surveyors to include the floodplain boundaries as delineated on the
FIRM on registered plat maps with the latitude, longitude, and elevation of a reference
14. To improve enforcement of floodplain management ordinances require every
county and municipality to file their floodplain ordinance with the West Virginia Office
of Emergency Services within 30 days of enactment..VI - 9
15. The Governor issue an Executive Order and the Legislature issue a resolution
that supports floodplain management and recognizes the natural and beneficial role of the
floodplain in providing ecological and economic benefits to the State.
16. Discourage development within the floodplain through:
(a) Relocation assistance to property owners in the floodplain.
(b) Floodplain ordinances to forbid future development in floodways.
(c) Legislation to prohibit infrastructure development in floodplains
unless there’s no other alternative.
17. Deny all financial assistance to local governments and public institutions that
construct new buildings or enter into new leases in buildings located in the regulated
18. If a regional agency is providing floodplain management assistance to a local
government, that local government must consult with the regional agency (Regional
Planning and Development Council, Division of Highways district office, WV DEP
regional office) on all proposed variances.
19. Require all new public facilities or significant improvements to existing pub lic
facilities within the regulated floodplain to be constructed in a flood-resistant manner.
20. Require all State agencies to prepare a 10- year plan to eliminate, relocate or
renovate facilities within the regulated floodplain that are not flood resistant.
21. Establish a State policy that requires counties and municipalities calculating
the base flood elevation in 11-digit watersheds with over 25 percent development as if the
entire watershed was fully developed. This is also known as final-condition mapping.
22. Require all propane and fuel-oil dealers to ensure that all LPG and propane
tanks over 30 pounds in size and all fuel-oil tanks located within the regulated floodplain
or within 50 feet of a perennial stream to be anchored to a fixed structure to resist
expected flood waters and impact from debris.
23. Enable the WV Public Land Corporation through legislative enactment and
increased staffing to enforce more stringent permitting requireme nts for in-stream
construction or channel alteration.
24. Enable the WV Public Land Corporation to develop and enforce a legal
contract requiring permit applicants to agree to maintain in perpetuity the hydraulic
carrying capacity of the stream being crossed or altered.
25. Amend § 7-1-3 of the West Virginia State Code as follows:.VI - 10
(a) Not restrict local governments to the minimum floodplain standards
established in the NFIP
(b) To require all development to obtain a permit at least to the floodplain
determination stage. This permit process would require the developer to
obtain documents delineating the site location relative to the floodplain.
(c) To mandate that communities must have language in their floodplain
management ordinance that requires a buffer zone equal to twice the width
of the stream from the top of the bank of all perennial streams without a
f.Education. The Task Fore recommends the following actions:
1. Encourage State, county, and municipal officials involved in floodplain
management, community planning, building inspection, emergency services, or
enforcement of land use planning to take the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Independent Study Courses related to flooding, flood mitigation, and floodplain
2. WVOES should present at least one Federal Emergency Management Agency
field course specifically addressing flooding each year in West Virginia.
3. WVOES should develop and present at least one state-specific workshop each
year that is related to flooding in West Virginia. Topics could include:
(a) Local floodplain ordinances
(b) Relevant sections of the West Virginia State Code
(c) Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Q3, GIS
data and other data sources used to update flood maps
(d) Updating flood maps
(e) Land-use management
(f) Stormwater management
(g) Flood damages
(h) Floodplain management
(i) Floodplain protection
(j) Potential impact of flooding in their region
(k) Factors contributing to flooding (floatable debris in the floodway,
constricted floodways, undersized or poorly constructed stream crossings)
(l) Perils of building in the floodplain
(m) Flood proofing
(n) Flood-resistant construction techniques
(o) Reducing flood- insurance premiums
(p) Concepts of stable streams.
(q) Benefit-cost analysis of flood damage reduction
(r) Elevation certificates..VI - 11
(s) Dam Safety Monitoring and Emergency Action Plans
(t) Natural Stream Restoration and the inter-relationship of stream
morphology, land use, channel encroachment, dredging, stormwater/
erosion control, stable streams, and flooding.
