[Granville, WV] Locks Resolution OK’d

Urges Corps to keep river traffic flowing

Morgantown Dominion Post - 15 August 2012
By Chelsea Fuller

A resolution to keep the Monongahela River’s upper locks open was passed during Granville’s city council meeting Tuesday.

Granville Mayor Patricia Lewis presented council with the resolution that was offered to her by the Upper Mon River Association (UMRA), a regional organization that promotes development of the area encompassed by the drainage basin for the upper Monongahela River.

“UMRA proposed that we pass this resolution as a means of supporting local efforts to keep the Mon River’s upper locks open,” Lewis said. “It is to our advantage to keep the upper locks open.”

Council agreed with Lewis and the resolution was passed unanimously.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is discussing the idea of limiting access to boats and closing certain locks along the river, including Morgantown’s and the Hildebrand and Opekiska lock systems, officials said.

On July 17, USACE held a meeting at the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE) in Morgantown to present the USACE Proposed Upper Monongahela River Service Reduction Plan, according to a media release.

If the USACE’s proposal is enacted, England said it will restrict recreational boat lockages, and commerce in the area will be affected as well.

“The Mon River has been featured in national fishing and wildlife magazines recently, and a lot of people are coming to this area just to use and enjoy the river,” England said.

Lewis and England also informed council that closing the upper locks could be problematic because if closed and not properly maintained, they could become unusable.

“That is something that needs to be considered heavily before the USACE goes forward with closing them,” England said.

At its Aug. 7 meeting, Morgantown City Council approved a resolution supporting the continued use of the Upper Monongahela River locks, and the Marion County Commission passed a similar resolution Aug. 1, Lewis said.

“It is so critical that our local communities get behind keeping the locks open,” Councilman Wilbur England said.