Last fall, CRTU continued it's work to improve water quality in Glade Run and Dunbar Creek. On Ct. 24 chapter volunteers placed over 200 tons of alkaline limestone sand from Keystone Lime's quarry at Cranesville, WV at the three treatment sites on the Glade Run headwaters. The alkaline sand neutralizes acid drainage into Glade Run from abandoned coal mine works at the upstream origins of Glade Run, northeast of Chalk Hill. CRTUplaces alkaline sand on a regular twice-yearly schedule (spring & fall) to supplement the effectiveness of our passive anoxic drain treatment system near the mine site. Currently, sand additions are funded by a grant from the state Growing Greener program, with administrative support from the Fayette County Conservation District and Mountain Watershed Association. Funds we raise at our annual banquet also support the Glade Run project.
CRTU's Glade Run Alkaline Sand Addition Project has continued -- sometimes sporadically when funding lagged --for over two decades. Records indicate the chapter made the first additions in 1996, with a grant of $20,500 from the Western Pa Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and an $800 contribution from Miller Brewing Company's Friends in the Field program.
CRTU, with early partners including Fayette Conservation District, California University of PA, Dunbar Sportsman's Club, The Eberly Foundation, and Fayette Forward, chose to work toward Glade Run's improvement because mine pollution there was degrading Dunbar Creek. Partners' consensus was that even a minimal investment in the Glade Run headwaters could have significant benefits downstream.
Many partners have worked with CRTU over the project's history. The Western Pa Conservancy's Watershed office (Mark Killar) provide technical assistance to calculate how much sand was needed at the various sites to effect improvements. Wharton Township and a local contractor helped improve access to the sites, and the Pa Game commissuion has consistently provided cooperation and direct assistance in access, maintenance and sand manipulation after initial placement.
Biological surveys by California University of PA documented early on that Glade Run supported no life at the project's start. But as the project continued, a series of Cal. U. graduate students documented steady improvement in water quality, the diversity of insect life, and finally, after a transplant of wild brook trout taken from Dunbar Creek's upper main steam, that brook trout were once again spawning in Glade Run. The transfer of upper Dunbar Creek brook trout was accomplished under the auspices of Cal U.'s Dr. William Kimmel and his PFBC Scientific Collector Permit.
A small excerpt from recent water sampling (spearheaded by our late Scott Hoffman) on Little Piney tributary provides an indication of the sand project's impact on water quality downstream. In December 2017, pH above the addition site on Little Piney was 4.7, with an alkalinity value of 10. Downstream, where Little Piney enter Glade Run, its pH was 7.4 and alkalinity registered 20.
In August 2018, the PA DEP proposed to re-designate more than 40 miles of the Dunbar Creek basin, including parts of Glade Run as "Exceptional Value", qualifying the basin for the highest level of vigilance and protection by DEP should future permits be sought for mining, gas development or other disturbances. The re-designation process is ongoing and should be complete in late 2019 or early 2020. DEP noted two decades of improving water quality, and CRTU's reclamation efforts on Glade Run in its 2018 Dunbar Creek Stream Redesignation Evaluation Report.
CRTU thanks all chapter members, partner organizations, agencies, funders and banquet patrons who have supported this worthy project.
Article by Ben Moyer, CRTU President
It is responsibility of the members/volunteers to track all hours so as to provide our chapter with the total number of volunteer hours for reporting purposes. Thank you.