Friends of the Cheat organized a fundraising appreciation picnic to celebrate the first year of data collecting under the Cheat Aquatic Pollution and Base-line Ecological (CAPABLE) monitoring program. Volunteers have been diligently collecting descriptive information pertaining to the water quality in the streams near their homes. The program has doubled in size this past year, from eleven monitoring sites to twenty-eight.

The bounty of local producers was exemplified with donations of food by restaurants using local produce. Monroe’s donated a fresh garden salad, Richwood Grill with a chunky chicken entrée complemented with seasonal vegetables. Roasted corn was donated by Susan Sauter. Dessert was provided by Madeline’s, and featured rolls stuffed with sweet West Virginian apples.

Volunteers gathered for discussion of the developing CAPABLE monitoring program and they look forward to the locally produced food donated for the event.

The OSM/VISTA Aubrey Harris spoke about the future goals of the CAPABLE program, including the creation of an online map and streamlining the data that has been collected into easy to interpret charts. As more volunteers desire to join the ranks of stream monitors, a monitor mentoring program has been considered in order to encourage new monitors autonomy in collecting data. Now that some senior monitors have had a year of service under their belts, the hope is that their wisdom can be transferred to the new volunteers to make the hours dedicated to stream monitoring more effective.

Door prizes were awarded to outstanding examples in the CAPABLE program. Duane Lazzell received the “Plugged In” award, sponsored by DeBerry Farms. His active reporting and creative means to answering the needs to the program (including developing a method to quantify flow in streams) were mentioned among his achievements. The Caldwell’s of Sunset Beach received a basket, donated by Mountain People’s Cooperative, for their especially descriptive reporting style that illustrated water quality impacts of development near their tributary. Susan Sauter received the FOC basket featuring a baseball cap and a hillbilly wineglass for correctly answering the following trivia question: what event precipitated to cause the Friends of the Cheat to come in formation in 1994? If you don’t know the answer to this question, you can explore our website www.cheat.org for some knowledge.

If you would like to contribute or get involved with the CAPABLE monitoring program, we would like to hear from you! E-mail the new VISTA Aubrey Harris and introduce yourself at osm.vista@cheat.org.