4. The West Virginia Statewide Flood Protection Task Force in conjunction with
the National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator should develop and conduct an annual
conference/seminar on floodplain management in West Virginia for all floodplain
managers, pub lic officials, and other interested parties to encourage training and develop
peer support. If the West Virginia Floodplain Managers Association becomes a reality,
the Association could take over this responsibility.
5. The State should encourage participation in the annual seminars by providing
this training at no cost and reimbursing qualifying jurisdictions for a portion of the salary
of trained and nationally certified floodplain managers and certified building inspectors.
Total reimbursement would be limited to $20,000 to qualifying jurisdictions for training
and permits reimbursement. (The total estimated cost statewide is $1,300,000).
6. The State should encourage participation and membership in the Association of
State Floodplain Managers by paying membership dues for one floodplain manager in
7. Encourage participation in floodplain management training activities by
providing certification or continuing-education credits for courses and workshops.
Attendees should include:
(a) State, county, and municipal government
(b) Insurance companies
(c) financial institutions
(d) real estate companies
(e) utility companies..VI - 12
(f) watershed associations
(g) professional land surveyors
(h) professional engineers
(i) floodplain managers
(j) public officials
(k) elected officials
(l) building inspectors
(m) community planners
(n) other interested parties
8. Encourage educational outlets in West Virginia (Vo-tech, Community
Colleges, publicly owned colleges and universities) to develop classes and curriculums
that address floodplain and flood issues. Floodplain management and flooding should be
addressed during appropriate sessions of the current curriculum.
9. The West Virginia Statewide Flood Protection Task Force should prepare and
distribute a brochure on homeowner- initiated flood proofing methods, flood-resistant
construction techniques, and strategies for reducing flood-insurance premiums to all
National Flood Insurance Program policy holders in WV.
10. The West Virginia Statewide Flood Protection Task Force should prepare and
distribute a brochure on the values and concepts of protecting stable streams.
11. The Vocational Technical schools should incorporate training on retrofitting
floodplain structures and other flood mitigation techniques in all construction-related
courses. Individuals receiving such training should be encouraged by counties to work
with communities and individuals immediately after a flood event to "build back smarter"
and in a sustainable manner.
12. The Vocational Technical Surveying classes should include a session on the
completion of elevation certificates, their importance in floodplain management, and a
general outline of the floodplain permitting process.
13. To provide the public with a readily visible indication of the Base Flood
Elevation (BFE) (elevation of the 100- year frequency flood), surveying classes should
prepare projects that require students to survey the BFE and indicate this elevation on
utility poles and/or street signposts within a community. These would be general guides
and wouldn’t be legal reference points for determining flood-insurance premiums.
14. To provide the public with an indication of the Base Flood Elevation, the
Division of Highways should place readily visible BFE elevation marks on all new or
refurbished bridges where practical. These survey marks would be general guides and
wouldn’t be legal reference points for determining flood insurance premiums..VI - 13
g.Flood Damage Assessment. The Task Force recommends the
1. A single agency within State government be designated as a point of contact or
clearinghouse where a flood damage data repository could be established. This agency
would be mandated to manage all flood data including an inventory of at-risk structures,
repetitive- loss data, flood control project data, and other databases. This data should
include information on losses sustained by residences, businesses, farms/agricultural
losses, roadways, railroads, and other types of losses. WVOES would be the appropriate
place for such a database assuming that adequate staffing and funding could be provided.
The Watershed Resource Center, or any of the many universities or colleges in the state
are alternative locations for a repository.
2. Develop flood and flood damage data with latitude, longitude, and elevation
data so that both counties and 11-digit Hydrologic Unit Catalog (HUC) code watersheds
can be used as the basis for planning.
3. Update existing damage assessment data for 11-digit Hydrologic Unit Catalog
(HUC) code watersheds for use as a planning tool. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
and the Natural Resources Conservation Agency should collaborate to develop flood
damage data along all rivers within the state. Individually authorized protection projects
will still have to develop damage estimates for their own cost-benefit analyses. Copies of
this project specific data will be provided to the clearinghouse discussed above.
