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Pa. coal mine reclamation project will restore impaired watershed

A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection coal mine reclamation project will restore a coldwater fishery that has been damaged by acid mine drainage, according to local news reports.

The project aims to clean up the acid mine drainage from the Cooks Run Watershed in Sproul State Forest and its tributaries by excavating acid-forming materials from the former Fran Contracting mine and mixing them with alkaline materials to neutralize acidity, The (Lock Haven, Pa.) Express reported Aug. 3.

"Many anglers and other fans of the beautiful Sproul State Forest have waited a long time for this, and some have dedicated many hours of effort," the report quoted Patrick McDonnell, the DEP secretary, as saying. "[Gov. Tom Wolf's] administration is proud to be the fulcrum for significant progress on cleaning up the acid mine drainage that's degraded Cooks Run and its tributaries for more than 40 years."

The project is part of the government's Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Pilot Program, funded by $30 million from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and is the second of three projects required to restore the health of the watershed.