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3RQ member organizations share highlights during final session of Virtual Roundtable Series

In the third and final session of the Three Rivers Quest (3RQ) Virtual Roundtable Series, projects from three different 3RQ member organizations were highlighted. Speakers from the Harry Enstrom chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, Three Rivers Waterkeeper, and Scrubgrass Creek Watershed Association shared important projects and volunteer opportunities.

Session Highlights:

  • Kenneth Yonek from the Harry Enstrom chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) discussed successful projects that the chapter had recently completed. Some of these projects include installing bird nest boxes on a federal game land, planting tree seedlings for Earth Day, tutoring local high schoolers for Envirothon, and establishing scholarship programs for high school and secondary education students. Currently, they are waiting for a Growing Greener Grant to update a passive acid mine drainage (AMD) remediation site found near Pigeon Creek and are working with California University of Pennsylvania to remediate bank erosion along Pike Run. Planned for next season are trout stockings and bank cleanups.
  • Heather Hulton VanTassel, Executive Director of Three Rivers Waterkeeper (3RWK), discussed the organization and projects they are working on. 3RWK focuses on river patrol and pollution response, water quality monitoring, transportation of dangerous materials, community education and engagement, and Clean Water Act rights along the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. The group provides scientific and legal advocacy and is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global organization. Their current advocacy work includes issues such as fracking waste barging and use, deregulation of water quality standards, legal loopholes, and permit monitoring. 3RWK encourages those with an interest in clean water to join the 3 Rivers Watch to help monitor 3RWK’s 125 plus river miles.
  • Tom Thomas, Logan Harris, and Carlos Cintron discussed Scrubgrass Creek Watershed Association (SCWA)'s remediation efforts. In the watershed, there are many AMD discharge points along with abandoned and orphaned wells, which act as conduits bringing AMD to the surface. SCWA has plugged 34 of these abandoned and orphaned wells. Additionally, their remediation efforts have focused on the Sterrett Site, which was the main contributor of iron and AMD. They have been able to bring the iron discharge down from 1.6 mg/L to 0.5 mg/L. In another remediation effort, a site named US-91, SCWA was able to reduce the aluminum discharge from 13 mg/L to 0.2 mg/L. Other efforts include outreach programs with fifth and sixth grader and Earth Day Cleanups for the past 15 years.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Virtual Roundtable series this year! If you could not attend, please look for the recording on YouTube. Additionally, check out the WVWRI Virtual Seminar Series! The final session in this series, Acid Mine Drainage Research and Remediation, will take place on Thursday, February 17th at 10 am.


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