Outreach Publications, Powell River Project

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  • The Forestry Reclamation Approach: An Essential Tool for Controlling Invasive Exotic Plants on Active Mine Sites
    Zipper, Carl E.; Angel, Patrick N.; Adams, Mary Beth; Sanderson, Tyler; Sena, Kenton; Barton, Christopher D.; Agouridis, Carmen T. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2019-05)
    Mining companies use the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) when reclaiming mined land with the aim of establishing functional forests as a post- mining land use. Invasive exotic plant species (IES) can interfere with successful reforestation. Thus, reclamation of active mine sites should aim to prevent colonization of IES plants if native forest restoration is the end goal. Once IES become established, they are difficult to eradicate and can potentially delay bond release. Therefore, it is best to manage for IES before they become established. Following the FRA is a good way to accomplish this. In Advisory No. 16 (Adams et al. 2019), the problems of IES on legacy and abandoned mine sites were described, along with detailed descriptions of common IES plants and control measures. This Advisory (No. 17) explains the issues related to IES plants on active mine sites and presents guidance on controlling IES to ensure successful reforestation.
  • Re-Establishing Pollinator Habitat on Mined Lands Using the Forestry Reclamation Approach
    Horn, Tammy; Angel, Patrick N.; Zipper, Carl E.; Ulyshen, Michael; French, Michael; Burger, James A.; Adams, Mary Beth (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2017-02)
    Pollinators are animals that play an essential role in the reproduction of many plants by transferring genetic material, in the form of pollen, from male to female flower parts. Because pollinator communities are under threat both in the US and worldwide, there is great interest in incorporating the needs of pollinators into habitat restoration plans. Forests provide many important resources such as nectar and pollen throughout the warm-weather seasons as well as critical nesting habitats. This Advisory describes mine reforestation strategies that can encourage and support pollinator conservation in the eastern US. We also provide background information concerning pollinators and their conservation needs.
  • Re-establishing American Chestnut on Mined Lands in the Appalachian Coalfields
    French, Michael; Barton, Christopher D.; McCarthy, Brian; Keiffer, Carolyn; Skousen, Jeffrey G.; Zipper, Carl E.; Angel, Patrick N. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2015-06)
    American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was formerly a major component of forests throughout the Appalachian coalfield and beyond. Chestnut’s strong, lightweight wood was naturally rot-resistant, making it a preferred timber tree for many purposes. Unlike many other nut-producing trees that flower early in the year, American chestnuts flower in June and July, so they were less susceptible to a late freeze or frost that could damage the flowers. Due in part to its late flowering, American chestnuts produced a reliable and abundant nut crop that was an important source of nutrition for wildlife, livestock, and humans. However, American chestnut has suffered severe decline throughout the USA; today, few living and mature American chestnut trees remain. This Forest Reclamation Advisory describes efforts to develop new American chestnut varieties, and reclamation and planting techniques for chestnut on mined lands.
  • Managing Invasive Exotic Plant Species on Legacy Mine Lands
    Adams, Mary Beth; Sanderson, Tyler; Sena, Kenton; Barton, Christopher D.; Agouridis, Carmen T.; Angel, Patrick N.; Zipper, Carl E. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2019-02)
    More than 2 million acres have been surface mined in the Appalachians (Zipper et al. 2011; OSMRE). Today, many mining firms are attempting to establish functional forests as a post-mining land use. However, many of the lands that were surface-mined for coal and reclaimed to meet legal standards in the past do not support thriving forest ecosystems. These lands, referred to as “legacy” surface mines (Burger et al. 2013), are often dominated by invasive exotic plant species (IES) which can interfere with successful reforestation (Zipper et al. 2011b). This advisory explains the issues related to IES plants on legacy mine sites. It also presents guidance on methods to combat and control the spread of IES to ensure successful reforestation. Finally, it describes characteristics of some exotic invasive plant species that are problematic on mine sites (see Appendix).
  • Establishing Riparian Woody Vegetation for Constructed Streams Using the Forestry Reclamation Approach
    Zipper, Carl E.; Krenz, Robert J.; Sweeten, Sara E.; Agouridis, Carmen T.; Barton, Christopher D.; Angel, Patrick N. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2018-03)
    Construction and renovation of streams and riparian corridors on mined lands have become common activities in Appalachia. Surface mining for coal can disturb ephemeral and intermittent streams, and may disturb permanent streams in some cases. Under the Clean Water Act, operations that fill or otherwise disturb streams must perform compensatory mitigation. Scientific studies have identified beneficial effects of woody vegetation (trees and shrubs) in riparian areas of streams on mined areas and elsewhere. This advisory describes the reasons for establishing woody vegetation in constructed streams’ riparian areas, and describes proper methods for mine sites.
