The Hardy County Commission (HCC) of West Virginia and the Potomac Valley Conservation District
(PVCD) of West Virginia are planning to build
another dam in the beautiful, peaceful Lost River Valley. This latest dam would
be the fourth one. The latest proposed site is on the Lower Cove Run. Three dams have
already been built, one on Kimsey Run, one on the Upper Cove Run, and one
in Parker Hollow. At one time, a fifth dam was
being planned in the Cullers Run area. All of these dams, if constructed, would
be within approximately 15 miles of one another. The latest proposed dam, dam
site #16 on the Lower Cover Run, would only be about FIVE miles from the Upper
Cove dam and TWO miles from the Kimsey Run dam.
When this project was first initiated in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a list
of possible dam sites was made. Why were Kimsey Run, the Upper Cove, the Lower
Cove, Cullers Run, and Parker Hollow selected? Did you know that the
Hardy County Commissioner at that time, J. Winston Teets (now deceased), and
family owned land near the
proposed Kimsey Run dam? Did you know that the
former Hardy County Commissioner,
J. Michael Teets, now owns the campground just below the dam?
Did you know that PVCD member, Donald
Biller owns land surrounding the proposed Lower Cove dam? Did you know that
the PVCD lawyer Howard Krauskopf is the son-in-law of PVCD member, Donald Biller?
Do you know how the PVCD supervisors used to be elected? It was NOT on the
county ballot during election time. Instead, you had to watch for an ad in the classifieds of the local newspaper stating the time
and place. If you were fortunate enough to find the ad, you had two polling places in Hardy County to
choose from: Southern States and A Corner Mart. In 2003, Donald Biller won the election with 14 votes. Out of
approximately 12,000 residents, only 29 voted. Does that seem odd? Maybe that's because you did not see the
advertisement for the election or because you COULD NOT vote until you were 21
years old and owned 3 or more acres of land. In summary, these supervisors have the power to take away everything you own
because they were elected with 14 votes. And, if you were not 21 years old or you did not own 3 or more acres of land,
you COULD NOT vote against them. Thanks to the group of people fighting this dam project, the law finally got changed.
In 2008, for the first time, conservation supervisor elections were held during the general election.
This project was rejected
by the public in the late 1960s and through the 1970s. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, it
again received strong opposition by the majority of the public. It was deemed
unnecessary and rejected in the Hardy County Circuit Court in the early 1990s.
When the Potomac Valley Conservation District made its initial appeal to the WV
State Supreme Court of Appeals, the Court refused to hear the case. Then
upon a second appeal, the WV State Supreme Court of Appeals decided to hear the case. The Court
ruled PVCD could build ONE dam. Now, after sneaking in TWO MORE DAMS during the 90's, HCC and PVCD
insist there has to be a fourth dam in Lost River.
Citizens still oppose the project, but elected officials still ignore the public they represent.
This dam project in the Lost River Valley will take more homes
and land than any flood has ever taken this century. The cost of this project
greatly exceeds the cost of repairs from the past several decades of floods. If all dams are built it will
take over $50 million of federal, state, and local dollars.
After spending millions of dollars, these dams will only help control 35% of the 117,200 acre Lost River drainage area. Did you
know that the
Lost River headwaters is only 26% of the total Cacapon drainage
area. The Cacapon River has a drainage area of 680 square miles,
about 7% of the Potomac River drainage area. That means the Lost River
is only 2% of the Potomac River drainage area.
Isn't it strange that these small percentages can justify millions and millions of your dollars,
when the state and local government can barely fund the local park facilities?
If the Lower Cove dam is constructed, it will displace several families and take
approximately 230-260 acres.
The dam pool will be 50 acres. So what is the extra 200 acres going to be used for?
The majority of landowners oppose the project, sighting emotional, economic, and
environmental factors as well as lack of public awareness, planning, and
What is the price tag? The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Lost River Watershed,
released in late August 2006, estimates the cost
of the Lower Cove dam at just over $24 MILLION. This estimate does NOT include the cost to build the water
supply/treatment facility. How much more will it take?
Does Lost River need more flood control? The Lost River Valley of West Virginia survived the flood of 1985.
Minimal damage occurred compared to surrounding areas. No homes in the Lost River Valley of Hardy County were
swept away nor were any lives lost. There was no horrific damage like the Moorefield/Petersburg area of WV.
But, our public officials told the West Virginia State Supreme Court of Appeals (in 1992)
that Hardy County had such horrible damage. True: Moorefield did, the WESTERN
part of the county that lays along the South Fork River NOT the Lost River.
The Lost River dams will NOT help control floodwaters in the Moorefield area.
Does Lost River need another water source? In the March 10, 2004 issue of the Moorefield Examiner,
Ed Kesecker and Donald Biller reported the following to the Hardy County
Commission: “The Commission was told that the study includes extensive data on
water supplies for dam sites #10 [Parker Hollow] and #4 [Kimsey Run] which shows
more than adequate supplies for projected growth.” The updated draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), explains
that Kimsey Run could be used as a water source if modifications are made. These modifications
to Kimsey Run would cost approximately $9.5 million (according to page 15 of the EIS). Isn't $9.5 million CHEAPER
than $24 million?
Does Lost River need more recreation? This is the same 15 mile or so area that already
hosts recreational sites like the Lost River State Park, Trout Pond Recreation
Area/Rock Cliff Fishing Lake, Kimsey Run Lake (dam #4), Upper Cove Lake (dam
#27), and Parker Hollow Lake (dam #10). Some
facilities that are no longer staffed (like the Lost River State Park Restaurant).
Now, the local government wants to add another site for tax payers and
governmental agencies to try to figure out how to maintain and run efficiently.
Could this money be better spent fixing the current problems and facilities the
Lost River Valley has?
Outsiders/visitors have been attracted to the Lost River Valley because of
the peace and tranquility they find here. They are attracted to the natural
things the Lost River Valley has to offer. So, shouldn't homes be saved
from being demolished, land from being taken, and natural wetlands and
floodplains from being changed? What about the displacement of natural
habitats in the area? Construction would affect one of the Lost River
Valley's natural trout & other fish reproducing streams. Is
this something you want your tax dollars to go towards?
Please help save homes, land, the community, and your tax money. So
many other citizens could use these millions of
dollars. If you are interested in saving
homes and the community, contact us and write your local, state, and
federal representatives. Let your representatives know that you do NOT
wish to waste more money. Help save what citizens have worked so hard for. Help stop the
abuse of eminent domain by county commissioners, conservation supervisors, and other government officials.