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Billions of dollars of reclamation work remains to be done at abandoned mine lands across much of West Virginia, as well as eastern Ohio and southwestern Virginia. Congress is considering authorizing an appropriation of billions of dollars of reclamation funding, which will be spent over the next 15 years. This bill represents a massive investment in coal country workers. In West Virginia, this bill will result in approximately 1, jobs that continue for 15 years, while in Ohio and Virginia it will result in approximately and jobs, respectively.
The Central Appalachian Mine Reforestation Assessment tool uses satellite imagery and a new mathematical model to monitor and characterize the state of reclamation and the growth of trees and other vegetation on surface coal mines in Central Appalachia from to the present.
The data set and tool will help regulators, researchers and the general public understand the current level of mining and surface mine cleanup in the region. The report includes links to a webmap, GIS data and algorithms used in the creation of the model. This report is deed as a roadmap to help Smithers and Montgomery develop their community capacity for tourism so that they will be prepared to take advantage of new market opportunities in the outdoor economy.
It features detailed startup scenarios for two business opportunities, as well as detailed next steps, recommendations, and a checklist to guide local leaders in launching their nascent tourism economy. Energy codes are widely used building codes that reduce energy use by regulating the de and components of buildings, such as heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation, wall insulation, windows, and lighting. The West Virginia Legislature updated the state energy code for residential buildings in and the energy code for commercial buildings in ; however, only a handful of West Virginia cities and counties have adopted and currently enforce these energy codes.
Energy codes promote good building practices and safeguard both occupant and building health by preventing dangerous conditions caused by poor moisture and air control, such as mold growth, structural rot, air contamination, and the spread of smoke and fire. Additionally, they have the potential to save West Virginians thousands of dollars if their city or county adopts and enforces state building energy codes.
The report was funded by the U. This third report from the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition outlines innovative projects that would transform abandoned coal mine lands in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, and beyond into sites of sustainable community and economic development. This new mode of mine land reclamation and reuse adheres to a progressive set of best practices that meet criteria established by the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition, called Innovative Mine Reclamation.
This replaces the stale strategies of the past with site-specific, community-minded, and sustainable approaches for vibrant end uses that will yield economic and environmental benefits for years to come. T his report also introduces a new Coalition initiative in the form of a mini-grant program, and highlights recipients from Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Kentucky. Of all the infrastructure sectors—water, transportation, and others—water is the most fundamental to life. People need clean water in their homes to cook, drink, and bathe.
Farms in many regions cannot grow crops without irrigation. Government offices, hospitals, restaurants, and other commercial establishments cannot operate without plentiful, clean water.
And many industries—food and chemical manufacturing and coal-fired power plants, for example—could not operate without clean water that is a component of finished products or that is used for industrial processes or cooling. In addition to water supply, wastewater treatment and stormwater management are critically important. Without effective wastewater treatment, bacteria-laden water would pollute rivers and lakes, leading to public health emergencies downstream.
And without proper stormwater systems, overflows of raw sewage and flooding would occur more frequently, and homes and businesses would be damaged as stormwater from one property flows quickly to others. This report estimates future water infrastructure capital and operations and maintenance needs and spending through Across Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and beyond, people are coming together to reimagine a future in which their communities shift away from fossil fuel—based economies in favor of more resilient, sustainable industries.
Four organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania that are affiliated with the greater ReImagine Appalachia Initiative have developed nascent ideas for sustainable development in their communities. To help propel these ideas into fully fundable concepts, Downstream Strategies was contracted to develop a guide and toolkit for estimating the economic benefits of sustainable development projects.
The uneven distribution of clean energy projects across the country means that the environmental and health impacts of flipping on the lights are starkly different depending on where in the country you live. By shifting the focus of corporate investments in renewable energy to regions of the country with disproportionately carbon-intense electricity production i. This report is the first in a planned series of county-level plans for the Mountaineer Trail Network. Focused on Preston County, it pilots a custom planning methodology developed by Downstream Strategies staff for counties within the Mountaineer Trail Network.
Deed as a tool for leveraging trail-based tourism development, this plan catalogs existing assets and highlights key opportunities for trail and tourism infrastructure development in Preston County. As such, the document serves as a stand-alone planning tool for Preston County stakeholders to guide local trail and tourism development efforts already underway.
It is also a critical first piece of what will become a greater Network-wide master plan. As such natural assets become increasingly well suited for current market opportunities, Downstream Strategies conducted a comprehensive economic impact study for proposed trail development in Summers County, specifically that of the Great Eastern Trail and Mary Ingles Trail. This report examines trends in recreation economy, user demographics, existing tourism infrastructure, and economic impacts of both construction and use of the completed trails, and provides practical implementation recommendations.
This report, the second of two companion reports, explores two interrelated ways to spur new investment in solar arrays on former surface mines in West Virginia: pilot projects and new policies. Successful pilot projects will help demonstrate feasibility and provide a roadmap for new policies, and new policies will help accelerate the development of additional projects. West Virginia has potential to capitalize on an economic opportunity that will generate energy, jobs, and tax revenues: solar development. This is the first of two companion reports that provide a roadmap for facilitating solar development on mined lands in West Virginia.
