Overview of Management Options
The following is a brief overview of the management options that will be considered to deal with the issues of concern brought about by the public. For a more detailed look at these options, see the management options section toward the end of this report.
Acid Mine Drainage
Coal mining and processing is a major industry in the watershed. Most of the coal is extracted through deep mining of the Pittsburgh and Sewickley seams. Surface mining is also present, but is much less prevalent due to the depths of the coal seams.
Dunkard Creek has a history of acid mine drainage pollution, most of it occurring from the vicinity of Taylortown, PA downstream. Most of the problems are caused by drainage from several abandoned deep mines and barrier breaching along the valley walls from Taylortown to the mouth.
Several large acid mine discharges located along Dunkard Creek from Taylortown, PA downstream have contributed to the severe degradation of the stream.
Eight large acid mine discharges were located along Dunkard Creek from Taylortown downstream. See Figure 8 on page 36 for exact locations of these discharges. Each discharge was sampled by Waynesburg College to determine the severity of each discharge. Due to the steep slopes and the proximity of the discharge to the stream, treatment of these discharges will be difficult. The possible options we are looking into for treating these sites include piping these discharges to areas where treatment facilities can be implemented. The treatment facilities that will be considered are aerobic wetlands, Successive Alkalinity-Producing Systems (SAPS) and Anoxic Drains. Please refer to the management options section for more detail of these facilities.
Trash Dumps
Trash appears to be a large problem in the lower section of the watershed. Three large dumps are located along Dunkard Creek near Bobtown, PA. The biggest problem in the area is, there are no landfills located nearby. People have no place to take their large trash items such as refrigerators, couches, etc. so they dump it along the creek.
Management options for this issue include encouraging municipalities to have a spring and fall clean up day. Once this has been established, we will try to clean up the large existing illegal dumps. This will prove to be a difficult task due to the very steep slopes that these dumps are located on. One option being considered is the use of a dragline to remove the large trash items from the steep slopes. The trash will then be trucked to a garbage dump.
Erosion and Sedimentation
This is mainly a problem in the upper watershed where most of the livestock farming operations are located. Dirt and gravel roads that are located in the watershed also contribute to the sedimentation. Options include assisting landowners in implementing Best Management Practices such as streambank fencing, agricultural crossings and riparian buffers. Another would be to increase participation and implementation of the dirt and gravel roads program to eliminate sedimentation from dirt and gravel roads.
Promote Awareness of the Dunkard Creek
This is going to be taken on by the Dunkard Creek Watershed Association. Some of the things that they have discussed to promote the stream are setting up a page on the Internet for Dunkard Creek, holding wildflower walks, and 3-4 day field trips. They will also serve as a clearinghouse for information on the Dunkard Creek Watershed.
Raw Sewage
This issue is becoming less of a problem in the watershed due to populated areas recently installing or upgrading public sewage facilities. Although there are pollution contributions from malfunctioning on-lot sewage systems, the water quality data is not pinpointing such problems. The management option would be to investigate and identify such areas in the watershed and determine their impacts on the stream.
Water Quality
The results from the water sample data show water quality in the Dunkard Creek Watershed to be surprisingly good. Dunkard Creek has been documented in past studies as having a tremendous buffering capacity due to its limestone geology. It is this buffering that causes the pH of the mine water to rise, which in turn allows iron and aluminum to precipitate on the bottom. Acid mine drainage, erosion and sedimentation, and raw sewage are all issues of water quality, therefore, the management option for those issues will take care of the water quality issue.
Promote Heritage and Recreation
The Dunkard Creek Watershed Association will take on this issue. They have already begun by stocking a section of Dunkard Creek near the Mason-Dixon Park with trout. Local fisherman are invited to fish the area for the trout. There is also a need to help locate and record undocumented archaeological sites in the watershed.