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DEP Grant To Revitalize Espy Run In Hanover Twp.

December 21, 2018

HANOVER TWP. — In the hills above Nanticoke, Espy Run starts its journey downstream.

The stream runs for about a mile before meeting Nanticoke Creek, which eventually empties in the Susquehanna River.

The run will be cleaner soon. A Department of Environmental Protection grant will help restore a 1,900-foot section of the waterway.

DEP awarded $500,000 to Earth Conservancy, a nonprofit organization in Ashley that reclaims and develops old coal mine land in the Wyoming Valley.

The grant will help pay for installation of “forested riparian buffers,” trees, shrubs and other vegetation next to streams that improve the ecosystem in creeks. The vegetation intercepts excess nutrients and sediments and prevents them from entering the water, and the trees and shrubs help in other ways, such as by creating a better habitat for life in the stream.

The work also includes stream bank stabilization, which prevents erosion and restores the flow of the creek that is being lost to underground mines.

When it is finished, the project will reduce the amount of acid mine drainage that flows into Espy Run and further downstream, according to a press release.

The work is part of an ongoing effort to restore the landscape from the aftereffects of coal mining in the region.

A passive wetlands treatment system is already in place on Espy Run. The wetlands include settling ponds and cattails, which help clean the stream of acid mine drainage. As the acid mine water moves through the settling ponds, the metal falls to the bottom in clumps, which can then be cleaned from the pond. The water that flows back out into Espy Creek is cleaner.

The grant is part of the Growing Greener program, which receives funding from landfill tipping fees.

Contact the writer:

bwellock@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2051, @CVBillW

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