Locks and Dams Budget Created
Morgantown Dominion Post
16 October 2014
By Ben Conley
The Monongalia County Commission created budget line items
Wednesday in preparation for its role as a government pass through
for funding the operation of the locks and dams on the Upper
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced in 2012, that
federal budget cuts forced the elimination of recreational use of
the Opekiska and Hildebrand locks and a dramatic reduction in
service at the Morgantown lock.
Commissioner Eldon Callen said he’s worked closely with the Upper
Monongahela River Association (UMRA) and the Marion County
Commission to ensure the river - specifically in regard to
recreation - continues to be an economic engine.
“About a year and a half ago, a new [USACE] colonel came in and
basically told us this is never going to work,” Callen said. “They
said this would never happen. Well, it’s happened.”
Once final negotiations are complete, the locks will essentially
be pay to play. Events will need to be scheduled by a
certain date and the negotiated rate paid to the commission in
order to have the USACE man the lock or locks. The commission will
then pass those funds on to the USACE.
In December, UMRA President Barry Pallay said the rate to have a
USACE employee operate a lock was $61 per hour.
Callen said the journey to this point has required approvals all
the way up to a U.S. Senate committee. It was worth the effort, he
explained, because the river is too valuable a resource to be
“The way the Army Corps of Engineers calculate things now, it’s
strictly industry - are you moving consumer products? There is no
credit given at all for recreational boating, bass tournaments,
things like that,” Callen said. “I think that needs to be changed.
It needs to be looked at as a water way that’s an economic
In other news from Wednesday’s meeting, Commissioner Tom Bloom
offered a reminder that fans can visit morgantownprobaseball.com
to vote for one of 10 finalists in the Name the Team contest for
the minor league baseball team that will suit up in the New York -
Penn League during the summer.
The finalists are; Coal Kings, Coal Sox, Black Bears, Moonshiners,
Muskets, Canaries, The Energy, The Wonder, Wild Ones and Black
Callen said he enjoyed some of the names, but felt compelled to
speak out in hopes that one of the finalists will be rejected.
“Moonshiners, that’s awful. Now, if you’re a fraternity guy or
something, you probably think it’s cute or funny, but if you’ve
traveled like I have throughout the United States and Canada and
say you’re from West Virginia, you are called that and it’s not
nice. It’s a derogatory term,” Callen said, later adding, “I know
for one thing, I would never put a T-shirt on my grandson that
said anything like Moonshiner.”
Bloom explained that no decision has been made on what the
geographic identifier in the team’s name will be.
Voting ends Friday. The three names with the most votes will go to
Rich Baseball Operations, who will make the final decision.