“Day 1 Welcome”, Andy McAllister, WPCAMR

Virtual 2020 PA AMR Conference Day 1 Welcome

“KEYNOTE ADDRESS – 2020: A Clear Future for Reclamation”, John Stefanko, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

2020 PA AMR Conference Keynote Address

“The Economic Benefits of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, A Panel Discussion” Tim Danehy, Jarett Gibbons, Terry Ostrowski, Rachel Gleason, Steve Moyer

The panel will discuss the economic benefits their organization/business contributes to local economies through participation in AML reclamation and their organization(s) views towards the programs and policies of AML reclamation relevant House Bills around these matters. Information they will cover will include how many people they employ in the AML reclamation sector, the portion of their business that is reclamation, how many projects they do each year, what types of projects they do, what it would mean to them if funding were to go away, and other information they feel important to the discussion on the economic benefits of AML reclamation as we look forward to the need for reauthorization of the collection fees supporting the AML Fund. A live moderated Q&A will the full conference will follow.

“Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership – Leveraging Partners and Resources towards Mine Land Reforestation” Brenda Lee Sieglitz, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The collective strength of our experience, initiative, and ideas is necessary for us to create systemic change in Pennsylvania and plant 10 million trees by 2025. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation supports the current K10M Partnership strategy that aims to assist agencies, businesses, organizations and landowners with tree plantings and innovative ideas that are creating increased demand and guaranteed supply of native trees. This session will highlight how Mine Land reforestation partners are utilizing the partnership for tree planting projects and to leverage support for landowner outreach, site prep, and long-term reforestation establishment. Q&A will follow the presentation.

“Merging Conservation Planning with Technology: The Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan and Conservation Opportunity Area Tool”, Diana Day, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Catherine Haffner, Pennsylvania Game Commission

With its vision to achieve healthy, sustainable native wildlife populations, natural communities and habitats, the 2015-2025 Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan is a framework for conservation actions that support Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats. Conservation opportunities for at-risk species and habitats may occur nearly anywhere in the state, including recovering habitats such as abandoned mine lands. Based on information in the Wildlife Action Plan, the freely available web-accessible Conservation Opportunity Area Tool advances planning for on-the-ground conservation by allowing users to identify areas of interest (AOI) (up to 5,500 acres). For each AOI, the tool compiles and reports information on Species of Greatest Conservation Need, habitats, conservation actions and research and survey needs and more. Tool development was led by the Game Commission and Fish & Boat Commission, with input from partners and the public, and is administered by the Commissions and supported by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and NatureServe. This presentation will provide background on the Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan and an overview of this web application, available at​.

“Earth Conservancy’s Environmental Workforce Training Program: Continuing Environmental and Economic Revitalization in the Anthracite Region of Northeastern Pennsylvania”, Elizabeth W. Hughes, Ed.D. Earth Conservancy

Earth Conservancy (EC) is a nonprofit organization that has been committed to addressing the environmental and economic impacts of legacy anthracite coal mining in northeastern Pennsylvania for the past 25 years. Thus far, EC has reclaimed 2,000 deeply-scarred acres of abandoned mine land, many of which are back in productive use. We have constructed and continue to operate two acid mine drainage treatment systems. And we have conserved over 8,000 acres for recreation and greenspace. Over $49.1 million has been invested to date.
In 2017, EC leveraged its positive record to create the Environmental Workforce Training (EWT) Program. The program, initially funded by a grant from USEPA, provides training in surveying, construction safety, and hazardous materials cleanup skills and technologies for unemployed and underemployed residents in the coal-impacted, 12-county region of northeastern Pennsylvania. Penn State Wilkes-Barre serves as the program’s educational provider. The program has required EC to seek out new partnerships with economic agencies, nonprofit organizations, social service providers, and private industry; and to take on new activities, including assisting program graduates with their job search for one year. By the time of the PA AMR conference, three cohorts will have completed training. Approximately 80% of graduates from the first two years have found employment or continued their education. The EWT Program has become another way EC can carry out its mission of environmental and economic revitalization, helping to create a more livable community now and clear the way for positive, progressive change for future generations. This presentation will provide an overview of the EWT Program, its successes and challenges, key community partners, and its long-term feasibility.

