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Amy Wolfe, Trout Unlimited, "15 Years of Assessment, Abatement, and Recovery in the Lower Kettle Creek Watershed: What's Next?"

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Since the inception of the partnership between TU and KCWA in 1998 through TU’s national Kettle Creek Home Rivers Initiative, numerous assessments (including hydrogeological studies and airborne remote sensing surveys) were conducted, and nine passive treatment systems, a land reclamation project, and a mine pool stabilization project have been completed.

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Amy Wolfe, Trout Unlimited, "15 Years of Assessment, Abatement, and Recovery in the Lower Kettle Creek Watershed: What's Next?"

  1. 1. 1 15 Years of Assessment, Abatement, and Recovery in the Lower Kettle Creek Watershed: What’s Next? Amy Wolfe Trout Unlimited Director Eastern Abandoned Mine Program & PA Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative June 2014
  2. 2. 2 Mission To conserve, protect, and restore North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. PROTECT RECONNECT RESTORE SUSTAIN
  3. 3. 3 Conservation Success Index www.tu.org/csi
  4. 4. 4 Celebrating 55 years! www.tu.org >150,000 members 400+ chapters 200+ staff 30 offices nationwide
  5. 5. 5 Kettle Creek Watershed • > 90% watershed, 224 sq mi, is designated as Exceptional Value water quality (largest in PA) • Kettle Creek mainstem is one of PA’s most heavily fished stocked trout streams, while tributaries contain some of PA’s most well known native brook trout streams • Although completely underlain by Marcellus shale, majority of watershed aside from very headwaters will not be developed due to natural gas storage deep wells in the Oriskany sandstone
  6. 6. 6 Kettle Creek Watershed - AMD • Unfortunately 12 miles AMD- pollution and 1,087 acres of abandoned mines in very lower section of watershed • Deep and surface mines in the Upper and Lower Kittanning coal seams • pH 2.5 – 3.5 • Acidity 200 - 600 mg/L • Fe 20 – 50 mg/L • Al 20 – 70 mg/L Cross Fork
  7. 7. 7 Kettle Creek Watershed Association & Trout Unlimited National TU Home Rivers Initiative (1998-2007)
  8. 8. 8 Assessment and Restoration Planning • Lower Kettle Creek Restoration Plan (2000) by Hedin Environmental • Kettle Creek Watershed Conservation Guide (2001) by Amy (Gottesfeld) Wolfe • Kettle Creek Watershed Dirt and Gravel Road Studies: Cross Fork and Little Kettle Creek (2001) by Neil Wolfe • Kettle Creek Watershed Stewardship Report (2001) by The Pennsylvania State University Watershed Stewardship Center • Upper Kettle Creek Fish Habitat Conservation Plan (2002) by Larson Design Group • Huling Branch Mine Complex: Investigation of Acid Mine Drainage and Recommendations for Remediation (2004) by Hedin Environmental • Upper Kettle Creek Fish Habitat Conservation Plan: Tributaries Addendum (2005) by Larson Design Group • Twomile Run Watershed AMD Remediation Master Plan (2007) by Hedin Environmental • West Side of Lower Kettle Creek AMD Remediation Master Plan (2007) by Hedin Environmental • Middle Branch Passive Treatment System Rehabilitation Report (2007) by Hedin Environmental • Reassessment of Acid Mine Drainage Pollution in the Twomile Run Watershed, August – December 2010 (2010) by Hedin Environmental • KC204 Mine Pool Stabilization Project Report (2011) by Hedin Environmental
  9. 9. 9 Assessment and Restoration Planning
  10. 10. 10 Fish Habitat Improvement and Riparian Reforestation Deb’s Place Project Kerlin Property Project Headgate Project Special Regs. Project (upper end) Germania Branch Adopt-A-Stream Cross Fork Projects Kissel Project Heivly Project Bunnel Bridge Project
  11. 11. 11 Landowner and Youth Education
  12. 12. 12 AMD - The $$$ • TU and KCWA fundraised $3.9 million in grants since 1998 to study, plan, and construct AMD projects • Most recently $12.2 million was awarded by DEP BAMR for land reclamation Grant Source State (59%) Federal (22%) Philanthropy (19%)
  13. 13. 13 Collection Systems – Critical Element of Success • Installed to collect and monitor flow and chemistry of mine water for several years • Important for proper design and sizing of passive treatment systems
