Opequon Creek Project Team
The Opequon Creek Project Team (OCPT), a 501(c)(3) tax exempt corporation, was formed in April 2005 to plan and implement nonpoint source pollution reduction projects in the watershed. Several local, state and federal government agencies are represented at OCPT’s regular meetings, and clean-up and tree planting events have attracted many watershed residents and their families. Opequon Creek Project team quickly has become a dynamic force of progress in the community’s effort to protect and enhance its natural resources.
Our Purpose is to act as an advocate and
steward of the Opequon watershed and to
undertake projects that will lead to reduction in pollutants
(primarily nutrients, sediment, fecal coliform bacteria, and
trash) entering the Opequon Creek and its tributaries in
Berkeley and Jefferson Counties, West Virginia.
Opequon Creek begins near the town of Opequon in Frederick County, Virginia, and flows east to Clarke County where it bends and flows north into West Virginia and to the Potomac River. The Opequon Creek is part of the Upper Potomac River Watershed, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The lower portion of the Opequon watershed covers an area of about 200 square miles in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties (see watershed map). The West Virginia portion of the Opequon Creek is 34.1 miles long. An analysis of 2003 land use/land cover data for the West Virginia watershed revealed: 51.4% forest, 35.3% agriculture, and 9.5% urban/residential.
The Opequon watershed is of special concern in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort due to its high nutrient levels. Nitrogen and phosphorus impairment indices developed in 2004 by the Potomac Tributary Stakeholder Team showed that the Opequon Creek had the highest value for both nitrogen and phosphorus, more than any other West Virginia Potomac sub-watershed. These pollutants likely originate from both point sources (the creek and its tributaries receive effluent from several wastewater treatment plants) and nonpoint sources (agricultural and suburban land uses). Residential development in West Virginia is intense in the eastern panhandle. In 2004, Berkeley and Jefferson Counties had the largest percentages, 34% and 10% respectively, of building permits issued in West Virginia.
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