The Compliance Surveillance Initiative: Birddogging Pipeline Construction

The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy is a supporter of the Compliance Surveillance Initiative. Anything with “surveillance” in its name starts off with a touch of the ominous, as if the CIA might somehow be involved. While the Compliance Surveillance Initiative is not, in actual fact, anything nearly so dramatic, it is making a difference in terms of [...]

Thoughts from our president

By Larry Thomas Last night I woke up at 3:10 am and was so pleased to see the sky filled with stars. The first night in a long time, because of the weather pattern we have been experiencing. Got out of bed, bundled up because of the very cool night air and headed outside to [...]

Happy Birthday, Coal River Mountain Watch!

In July, 2019, Coal River Mountain Watch celebrated its 20th birthday. The mission of Coal River Mountain Watch is to stop the destruction of our communities and environment by mountaintop removal mining, to improve the quality of life in our area and to help rebuild sustainable communities. Small community groups come and go; just surviving and [...]

SAVE THE DATE! West Virginia Highlands Conservancy Fall Review

When: Fri. 10/18,Sat.10/19 and Sun. 10/20 Where: Elk River Inn and Restaurant, Slatyfork, WV What: Outings, Programs, Panels and Fun Theme: Seeking a sustainable future for West Virginia For housing information: call Elk River Inn, 304-572-3741 Rooms with private bath $89 per night single, $99 double. Rooms with shared bath $63 single, $68 double. Add [...]

Tracking “Timberdoodles”

By Casey Rucker and Cindy Ellis Our vote was For the Birds!  On Saturday, July 20, the WVHC Board of Directors voted to sponsor several tracking transmitters for migration research use with American Woodcock in Canaan Valley.  We join the Friends of the 500th---the citizen support group for the wildlife refuge in Tucker County---in this [...]

Forest Service Proposes Less Environmental Review

The UnitedStates Forest Service has proposed a change to the regulations on howit administers the National Environmental Policy Act(NEPA).  It proposes changing the regulations in such a way that it reduces the number of decisions subject to a full NEPA analysisand reduces the opportunities for citizen participation. The National Environmental Policy Act was the first [...]


Summer’s already hatched the scourges we scratch -- p.i., mosquitoes, ticks -- but on this hotter planet we can’t take for granite it won’t bring a brand new itch   -- Hugh Rogers  

Restoring Trout, Protecting the Future

By Chris Wood “What is the name of that tree?” Brandon Keplinger, the district fisheries biologist for West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, asked the 20 or so fifth graders from Slanesville Elementary School in West Virginia. The kids stood by the stream and looked up. “It’s a sycamore,” Brandon said. “You know how in [...]

Abandoned Gas Wells: Are They a Problem?

By John McFerrin The June, 2019, issue of The Highlands Voicecontained a very useful article on efforts to plug old gas wells.  The crux of the story was that we have a bazillion (actually 4,500 currently orphaned gas wells with another 27,000 set to join them in the future) old gas wells that need to [...]

Board Highlights

By John McFerrin The Board was hampered by the absence of some of our leaders.  In spite of this, we managed to address some ways we could make the organization run better both now and in the future.  We also got some updates on issues of interest and made some decisions about things we would [...]

Federal Court Says Atlantic Coast Pipeline Not Protecting Endangered Species

By John McFerrin             The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has once again stopped the Atlantic Coast Pipeline because of the failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act.  It held that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service had been arbitrary in approving plans for protecting endangered species. Background The [...]