  • Establishing Native Trees on Legacy Surface Mines
    Burger, James A.; Zipper, Carl E.; Angel, Patrick N.; Hall, Nathan; Skousen, Jeffrey G.; Barton, Christopher D.; Eggerud, Scott (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2013-11)
    More than one million acres have been surface mined for coal in Appalachia. Today, much of this land is unmanaged, unproductive, and covered with non-native plants. Establishing productive forests on such lands will aid restoration of ecosystem services provided by forests – services such as watershed protection, water quality enhancement, carbon storage and native wildlife habitat -- and will enable mined lands to produce valued products such as commercial timber. This Advisory describes practices for establishing native forest trees on lands that were surface mined for coal and reclaimed to meet legal standards, and where the mine operator no longer has any legal responsibilities (“legacy surface mines,” Photo 1). These lands often differ from their pre-mining condition with respect to topography, soils, water resource influences, and vegetation.
  • The Forestry Reclamation Approach
    Burger, James A.; Graves, Don; Angel, Patrick N.; Davis, Vic; Zipper, Carl E. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2007-07-18)
    The Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) is a method for reclaiming coal-mined land to forest under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). The FRA is based on knowledge gained from both scientific research and experience (Photo 1). The FRA can achieve costeffective regulatory compliance for coal operators while creating productive forests that generate value for their owners and provide watershed protection, wildlife habitat, and other environmental services. The purpose of this Advisory is to describe the FRA, which is considered by state mining agencies and US Office of Surface Mining to be an appropriate and desirable method for reclaiming coal-mined land to support forested land uses under SMCRA (Angel and others, 2005). The FRA is also supported by members of the ARRI’s academic team, which is drawn from Universities in nine states, and by other groups and agencies.
  • Tree-Compatible Groundcovers for Reforestation and Erosion Control
    Burger, James A.; Davis, Vic; Franklin, Jennifer; Zipper, Carl E.; Skousen, Jeffrey G.; Barton, Christopher D.; Angel, Patrick N. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2009-07)
    Productive native forests create economic value for landowners, produce raw materials for wood-based products, and provide benefits such as watershed control, water quality protection, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, and native plant diversity. Owners of lands mined for coal in Appalachia are increasingly interested in assuring that productive forests are restored after mining. Sediment control is essential to coal mine reclamation under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). Here, we describe how mining firms can achieve good tree survival and restore forest productivity by using tree-compatible ground covers, when necessary, to control erosion and meet ground cover standards.
  • Mine Reclamation Practices to Enhance Forest Development Through Natural Succession
    Groninger, John; Skousen, Jeffrey G.; Angel, Patrick N.; Barton, Christopher D.; Burger, James A.; Graves, Don; Zipper, Carl E. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2007-07)
    Succession is a term used to describe natural changes in plant community composition over time. In the forested Appalachian region, disturbances from storms, fire, logging, or mining can disrupt or destroy established forests. Natural processes that lead to restoration of the forest vegetation after such a disturbance usually begin quickly and result in development of another forest. On former mine sites, the quality of that forest and the speed with which it develops depend upon the conditions created by the mining and reclamation process. Conventional surface mine reclamation as practiced from the late 1970’s to the present commonly featured smooth grading of topsoil or topsoil substitute material followed by establishment of grasses and legumes that grow rapidly to form a thick groundcover. These compacted mine soils and competitive grasses hinder tree establishment and growth and delay the process of succession to forest cover. In contrast, reclamation practices known as the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) are intended to encourage succession in a manner that helps the mine operator satisfy regulatory requirements cost effectively and achieve prompt bond release (See Box 1). This advisory describes the ways in which reclamation methods can encourage rapid succession and accelerate development of high quality postmining forests.
  • Reforestation to Enhance Appalachian Mined Lands as Habitat for Terrestrial Wildlife
    Wood, Petra; Larkin, Jeff; Mizel, Jeremy; Zipper, Carl E.; Angel, Patrick N. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2013-11)
    Surface mining is widespread throughout the Appalachian coalfield, a region with extensive forests that are rich in wildlife. Game species for hunting, non-game wildlife species, and other organisms are important contributors to sustainable and productive ecosystems. Although small breaks in the forest canopy are important to wildlife diversity, most native Appalachian wildlife species require primarily forested habitats. This Forest Reclamation Advisory provides guidance on reforestation practices to provide high quality habitat for native forest wildlife on Appalachian coal mines.
  • Low Compaction Grading to Enhance Reforestation Success on Coal Surface Mines
    Sweigard, Richard; Burger, James A.; Zipper, Carl E.; Skousen, Jeffrey G.; Barton, Christopher D.; Angel, Patrick N. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2007-07)
    This advisory describes final-grading techniques for reclaiming coal-surface mines to forest postmining land uses. Final grading that leaves a loose soil and a rough surface increases survival of planted seedlings and forest productivity. Such practices are often less costly than traditional "smooth grading" while meeting Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) requirements.
