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Joe Manchin III, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director


News Release : May 3, 2006


Hoy Murphy , Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381

Contact: Curtis Taylor , Wildlife Resources Section Chief (304) 558-2771

New Wallback Lake in Roane and Clay Counties Dedicated May 3


WALLBACK-- A new 15-acre lake more than a decade in the making is now complete. The announcement was made May 3 at a dedication ceremony at Wallback Lake hosted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Natural Resources. The new Wallback Lake is located in Roane and Clay counties just off the Wallback exit of I-79.


  Fola Coal Company constructed the dam as a mitigation structure for mining activities. Heeter Construction of Spencer was the construction contractor. The construction of the dam required the placement of approximately 180,000 cubic yards of fill material for the dam embankment. The lake will provide water related recreation activities for area outdoor enthusiasts, including a fishing and boating, a concrete boat launching ramp, a concrete courtesy dock, access road, parking areas, and a walkway along the shore for fishing access.


  DNR Director Frank Jezioro touted the new facility's attributes and promised great fishing for those willing to travel to the site. “Beginning this weekend, Wallback Lake will provide fishing opportunities, including trout fishing, in an area of the state that has a very limited number of small impoundments,” said Jezioro. “The area is rural, yet is only a 45-minute drive from Charleston and other parts of the state, so citizens from all over can enjoy it.”


  In addition to the lake, a 100-yard shooting range was created in a side hollow at the upper end of the structure. Eight shooting stations with shooting benches were constructed, complete with a shelter to allow use during any weather conditions. Backstops were constructed at 100, 50, and 25 yards. The range will provide area hunters a safe location to shoot.


  DEP Cabinet Secretary Stephanie R. Timmermeyer said that this project provided the perfect opportunity for public and private entities to collaborate. “DEP and DNR have worked together for the past several years to see this project to fruition,” said Timmermeyer. “With the cooperation and innovation of Fola Coal and Heeter Construction, the state now has a new recreation attraction to boast where visitors can see first hand our efforts to protect and promote a healthy environment.”


  The majority of the funding for the $2.1 million came as part of Fola Coal's mitigation agreement. The DEP also provided funding. The Division of Highways provided additional monies to install the guardrails on the access road maintain the roadway. The DNR 's Wildlife Resources Section provided project supervision and the funding for the shooting range construction.



  The strategic planning program of the Wildlife Resources Section (WRS) of the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) identifies agency needs and objectives, develops strategies to implement the objectives and coordinates agency activities to bring these objectives to reality. One of the Warmwater Fisheries Unit program objectives is to develop additional small impoundment fishing opportunities in the state. Accordingly, Clay and Roane Counties were considered prime locations because they lacked significant small impoundment resources and were close to a population center. Charleston citizens had limited recreational areas of this type and would make use of these facilities if they were available. Given these circumstances, Wallback became a high priority area for impoundment development.


  In 1992, Appalachian Mining Company was required by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to mitigate for one of their operations in Kanawha County . As part of that mitigation, they agreed to engineer a preliminary design for an impoundment on Bee Run at the Wallback Wildlife Management Area (WMA). In 1993, Fola Coal Company was involved in a growing surface mining operation in Clay and Nicholas Counties and mitigation for several of these new sites was required by DEP. At the suggestion of DNR , and with support and concurrence of DEP, Fola finished evaluation and construction planning for a 15-acre impoundment for fishing recreation on the WMA.


  The Appalachian Mining Feasibility Study confirmed that Wallback was an ideal location. Because the DNR was the landowner and willing to assume management, FOLA would not be required to independently find a site and purchase land, which would increase their total project cost. In 1994, FOLA negotiated a mitigation compensation plan with DEP and DNR that addressed requirements for their surface mining operations. Soon thereafter they formalized a mitigation agreement and started pre-construction planning.


  In 1999, after several years of planning and development, appropriate permits were issued to build the dam and impound 15 acres of Bee Run. Fola's contractor started construction in 2004 with completion in 2005. In addition to the permit to construct the dam, DNR applied for and received a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit to mitigate for the impacts that occurred from dam construction and inundation. One acre of emergent wetlands was constructed in the headwaters of the dam to provide wetland habitat. The wetland would also intercept sediments that would normally fill the impoundment and shorten its life.


  DNR designed and installed eight structures in Bee Run below the dam using natural channel design techniques. These structures were designed to reduce bank erosion, limit channel degradation (common below dams) and create pool habitat for aquatic life. These structures included rock vanes, cross vanes and log vanes. Small bankfull benches were constructed to reduce bank stress during high flows. Additionally, four acres of wildlife openings along Bee Run and below the dam were converted to permanent riparian habitat and planted with trees.


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