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Amy Wolfe, Trout Unlimited, "A Decade of Progress for the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative"

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This presentation will discuss the accomplishments of the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative over the past ten years as made through the efforts of TU and member agencies and organizations of the West Branch Susquehanna River Task Force and West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Coalition, as well as the needs and challenges that remain on the horizon as work continues toward the recovery of the West Branch Susquehanna Watershed.

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Amy Wolfe, Trout Unlimited, "A Decade of Progress for the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative"

  1. 1. 1 A Decade of Progress for the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative 2004-2014 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 Celebrating 55 years! www.tu.org >150,000 members 400+ chapters 200+ staff 30 offices nationwide
  4. 4. 4 West Branch Susquehanna Watershed
  5. 5. 5 West Branch Susquehanna Watershed
  6. 6. 6 Target Species Brook Trout – Using the Conservation Success Index to Prioritize our Projects www.tu.org/csi
  7. 7. 7 www.tu.org/csi
  8. 8. 8 Target Species Brook Trout – Population Integrity
  9. 9. 9 Target Species Brook Trout – Habitat Integrity
  10. 10. 10 Target Species Brook Trout – Conservation Strategy
  11. 11. 11 West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative - The Beginning 2002-2003 We are going to restore the West Branch or else! 2004
  12. 12. 12 West Branch Susquehanna River Task Force Mission To restore water resources impacted by abandoned mine lands and mine drainage within the West Branch Susquehanna River basin, ultimately improving the quality of life for those living in and visiting the watershed.
  13. 13. 13 Goal #1. Develop a comprehensive assessment and restoration plan for the West Branch Susquehanna watershed, with a primary focus on abandoned mine lands and mine drainage.
  14. 14. 14 Goal #2. Provide support and technical assistance for efforts to address AMD within the West Branch Susquehanna watershed, with an initial emphasis on the completion of projects underway in the Bennett Branch Sinnemahoning and Kettle Creek watersheds.
  15. 15. 15 Goal #2. Provide support and technical assistance for efforts to address AMD within the West Branch Susquehanna watershed, with an initial emphasis on the completion of projects underway in the Bennett Branch Sinnemahoning and Kettle Creek watersheds. Trout Unlimited AMD Technical Assistance SRBC Mine Drainage Portal
  16. 16. 16 Goal #2. Provide support and technical assistance for efforts to address AMD within the West Branch Susquehanna watershed, with an initial emphasis on the completion of projects underway in the Bennett Branch Sinnemahoning and Kettle Creek watersheds.
  17. 17. 17 Goal #2. Provide support and technical assistance for efforts to address AMD within the West Branch Susquehanna watershed, with an initial emphasis on the completion of projects underway in the Bennett Branch Sinnemahoning and Kettle Creek watersheds.
  18. 18. 18 Goal #3. Build public support within the West Branch Susquehanna watershed for a broad restoration effort.
  19. 19. 19 Goal #4. Secure adequate funding to carry out a West Branch restoration initiative. Since 2004 more than $113 million has been invested by DEP and other state and federal agencies, Foundation for PA Watersheds, private industry, and others on land reclamation and water treatment.
  20. 20. 20 West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Coalition Mission To promote public awareness and stimulate efforts to restore water resources impacted by AML and AMD within the West Branch Susquehanna River basin, ultimately improving the quality of life for those living in and visiting the watershed. 21 volunteer/conservation organizations 21 TU chapters 8 county conservation districts 1 municipality 10 businesses 61 WBSRC members and 1 supporting organization (not MOU signatory)
  21. 21. 21 Goal #1. Build local grassroots and public support through positive educational efforts. Water: An Endangered Resource
  22. 22. 22 Goal #2. Provide a forum for the communication and exchange of information on restoration activities within the watershed. www.wbsrc.org
  23. 23. 23 Goal #3. Promote public awareness of the economic benefits of restoration efforts.
  24. 24. 24 •16 additional sites West Branch Susquehanna Recovery Benchmark Project Data Collected in 2009 •55 at trib mouths •12 river sites Data collected: water quality aquatic insects fish stream habitat
  25. 25. 25 Red indicates value is outside of DEP water quality criteria levels pH Iron (mg/L) Aluminum (mg/L) Spring - 1984 4.6 0.74 0.9 Summer - 1984 3.8 0.19 2.1 Spring - 2009 6.6 0.2 0.21 Summer - 2009 6.3 0.06 0.07 % Reduction - Spring 73% 77% % Reduction - Summer 68% 97% West Branch Susquehanna River at Renovo
  26. 26. 26 Fish
  27. 27. 27 • Natural attenuation • Remining and reclamation • Better permitting for mining projects • Passive and active treatment systems West Branch Susquehanna Recovery Benchmark Conclusions Water quality and biological improvements can be attributed to a combination of:
  28. 28. 28 Natural Attenuation vs. Treatment
  29. 29. 29
  30. 30. 30 Continuing with the success… • Prioritize, assess, re-prioritize, plan, and implement projects in unaddressed watersheds • Monitor recovery • Celebrate accomplishments • Maintain existing treatment systems • Protect from other sources of degradation • Maintain funding (Title IV AML Fund Expires in 2021…we have to start thinking about that now!)
  31. 31. 31 All 60+ members of the WBSRCAll members of the West Branch Susquehanna River Task Force A BIG Thank You to:
  32. 32. 32 American Fisheries Society President’s Fishery Conservation Award (Seattle, WA - 2011) Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence (Harrisburg, PA - 2012) Pennsylvania WILDS Award (St. Mary’s, PA - 2012)
  33. 33. 33 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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