  • The Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative
    Angel, Patrick N.; Davis, Vic; Burger, James A.; Graves, Don; Zipper, Carl E. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2007-07-18)
    The Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) is a cooperative effort by the States of the Appalachian Region with the Office of Surface Mining to encourage restoration of high quality forests on reclaimed coal mines in the eastern USA. ARRI's goals are to communicate and encourage mine reforestation practices that 1) plant more high-value hardwood trees on reclaimed coal mined lands in Appalachia; 2) increase the survival rates and growth rates of planted trees; and 3) expedite the establishment of forest habitat through natural succession. These goals can be achieved when mines are reclaimed using the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA).
  • Loosening Compacted Soils on Mined Sites 
    Sweigard, Richard; Burger, James A.; Graves, Don; Zipper, Carl E.; Barton, Christopher D.; Skousen, Jeffrey G.; Angel, Patrick N. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2007-07)
    Because successful surface-coal mining businesses must move earth materials efficiently, mining operations today use large and heavy equipment. Track dozers and haul trucks used for mining can weigh in excess of 100 tons each, while wheel loaders and loaded haul trucks often exceed 200 tons. It is becoming well known within the mining industry that successful reforestation of reclaimed sites requires loose and uncompacted surface materials, but some areas become compacted due to machinery operation, traffic, and storage that is necessary for the mining business to be successful. Trees require deep, loose mine soils to survive and grow into healthy, productive forests. Such forests can support viable forest-products’ businesses, protect the watershed, store carbon, and serve as wildlife habitat. This advisory describes procedures that can be used to loosen soils that have become compacted by mining equipment in order to restore land capability for forests.
  • Selecting Tree Species for Reforestation of Appalachian Mined Lands
    Davis, Vic; Burger, James A.; Rathfon, Ronald A.; Zipper, Carl E.; Miller, Christopher R. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2012-08)
    The Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) is a method for reclaiming coal surface mines to forested post-mining land uses (FR Advisory No. 2, Burger and others 2005). The FRA’s fourth step is to plant native trees for commercial timber value, wildlife habitat, soil stability, watershed protection, and other environmental benefits. This advisory provides guidance for selecting native tree species to plant on mine sites that are reclaimed using the FRA in the Appalachian region. Favorable soil properties and non-competitive ground cover are essential features on mine sites intended for reforestation. Use of the FRA will provide these features for planted trees while also providing conditions suitable for natural seeding of plants from nearby forests.
  • Selecting Materials for Mine Soil Construction When Establishing Forests On Appalachian Mine Sites
    Skousen, Jeffrey G.; Zipper, Carl E.; Burger, James A.; Barton, Christopher D.; Angel, Patrick N. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2011-07)
    The Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) is a method for reclaiming coal-mined land to forest (FRA Advisory #2, Burger and others 2005). The FRA is based on research, knowledge, and experience of forest soil scientists and reclamation practitioners. Forest Reclamation Advisories are guidance documents that describe state-of-the-science procedures for mined land reforestation (see http://arri.osmre.gov/FRA/FRA.shtm). The FRA’s first step is: “create a suitable rooting medium for good tree growth that is no less than 4 feet deep and comprised of topsoil, weathered sandstone and/or the best available material.” This Advisory provides guidance on how to execute step 1 of the FRA. Selection and placement of suitable growth media are critical for successful reforestation on surface mines. Constructing mine soils using suitable materials enhances and accelerates development of diverse forest ecosystems. This Advisory is intended for mining operators seeking to re-establish native forest as a postmining land use with pre-mining capability on coal surface mines.
  • Planting Hardwood Tree Seedlings on Reclaimed Mine Land in Appalachia
    Davis, Vic; Franklin, Jennifer; Zipper, Carl E.; Angel, Patrick N. (Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, 2010-02)
    The Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) is a method of reclaiming surface coal mines to forested post-mining land use (see Forest Reclamation Advisory No. 2). “Use proper tree planting techniques” is Step 5 of the FRA; when used with the other FRA steps, proper tree planting can help to ensure reforestation success.
  • On-Site Sewage Treatment Alternatives
    Galbraith, John M.; Zipper, Carl E.; Reneau, Raymond B. (Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2018-03-27)
    Discusses several alternative methods for treatment of wastewater, and their effectiveness.
  • Stabilizing Reclaimed Mines to Support Buildings and Development
    Zipper, Carl E.; Winter, Steven (Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2018-03-27)
    Describes the general concepts and guidelines for mine stabilization that can be employed for developing reclaimed mine areas for building construction in the Virginia coalfield region.
  • Revegetation Species and Practices
    Skousen, Jeffrey G.; Zipper, Carl E. (Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2018-03-26)
    Summarizes procedures for establishing herbaceous vegetation on mined lands. Emphasizes revegetation to control erosion and to establish hayland/pasture as a postmining land use.
  • Recovery of Native Plant Communities After Mining
    Holl, Karen D.; Zipper, Carl E.; Burger, James A. (Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2018-03-20)
    Discusses reclamation practices in coal mined land that encourage recovery of native forested ecosystems.