Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design



Committee Chair

Jeffrey G. Skousen.


The Deckers Creek drainage basin covers approximately 16,600 hectares (62.9 square miles) in Monongalia and Preston Counties of West Virginia. Throughout the twentieth century, this watershed has received high levels of pollution in several forms. A 1974 study examined the water chemistry in Deckers Creek over a six-month period at 29 sample points. Water samples from the same sites were collected and analyzed monthly from March 1999 through October 2000 for acidity, alkalinity, total iron, aluminum, manganese, and other metals, as well as for fecal coliform and fecal streptococcus concentrations. Most of the tributaries sampled in 1999--2000 showed reduced metal loads and acidity as compared to 1974, as did the main stem of Deckers Creek above the town of Richard. Little improvement, however, was detected in the portion of Deckers Creek below Richard due to the input of untreated acid mine drainage from an underground mining complex. Decreased mining activity, increased reclamation, and improved water quality of drainage from mined areas have led to improved water conditions in the upper portion of Deckers Creek. Improved chemical properties in the majority of the creek may, however, allow for increased survival of fecal coliforms and could present a new water quality problem.