As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to clean up legacy pollution, protect the environment and revitalize the economy of coal communities, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has awarded $100,000 in a cooperative agreement for a watershed restoration project in Preston County.
OSMRE’s Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program provides funds to nonprofit organizations for the construction of acid mine drainage treatment facilities that help restore the health of local streams.
“Healthy watersheds are essential for communities, supplying water for municipal, industrial, agricultural and recreational uses,” said OSMRE Regional Director Thomas Shope. “WCAP funds help local nonprofit groups restore watersheds negatively impacted by abandoned mine lands and support citizen-based conservation in coal communities.”
Friends of the Cheat — dedicated to restoring, preserving and promoting the natural qualities of the Cheat watershed — was awarded the WCAP grant to improve the acid mine drainage treatment system for the Sovern Run watershed, a tributary to Big Sandy Creek in the Cheat River watershed. This WCAP project will convert an existing passive AMD treatment system to a limestone leach bed, settling pond and treatment wetland. The new system will improve the water quality of Sovern Run by reducing the metal and acidity loadings from abandoned mine lands within the watershed.
“We are very excited and grateful for this WCAP award. Restoring Sovern Run has been at the heart of our conservation efforts, and this is one of five sites we have implemented to improve water quality in this watershed,” said Madison Ball, conservation program director for Friends of the Cheat. “Sovern Run’s water quality has consistently improved with each restoration effort, and we are excited to build upon and maintain that success.”
WCAP grants are selected through a competitive merit review process and can fund the installation of passive or active water treatment systems, as well as the reclamation of lands that contribute sediment or acid forming materials to streams. WCAP grants result in partnerships that encourage long-term commitment to projects through engagement with local communities and environmental conservation groups.