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Friday, May 6, 2016

Help available to repair abandoned mine land

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Old coal mine operations left a number of problems for today's landowners.

Sycamore Trails Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources/Division of Reclamation, and the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) can help landowners with these abandoned mine land problems.

Greene County has been added to the coal bearing counties of Clay, Fountain, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo in western Indiana, which are eligible for financial assistances to reclaim abandoned mine land that cause water contamination, reduces crop production, or presents environmental or safety hazards to the public or livestock.

Water contaminated by abandoned coal mine operations is affecting us and will affect the future if something is not done to correct it.

The eroded coal fines that filter into road ditches, acidic water that leaches into waterways, and high walls that slough into lakes are contaminating the water supply.

Light coal fines and residue reach lakes and streams during rain events.

Heavy metals contained in these fines leach out causing an acidic condition in which desirable species cannot exist.

There are a number of these sites that can be improved and we can help with financial and technical assistance.

Acidic ground retards plant growth and allows erosion to continue. This in turn makes sustaining wildlife a problem. Wildlife species like rabbits and quail have little cover and no food in these areas. Therefore, predators kill off the young that normally would be able to survive.

Through reclamation of these sites, the wildlife population will once again be able to grow and thrive.

Hay crops could be growing in fields that contain barren gob piles. Sagging areas in a crop field could be raising grain instead of cockleburs. With reclamation, a number of these sites can be improved and become profitable.

Sycamore Trails RC&D Council can help determine if people are eligible for assistance to improve property while protecting the water supply.

Contact Mike Wilkinson, Project Coordinator for the Sycamore Trails RC&D Abandoned Mine Land Program at wwdirtworks@verizon.com or call 812-835-2891 or 812-239-5207.

Those interested may also contact their local SWCD.

Sycamore Trails is a nonprofit organization serving west central Indiana.

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