Upper Monongahela River Association

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Upper Mon Lock Closures

River Monitoring

Dunkard Creek

Marcellus Shale

Monongahela Basin Group

WVDNR Fishing Report

Lock Hours


A National Conjunction

Floating Trash

The Art Barge

Watershed Issues

Boating Infrastructure Grants


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The Loonies Behind UMRA

The purpose of the Upper Monongahela River Association (UMRA) is to promote the general development of the Upper Monongahela River, primarily in West Virginia.

Click here for a more detailed statement of our purpose.

Problem With Strimbeck's "Daily Update"

UMRA's Secretary-Treasurer Don Strimbeck, "the Granville Grinch" has had a series of problems with his COMCAST email. For about two weeks he has been unable to send out his daily 600 copies of the Daily Update containing river and energy news, and COMCAST has been unable to resolve the problems. He has also been limited, or unable, to send or receive single messages at DCSOinks@comcast.net
An update will be posted here when things are resolved.


By the Pittsburgh District, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) held a meeting on July 17, 2012 at the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE) in Morgantown WV to present the USACE Proposed Upper Monongahela River Service Reduction Plan, and to hear public comments.

The Plan includes severe restrictions/reductions to recreational boat lockages at the Hildebrand and Opekiska locks, and reductions in Morgantown lock operations. Impacts on commercial passages are also be affected.

Some "New" Local History

 Don Strimbeck, our Secretary, was interviewed as part of a US Department of Energy project to trace the history of

the National Energy Technology Laboratory. The full document NETL: A Century of Innovation can be found on the webite http://www.netl.doe.gov The entire book may be downloaded as a .PDF file. With regard to Mon Valley history, the story starts with "Chapter One: Pittsburgh the Center for Coal." On the Upper Mon, there is a section "The Beginnings of Coal-Gasification Research at Morgantown" which can be found on page 153.

After he received his large paperback copy of the book Don remembered a newspaper supplement which was published when the Morgantown facility was opened. The UMRA Webmaster has scanned that to a .PDF file which may be found on this website at http://www.UpperMon.org/history/METC_Dedication-Morgantown_Post-13_May_1955.pdf  .

Sixth Annual Monongahela River Summit
Wednesday May 18, 2011
Waterfront Place Hotel, Morgantown, WV

Rest assurred we plan on holding a Seventh Summit in 2012

Click here for details

Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling and its Impact on the Monongahela

Few people would ever guess that drilling for natural gas could significantly affect the movement of river barges, but recent events suggest otherwise. We are adding information regarding this new challange on a special webpage

Impact of Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling on Monongahela River

Attention All Boaters

For 34 years the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted discharges from recreational boats from the Clean Water Act permit system. A recent ruling in a California court cancelled this permit exemption. EPA was then required by the court decision to develop and implement by September 30, 2008 a national permit system for ALL vessels in the United States for a variety of normal operational discharges. This would have included pumping bilges and engine cooling water.

On 23 July the U.S. House and Senate approved, and on 30 July 2008 on the way home from Ohio on Air Force One, the President signed S. 2766 "The Clean Boating Act of 2008" into law. The Act permanently restores the long-standing exemption that allows recreational boats to avoid a costly permit that would otherwise be required under the Clean Water Act.

Additional information is available at www.BoatUS.com

Army Corps of Engineers Sets 2009 Winter Hours for Area Dams

UMRA thanks the staff Pittsburgh District for their "customer oriented" approach to lock hours scheduling. Despite continuing shortages in funding for operations, they have again increased the usability of lock hours for recreational boaters.

Click here for a copy of Nav09-31, the Winter 2009-2010 Monongahela River lock hours.

Click here for a copy of Nav09-30, the Winter 2009-2010 2008 Allegheny River lock hours.

Summer Hours:

Summer hours for 2010 are expected to be about the same as in the past two years. For the convenience of cruising boaters, Friday and Monday windows are included, making it possible for slower boats to reach Fairmont and return during the same week.

For fishing, an early schedule is used during the spring.

Click here for a copy of Nav08-04, the Summer 2008 Monongahela River lock hours.

Click here for a copy of Nav08-05, the Summer 2008 Allegheny River lock hours.

We would like to call your attention to a statement in the Corps announcement:

"Under unusual circumstances, appointment lockages will be authorized for groups of recreational boaters or individual boaters, if an emergency situation warrants."

The latest official notices regarding navigation in the Pittsburgh District can be found at


Please Support Our Interim Solution For Upper Mon Lock Hours

We are continuing our dialog with the Corps on ways in which service might be improved, even with restricted funding. Two topics under discussion are listed below.

Because the Corps' activities are virtually all governed by Congressional actions - particularly appropriations- we regularly correspond with our representatives in the House and Senate. Most of our correspondence is open for public inspection here.

Canoes, kayaks, and other small craft can portage around locks, but safety and security issues need to be resolved.

Here is our letter to Col. Hill proposing improved portages.

Upper Monongahela River Automation Study

Pittsburgh District Corps of Engineers - March 2004

(The link above connects to a scanned copy of the report on this site.)

The 2004 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act provided $342,000 for the Corps of Engineers to examine the practicality of remote control automation devices at the Hildebrand, Morgantown, and Opekiska Locks.

This report is an interim document in response to the Appropriations Act reporting requirement.

This interim report first addresses the merits of automation of the upper Monongahela facilities, the Morgantown, Hildebrand, and Opekiska Locks and Dams, operated by the Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District. It is followed up with a more detailed analysis of the full practicality of automation. Efforts for this study have concentrated at this time on the capacity to successfully engineer conceptual plans/alternatives for the automation of the Morgantown, Hildebrand, and Opekiska Locks and Dams and the future requirements to implement those plans and alternatives.

The report concludes that a tremendous need and opportunity exists to automate the Upper Monongahela River. A need exists for increased operating time for recreational boaters. Remote operations are practical and operable. The process of automation could provide increased service during a period of decreasing operating funds.

Other countries have found user operation of locks to be part of the solution to staffing cost problems. See Boat Crew Operation of River Thames Locks, Wallace Venable, April 2006 (325K .PDF file) for an English approach.

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