4. Encourage local jurisdictions to obtain the repetitive- loss data from WVOES
and designate 11-digit Hydrologic Unit Catalog (HUC) locations or latitude, longitude,
and elevation figures for each repetitive-loss structure in their jurisdiction so this data can
be included in a GIS database for use by local, State, and Federal agencies.
5. Develop a chart for county and municipal officials and residents that identifies
specific Federal and State offices where flooding information or assistance may be
obtained. This chart should be available in printed and web-based versions.
h.Environmental. The Task Force recommends the following actions:
1. That the State Administration issue an Executive Order recognizing the
beneficial attributes of the state’s floodplains. That order also should declare the
designated floodway zones within the state to be off- limits to development unless the
local floodplain jurisdiction receives documentation from a licensed engineer showing
that such development will not affect the Base Flood Elevation. That order also should
encourage Federal agencies operating in West Virginia to evaluate all proposed or
financially subsidized projects in accordance with Executive Order 11988.
2. That State legislation be enacted that will empower local floodplain
management officials to deny placement or storage of defined floatable debris (see
Appendix H) within floodway zones that does not include suitable anchoring. This.VI - 14
legislation should require that regulations regarding the legal definition and storage of
floatable debris within the 100-year frequency floodplain be prepared by the WVOES in
cooperation with WVDEP and WVDNR. Administration and enforcement of these
regulations would be through county and municipal floodplain managers using the
policing powers contained in the existing floodplain management ordinances. State
technical assistance and program oversight for these local enforcement actions would be
through WVOES. Additional funding support for local watershed "clean up" activities
would assist the region in addressing stream corridor debris accumulation.
3. That a "Stream Quality Summit" be convened in 2003. The purpose of this
summit would be to coordinate the various stream quality designation programs used by
the Federal and State agencies working in the state. Many of the anticipated participating
agencies are current members of the Task Force that identified a significant range of
definitions of "stream quality" during the preparation of the Statewide Plan. The long-term
goal of the summit and subsequent meetings would be to agree on a standard
classification of stream quality in the state that could guide future planning and project
4. That a study be conducted to identify, document and prepare preservation plans
for stable streams. This study would be a collaborative effort between the WVDEP,
WVDNR, WVCA, NRCS and the USACE. The results of the study would provide a
foundation for legislative statewide protectio n of stable streams. Although the existence
of stream channel stability does not lessen the potential for over-bank flooding, stable
streams are capable of accommodating high flows without excessive erosion or bank
displacement. Such streams provide a base condition for future stream rehabilitation and
restoration activities in each region of the state.
5. That a "Wetlands Summit" be convened in 2003. The purposes of this study
would be to: (1) identify those Federal, State, regional and local agencies having a
mission or purpose to identify, protect and restore wetlands, (2) assess the relative
condition of the state’s wetlands including threats to existing wetlands, (3) identify those
areas within the state where wetlands restoration or creation would be most effective, and
(4) identify potential sources of funding for wetlands protection and restoration.
6. That the State enact legislation and institute regulatory controls on stormwater
runoff volume. Several counties and numerous municipalities currently enforce
stormwater regulations within their jurisdictions. This practice needs to be adopted
statewide. Where individual counties or municipalities are not fiscally capable of
addressing stormwater management programs, regional management agreements should
be considered. Although not a primary cause of flooding in the July 2001 floods,
stormwater runoff from development occurring on previously forested lands certainly
contributed to the swiftness of the flood event and the total volume of flood waters. No
one development type can be singled out as a primary contributor, but the cumulative
affects of excessive runoff from all forms of development within the affected watersheds
is certain. The WVDEP currently regulates stormwater quality through the NPDES
permit system, but stormwater volume has not been addressed by the State through.VI - 15
legislative processes. Lack of stormwater runoff controls is a growing problem in other
regions of the state.
7. That the appropriate Corps of Engineer District offices and State offices
involved in the issuance of regulatory permits in West Virginia waters under the Clean
Water Act of 1970 (as amended) develop and deploy a public information and awareness
program for local officials and private landowners. The purpose of the program will be to
assure that Federal and State agencies, county and municipal officials, floodplain
managers, building code officials, and the general public are fully aware of the
requirements of the regulatory permitting process when conducting emergency recovery
operations or normal construction within or along the State’s waterways.