This report discusses the drivers of solar development across the region and identifies the benefits that states already pursuing solar development are receiving. As the cost of distributed energy resources has plummeted in recent years, more West Virginia communities, families, businesses, and tax-exempt institutions schools, churches, nonprofit organizations, and local governments want to take advantage of these energy options.
Power Purchase Agreements PPAs are a widely available method to finance distributed energy generation projects. Downstream Strategies created a six-part series of toolkits for the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts. The toolkits feature topics including:. This second report from the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition outlines 19 innovative projects that would transform abandoned coal mine lands in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia into sites of sustainable community and economic development through ventures specific to the culture, skills, and geography of the Central Appalachian region.
Sectors covered include agriculture, reusable materials management, ecotourism, renewable energy, and an array of other projects that can be adapted and replicated across the region. This report highlights opportunities and marketing strategies that could help Richwood capitalize on mountain bike tourism. Specifically, this document provides: a brief profile of the mountain bike user group; an overview of existing trail resources in Richwood, nearby mountain biking destinations, and upcoming opportunities that may expand the presence of mountain biking in the region; recommendations to help Richwood business owners market specifically to mountain bikers; and examples of other rural communities that have used mountain biking to spur local economic development.
Downstream Strategies conducted research and analysis on community development trends in West Virginia over the last decade for the West Virginia Community Development Hub. Much of this research, including survey and community best practices, is shared through this preliminary report published by the Hub. It documents the failure of erosion and sedimentation controls leading to sedimentation in waterways, as well as the contamination of streams and wetlands from spilled drilling fluid during horizontal directional drilling. The report also offers recommendations for improving regulation and oversight, best management practice de and implementation, and construction techniques for large-scale pipeline projects.
As part of a U. It also includes specific recommendations and an Implementation Guide to assist City administrators, developers, and other stakeholders in capitalizing on the market opportunities in the Friendly City. Through this grant-funded project, the team prioritized 10 potential sites for green infrastructure improvements and create conceptual des for each, created detailed des and cost estimates for the three highest-priority sites, and developed educational materials to engage the public and secure broad support for green infrastructure solutions within the community.
Appalachia is in a moment of profound change. As the region struggles to build a new economy amidst the decline of the coal industry, communities are looking to develop innovative economic solutions that are specific to the context and problems of this place. Over the course of this project, the project team facilitated community meetings and stakeholder interviews, researched various policies and strategies, and surveyed over blighted, abandoned, and dilapidated buildings through an online survey app for smartphones created by our staff.
Downstream Strategies led a multi-agency team in creating this landmark analysis of the challenges and opportunities in niche meat production in the tri-state region of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. Through this project, our team collected data through an extensive survey and interview process that reached three distinct audiences in three states: producers, meat processors, and retailers. We then combined the analysis of these surveys and interviews with national and state-level data to spotlight specific market opportunities in the tri-state meat sector.
The final deliverable included a comprehensive report with appendices including mini-business plans, business concepts, and example farmer survey questions. Recent projects have focused on understanding the potential of gasification to reduce the amount of municipal solid waste MSW sent to landfills.
here. This report explores current and future opportunities for tourism business development in Hinton, West Virginia.
This report explores current and future opportunities for tourism business development in Matewan, West Virginia. This report explores current and future opportunities for tourism business development in Richwood, West Virginia. This report explores current and future opportunities for tourism business development in Whitesville, West Virginia. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill focused the attention of the Gulf states and the nation on the ongoing problems in the Gulf of Mexico. In the years since, multiple restoration plans have been developed with the goal of guiding restoration and conservation decisions in the Gulf of Mexico and the lands along its coastline.
This report and accompanying story map analyze those plans, maps restoration priorities across the Gulf, and then compares the findings to the BP-related money that has been distributed to date.
This report assesses threats and likely impacts to underground sources of drinking water in Virginia during the construction and operation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline that, as proposed, would cross 18 counties and two cities within Virginia. Specifically, this report focuses on threats to private drinking water wells and springs. Specifically, this report focuses on erosion and sedimentation threats, as well as threats to drinking water supplies for cities like Norfolk and Roanoke, trout streams, minority communities like Emporia and Franklin, the Chesapeake Bay, and wetlands like the Great Dismal Swamp.
This report discusses impacts from Mountain Valley Pipeline stream crossings under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Sedimentation from pipeline construction is likely to impact important aquatic species, drinking water intakes, recreation, and wetlands.
VMRC issues permits for subaqueous activities in streams with a drainage basin of greater than five square miles, or a mean annual flow greater than five cubic feet per second. Recent public and private interest in the sustainable redevelopment of degraded land in West Virginia is unprecedented. This story map serves as a resource to empower decision makers, property owners, and economic development practitioners to better understand the landscape of degraded spaces and maximize the environmental and economic returns of projects on these sites.
