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Welcome to Cacapon Institute's Interactive Maps!  These Map web pages are currently under construction, but in the next few months we will bring you interactive land use maps of all of our study areas, as well as photographs, summary and comparative statistics, graphs and tables to help you learn more about your watersheds, and about how certain land uses affect our water quality. 

Try surfing around a bit and let us know what you think!  We need your feedback.  

Fair warning:  Some of these maps have fairly large file sizes and may take a few moments to display.


Click on a study area in the map below to learn more, or check out the Cacapon Geology map or Cacapon Floodplain map.

The 178 km long Cacapon River, a tributary of the Potomac River, has a drainage area of 680 sq miles, about 7% of the Potomac drainage upstream of Virginia. The entire watershed contains only two incorporated communities and no heavy industry. Seventy-nine percent of the land in the Cacapon watershed is forested, while 19% is agricultural; the remaining 2% consists of residential development, barren lands and water (Constantz et. al., 1993).

Cacapon River Watershed

Lost and North Rivers Water Quality Study

The major focus of our work presently is a research project seeking to determine the effect of land use practices and non-point source pollution on rivers and watersheds. The project focuses especially, but not only, on farming practices and land development. The Lost River watershed (headwaters of the Cacapon) contains the majority of our study sites because of the heavy concentration of poultry houses, and hence the heavy application of nutrient-rich poultry litter as fertilizer, in that watershed and because there is increasing land development. The North River watershed (the major tributary of the Cacapon) has about 1/4 the number of poultry houses (and less intensive application of fertilizer) seen in the Lost and provides a valuable comparison watershed. 

These studies were designed to answer three questions: 1- are nutrients applied to the basin's agricultural soils entering the river; 2- do streams with different land use characteristics have different nutrient and bacterial concentrations; and 3- what are peak loadings contributed by each stream and by each watershed as a whole

We want to point out that it is not our intention to "pick on" agriculture.   However, there are serious concerns over the impacts of intensive agriculture of various kinds on water quality.  Our studies are designed to determine what the real impacts are to help concerned citizens and government agencies make informed decisions. 

We study mainly the effects of agriculture because it is the main land use besides forest in the Lost and North River watersheds.  Residences are scattered at low density throughout these watersheds. No municipal water and sewer facilities, large industrial point sources or large towns exist in the Lost and North river basins.  The vast majority of land that is not in agriculture is forested.  These factors make these watersheds an ideal place to study the effects of agricultural non-point source pollution without many of the complicating variables like cities and point sources that are found in other watersheds.   


Cacapon Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay, we protect rivers and watersheds using science and education.

Cacapon Institute
PO Box 68
High View, WV 26808
304-856-1385 (tele)
304-856-1386 (fax)
Click here to send us an email
Frank Rodgers,  Executive Director

Website  made possible by funding from The Norcross Wildlife Foundation,  the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, NOAA-BWET, USEPA, The MARPAT Foundation, and our generous members.