  14. 14. 14 Twomile Run Surface Reclamation - 2004 • 57-acre land reclamation • Vegetable leather tannery byproduct (WesTan soils) amended with sawdust and wood chips • Reduced flow rate of AMD 30 – 50% • Reduced acidity and Al loading 30 – 40% • Reduced size and cost of passive treatment system 30-40% compared to pre-reclamation levels
  15. 15. 15 Middle Branch Passive Treatment System • DEP BAMR originally designed and constructed in 2000 • TU/KCWA coordinated autopsy in 2004 • System had no flow controls, too small, short-circuiting • System rehabilitation completed in 2007
  16. 16. 16 Robbins Hollow Headwaters Passive Treatment Complex
  17. 17. 17 Robbins Hollow Headwaters Passive Treatment Complex Flow pH Acid Fe Mn Al SO4 gpm mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/ L RAW Average 3.2 275 30.3 9.9 27.8 499 TREATED Effluent Average 19 6.9 -77 0.4 3.6 0.5 372 North Branch System
  18. 18. 18 Robbins Hollow Headwaters Passive Treatment Complex ALD Flow pH Acid Fe Mn Al SO4 gpm mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/ L TREATED Effluent Average 19 6.9 -80 0.3 0.1 0.3 40
  19. 19. 19 Robbins Hollow Headwaters Passive Treatment Complex EB09 Oxic Limestone Bed Flow pH Acid Fe Mn Al SO4 gpm mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/ L TREATED Effluent Average na 6.7 -13 0.1 0.1 0.4 25
  20. 20. 20 Robbins Hollow Headwaters Passive Treatment Complex EB11-12 Oxic Limestone Bed Flow pH Acid Fe Mn Al SO4 gpm mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/ L TREATED Effluent Average na 6.7 -23 0.4 0.1 0.2 23
  21. 21. 21 Robbins Hollow Headwaters Passive Treatment Complex EB10-15 Vertical Flow Limestone Beds Flow pH Acid Fe Mn Al SO4 gpm mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L RAW Average 3.5 3.5 109 0.3 1.4 14.9 156 TREATED Effluent Average na 7.0 -58 0.2 0.3 0.8 93
  22. 22. 22 Mine Pool Stabilization Project • Airborne remote sensing study and follow-up hydrogeological investigations identified potential for severe mine blowout • Buildup of water in mine due to mine entry collapses and WPA mine seals plugged/collapsed • ~32 million gallons: Acidity = 700 mg/L, pH = 2.8, Fe = 120 mg/L, Al = 47 mg/L • Project reestablished water flow through several collapsed mine adits by installing drains into mine openings
  23. 23. 23 Swamp Area Passive Treatment System
  24. 24. 24 Swamp Area Passive Treatment System Flow pH Acid Fe Mn Al SO4 gpm mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L RAW Average 3.1 351 57.3 21.6 34.4 960 TREATED Effluent Average 46 7.8 -184 0.6 7.8 <0.3 727
  25. 25. 25 Robbins Hollow 10A-10B and Pipes 1-4 Passive Systems
  26. 26. 26 Pipes 1-4 Passive System Flow pH Acid Fe Mn Al SO4 gpm mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L RAW Historical Average 16 3.0 330 17.1 15.7 39.5 737 TREATED Average Effluent 7.6 -167.7 <0.10 5.5 0.4 429
  27. 27. 27 Area 7 “Three-Fingered Devil” Reclamation Project • Backfill 6,000 L.F. of 40-40 ft dangerous highwall • Add 369,900 tons alkaline material to acid spoils during grading • Remove 136,608 tons crop coal • Remove of 17,533 tons buried coal refuse • Install subsurface and rock underdrains along with deep mine seals • Reconstruct 8,560 ft of ATV trails • 47.4 acres of wildlife habitat grasses • 48,150 trees
  28. 28. 28 Monitoring and Maintaining Treatment Systems
  29. 29. 29 Monitoring Biological Recovery • Annual fish surveys • Quarterly macroinvertebrates and water quality sampling • Native brook trout genetics • Thermal impacts to coldwater streams from treatment systems • Brook trout movement as streams are restored and reconnected
  30. 30. 30 What is in store for the future of the Kettle Creek watershed? • Monitor recovery • Pursue delisting • Maintain existing treatment systems • Complete land reclamation • Monitor and determine if follow-up water treatment will be necessary • Continue work on aquatic organism passage and fish habitat projects • Enjoy more fishing opportunities!
  31. 31. 31
  32. 32. 32 Thank you! Amy G. Wolfe Trout Unlimited Director Eastern Abandoned Mine Program & PA Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative awolfe@tu.org 570.786.9562

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