In Southwest Virginia, a group of nonprofit and community action agencies, colleges, state agencies, planning district commissions, and other interested citizens and businesses are seeking to develop a solar energy industry cluster in the seven coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia. Development of some or all aspects of the solar industry value—chain—from component manufacturing and sales to engineering and installation—will not only grow the local economy, but also provide new businesses with abundant, redundant, and renewable energy.
Understanding this potential economic boon provides lawmakers and energy industry officials in the region a powerful leverage point for scaling up a diverse renewable energy sector. In the past decade, natural gas drilling and extraction from the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia has grown rapidly. In this study, we explore whether gas production has become more common near places essential for everyday life in West Virginia, increasing the potential for human exposure to contaminants associated with drilling and natural gas extraction. We also characterize the toxicity of a set of chemicals used to frack wells near sensitive populations to better understand the potential for harmful exposures.
This guide provides information to utilities and watershed groups about source water protection plans and watershed-based plans and encourages potential collaborations between these entities to achieve similar goals.
It also provides recommendations for public involvement in the implementation of both types of plans. Case studies of watersheds with both source water protection plans and watershed-based plans are included to highlight similarities and opportunities for collaboration. In recent years, natural gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within the Marcellus Shale has been expanding in West Virginia. Natural gas extraction and associated infrastructure impacts the environment and people living nearby.
Before construction can occur, companies must apply for permits deed to protect the environment. This guide describes five permits required by the State of West Virginia and explains opportunities for citizens to get involved during the permitting process. This report examines the opportunities for large-scale solar development on these sites. The authors also explore the environmental and economic impacts of this type of development in the Mountain State.
This project was the first phase in an investigation into the feasibility of these technologies to reduce the volume of solid waste flowing from Monongalia County into landfills. While polluted drinking water can harm any person, pregnant women and babies are particularly sensitive to certain pollutants. Downstream Strategies, with close coordination with Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office biologists, developed smart, effective conservation targets for Lake Superior Basin brook trout. The team refined maps of known brook trout populations, measured the quality of habitat, quantified stress on fish populations, and projected how habitat might be degraded or improved as climate change occurs.
This information, in turn, was used to home in on locations or watersheds within the basin where conservation and restoration activities will offer the greatest value per effort. The result was a comprehensive approach to brook trout conservation, embodied within multiple conservation scenarios, each of which takes into consideration a unique set of factors to identify ideal locations for specific conservation practices. Additionally, as part of the extensive data development for this project, Downstream Strategies created a basin-wide network of stream segment accessibility to Lake Superior.
The accessibility measure was used in coordination with other brook trout habitat and population metrics to find the highest priority restoration and protection priorities across the Lake Superior Basin. The RECLAIM Act is focused on reclaiming abandoned mine lands to put them back into productive use, and it offers a vehicle by which communities and entrepreneurs can work to revitalize the economy of the Appalachian region.
We worked closely with community members and local officials to identify sites and projects that stand to benefit from these monies and together we compiled information, facilitated connections between key players, and provided support, all in the name of pushing forward marquee economic development projects.
This report describes these projects in detail and lays the foundation for ground-up economic redevelopment by the residents of Southwest Virginia. This report provides information concerning risks, potential impacts, and other water supply issues related to pipeline development. It details methods for establishing baseline information on water quantity and quality, long-term monitoring to detect change, collection of data that will be needed to hold pipeline developers responsible for harm to water supplies, as well as laboratories and consultants that can conduct monitoring and perform analyses.
The Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance commissioned this report for landowners and water providers concerned about the potential impacts of pipeline development on water supplies. The town of Grantsville, Maryland is poised for growth. It boasts numerous national and state historic places, proximity to roadways, a discovery center, a state park, a new art district deation, and heritage-based events. Our planning process included a synthesis of existing plans and efforts and used this information to lead several stakeholder meetings and de charrettes.
The U. Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants in For many years, both private and government forecasts have predicted sharp declines in Central Appalachian and West Virginia coal production. In recent years, these declines have occurred, largely as predicted, and southern West Virginia has been hit particularly hard.
Headlines tell stories of miners losing their jobs, mines closing, companies filing for bankruptcy, and decreases in severance tax revenues—all of which have ificant impacts on local economies. At the state level, the governor of West Virginia announced a 4 percent across-the-board budget cut indue primarily to declines in coal severance tax revenues.
In this white paper, we present five key charts that update the story of the decline of Central Appalachian coal, with a particular focus on West Virginia. Downstream Strategies created predictive models for estuarine areas and performed aquatic habitat assessments for the Northeast United States. This document describes the process used to create the modeling framework, provides details of the habitat assessments, and discusses the lessons learned that may aid future, similar efforts. This report analyzes the potential uses and benefits of a new coal severance tax in Illinois.
Information and lessons taken from other states are used to project the amount of revenue that could be generated for Illinois from a coal severance tax and to model how the resulting revenues might be distributed. We propose a tax model for Illinois that would maximize benefits for both state and local governments while also financing a permanent mineral trust fund. identify communities in West Virginia that show high probability for success in ongoing and future local food development efforts and includes a case study of how a new strategy for local food consortia could work.Coal city WV sexy women
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Coal City, West Virginia