The Potomac Highlands Watershed School - SCE Forum 2009 Projects

PHLOW - Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds 

Green Roof - Musselman High

Students at Musselmen High School (Inwood, WV) studied stormwater runoff and non-point source pollution throughout the 2008-2009 school year.  One of the issues they looked at was impervious surfaces, the surfaces where rain water can not pass through into the ground.  Roads, parking lots, and buildings are examples of structures that are impervious.  Impervious surfaces, because they do not allow rain water to infiltrate into the ground, cause water to run off.    This can cause excessive stormwater runoff and that can cause erosion.  Erosion, small particles of soil coming loose from the ground and entering streams is a problem for aquatic habitat.  Excessive erosion, that can lead to sediment, or muddy bottoms, destroys aquatic habitat because it fills in the area on the stream bottom between rocks where many animals live.   See Benthic macroinvertebrates for more.

Planting a green roof reduces stormwater run off because much of the rain water is collected in the plants and soil and never leaves the roof.

Before During After!
The students also inventoried their school for other stormwater runoff issues.  See an aerial image of their school with hot spots mapped out here .  They also designated a low-mow area by planting trees.   Cindy Raines' science class lead the project.

Three types of material were

installed on the roof: a root

barrier; an under-drain, and

 a lining to close any seams.

Then the edge material

was installed to hold

the soil in place.

On the second day students and volunteers move 12,000 pounds of a soil mix onto the roof.

On the final day students added plants and watered.  The plants will grow over time to fill all the space.


Cacapon Institute, as part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Education Work Group, will help schools connect with local watershed and conservation groups.  We encourage schools and watershed groups alike to use our Potomac Highland Watershed School to connect students to local issues in the context of regional watershed protection.  Connecting students to real world activities within an academic framework is the foundation for a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience, a Project Based Learning requirement for D.C., MD, PA, and VA students.  Funding for this project came from the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and NOAA-BWET.
Funding for West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service and Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds Service-Learning Project is provided by a Learn and Serve America: Community-Based Grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service.


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)
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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.