Subsided Land is Home to Wildlife
Washington PA Observer Reporter
17 May 2012
By Scott Beveridge, Staff writer
PROSPERITY - Many people would have viewed pooling in a small
Morris Township stream and nearby depressions in the ground as
damages caused by longwall coal mining subsidence.
The state Game Commission and National Wild Turkey Federation saw
the situation as an opportunity to improve the area's habitat with
"We knew this was going to happen," said Doug Dunkerley, a Game
Commission regional supervisor, Wednesday while touring the
21/2-acre wetlands the commission created in 2009 following the
mining at Consol Energy's Enlow Fork Mine.
"There are so many positive things that can come from this. It's a
positive for everyone," Dunkerley said.
The Southpointe-based Consol hosted the tour to highlight the work
it does in partnership with the commission and Turkey Federation
through the Energy to Wildlife project. To date, Consol has
traded, donated or enrolled nearly 60,000 acres of property in the
region into the state's hunter access program, said Lynn Seay, the
company's media relations director.
The Energy to Wildlife project was begun a decade ago because the
Turkey Federation wanted to encourage electric companies to
improve the habitats in the vegetation they manage along their
rights of way along their transmission lines, said Jay Jordan, the
program's coordinator. It since has expanded to seek similar
opportunities on Marcellus Shale natural gas development sites and
in the coal industry, where a lot of land has been impacted by
industry, Jordan said.
At the wetlands along Craft Creek Road in Morris, the Game
Commission received 238 surrounding acres from Consol in a trade
for 55 acres elsewhere, Dunkerley said.
The company and commission knew a nearby small stream would back
up some and pool after the longwall operation caused the ground to
drop about 4 1/2 feet, he said. The rising creek caused the water
table to rise and fill with water nearby depressions in the
ground. Today, the wetlands provide an excellent breeding ground
for frogs and tadpoles, as well as insects that turkeys eat, he
"You'll see ducks, geese, bats," Dunkerley said. "You'll see more
wildlife here than you will most places."