Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

Click below to read articles online, or try the PDF version to view or print a replica of the paper newsletter

June 2002

Backstreet Boy
Spotlights Mountain Massacre

Male Suspect Seen Entering OVEC Office

"On the Road to Clean Elections" Debuts in West Virginia

Valley fills, sludge spills, flood chills and judge thrills

MTR Smothering Vital Headwater Stream Systems

Bush to Appalachia: Gee, I Wish I Had the Time to Care

Think Pollution Isn't Costing You?

Politics and the Environmental Impact Statement on MTR - It's Not Pretty

OVEC in ACTION - A Few of the Things We've Been Up To Lately

What's in a Name? Momentary Fame for You, if You're the Winner

Be Sure to Send a Note of "Thanks!" to Judge Haden

THANKS to Our Many, Many Treehugger's Ball Supporters!


For viewing the PDF version

Tiny Life Forms Play Critical Role

MTR Smothering Vital Headwater Stream Systems

by Janet Fout

Dr. Ben Stout, an aquatic ecologist from Wheeling Jesuit University, spoke to members of OVEC and the Huntington Tri-State Audubon Society on April 25. Bens research focuses on the impacts of mountaintop removal/valley fill strip mining of coal on aquatic creatures in headwater streams.

His graphs show that most populations of shredders, the very tiny critters that shred leaves and other organic material, providing food for downstream life, are buried when a valley fill is 250 acres or greater.

Shredders, he said, are the "engine that drives the life in a stream." Highly significant life forms, despite coal company claims to the contrary.

His studies also show that many of the topographical maps that delineate streams do NOT show where headwater streams actually begin. In other words, its likely that the amount of headwater streams already lost forever to mountaintop removal/valley fills has been underestimated. Ben says that the only real way to know where a stream begins is to go into the field and get your boots wet; looking at a USGS (United States Geologic Survey) map is not good enough.

Heres a visionary quote from Ben: "I can tell you with a straight face, that if you put 200 feet of fill on top of a headwater stream, you are going to destroy itIf you take headwater streams away from the matrix of streams that feed into our large river systems, we are going to end up with highly polluted major water systems. This is a very significant ecosystem. These stream ecosystems are not to be thrown away."

Ben Stout, studier of all creatures that are tiny or wet.

Ben had the privilege of touring Pigeon Roost Hollow (the proposed gigantic 3,100-acre Dal-Tex site in Blair, WV) with federal Judge Charles Haden prior to his first, landmark ruling that declared the burying of perennial and intermittent streams under tons of coal mining waste as illegal.

Ben appeared in "Appalachian Apocalypse," a segment of Earth Rescue on cable televisions Outdoor Life Network, which has aired many times.


     OVEC Home   Issues   Contact   Join