This project demonstrated an innovative approach to restoration of abandoned mine lands and silvicultural practices. Mitigation occurred on 702 acres involved Lower Dempsey Branch, unnamed tributaries to Lower Dempsey Branch and unnamed tributaries.
The restoration at Lower Dempsey Stream Mitigation Bank included: restoring streams across highwall mine benches; removing mine access roads built in the stream or its floodplain; removing pipes that were failing or “hanging”; and arresting severe erosion.
The alluvial fans were constructed from the top of the mine highwall down to the edge of the mine bench. This work reconnected the headwater streams to the main stem of Lower Dempsey Branch.
Stream work included establishing 4,587 feet of stream channel within areas previously impacted by the construction of highwalls during historic mining activities and restoring 11,058 feet of stream channel. There was the decommissioning of over 38 miles of relic haul roads to help discourage local ATV traffic. North State Environmental was responsible for planting over 51 acres of riparian buffer. A combination of bare roots, containers and lives stakes were planted.
Slopes of varying degrees were encountered on the tract to establish and restore these drainages. Slopes ranged from 2% along Lower Dempsey to 70% on the establishment reaches.
In-stream structures installed for this project included rock cross vanes, rock cross vanes with step, rock j-hooks, rock j-hooks with step, log and boulder j-hook, habitat log with root wad, constructed riffles, rock step pools, step pool/ cascade, step pool/ cascade step, boulder step pools, toe wood, and root wads. All materials for this project were obtained on the 702-acre site for all revetments.
There were several stream crossings installed on the project. These included fords, gas pipe, 24” culvert and elliptical span culverts.