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Stephen S. McDaniel, Director

News Release: June 19, 2017

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Media Contact: Samantha Smith 304-957-9364 Samantha.Smith@wv.gov


David Thorne, DNR Wildlife Resources, 304-637-0245, david.w.thorne@wv.gov

YouthBuild assists WVDNR with Shavers Fork River trout habitat project

ELKINS, W.Va. — Students with Elkins-based YouthBuild North Central recently worked with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program to restore fish and wildlife habitats at the site of the historic logging town of Spruce, near the head of the Shavers Fork River. Since the old town was abandoned and demolished in the 1940s, the site had remained largely unforested.

With the cooperation of the State Rail Authority, the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, Cass Scenic Railroad, Snowshoe and landowner Steve Callen, DNR and West Virginia University led an ambitious reforestation project at the remote site, with a primary goal of improving trout habitat in Upper Shavers Fork.

Two dozen students and staff from YouthBuild North Central worked with DNR and WVU staff on the project. They planted, limed and fertilized more than 2,600 trees and shrubs over the course of a week in May.

The goal of YouthBuild is to give young adults the tools to find and keep a good job. YouthBuild helps young adults become responsible members of their families and communities by strengthening their educational backgrounds, teaching them marketable skills and entrepreneurship, and instilling leadership values that relate to home, work and community. YouthBuild participants earn money while they get valuable hands-on work experience.

David Thorne, a DNR Fisheries biologist who oversaw the project, explained that the reforestation effort was focused on establishing fast-growing trees on riverbanks to shade the water and reduce water temperatures to levels preferred by trout. Riverbanks on both sides of more than a mile of Shavers Fork and a tributary received plantings during the project. Thorne praised the work of the YouthBuild participants as essential to the effort.

“Our planting window was very tight and we simply could not have completed this ambitious project without the great work of YouthBuild,” Thorne said.

This work is reinforced with classroom instruction, job shadowing and personal guidance. GED preparation and testing is another key component of the program. Out-of-school youth ages 16 to 24 are eligible to apply.

The program, which lasts between six and 10 months, is funded from a variety of state, federal and nonprofit grants. More information can be found online at the YouthBuild website: http://rchawv.org/youthbuild/youthbuild-3.html.

The goal of the DNR Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program is to enhance aquatic habitats for fish and anglers. The program is funded with fishing license revenue, federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and frequent grant funding from the National Fish Habitat Partnership. The WVU Natural Resource Analysis Program is an integral partner with DNR in the statewide habitat effort.