The waterways and underground connections beneath our feet may not be visible to us, but they play tremendous roles in the pollution and restoration of the waterways that humans, wildlife, and plants depend upon.
Late last fall, FOB met with the President of the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Nancy Stoner, and Jan Carter, a retired wetland ecologist and current Riverkeeper volunteer, to discuss connections between the Blackwater watershed and Coketon-Kempton Mine Pool(water filled historic mine tunnels) that creates major pollution in headwaters of the North Branch of the Potomac.
Right now, West Virginia water flows into old mine tunnels near Thomas where it is polluted underground and makes its way to tunnels under Kempton in Maryland, discharging as Acid Mine Drainage pollution into the Upper Potomac Watershed. Friends of Blackwater has been talking with the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, Brent Walls, Paul Petzrick with the MD DNR, and the WV Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation (OAMLR)about how to tackle this pollution issue and are hopeful that we’ll be able to play an important role.
OAMLR is currently working on a project to address a portion of this cross-mine pool pollution in the Beaver Creek Watershed. A healthy tributary called Chaffey Run, just a couple miles Northeast of Davis, disappears into a hole in the ground and pours into the subterranean mine system. AML’s reclamation project will divert this good water back to the surface and toward Beaver Creek, both improving the water quality in Beaver Creek by adding about 450 million gallons of water per year into the Creek, and decreasing the amount of water that will be polluted underground, which currently discharges into both the North Branch of the Potomac AND the North Fork of the Blackwater River.
It’s pretty incredible how long lasting the impacts of the historic coal mining industry are. FOB has been and will continue to dedicate our efforts to creating pollution solutions, and can’t do this without your continued help!