“North Fork Montour Run Passive System A Decade In – Is it Working?”, T.P. Danehy, BioMost LLC

The North Fork Montour Run Passive Treatment System installed in two phases to treat acidic, iron- and aluminum-bearing coal mine drainage was evaluated for both chemical and hydraulic performance in 2018, the wettest year on record in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. As the system was overwhelmed both chemically and hydraulically, the maximum performance that can be expected from this seasoned passive treatment system was quantified. Due to technical difficulty, this is a partial recording

“Environmental Justice in Pennsylvania’s Mining Communities”, Justin Dula, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

This session will provide an overview of the environmental justice movement nationally and in Pennsylvania, with a focus on how it relates to Pennsylvania’s historic mining heritage. Environmental justice embodies the principles that communities and populations should not be disproportionally exposed to adverse environmental impacts. Historically, minority and low-income Pennsylvanians have been forced to bear a disproportionate share of adverse environmental impacts. It is our duty to ensure that all Pennsylvanians, especially those that have typically been disenfranchised, are meaningfully involved in the decisions that affect their environment and that all communities are not unjustly and/or disproportionally burdened with adverse environmental impacts.

“25 Years of AMD Remediation”, Madison Ball, Friends of the Cheat

Friends of the Cheat (FOC) is a non-profit watershed group based in West Virginia that has worked for over 25 years to restore the Cheat River and its tributaries from the impacts of acid mine drainage caused by legacy coal mining within the watershed.  This presentation will explore challenges of implementing watershed-scale remediation efforts, the advantages and disadvantages of watershed groups to effect positive change in the water quality of large river systems, the importance of diverse and dynamic partnerships, as well as future efforts to implement holistic restoration of the Cheat River Watershed.

“AML Legislative Update and Expectations”, Greg Conrad, Interstate Mining Compact Commission and National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs

Greg Conrad of the Interstate Mining Compact Commission will provide an update on Abandoned Mine Land Legislation that is currently being considered and share his expectations of what the efforts to enhance the programs and policies around reclamation could look like in the coming year.

Legislative Update: Collaborative Strategies and Advocacy”, Louise C. Dunlap, Independent Environment & Energy Consultant

Louise Dunlap of Dunlap and Browder will provide an update on Abandoned Mine Land Legislation that is currently being considered and share her expectations of what the efforts to enhance the programs and policies around reclamation could look like in the coming year. Louise aided in the passage of SMCRA in 1977 and continues to keep up-to-date on AML Legislation efforts.

“Protect Clean Water Infrastructure: Support for OM&R of AML PTS in FY21”, Joe Pizarchik and John Dawes, Foundation for PA Watersheds

The financial and personnel resources to operate, maintain, and rehabilitate AML passive treatment systems have not kept pace with the innovation, invention, and development of various types of mine drainage passive treatment systems (PTS).  Several hundred abandoned mine land (AML) PTS have been constructed in the battle to restore our waterways, create recreational opportunities, and revitalize coal country communities.  We will summarize our current approach and work to secure financial support to monitor, operate, maintain, and rehabilitate all AML PTS.   Dwindling federal reclamation grants, a downturn in the coal economy, and the looming sunset of the AML fund require a new funding approach.  Our presentation will include the funding options and status of the new approach.  Success will create coal country jobs; safe guard decades of water quality and land reclamation accomplishments; further improve water quality; create new economic revitalization opportunities; preserve tens of millions of dollars invested by states, philanthropy, non-governmental organizations, local governments, industry, watershed groups and the federal government; and preserve hundreds of miles of improved streams.

“Pennsylvania Legislative Update”, Dave Hess, PA Environmental Digest

Legislative update for Pennsylvania House and Senate given by Former DEP Secretary, Dave Hess. Dave gives regular updates on environmental issues in Pennsylvania via the PA Environmental Digest @

“Day 2 Welcome”, Andy McAllister, WPCAMR

Day 2 Welcome at the 2020 PA AMR Conference

“Monitoring Brown Trout Invasion into a Native Brook Trout Stream Post Mine Drainage Remediation: A Cautionary Tale”, Tom Clark, Susquehanna River Basin Commission

Kratzer Run, one of two primary AMD impacted tributaries to Anderson Creek near Curwensville, Pennsylvania in the West Branch Susquehanna River Subbasin, has a unique fish assemblage. Even though impacted by iron, the mainstem of Kratzer Run contains a Class A wild population of mostly brown trout. Bilger Run, the largest tributary to Kratzer Run, also contains a wild population almost exclusively of native brook trout. Construction of two AMD treatment systems on Bilger Run may remove this water quality barrier, allowing invasion of brown trout into Bilger Run which could outcompete the native brook trout. This presentation will describe the unique brown/brook interactions in Kratzer and Bilger Runs, how those interactions may change with improving Bilger Run quality, and the methods that have been employed to document that change.

