We intend to follow the recommendation of Elks Run Study Group to “continue monitoring … the quality & quantity of Elks Run & the Elk Branch.”
Elks Run Study Group Final Report, September 2012, p. 12. As the state watershed plan notes, “Elks Run and its major tributary, Elk Branch, were listed on the 303(d) list as impaired for biological criteria and fecal coliform bacteria.” Elks Run Watershed Based Plan, 2013, p. 4. The term “303(d) list” is short for the list of impaired and threatened waters that the Clean Water Act requires all states to submit to the EPA. See http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/tmdl/overview.cfm
With help from other local watershed groups (Potomac Riverkeeper, the Friends of the Shenandoah River, and the Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition), we are starting a monitoring program, collecting water samples and testing for bacteria and nitrogen and phosphorous pollution.
Six Testing Sites
The ERWG has initially chosen six testing sites along Elks Run and Elks Branch. As shown on the monitoring map, we will test at:
1. Just above (a) the Harpers Ferry Water Treatment Plant and (b )the small tributary that feeds in there, off Bakerton Road (Elks Branch);
2. Engle Molers Road at Engle Switch Road by the railroad tracks (Elks Branch);
3. Below Meadowbrook Farms (Elks Run);
4. Pond off Gap View Boulevard (Elks Run);
5. Rte. 230 at the railroad crossing between the Melvin Road and Engle-Switch Road (Elks Branch);
6. Melvin Road just before Flowing Springs Road, near Duffields Station (Elks Branch).;
The sites were chosen to sample the watershed broadly. As we gain experience and additional volunteers, ERWG will consider other sites. To start, we want to generate actual data, and identify problem areas for further study.