Rivers and Streams
How’s the Water?
The New, Gauley, and Bluestone Rivers are all part of the greater New River watershed that extends from the North Carolina mountains, through the mountains and pastoral farm lands of southern Virginia, to southern West Virginia. The rivers and streams of the watershed are affected by mining, logging, manufacturing, agriculture, and disposal of human waste.
To fulfill its mission to protect the natural resources of these parks, the National Park Service monitors water quality at about forty sites. Regular monitoring indicates that water quality is often impaired by fecal coliform bacteria contamination during periods of high turbidity, recent precipitation, and high discharge. The rivers may also be negatively affected by trace metals and other compounds, sediment, and acidic runoff.
The National Park Service takes a proactive stance to maintain and improve water quality in the three parks. We share information and work with watershed associations, local communities, counties, and state and other federal agencies, environmental groups, industries, schools, and individuals to foster a sense of responsibility for these nationally important waters so that water quality is improved and maintained to inspire future generations.
For more information about water quality in the three parks, please contact the Aquatic Resources Team program leader, Dr. Jesse M. Purvis, at (304) 465-6513.
Last updated: December 1, 2017