“Estimation of Lost Recreational Angling Value as a result of Acid Mine Drainage in Pennsylvania”, Daniel Ryan, Fisheries Biologist, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a pervasive form of water quality pollution that impacts approximately 5,800 miles of streams in Pennsylvania, often hindering or completely excluding aquatic life colonization.  Consequently, AMD pollution causes diminished recreational angling as well as economic contributions from anglers.  The PFBC has developed a model that aims to estimate the monetary value lost from anglers due to diminished recreational angling in streams impaired by AMD, otherwise known as Recreational Use Loss Values (RULV).  Inputs include AMD impaired streams listed on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) 2020 Integrated Water Quality Report, DEP water quality standards, and PFBC angler survey data.  The PFBC anticipates that resource managers could utilize RULVs as corroboration for acquiring and directing grant funds for AMD remediation in streams where restoration of a recreational fishery is desired.

“Anna S Mine: A Century of Mining, Acid Mine Drainage, and Remediation”, Robert Hedin, Neil Wolfe, Ted Weaver, Hedin Environmental

In 2003/04 two passive treatment systems were installed to treat mine water discharging from the Anna S mine utilizing vertical flow ponds and constructed wetlands. In 2010 Babb Creek and Pine Creek were removed from the degraded stream list and reclassified as high-quality coldwater fisheries. The presentation will present the 45 year record of chemical and hydrologic characteristics of the Anna S mine and the benefits realized by the passive treatment, and the full cost of the passive systems.

“The Use of Treatment Trusts as Financial Assurance for Mine Sites with Post- Mining Discharges”, Robyn Katzman Bowman, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has established a program that provides financial assurance for treatment of post-mining discharges in perpetuity using a trust fund vehicle.  The program is implemented through Pennsylvania’s Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act as an alternative to bonds, and names the Department as the beneficiary of the trust.  Currently Pennsylvania has over $224,759,514 in trust.  The main purpose of the trust is to generate sufficient income to cover the cost of treatment into the future.  In the event that a permittee defaults on its legal obligation to treat a post-mining discharge, the trustee will be able to continue to operate the treatment system that has been established and make disbursements, at the direction of the Department, to fund continued treatment and repair.  I will present how our trust fund program works and provide information which can be used as a possible model by non-government entities.

“Pennsylvania’s 303(d)/305(b) Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report 2020”, Amy Williams, Water Program Specialist, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

The Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report is submitted every two years and is a compilation of the current status of Pennsylvania’s water. It also summarizes various programs that are in place at PA DEP to protect and have roles in improving water quality. This summary satisfies the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d) listing and Section 305(b) reporting. In 2018, the PA Integrated Report was submitted for the first time as an interactive web page. This format allows extensive information to be portrayed via maps, charts, and tables in a way that is easy to understand and navigate. In addition, an interactive GIS-based viewer was developed to portray the 303(d) listings in a searchable, mapping format. This presentation will review the Integrated Report interactive web page for the 2020 submission, as well as show the viewer and the various features it has for users.

“Potential Robotic Applications in Active Mine Fires”, Dr. Benjamin Bishop & Dr. Robert Spalletta, University of Scranton

Significant advances have been made in autonomous robotics directed at subterranean applications.  The recent DARPA subterranean challenge has demonstrated that modern robots are capable of  operating reliably in challenging mine environments without the benefit of GPS positioning technology.  Our project explores the question of whether these robots can be adapted to operate within active mine fires.

“Lunch Presentation: Meet Tom Shope”, Tom Shope, Regions 1 &2 Director and Field Special Assistant to the Secretary for Region 1, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Remarks by Tom Shope, Regional Director, Regions 1 &2 and Field Special Assistant to the Secretary for Region 1 *Due to unforseen circumstances, Lanny Erdos, Acting Director OSMRE, is unable to participate. We thank you for your understanding and patience.

“Day 1 Coffee Breakouts”, All Attendees

Informal networking as we gear up for the day. Visit the exhibits, chat with the friends you wish you could see in person, and meet new people. We will be beaming out to different breakout rooms. Beam us up, Annie!

“Day 2 Coffee Breakouts”, All Attendees

Informal networking as we gear up for the day and greet folks as they arrive. There were also several simultaneous themed coffee breaks on Day 2 of the conference. This was a breakout session where folks were grouped and sent out to other rooms, but only the main room was recorded.

“Farewell and Thank You”, All Attendees

The Conclusion of the 2020 PA AMR Conference. The PA AMR Conference Planning Committee. We’d like to have as many attendees join as possible for a group photo!

Speaker Prep Packet

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