Whitethorn Creek Restoration, West Virginia
Whitethorn Creek, which is the most significant tributary in the Thorn Creek drainage of the South Branch of the Potomac, is historically recognized as supporting one of the best brook trout populations in West Virginia. This population has been significantly reduced in recent years as a result of land use impacts and two devastating flood events. The flood events altered instream habitat quality and washed away a large portion of riparian cover in the watershed. Following the loss of the relatively stable vegetated riparian corridor, livestock grazing has prevented re-growth and has caused widespread bank instability as a result of unregulated stream access. will result in the restoration and protection of approximately one mile of degraded brook trout habitat. This project will result in the reconnection of upstream spawning and rearing habitat to the mainstem of Thorn Creek. Reestablishment of the riparian corridor will provide lower overall water temperatures in addition to refuge areas during lower flows. The instream restoration will create habitat zones and a more stable hydrology through this reach and downstream.