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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fayette County Green Advisory Team

More recently, I have been getting involved with the Fayette County Green Advisory Team (GREAT). GREAT is a nonprofit group based in Fayetteville, West Virginia that works with communities throughout Fayette County on energy efficiency and sustainability.  Our ultimate goal is to help local residents, businesses, and government to reduce energy consumption.  The end result is that everyone saves money through energy efficient practices.  We are citizens for sustainability.
  One of the group's primary objectives is to register the Town of Fayetteville with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives or ICLEI.  ICLEI's mission is to build, serve, and drive a movement of local governments to advance deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and achieve tangible improvements in local sustainability.  ICLEI has 13 offices in 68 countries on 6 continents with over 1,200 members worldwide.  There are over 600 members in the USA representing local governments (cities, towns, counties, villages, and boroughs) committed to climate protection (adaptation and mitigation) and sustainable development. The Town of Fayetteville is the only registered group with ICLEI in the state of West Virginia! Spearheaded by the efforts of Doug Arbogast, our group is in the second phase of the program, which is to set an emissions target reduction. I'm currently a liaison and facilitator for the Task Force group, which provides support between local government and ICLEI to make progress in achieving the 5 milestone process. Below is a green house gas inventory of Fayetteville conducted in 2007.





Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New River Clean Water Alliance

For the last 8 months I have been meeting with a group  dubbed, the New River Clean Water Alliance (I will refer to it as the alliance).  The alliance is a diverse group of stakeholders with representatives present from the headwaters, in Boone, NC ( The National Committee for the New River), all the way to the Lower New River at Fayette Station (New River Gorge, National Park Service).  The group was started by Erin St. Johns of the National Parks Conservation Association.  She has played an integral role in bringing the group together and providing leadership, while continuing to build momentum on key issues in the New River Gorge Region.

What is the New River Clean Water Alliance doing?  Our short term goal is to create a "State of the Watershed Report for the Lower New River" and our long term goal is to remove the Lower New River from the EPA's 303(d) list of impaired waters.  The alliance has contracted Downstream Strategies to draft the State of the Watershed Report and they will document water quality issues, synthesize the data by subwatershed, facilitate a stakeholder process, and identify the priority subwatersheds and strategies for remediation for the lower New River watershed.

The New River TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) report divided the New River into 33 distinct watersheds and 720 subwatersheds (or reachsheds), and lists over 80 streams (totaling over 700 miles) with one or more of the following impairments: metals, acidity, fecal coliform, and biological. This analysis and stakeholder process will focus on the area below Bluestone Lake; approximately 15 separate subwatersheds will be examined, prioritized, and summarized.

The final state of the watershed report published by the New River Clean Water Alliance would turn these TMDL data (and other available data) on the New River and its tributaries into a document that gives the reader an understanding of current water quality conditions. The report would be a compelling document that would be distributed to communities and provide information to local, state, and national decision makers. Conceptually, the report would be 10‐20 pages and would include pictures and stories on the importance of the unique natural resource.

This process will enable the project team and stakeholders to identify criteria for prioritizing subwatersheds, identify the highest priorities,and focus efforts to secure the resources necessary to address the water quality issues.

Several watershed groups and government agencies are also involved, just to give you an idea of the size of the alliance, including: the Plateau Action Network, Piney Creek Watershed Association, Morris Creek Watershed Association, the Dunloup Creek Watershed Association, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, USDA NRCS, Mountain Resource Conservation and Development, New River Gorge National Park Service, Heather Lukacs (PhD Student, Stanford University), and the National Parks Conservation Association.    

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mountain Athlete

It has been a pretty tough winter in Fayetteville so far. The weather has been miserable, snowy, then rainy, then cloudy. I have definitely been experiencing a lack of sun and Seasonal Affective Disorder can change your behavior. To break this cycle, I'm ready to start a spring training program and I'm pretty excited about cross fit/climb fit style workouts. I'm pretty fortunate that my girlfriend works at the closest gym in the region and they just built a brand new cross fit facility. After doing a little bit of research, I've gotten turned on to "Mountain Athlete." Rob Shaul, owner and innovator, started this program in the late spring of 2007 in Jackson, Wyoming. He opened the program up to all of the climbing athletes he knew but got little response. They were a few exceptions, like Rob Hess, owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, and a handful of guides from Exum showed up.

Fast Forward. Mountain Athlete is now leading the charge on building strength and conditioning programs that are the cutting edge of their sports. Their training is designed to increase the mountain athlete's horsepower, stamina, durability and mental toughness.

Superior strength and conditioning achieved in the gym allows athletes to be more efficient with their technical training on the mountain. Time formerly spent on conditioning can now be used to further develop and improve technical proficiency. Not only are athletes stronger and more powerful, they are smarter too. To learn more visit the Mountain Athlete website, or you can read an article about the history of Mountain Athlete in Alpinist Magazine.