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Elkwater Fork

Elkwater Fork

Map of WV and project location The Upper Tygart Valley Watershed Project provides a community water supply and recreation opportunities.

In 1993, several towns in Upper Tygart Valley Watershed experienced a dangerous shortage of water. At a critical point, the one water plant was within 72 hours of complete depletion of water. As a result of this event, several stakeholders began working towards a solution to avoid future water shortages. An agreement was signed between three primary partners: the NRCS, the Tygart Valley Conservation District, and the West Virginia Conservation Agency. The Upper Tygart Valley Watershed Project improves health and human safety by providing needed water supply for communities in the Upper Tygart Valley River Watershed. It is estimated 27,803 residents will benefit from the improvement made to the Upper Tygart Valley municipal water system.

Dam construction began in May 2006 and was completed in June 2009.  It took from June 16, 2011 to November 23, 2011 to fill the reservoir. Roller-compacted concrete (RCC) was used to construct the dam. RCC has three key properties that make it uniquely suited for dams: economy, performance, and high-speed construction. It has the strength and durability of conventional concrete, but at a half the cost.

The 54-acre water supply impoundment also provides recreational opportunities. A safety boom improves boater safety since the water flows over the dam, not through a pipe spillway. A paved accessible fishing area below the dam, provides an area for those with physical impairments to fish in the stilling basin. There is a gravel-surface parking area at the upstream end of the reservoira four wheel drive vehicle is needed to access it.


reservoir at elk water fork dam

The primary purpose of the 54 acre reservoir is water supply. This photo is an August 2012 view.

Full Pool

Full Pool (Photo Credit: Dick Judy)

view of reservoir and safety boom

A safety boom improves boater safety since the water flows over the dam, not through a pipe spillway.

downstream face - waterfall

This photo shows the downstream dam face,  a winter waterfall flowing over the dam, and the spillway.

upstream face of dam

view of upstream face of dam

Views of the upstream face of dam.

boat ramp-angler trail-wetland

On-site mitigation work included creation of 0.75 acres of wetlands, reservoir fish habitat structure, and angler access improvements (boat launch area, accessible fishing area, parking, and an angler walking trail).

Photo of dam with fall foliage

Elkwater Fork Dam with fall foliage in October, 2011 (prior to reservoir filling).

Elkwater spillway and downstream side in in October, 2011 (prior to filling).

Elkwater spillway and downstream side in in October, 2011 (prior to reservoir filling).

2007 Construction Photos

Fact Sheet

November 15, 2011 News Release: Upper Tygart Valley Watershed Project Update

Shavers Fork Fish Habitat Improvement
As a condition of permitting under the Clean Water Act, on-site activities to mitigate for impacts had to be completed before the Elkwater Fork Dam could begin. Environmental mitigation work was required to compensate for the resources impacted by the Elkwater Fork water supply dam construction. The off-site component includes the use of natural-stream restoration methods to improve aquatic habitat on about four and a-half miles of trout stream including: enhancement or creation of pools, adding riparian vegetation, narrowing over-widened sections, and creating woody fish habitat. Fish habitat improvements will improve the conditions in the Shavers Fork River to support a naturally sustainable brook trout population. The mitigation work also includes a 5-year monitoring plan that will provide data regarding the performance of the habitat improvements. Randolph County is a recreation destination. The mitigation projects supplement recreational opportunities.