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Re: Headwaters

Joined:
2006/10/26 23:01
From Ohio
Posts: 657
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Given that acid appears to be a limiting factor, has alkalinization with lime gravel been tried in PA, like was done in the Cranberry River in WVA?

Where was/is mining a big problem in PA?

After looking into it portable pH meters can be had for under $20. That might be worth it while prospecting.....would save you wasting a day on an acidic stream. Dissolved oxygen meters, on the other hand, START at about $500. But if the water is clear and cold and there are a lot of riffles/waterfalls, the oxygenation should be OK.

Posted on: 2007/6/27 7:56


Re: Headwaters

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2006/11/2 8:50
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RE: "Given that acid appears to be a limiting factor, has alkalinization with lime gravel been tried in PA, like was done in the Cranberry River in WVA?"

Yes. It's pretty common in NC and NE PA. Not sure about NW PA. The real answer, though, would be to require all power plants to use the available technology to cut acid emissions. The newer plants use this technology and are pretty clean. Many of the old plants have been using a loophole to avoid using the new technology for decades and they are still acidifying our streams.

RE "Where was/is mining a big problem in PA?"
Ah, finally an easy question. The answer is Yes, and Yes.

RE: "After looking into it portable pH meters can be had for under $20."

I've thought about getting a pH meter too. But, it is difficult to get accurate pH readings and the pH fluctuates a great deal in a stream, it is not a constant number. So even if you have pH numbers, they are difficult to interpret. I've heard people who do research in this field say that the best gauge of the degree of acidification is what life the stream supports.

The acidified streams either support brook trout, or no fish at all. An hour on the stream with fishing tackle will tell you whether there are brook trout there or not.

If there are brown trout, then it's not acidified. If there is an abundant insect population, then it is not too acidified for trout.

The brook trout are the last fish to disappear as streams get increasingly acidified. There are a few species of insects that can survive even more acid water than the brookies, but most of the insects will disappear before the brookies.

Posted on: 2007/6/27 8:47


Re: Headwaters

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2006/12/13 9:28
From Other side of the tracks
Posts: 18318
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Quote:

troutbert wrote:


The brook trout are the last fish to disappear as streams get increasingly acidified. There are a few species of insects that can survive even more acid water than the brookies, but most of the insects will disappear before the brookies.


Correction, it is the last trout to disappear. Some other fish can handle a little more acid. chubs, bluegills, etc. At least that has been my experience.

Posted on: 2007/6/27 10:18
_________________
There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance." -Henry David Thoreau--


Re: Headwaters

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2006/12/13 9:28
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Quote:

OhioOutdoorsman wrote:
Given that acid appears to be a limiting factor, has alkalinization with lime gravel been tried in PA, like was done in the Cranberry River in WVA?



Like troutbert said, this has veen done in several areas. I think they even have some treatment on Toby Creek in NWPA (the one in elk county, not the one in Clarion County.

These work pretty good for treating single point problems like mine acid, and for treating individual streams, but not very feasable for treating large areas.

Quote:


Where was/is mining a big problem in PA?



Do you mean closest to you?

When you are talking coal mining in North Western PA, The worse of it starts as you approach route 8 as you are heading east on I-80. Once you pass that point, for many miles, most of the streams run red, Clarion County (my birthplace) is one of the worst. Armsrong County might be even worse. Some of Venango County, and Butler County. Well, most of the state has been mined and or drilled for gas and oil. If you are talking SWPA, it is probably just as bad, only with more underground mining because the coal is deeper for the most part.

Strip mining shows up on some maps. I believe they are shown on the fishing and boating map that you can get from the fish commission. Not sure if they are on the deLormes, don't hae one in front of me. They also show up on the USGS maps which are also used at Topozone.com.

Here is a link to an enlarged map around Barkeyville. Old strip mines are brown, newer ones are purple. you also have to consider when was the last time the USGS updated their maps. There could even be more. Hope the link works.

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=4 ... =4&layer=DRG&size=l&s=200

Posted on: 2007/6/27 10:40
_________________
There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance." -Henry David Thoreau--


Re: Headwaters

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
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Much of NE PA and quite a bit of NC and SW PA have AMD problems. There are some streams so hot that they aren't even orange. Roughly 3,000 miles of lifeless water, most of them brookie streams. However not all AMD streams are dead, many have decent brookie populations and some support large brookies. Ming is a big mess in PA and the mining industry STIL DOESN"T GET IT!!! They're idiots and I'm darn tired of Bush's excuse for allow further acid emmissions. The man is sick.
As for lime it is being done on hundreds of miles of streams, right down the road from the camp I belong to is an AMD stream, Paint Run. Good name because the rocks are all bright orange, but it is being treated, and because there are brookies in the headwaters, they will eventually move down stream. Trouble is the browns may move in first, and that is a good possiblity that they will dominate the stream if it becomes too alkiline.

