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
Don Strimbeck, our Secretary, was interviewed
as part of a US Department of Energy project to trace
the history of
UPPER MONONGAHELA RIVER SERVICE REDUCTION
By the Pittsburgh District, US Army Corps of
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.
If enacted, the Plan will include severe
restrictions/reductions to recreational boat
lockages at the Hildebrand and Opekiska locks, and
reductions in Morgantown lock operations. Impacts on
commercial passages will also be affected.
Some "New" Local History
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
Annual Monongahela River Summit
Wednesday May 18, 2011
Waterfront Place Hotel, Morgantown, WV
Rest assurred we plan on holding a Seventh Summit in
Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling and its Impact on the
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
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.
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
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 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
Click here for a copy of Nav08-05, the Summer
We would like to call your
attention to a statement in the Corps announcement:
circumstances, appointment lockages will be
authorized for groups of recreational boaters or
individual boaters, if an emergency situation
The latest official
notices regarding navigation in the Pittsburgh
District can be found at
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.
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
Canoes, kayaks, and other small craft can portage
around locks, but safety and security issues need to be
is our letter to Col. Hill proposing improved
(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
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.