Why We Oppose the Resevoir
The water is not needed.
- The water is not needed. The worst that will happen is that Newport News would need to limit lawn watering and car washing in the event of a severe drought.
- Future water requirements of Newport News and the Peninsula can be met through existing sources, conservation and less expensive and less destructive alternatives.
The damage to the environment cannot be mitigated.
- The King William Reservoir would destroy 1,526 acres of a highly diverse upland/wetland system including more than 400 acres of forested wetlands.
- The reservoir would destroy animal habitat including a 17-nest great blue heron rookery and disturb two federally listed threatened plant species, the sensitive joint vetch and the small whorled pogonia.
- The massive water withdrawals from the Mattaponi River would change the river’s salinity, threatening spawning of fish like shad and the river’s basic ecology.
- The plan submitted by Newport News would not fully mitigate these losses and falls far short of the 2 to 1functional replacement acreage goal for wetlands mitigation.
Native American Rights would be harmed.
- Fishing for shad is not only necessary for subsistence, but also an integral part of the local Native American culture, practiced continuously for over 15,000 years along the banks of the river. By diverting large quantities of fresh water from the tidal river, salt water from the Chesapeake Bay will move upstream, endangering the shad spawning grounds.
- The reservoir would fall within a three mile buffer zone, violating a 1677 treaty with Virginia Native American tribes and would disturb over 100 documented archeological sites which Native Americans would rather leave undisturbed.