Coal mine reclamation project will clean up Cook’s Run

RENOVO — On behalf of Governor Tom Wolf, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Tuesday announced the launch of a coal mine reclamation project in Sproul State Forest to help restore 40 acres and Cooks Run Watershed, a designated High-Quality Coldwater Fishery that was home to native brook trout before acid mine drainage (AMD) impaired it.

“Many anglers and other fans of the beautiful Sproul State Forest have waited a long time for this, and some have dedicated many hours of effort,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “The Wolf Administration is proud to be the fulcrum for significant progress on cleaning up the acid mine drainage that’s degraded Cooks Run and its tributaries for more than 40 years.”

The Cooks Run Restoration project significantly advances a long-term effort by many partners to turn a surface mine back into a forest setting for fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, and other uses, as well as habitat and food plots for wildlife. Increased land and water recreation opportunities are expected to enhance the local economy in Clinton County.

Acid-forming materials will be excavated from the former Fran Contracting mine site and mixed with alkaline materials to neutralize acidity, helping to remove AMD from the Camp Run and Rock Run tributaries to Cooks Run. This project is the second of three projects required to restore the health of the watershed.

The Cooks Run Restoration Project is part of the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Pilot Program, funded by $30 million from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), U.S. Department of Interior.

In addition to OSMRE and DEP, project partners include the Allegheny Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the American Chestnut Foundation, Clarion University, East Keating Township, Kettle Creek Watershed Association, Noyes Township, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania State University, Trout Unlimited Eastern Abandoned Mine Program, and the Western Clinton County Sportsmen’s Association.