"They thought it was a good idea," Brown said.
According to project manager Brandon Kline, construction on the Davis-to-Scherr segment should wrap up in June 2015. Brown said there's a good chance the DNR would begin treating the stream well before then.
"We have to get the water quality good and stable before we can even think about putting trout in there," he said. "We can't afford big fluctuations in the amount of acidity. If the pH drops much below 5.0, trout go belly-up."
As part of the environmental mitigation for the entire Corridor H project, highways officials contributed $1 million to a DNR endowment fund that pays for acid-treatment projects. Brown said interest from the fund's principal would pay for Beaver Creek's treatments for as long as they are needed.
Restoring stream quality is only one part of the Division of Highways' multi-layered approach toward environmental enhancement in the watershed. Other plans include a recreational trail to be constructed on an old railroad bed that parallels the highway and a rock-climbing park slated for a construction-fill area near Davis.
Charlie Riling, special projects manager for the Division of Highways, said the rail-trail has long been part of the Corridor H plan, but won't be completed until Congress approves its funding.
"It's on the back burner right now," Riling added. "Getting the funding might take a few years, but the trail will eventually get done."
The DNR's Brown said the trail, when built, would give elderly anglers easy access to Beaver Creek, which, because of its gentle gradient, would be relatively easy to walk or wade.
"We also plan to use logs and root balls -- taken out and stored when the highway's right-of-way was cleared -- to build trout habitat in parts of the stream where habitat is poor," he said.
Since crews began construction on Corridor H in the 1970s, environmentalists have criticized highways officials for routing the road through some of the state's most scenic and environmentally sensitive areas. Brown said the work along Beaver Creek shows a different side of the project.
"This is a case of recreational development made possible by the construction of a four-lane highway. People need to know the story of how this happened."
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.