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West River Summary

The length of the mainstem is 46 miles and the river drains a watershed that is 423 square miles. The dominant land cover type in the West River watershed, covering 86% of the area is forest. The remaining land cover is comprised of: agricultural use (3%), surface water (5%), transportation uses (4%), and wetlands (1%).

The assessment lists and maps 25 river or stream swimming sites on the reservoirs and 17 pond sites in the upper West River watershed. Water quality monitoring is conducted at many of the swimming areas that are considered high use.

The West River is well-known for canoeing and kayaking and especially for the spring and fall Ball Mountain Dam whitewater releases. There are currently three Class A designations and one Outstanding Resource Water designation in the West River watershed. Three rare invertebrate species (cobblestone tiger beetle, brook floater mussel, and the eastern pearlshell mussel) were found either in the West River or on its shores. Nineteen species of reptile and amphibian were located along the West River watershed (study area): six salamander species, seven frog or toad species, three turtle species, and three snake species. Thirty-three locations of vernal pools or areas that serve as amphibian breeding sites have been identified and mapped; seven of those sites are considered “classic” vernal pools being natural, temporary pools in forested areas with no inlet or outlet.

The uppermost portion of and smaller tributaries of the West River watershed support healthy populations of wild native brook trout, and in some cases naturalized brown trout. Atlantic salmon populations are healthy throughout the entire watershed with the exception of Townshend Dam where high summer water temperatures impact trout and salmon.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 06 October 2007 )
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