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Development Authority Vows to Save Jug Bridge

By Staff | Mar 28, 2018

Photo by Chad Turner A picture of the Jug bridge showing leaks and degradation of the bridge.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) has committed $3,000,000 to a project aimed at restoring access and recreational opportunities at The Jug Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Improvements to the existing low water bridge and the development of improved access for kayaking, canoeing and float fishing are major components of the DNR’s plan.

“As of February 2018, DNR has committed $3,000,000 for the project from oil and gas revenues produced on the area,” DNR director, Stephen S. McDaniel stated in a letter to Tyler County Development Authority (TCDA) executive director, Eric Peters. Peters shared the encouraging news with TCDA members at their regular meeting.”

“The restoration and managed development at The Jug area has been a goal of the TCDA since the organization’s inception, more than twenty-years ago. We have made repeated efforts to gain the attention of the DNR and the WV Division of Highways (DOH) to address the issues at The Jug. I am confident in speaking on behalf of the TCDA membership that this is wonderful news,” Peters said.

“We were aware, following a meeting on site with several state agency representatives in 2014, and Director McDaniel confirmed, that the DOH “provided some preliminary design work in attempt to repair and elevate the existing low water crossing to accomplish two objectives: (1) to provide better and more frequent access to the Jug WMA; (2) force more water round the 3.5 mile stream that loops around the WMA so boats could access the area for recreational float trips.”

“DOH has agreed to manage the project keeping both objectives mentioned above as priorities,” the director stated. “The current plan is to increase the elevation of the structure (low water bridge) but is dependent on the outcome of the flow analysis and other surveys.”

Other stated options are to remove the structure and build new or build a bridge or structure in a nearby location, Peters said.

In other good news, Director McDaniel stated “In addition to activities at The Jug, DNR is utilizing revenues from gas leases on these management areas to rehabilitate the dam at Conaway Run Lake in order to bring it into compliance with WVDEP Dam Safety Regulations.

While this is being accomplished, we will also repair the aging boat launch ramp and create an angler access path along the dam. We are also currently working with Antero Resources to enhance the shooting range at Conaway Run. This project is currently in the design phase.”

Earlier this year, on February 8, The Jug Wildlife Management Area was the topic of discussions held during a meeting with Senator Mark R. Maynard, chairman of the WV Senate Natural Resources Committee, WVDNR Deputy Director, Emily J. Fleming and TCDA member, James McMullen and executive director, Eric Peters.

The meeting was arranged and attended by District 2 Senator Charles Clements, House District 6 Delegate Roger Romine also attended.

“A great deal of thanks is due to Senator Clements for arranging the February meeting,” Peters said. “Having the DNR Deputy Director meet with us in the office of the Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman assured us that we would get some attention to our concerns and suggestions regarding the Jug area, as well as Conaway Lake.”

“The TCDA has had this matter on its agenda for many years. It is gratifying that we are finally seeing an indication that officials at the state level recognize the need to restore this unique feature and enhance it for use now and to preserve it for the future.”

“Certainly, our thanks go out to Director McDaniels and Deputy Director Fleming” Peters added. “With support from the TCDA membership, we will certainly respond to Director McDaniels’ request that we work with them ‘on these and future opportunities.'”