Environmental Center Associates Head for the Coalfields

On November 11, 2011, three RUEC associates and two students headed southwest into the Central Appalachian coalfields of Kentucky and southwest Virginia to learn more about mined land reclamation.  Theresa Burriss (Appalachian Studies), Rick Roth (Geospatial Science), and Christine Small (Biology) — accompanied by students Kiersten Newtoff and Max Schaffer — met with Patrick Angel of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and Chris Barton of the University of Kentucky.  Patrick and Chris acted as tour guides to several sites in the central Kentucky coalfields.

The sites demonstrated a variety of mined land reclamation techniques, and clearly showed the great promise of what is called the “Forest Reclamation Approach” for ecological restoration of the mixed mesophytic forest that once blanketed the central and southern Appalachian coalfields.


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