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Strategic Watershed Restoration: An Alternative Future for the Appalachian Coal Fields Todd Petty, Mike Strager, and Michael Hasenmyer West Virginia University.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategic Watershed Restoration: An Alternative Future for the Appalachian Coal Fields Todd Petty, Mike Strager, and Michael Hasenmyer West Virginia University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategic Watershed Restoration: An Alternative Future for the Appalachian Coal Fields Todd Petty, Mike Strager, and Michael Hasenmyer West Virginia University WV Water Research Institute-Watershed Assistance Center Division of Forestry and Natural Resources Landscape Architecture 9 th Annual Wetlands and Watersheds Workshop October 23-26, 2006

2 Active and Permitted Mines

3 The MTM Dichotomy Preservation: Environmental losses and long-term economic costs of MTM are unacceptable regardless of the near-term economic benefits. Coal should not be mined unless an acceptable approach is used. Pros: protective of current ecological conditions and services. Cons: inefficient coal extraction; reduced economic activity; recovery from historic impacts unlikely.

4 The MTM Dichotomy Development: Highly valuable coal reserves are needed to supply the nation with affordable energy. Mining companies must have the freedom to mine efficiently. Best available technologies are used to minimize and mitigate for necessary environmental impacts. Pros: efficient coal extraction; minimizes impacts from individual developments. Cons: cumulative loss of ecosystem services at a watershed scale; recovery from historic impacts unlikely.

5 New mine development is occurring on top of pre-existing impacts. This presents challenges and opportunities!

6 Coal River, West Virginia Basin area10,000 km 2 Population density<50/mi 2 # of AMLs>1000 Impaired streams>30%

7 Time (years) Historic Condition Present Condition Mine Land Alternative Futures Development Preservationist Stream and River Condition

8 Time (years) Historic Condition Present Condition Mine Land Alternative Futures Current Preservationist Stream and River Condition Strategic ?

9 A Strategic Alternative Identify ecological assets (high quality streams, contiguous forests, wetland complexes) and liabilities (AMLs, impaired streams, degraded riparian corridors) within the MTM/VF region. Develop strategic watershed development plans that will protect, restore, and connect ecological assets over time (business plans for watersheds). Facilitate mine development, but manage it in a manner that avoids watershed scale impacts (strategic mitigation). Integrate mitigation offset spending with other sources of private and public resources (CREP, EQIP, TWG, AML, 319, Private Foundations, State Development Grants). Conduct regular monitoring of progress and adapt. Achieve improved watershed scale conditions over time through strategic reinvestment in the region.

10 Alternative Futures Analysis Historic Landscape Current Landscape Future Landscape Preservation Strategic Development Development Human Use Indicators Population Size Prime Timber Resources Tax Revenues Water Availability Environmental Indicators Riparian Forest Wildlife Diversity Water Quality Stream Condition Fishery Value Stakeholder Input

11 1.Analysis of multiple human valued endpoints: social, economic, environmental. 2.Visualization at multiple temporal and spatial scales using maps, 3-D modeling and descriptive summaries. 3.An objective / technical underpinning (outputs are not opinions). 4.Stakeholder dialogue over multiple alternatives. Why Alternative Futures Analysis Is So Effective

12 Visualizing Current Conditions

13 Neighborhoods Houses

14 LENGTHWIDTHAREARelativeCurrentRelative SEGMENTNAMEKMMACRESSCIEcoUnits 1MuddyCreek_ JumpRockRun MuddyCreek_ UNT_MuddyCreek_ GladeRun MartinCreek_ FickeyRun MuddyCreek_ CrabOrchardRun MuddyCreek_ EcoUnits: A Mitigation Currency Muddy Creek (46-km 2 Watershed)

15 NEED FISH POTENTIAL RESTORABILITY RESTORATION PRIORITIES

16 An Alternative Future for the Appalachian Coalfields Abandon the Development vs. Preservation Dichotomy Include the Mining Industry as Part of the Solution to Achieving Watershed Scale Goals Consider an Alternative Vision for the Future Develop a Strategic Plan for Realizing the Vision Develop Public Policy that Facilitates Plan Implementation What Will the Appalachian Coalfields Look Like in 50 years?


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