Powell River Project Symposium to focus on advances in coal mine reclamation, Sept. 15

Powell River Project

With help from researchers with the Powell River Project, a reclaimed mine landscape with productive soils supports grazing cattle and suits other economically valued land uses.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 13, 2010 – Virginia Tech’s Powell River Project will host a conference on improving reclaimed surface-mined lands in Southwest Virginia’s coalfield region on Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 1 to 4:50 p.m. at the Slemp Student Center at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise in Wise, Va.

The 2010 Powell River Project Symposium will include discussions of water quality issues such as total dissolved solids (TDS), biomass potential of reclaimed mined lands using herbaceous and woody plants, wildlife habitat potential of reclaimed mined lands, carbon function of reconstructed streams, cattle production as a postmining land use, and establishment of the American chestnut on reclaimed lands.

“The symposium will feature Virginia Tech researchers who are studying methods for restoring mined sites to productive uses while maintaining environmental quality,” said Carl Zipper, mined-land reclamation specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension and director of the Powell River Project. “At the symposium, those researchers will communicate their findings to coal industry representatives, natural resource agency personnel and to area citizens. All who have an interest in these topics are welcome.”

The presentations will include the following:

The symposium is free and does not require advance registration.

Since 1980, the Powell River Project, a cooperative project of Virginia Tech and the coal industry, has conducted research and education programs to enhance restoration of mined lands and to benefit communities in Southwest Virginia’s coalfield region. Its 1,100-acre center is a hub of research programs focused on developing practical, cost-effective solutions to natural resource problems in central Appalachian coal-mining areas and education programs operated through Virginia Cooperative Extension that put completed research into practice.

The Powell River Project works collaboratively with other educational entities in the area, including The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.