One of the Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team’s core functions is to monitor waterways impacted by Abandoned Mine Drainage, a very prevalent form of pollution that resulted from the historic coal and steel industries. Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) often lowers the pH of water and coats stream beds with metal-laden sludge that devastates the diversity and abundance of aquatic life. Conservation organizations can effectively treat AMD before it enters streams; however, data are needed to design and then evaluate the effectiveness of AMD treatment systems. The Stream Team provides these data in cooperation with the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Volunteers are trained to collect water samples and field data according to DEP protocols from select sites, and the DEP’s Bureau of Laboratories analyzes the samples. Resulting data are stored in the DEP’s Sampling Information System and shared with the appropriate organizations to support restoration work. This service provides critical data to groups that may not have the staff, time, or expertise to gather data themselves. It has leveraged over $1 million in restoration grants and helped protect over $10 million worth of investments in AMD treatment systems.
For data management purposes, the Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin is divided into six sub-watersheds: Stonycreek River, Little Conemaugh River, Blacklick Creek, Loyalhanna Creek, Conemaugh River, and Kiskiminetas River. For a list of past and present monitoring points, click on the watershed of interest in the map shown (or the links provided below). Due to the volume of data and personal preferences in data management style, water quality data are now available by request. Contact Melissa Reckner, Stream Team Director, to request data. Additionally, water quality data for AMD treatment systems are posted on Datashed, an online repository of data pertinent to AMD treatment systems.