OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects
Friends of Deckers Creek
OSMRE / VISTA: Jessica Lemley
Supervisor: Holly Purpua
Address: 1451 Earl L Core Road Suite 4, Morgantown, West Virginia 26505
Voice Telephone: 304-292-3970
Web site: www.deckerscreek.org
Congressional District: 1st
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)
The mission of the Friends of Deckers Creek is to improve the natural qualities of, increase public concern for, and promote the enjoyment of the Deckers Creek watershed through community engagement and education.
About the Surrounding Community
Much of the Deckers Creek Watershed does not support a healthy aquatic habitat because it is plagued by acid mine drainage (AMD); bacteria caused by agricultural run-off; and untreated sewage, lead, sediment, trash, and general abandonment. The largest source of AMD in the watershed comes from the Richard Mine discharge, which visibly impairs the creek in its most populated section. In the Deckers Creek Watershed, 42 miles out of 142 miles of streams are listed as impaired by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, 15% of the population living within the zipcodes serviced by the Friends of Deckers Creek live below the national poverty level, with an average per capita income 14.19% below the national level.
The OSMRE/VISTA is laying groundwork for the creation of interpretive aspects of the Richard Mine Project, a large project to facilitate the treatment of Richard Mine discharge and to restore water quality in Deckers Creek. The Richard Mine Project will focus on the economic, social, and political history of the mine and region; causes of acid mine drainage (AMD); and active and passive treatment of AMD. The project is developing a public exhibit at the Richard Mine treatment facility to educate visitors on the history surrounding the Richard Mine and the environmental legacies that came as a result. It is also working to coordinate a series of seminars and workshops to provide Monongalia County residents the tools and resources necessary to start or open businesses supported by a healthy creek and fishery. Additionally, the OSMRE/VISTA works with local public schools to promote watershed stewardship and engagement through outreach activities such as site tours, nature camps, fundraising events, and informative events. Improving water quality increases recreational opportunities, improves property values, and improves quality of life in areas adversely affected by environmental degradation.