The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) personnel and volunteers at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge have completed the installation of an arch culvert over Sand Run on Middle Valley Trail.
The project conception began on March 10, 2017. In a conversation, at that time, with the project administrator of the Heart of the Highlands Trail System, and consultation with refuge staff it was decided. This bridge or culvert, not decided at the time, would be a great addition for public use, connectivity, and refuge management.
The location of the bridge or culvert is on Middle Valley Trail as it crosses Sand Run. Access to this trail was inhibited for refuge staff and also for the public. For many years, access on this trail was inhibited for refuge staff and the public due to a small foot bridge and a low water crossing.
A bridge was considered as an option and quotes were gathered, but were too expensive. Considering the funding available, our option was a Maintenance Action Team. A Maintenance Action Team project is completed by FWS staff including materials, equipment, and labor. Matthew Boarman, Refuge Operation Specialist at Canaan Valley NWR, took leadership of the project in February 2018. He displayed great leadership in communicating with the MAT team, ordering materials, calculating logistics, labor and time needed to complete the project.
Construction started on August 23rd, 2018 and was completed on September 1st, 2018. This project involved Fisheries Biologists and Engineers from FWS, consultation with West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, and local officials. The arch culvert will allow for greater connectivity for public use (hikers, bicycles, and horses), better fish passage, reduced erosion and sedimentation, better access for refuge management activities.
FWS continues to improve connectivity as funding and time allows. Enjoy your visit on this trail and time to enjoy your National Wildlife Refuge.