Posted on: 2007/6/27 10:54


Re: Headwaters

Joined:
2006/9/18 8:28
From Attitudinally, one mile south of Lake LeBoeuf
Posts: 855
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>>The biggest difference in the ANF streams and the Kettle and Pine Creek drainages is Glaciers. Both of these watersheds are very close to or were cover in part by the latest glaciers to push into Pennsylvania. In both drainages there are even what some would call limestone streams, though they aren't really. They do look like they are though because there are large springs coming out of glacial till that have very cold water and lots of watercress, which is an indication that they are fertile.
Further west the glaciation ended before it reached PA so the soils aren't there to make it fertile.>>

I dunno, Chaz... I think maybe you got a handful of feathers but the rooster's still going...:) I think Dave came closest when he said:

"Most of the ANF was not covered by that glacier. It kinda whent around it nad only the Northwestern parts of the ANF were glaciated. If you go east or west of the ANF, the glacier extended much further south."

This matches up with what I've seen on maps as well as my experience in various portions of the area in question. I think the last ice sheet down was the Wisconsin glacier, IIRC. Maps from that event show coverage of the portion of northern Potter County with the Oswayo, Mill and Upper Allegheny drainages. And these are higher fertility, glacial moraine waters. Yet, the glacier did not extend south of here on a direct North/south line of out of Coudersport and this shows pretty starkly in the much less fertile nature of the next major watershed south, the First Fork. This same glaciation is responsible for the high alkalinity of the streams of my home region in southern Erie County and extends south into the upper Oil Creek drainage (still north of Titusville, now..) and portions of the mid French Creek drainage where there are a couple of high-potency, high alkalinity Class A freestones in eastern and central Crawford County. To the best of my knowledge, there is no portion of the ANF that has this sort of hydrogeological profile. It's all relatively acidic with some regional variation as discussed in the conversation between Dave and I. I'd say the closest streams to actual ANF turf with this higher alkalinity glacially-aided water chemistry are still 25-30 miles outside of the ANF boundary.

At least this is how it seems to me. I could easily be wrong though. Geology isn't my long suit and I could easily be missing something.


>>RLP, I agree it is much worse in the lower Tionesta and Clarion drainages. Absolutely. But that is a very large area (not insignificant in my book). And can't argue about the upper Kinzua watershed and the northern parts of the ANF are similar in chemestry to NCPA. Geological maps also support that, although I had trouble getting info from work. My stomping grounds were the lower half of the ANF including the lower Tionesta and the Clarion River drainage.

Even still, many areas of the state can handle "episotic extraction" better than that region. I agree it is often a coontributing factor, but it can't posibly explain it all away.

Whatever. Id doesn't matter because you do agree on the main point (i think). >>

Yup, I think we're in the same township on this stuff. The links (referenced above) you brought are pretty interesting, btw..


>>"Given that acid appears to be a limiting factor, has alkalinization with lime gravel been tried in PA, like was done in the Cranberry River in WVA?">>

I'll chime in on this, even though it has been more than adeauately answered. Necessity being the Mother of Invention, PA has actually been one of the leaders in this sort of mitigation work. A bunch of different acid neutralizing schemes have been used with varying degrees of success. Pad could tell you about the DFTU limstone "percolators" up on Stony Creek. That's one of the older treatment successes around, I think. It goes back to a time when a guy named Ron Evans was President of what was the Dauphin County Chapter of TU. And that's over 20 years Wetlands filtration of AMD has been used in the Upper Swatara drainage and portions of the East Sandy watershed in Venango County. I don't know how successful either has been judged to be. At one time (I don't know if it continues still), there was an effort to use lime sands to treat Big Mill Creek near Ridgeway. This (I think..) would have been one of the few PA projects that was aimed not at mitigating AMD, but rather at raising Ph's depressed by acidic precipitation. A few years back, there was a watershed assoc. in southern Columbia County gearing up to try and reclaim the Cattawissa Creek, a really beautiful stream. I don't know how far that got. There are bunches more, I'm sure that I have either forgotten or have taken place since I moved away.

Posted on: 2007/6/27 15:41


Re: Headwaters

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2006/12/13 9:28
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Posts: 18318
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Quote:

RLeeP wrote:

And that's over 20 years Wetlands filtration of AMD has been used in the Upper Swatara drainage and portions of the East Sandy watershed in Venango County. I don't know how successful either has been judged to be.


don't you mean south sandy. I don't know of any of this on East Sandy, but I've heard about it on South Sandy. However, I could be wrong. South Sandy is a trib of Sandy Creek, where East Sandy is on the other side of the Allegheny river. I don't know how affective it was, either.

