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Ilesboro Road Reclamation Project
Expected start date: February 5, 2018
Expected completion date: December 21, 2018
The Ilesboro Road Reclamation Project is within the West Branch of Raccoon Creek. The West Branch contains many reclaimed ridge top surface mines, though a group of abandoned surface mine sites on the western watershed boundary with Brushy Creek still impair the watershed. Historic surface mining (Middle Kittanning Coal, No. 6) was conducted during the 1950’s. The strip-mined area is identified on the New Plymouth Ohio USGS 7.5’ quadrangle map published in 1961 and revised in 1975, 1985 and 1992. Ilesboro Road Reclamation Project is located within West Branch of Raccoon Creek subwatershed. The proposed project consists of approximately 34 acres of abandoned coal mine spoil. Two large pits that contain approximately 2 million gallons of AMD seep through the spoil and then as seepage from the hillside along the coal pit floor. Typical water quality in the pits and subsequent tributary drainage is: pH between 3.17-4.36, acidity from 71-337 mg/l, iron from 0.05-1.12 mg/l, and aluminum from 8.69-49.4 mg/l. Aluminum is the dominant AMD metal present, likely due to the large presence of shales and clays in the spoil. Streams in the project area are clogged with sediment and spoil that have been deposited from the unreclaimed surface mine. Remediation of this site (composed of coal mine spoil and strip pits) will eliminate these direct inputs of AMD and sediment into West Branch of Raccoon Creek. In addition to the environmental benefits, this project encompasses Priority 2 Dangerous Spoil Piles which will be removed from the site as a result of the project.
The Ilesboro Road Reclamation Project was awarded to Ohio Erie Excavating, LLC, and is expected to begin February 5, 2018. The two strip pits will be drained and filled with onsite material. Next, the spoil will be graded to obtain positive drainage, pre-limed at 20 tons/acre, capped with 1-2 feet of suitable resoil material (from an adjacent borrow area) and revegetated, thus preventing the formation of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). Open limestone channels will convey water off of the site and into the receiving tributaries. Long term operation and treatment costs are not anticipated with this project.
Daniels Reclamation Project
The Daniels AMD Reclamation Project is located in Milton Township, Jackson County, within the Little Raccoon Creek Watershed which has been adversely affected by historic abandoned coal mines. This historic mining has resulted in the formation of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and sediment deposition to four tributaries draining into Little Raccoon Creek. Typical water quality in the pits and subsequent tributary drainage is pH between 3.1-3.5, acidity from 136-287 mg/l, iron from 2.0-18.4 mg/l, and aluminum from 16.0-31.3 mg/l. Remediation of this 10 acre site composed of coal mine spoil and strip pits will eliminate these direct inputs of AMD and sediment into Little Raccoon Creek. In addition to the environmental benefits this project encompasses a Priority 2 Dangerous Spoil Pile which will be removed from the site as a result of the project.
The project will drain and fill two strip pits and regrade 10 acres of land to allow positive drainage. Lime will be mixed into the spoil, and then the spoil will be covered with about two inches of resoil material. The entire project area will be revegetated, and the adjacent borrow area will be planted with tree seedlings to match its preconstruction land use. Three rock channels will be installed to connect side drainages to their main channels.
This project is currently about 30-40% complete. The two pits have been drained and the spoil is nearly at final grade in order to obtain positive drainage. The borrow area has also been cleared of all vegetation. The next step is to apply the prelime to the spoil at 20 tons/acre and cap with the resoil material. The project is currently winterized and will be reopened in the spring.
Low-Head Dam Removal Feasibility in the Raccoon Creek Watershed: Big Sandy Run
The Raccoon Creek Watershed has seen incredible water quality improvements over the last few decades thanks to dedicated individuals and volunteers. In that time, watershed restoration projects have been focused on treating acid mine drainage (AMD) from abandoned mine lands. The Raccoon Creek Partnership (RCP) is working with Brooke Stokes, a Masters Candidate with the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University, to remove a low-head dam within the watershed. Low-head dams are small, man-made structures built for irrigation, human and livestock water supplies, mills, hydropower, etc. Many low-head dams are over half a century old and are abandoned in disrepair. Low-head dam removal has proven a successful restoration strategy in watersheds across Ohio and the United States. Removing these structures restores natural stream habitat structures, allows fish to access upstream habitats, and eliminates a potential drowning hazard.
A low-head dam has been identified for a potential removal project. Located in the Zaleski State Forest on Big Sandy Run, this low-head dam is approximately 4 feet tall. Although small, this dam impounds water for almost 0.15 miles upstream and is impacting the fish species abundance of Big Sandy Run. Baseline monitoring of the fish, macroinvertebrates, and sediments surrounding the low-head dam were taken in Fall 2017. Currently, these samples are being analyzed and the results will be used to write grants to obtain funding for the removal project and further monitoring. If this project is successful, this strategy could be used to restore connectivity of other streams in the Raccoon Creek Watershed and other areas of southeast Ohio.
If you would like more information, or an update on this project, please contact Brooke Stokes at email@example.com.