OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects
Friends of Lower Muskingum River
OSMRE / VISTA: Kenner Sims
Supervisor: Jesse Daubert
Address: 348 Muskingum Drive, Marietta, Ohio 45750
County: Morgan, Noble, Washington
Voice Telephone: 740-374-4170
Web site: www.muskingumriver.org
Congressional District: 15th and 6th
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)
The Friends of Lower Muskingum River’s mission is to restore, protect and maintain the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the Muskingum River and to protect and promote its natural, cultural, historic and socioeconomic resources.
About the Surrounding Community
The American Electric Power (AEP) ReCreation Lands are former coal surface mines that have been turned into one of the largest outdoor recreation attractions in this region of Southeastern Ohio. The tourist industry generated by the ReCreation lands impacts many of the residents living in these rural and otherwise economically distressed counties. Approximately 50% of the Mans Fork watershed lies within the AEP ReCreation Lands. According to the "Lower Muskingum River Watershed Management Plan: Meigs Creek Watershed," Mans Fork is suffering from high sediment loads, E. coli bacteria contamination from fecal origins, and high phosphorous levels, therefore not meeting the requirements for state designation as a Warmwater Habitat for aquatic life. Of the residents living in the zipcodes served by the Friends of Lower Muskingum River, 15.47% live below the national poverty level and live 13.53% below the national per capita income level.
The OSMRE/VISTA expands recreational opportunities through events, recreational water activities, property acquisition, and conservation easements. By developing recreational spaces and activities, the project expands the local tourism economy, provides businesses with increased revenue, creates new low- to medium-skill jobs, and increases property values plagued by poor environmental conditions and poor economic opportunities. In addition, this project works to better the quality of surface water resources and secures tracts of land near the ReCreation Lands throughout Morgan and Noble counties through the Friends of Lower Muskingum River Land Trust, thereby reducing the likelihood of further contamination. Any new lands acquired through the project are then opened to recreational activities (i.e. hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, etc.).