Tucked away in the coastal plain of Virginia is a pristine freshwater river, the Mattaponi. Doesn't look like much here where it runs under Burke's Bridge Road.
Shad run in the Mattaponi, Virginia's first people have lived in this neighborhood for eons. The river goes tidal further downstream, joins the Pamunkey River at West Point to form the York River.
The City of Newport News wants this water. Hey! Whose going to miss 75 million gallons a day? The people who live close to this river don't have much clout, they are rural people. Newport News has plenty of clout.
"the project would result in the largest authorized wetland loss in Virginia, and in the mid-Atlantic region, in the history of the Clean Water Act section 404 program."
"The reservoir would destroy at least 437 acres of wetlands, and inundate 21 miles of free-flowing streams, wiping out the unique Cohoke Creek watershed. In addition, 187 acres of wetlands located below the dam would be severely degraded due to reduced flow in Cohoke Creek. The proposed reservoir would also threaten recovery efforts for the fragile shad fishery."
(quotes above from the Southern Environmental Law Center website)