Mountaintop Mining Consequences

  title={Mountaintop Mining Consequences},
  author={Margaret A Palmer and Emily S. Bernhardt and William H. Schlesinger and Keith N. Eshleman and Efi Foufoula‐Georgiou and Michael S Hendryx and A. Dennis Lemly and Gene E. Likens and Orie L. Loucks and Mary E. Power and Peter S. White and Peter R. Wilcock},
  pages={148 - 149}
Damage to ecosystems and threats to human health and the lack of effective mitigation require new approaches to mining regulation. There has been a global, 30-year increase in surface mining (1), which is now the dominant driver of land-use change in the central Appalachian ecoregion of the United States (2). One major form of such mining, mountaintop mining with valley fills (MTM/VF) (3), is widespread throughout eastern Kentucky, West Virginia (WV), and southwestern Virginia. Upper elevation… 

The environmental costs of mountaintop mining valley fill operations for aquatic ecosystems of the Central Appalachians

There is, to date, no evidence to suggest that the extensive chemical and hydrologic alterations of streams by MTVF can be offset or reversed by currently required reclamation and mitigation practices.

Assessing landform alterations induced by mountaintop mining

A comprehensive impact analysis of mountaintop removal and valley fill (MTR/VF) mining requires an understanding of landform alterations since ecological impacts are so intricately linked. In this

How many mountains can we mine? Assessing the regional degradation of Central Appalachian rivers by surface coal mining.

This work mapped surface mining from 1976 to 2005 for a 19,581 km(2) area of southern West Virginia and linked these maps with water quality and biological data for 223 streams to estimate the amount of watershed mining, stream ionic strength, or sulfate concentrations beyond which biological impairment is likely.

Cumulative impacts of mountaintop mining on an Appalachian watershed

The results demonstrate the cumulative impact of multiple mines within a single catchment and provide evidence that mines reclaimed nearly two decades ago continue to contribute significantly to water quality degradation within this watershed.

The Overlooked Terrestrial Impacts of Mountaintop Mining

Ecological research on mountaintop mining has been focused on aquatic impacts because the overburden (i.e., the mountaintop) is disposed of in nearby valleys, which leads to a wide range of

Impacts of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining on the Mud River, West Virginia: Selenium Accumulation, Trophic Transfer, and Toxicity in Fish

Selenium (Se) is a micronutrient necessary for the function of a variety of important enzymes; Se also exhibits a narrow range in concentrations between essentiality and toxicity. Oviparous

Characterizing the presence of P . cinnamomi on reclaimed mines in Eastern Kentucky

Coal Mining & Reclamation Efforts in Appalachia Surface coal mining is the dominant form of land cover change in the central Appalachian region of the United States (Bernhardt et al. 2012).

Soaring Extinction Threats to Endemic Plants in Brazilian Metal-Rich Regions

The loss of plant species associated with mineral-rich areas should be added to the list of ecologic and genetic damages recurrently derived from surface-mining activities.

Linking upstream mining to downstream water quality: Mountaintop mining in West Virginia

Mountaintop mining valley fill (MTM/VF) coal mining is currently the dominant form of land use change in the central Appalachians. MTM/VF activities level mountains, remove forests and forest soils,



Surface mining and reclamation effects on flood response of watersheds in the central Appalachian Plateau region

Surface mining of coal and subsequent reclamation represent the dominant land use change in the central Appalachian Plateau (CAP) region of the United States. Hydrologic impacts of surface mining

Forest to reclaimed mine land use change leads to altered ecosystem structure and function.

The goal of this study was to quantify the changes to ecosystem structure and function associated with a conversion from forest to reclaimed mine grassland by comparing a small watershed containing a 15-year-old reclaimed mine with a forested, reference watershed in western Maryland.

Downstream effects of mountaintop coal mining: comparing biological conditions using family- and genus-level macroinvertebrate bioassessment tools

The results show that mining activity has had subtle to severe impacts on benthic macroinvertebrate communities and that the biological condition most strongly correlates with a gradient of ionic strength.

Detection of flooding responses at the river basin scale enhanced by land use change

The Georges Creek watershed (area 187.5 km2) in western Maryland (United States) has experienced land use changes (>17% of area) associated with surface mining of coal. The adjacent Savage River

Landscapes and Riverscapes: The Influence of Land Use on Stream Ecosystems

▪ Abstract Local habitat and biological diversity of streams and rivers are strongly influenced by landform and land use within the surrounding valley at multiple scales. However, empirical


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

How much do valley fills influence headwater streams?

AbstractValley fill mining has the potential to alter headwater stream habitat in many areas in the eastern United States. In valley fill mining, overburden is removed to expose underlying coal

Survival and growth of hardwoods in brown versus gray sandstone on a surface mine in West Virginia.

After 3 yr, brown sandstone appears to be a better topsoil material due to the much greater growth of trees, but tree growth over time as these topsoils weather will determine whether these trends continue.