LONG BRANCH

    By now, most everyone who drives the West Virginia Turnpike from Beckley to Charleston has probably noticed the older surface mine that you can see on the hill to the west just before entering the toll booth near Beckley as you travel towards Charleston.

    After the floods, we noticed that there was new mining there as well. We were able to drive up the tributaries, all the way to the bottom of the fills and sediment ponds. There was a fair amount of erosion along the way, as well as a large washout at the start of the creek.

    However, it was the erosion on the two large fills that was most startling.

Much of the new vegetation seemed to have washed off the left side of the fill. Nevertheless. this section of the mine was still operating. While we filmed, dump trucks and bulldozers dumped rocks in several areas.

    Perhaps because this is remining of an older mine, there was a network of several large sediment ponds with steep stone drainage channels. None appeared to have overflowed. However, further down the hill, the network of channels led to a large sediment pond, and erosion occurred on the banks of the roads leading to the pond. It appeared to be seeding material that may have washed off the fill and traveled at least half a mile before settling on the bank while the water rushed over the side and down the roads to the bottom of the valley.

The white material in the flattened grass is hydroseed.

    The side of another fill, about a mile from the one pictured above, had a huge gulley cut down the side from the storms.