The Shamokin Creek Watershed is located in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania and experiences significant consequences from the rise and fall of coal mining in the area. The economy and environment saw downturns in the region, with the latter specifically seen through acid mine drainage: a chemical reaction that occurs between water and mining waste that can leak into nearby waterways. This has negatively impacted the Shamokin Creek and its surrounding tributaries, and the mining history has residual consequences on the socioeconomic status of the area as well. Through the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation Summer Environmental Internship and Bucknell’s Center for Sustainability & the Environment, a partnership with the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance (SCRA) was established to use GIS to visualize and analyze socioeconomic data, potential mining factors, and water chemistry data related to acid mine drainage and mining legacy in the Shamokin Creek watershed.
Data collection and visualization of socioeconomic data demonstrates the areas near AMD discharge points to have markedly higher rates of household poverty, vacancy, and disability while having lower median incomes and education rates compared to state averages and even nearby towns.
Mining factors that could influence acid mine drainage were mapped including the general mining region, mine slopes, drifts, and shafts, mine spoils, and boreholes. These were presented along with nearby streams and showed hundreds of locations where water could be entering mines to react with mine waste and be discharged as acid mine drainage into the Shamokin Creek watershed.
Mapped water chemistry data at discharge locations and stream locations identifies the chemical composition of each discharge and how it has impacted the creeks and streams that make up the watershed. AMD discharge chemistry can guide optimal treatment processes. Various stream samples in the maps are not compliant with PA’s water quality standards for pH, iron concentration, and aluminum concentrations.
This report includes a total of 35 maps.
Funded by the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation Summer Environmental Internship and Bucknell’s Center for Sustainability & the Environment.
acid mine drainage, environmental justice, GIS, geography, mining
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Coal Region Field Station
Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment Commons, Environmental Monitoring Commons, Environmental Studies Commons, Geochemistry Commons, Geographic Information Sciences Commons, Human Geography Commons, Hydrology Commons, Nature and Society Relations Commons, Oil, Gas, and Energy Commons, Physical and Environmental Geography Commons, Spatial Science Commons, Water Resource Management Commons