Looking out over 62 acres of flourishing wildlife along the northern shoreline of Wills Creek Lake in Coshocton County, Ohio, it’s hard to believe that only two years ago it was in ecological ruin.
Acid mine drainage (AMD) and more than 10 acres of coal spoil contributed to a serious decline in the aquatic habitat of Wills Creek Lake. Burgess & Niple, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, has helped transform this once-desolate area.
Completed under Section 206 of the Water Resource Development Act, the treatment plan for this major restoration project included a combination of land reclamation, water diversion and aerobic wetlands treatment.
Under the land reclamation portion of the treatment plan, gob material (or spoil) from nearly three acres of land was relocated to an area that is upslope of the lake’s spillway elevation. Approximately 16,000 cubic yards (cy) of spoil were moved and roller compacted in place. The spoil material then was capped with topsoil, seeded and mulched.
Designed to guard against scour and erosion, the water diversion component of the treatment plan included construction of a diversion trench to intercept surface flow and direct it around the reclaimed land.
An aerobic wetland, made from an estimated 8,400 cy of compost and 2,800 cy of limestone, also was constructed to collect and treat the AMD water generated by the deep mines.
Now in its second year of operation, the dramatic results of the new treatment system are not only visible in the well-established vegetation and aquatic fauna, but also evident in the analytical results of the discharge to Wills Creek Lake.
Wills Creek Lake is just one example of B&N’s ecological restoration project experience. For more information contact Mitchel R. Strain, PWS, Ecological Section Director, at 614-459-2050 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.