8. That additional resources in staff and funds be provided to the Division of
Forestry to address wildfires in the region. Due to rugged terrain and limited access into
the region, wildfires are a serious threat to the forest resources. These forested lands
absorb tremendous quantities of rainfall that would otherwise reach the streams and rivers
of the region. Forests devastated by wildfires do not have the capability to absorb rainfall
and therefore increased runoff and erosion occurs. The use of aircraft tankers should be
explored to assist in wildfire suppression in this region.
9. That State guidelines for emergency removal of stream debris be developed
that would guide emergency response agencies and contractors during these removal
operations. Such guidelines could be developed through a collaborative effort of the Task
Force member agencies. These guidelines would ensure that debris removal following a
flood event would not result in excessive, long-term environmental damage to the stream
or river affected. The guidelines would ensure that necessary permits are obtained by all
debris removal operations and that debris disposal does not further inhibit flood waters.
Included within these guidelines would be information on the location of stable streams
and high quality streams and a series of best management practices to guide response
agencies and their contractors.
10. The establishment by legislation of watershed authorities for the purposes of
coordinating stormwater runoff regulation, floodplain management, control of floatable
debris, and to provide oversight in the protection and restoration of stable streams and
high quality riparian resources. The number of watershed authorities and their specific
purposes and missions would be established through a collaborative effort of WVDEP,
WVDNR, WVCA, and the NRCS. The watershed authorities would work closely with
existing watershed associations, county and municipal floodplain managers and
Conservation Districts to provide a source of technical assistance and serve as a
clearinghouse for watershed data.
i. Stream Crossings. The Task Force recommends the following actions:
1. That guidelines or Best Management Practices (BMP) for the sizing,
installation, and maintenance of culverts, drainage structures and stream/river crossings
be developed and enforced. An effective program of design assistance and construction.VI - 16
and maintenance oversight would help to ensure that these facilities (public and private)
would carry the stream capacity during a reasonable storm event without contributing to
2. Develop and enforce guidelines or BMPs for installation and maintenance of stream
crossings for the 25-year storm event without causing upstream flooding. Appropriate
sizing for culverts and bridge openings must consider the potential for future
development in the watershed. Where such development potential exists, culverts and
bridge cross sections should be enlarged to handle anticipated runoff. Establish a
program, including a permitting process, within a State agency to control the design,
installation, and maintenance of private and public non-highway drainage structures.
3. That the WV Division of Highways be provided additional staff resources and
funding specifically targeted to provide technical assistance, construction and
maintenance oversight for private and public installation of stream/river crossings and
roadway culverts. This assistance should include oversight for proper regulatory permit
actions through WVDEP or the USACE prior to construction.
4. That $100,000 be provided to the WV Division of Highways for a 2- year study
of abandoned private and public stream crossings (roadway and railway bridges and
culverts) in the region to ascertain ownership of said facilities, determine whether each
crossing creates an obstruction to floodwaters or a potential debris collection point, and
provide recommendations for condemnation and removal if deemed necessary to prevent
flood damages..VI - 17
j. Dredging. The Task Force recommends the following actions:
1. That the general practice of stream dredging as a means of reducing flood
damages be terminated in this region.
2. That regulatory permit requests for dredging operations in the region as a
means of reducing flood damages be approved only where documentation can be
provided that assures that environmental impacts are not excessive and where annual
maintenance is assured through executed agreements. Past private and public dredging
operations in the region have resulted in stream instabilities that continue to generate
bank-erosion and flood damages. A cessation of stream dredging should in no way hinder
efforts by any Federal or State agency to address flood damages through an authorized
and carefully designed channel modification or snagging and clearing operation where
that activity is proven through engineering documentation to be an effective and cost
efficient method for reducing flood heights and where annual maintenance is assured
through local agreements.
3. That the State provide funding for state stream restoration programs to match
existing Federal programs and that regulations for preservation of stable streams be
developed through a collaborative effort of the WVDEP and WVDNR. Candidate
streams for restoration will be identified in 2003 by the agencies participating in the
recommended "Stream Quality Summit".