Fairmont State Receives Grant Supporting Local Waterway Rehabilitation Project

Dominion Energy has awarded Fairmont State University a grant of $25,000 for the ongoing restoration and preservation of Hickman Run Stream in Marion County, WV.

This grant was provided through the Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant program offered by Dominion Energy and funds will be used to establish a monitoring station with equipment that measures water and environmental conditions at Hickman Run Stream. This station will allow Fairmont State University faculty and students to remotely collect data that helps them assess the current conditions of the stream and the overall impact of the project’s rehabilitation efforts.

“We are happy to award this $25,000 Environmental Stewardship grant to the Hickman Run project,” said Christine Mitchell, chair of the WV Community Investment Board for Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “Rehabilitating an impaired stream is a great example of working together with our communities toward a more sustainable future.”

When permanently installed, the new water monitoring equipment will provide continuous monitoring of the stream’s water quality and provide additional data on rainfall, air temperature, wind speed and other important information that improves analysis of stream health. This continuous monitoring method will help researchers to establish a baseline for stream conditions and leave them better equipped to identify deliberate pollution events.

“The advancement of this project would not be possible without Dominion Energy. This grant allows us the capabilities to expand our research from one stream to two local streams. In the past students with Dr. Mark Flood were conducting site visits to manually collect samples, but now they'll have access to many more data points so the stream can be analyzed at many different phases, including before, during and after a storm,” said Fairmont State University’s MS4 Coordinator, Stephanie DeGroot.

Hickman Run Stream, which feeds the Monongahela River, serves as a drainage basin for roughly 1,700 acres of land in Marion County. The waterway has been affected by both household and commercial activities, and as a result, has suffered from pollution and a decline in critical biological diversity.

The Hickman Run Stream Rehabilitation Project, established in 2018 in partnership with the City of Fairmont, hopes to reverse environmental damage to the stream and foster the return of natural plant and animal life that is essential for the health of this waterway. With help from the Dominion Energy grant, the stream will be used in several courses at Fairmont State University for experiential – or hands-on – learning activities in the study of biology, toxicology and ecology.

“One feature of our transformative education model is the use of impactful, hands-on learning,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “And I can’t think of any example more impactful than our involvement with the Hickman Run Stream Rehabilitation Project. Through this generous grant from Dominion Energy, we’ll continue to give our students a unique experiential learning opportunity while doing our best to keep our region ‘almost heaven.’”

In addition to improving Hickman Run Stream and providing educational enrichment for students at Fairmont State University, the project will encourage environmental stewardship through education in Marion County. Students of all ages will be able to learn the value of protecting waterways through summer programs at Hickman Run Stream. Researchers at Fairmont State University also plan to develop a model for future projects of this kind.

About Dominion Energy: More than 7 million customers in 16 states  energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in  Richmond, Va.  The company is committed to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy  and to achieving net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions from its power generation and gas infrastructure operations by 2050.  Please visit DominionEnergy.com  to learn more. 

The grant was provided through the Fairmont State Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of Fairmont State University.