Posted on: 2007/6/27 16:00
_________________
There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance." -Henry David Thoreau--


Re: Headwaters

Joined:
2006/9/18 8:28
From Attitudinally, one mile south of Lake LeBoeuf
Posts: 855
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>>don't you mean south sandy. >>

Well, before the glacier, it was East Sandy, I think.

But, of course it's South Sandy now...:)

Right you are.

Tks, Dave

Posted on: 2007/6/27 17:22


Re: Headwaters

Joined:
2006/10/26 23:01
From Ohio
Posts: 657
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This is all very interesting.

A few more questions:

So does glaciation help neutralize acid by exposing more calcium/magnisium in the limestone to buffer the acid runoff?

How about acid rain....how big of a factor is this compared to AMD?

And as far as "headwaters" go.....would acidity...which in turn decreases the fertility and indirectly the dissolved oxygen (through decreased aquatic vegitation) be one of the big differences (besides temps) that headwater lakes in the NE US aren't a positive impact on trout like they are out west?

This all make me concerned that with a little glocal warming and a little alklinization that the brown trout invasion into brook trout streams may get a lot worse over the coming years.....

Posted on: 2007/6/27 18:14


Re: Headwaters

Joined:
2006/9/18 8:28
From Attitudinally, one mile south of Lake LeBoeuf
Posts: 855
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A few more questions:

>>So does glaciation help neutralize acid by exposing more calcium/magnisium in the limestone to buffer the acid runoff?>>

I'm far from a scientist, but I think one of the mechanisms at work here is that the deeper layers of topsoil along with gravel and fines found in glacial till or moraine allows for a longer subsurface percolation process and time for rain water in these watersheds. This in turn allows for a longer exposure cycle to, if not carbonate rock like limestone, then at least other materials with some neutralizing capacity. Contrast this with what has been often referred to as the "thin granitic soils" of the entire Appalachian region and Canadain Shield where soils are thin and bedrock is often exposed. In these places, rain water cycles through like "poop through a goose", very rapidly. Very little neutralization takes place and this is why, if I remember correctly, first order, higher altitude streams and ponds all along the Appalachian spine are the most vulnerable to the effects of acid precip.

>>How about acid rain....how big of a factor is this compared to AMD?>

Quantitatively, it's difficult to say because we really don't know what the longer term toll of acid precip will be. Although certainly, as it currently stands, much more water is degraded by AMD than by acid precip in PA and throughout the affected region. As a pollutant with a specific point source, AMD has certainly been much less of a political football if only because the relationship is very clear and can be seen. There was a helluva fight over acid precip for most of the 70's and much of the 80's and it was very political. The big break came when the National Wildlife Federation was able to actually "footprint" sulfate depositions falling in New England and track them back to a specific power plant in the Ohio Valley or maybe it was in the TVA system, I forget. In any event, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 passed by the Congress instituted an emissions capping and trading program for airborne sulfates and nitrates. My understanding is that after 10 or 11 years of being in place, rainfall PH is general has been stabilizing, but not necessarily rebounding to more alkaline levels. As a result, it is believed/theorized that the rate of acidification of vulnerable waterways has slowed in many places and stopped in others. Certainly, a lot more needs to be done in this area with additional emissions reductions. But, unless i have it all wrong, we may have bought a little more time, selectively here and there. In the meantime, the Canadians and others have been doing some interesting experiments with acid eating bacteria and whatnot and have actually reversed acidification in a few lakes. One of the things that the 1990 CAA Amendments authorized was a program known as NAPAP, an acronym for "National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program" which is a rolling 10 year program to monitor emissions and measure the effect of regs in reducing them and acid precip. NAPAP is administrated by EPA, I think with assistance from NOAA, DOE and a bunch of other agencies. Here is the 2005 NAPAP Report to Congress. Lots of good stuff to look at there:

http://www.cleartheair.org/documents/NAPAP_FINAL_print.pdf

>And as far as "headwaters" go.....would acidity...which in turn decreases the fertility and indirectly the dissolved oxygen (through decreased aquatic vegitation) be one of the big differences (besides temps) that headwater lakes in the NE US aren't a positive impact on trout like they are out west?>

I would think the biggest difference between eastern and western lakes in this regard would have to do with altitude and where the water comes from. I think it is largely a thermal difference. That's as much as I could speculate on that though. I'm already in over my head...:)

>>This all make me concerned that with a little glocal warming and a little alklinization that the brown trout invasion into brook trout streams may get a lot worse over the coming years.....>>

If the more dire predictions are even half right, the phase you speak of may be a very brief one on the way to no trout at all. In the larger view, I'm not too worried about the brown trout once again demonstrating his adaptive superiority...:)

Posted on: 2007/6/27 19:22



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