Volunteers Needed for Big Coal River Tire Cleanup


ALUM CREEK, W.Va. – Volunteers are being sought to help clean up tires from the Big Coal River Oct. 5, 6 and 7 near Alum Creek. The tires will be loaded into boats and then taken downstream to a collection point on Sand Plant Road.

This isolated area became a dumping ground more than a decade ago when people starting throwing tires from a Corridor G bridge that crosses the river about two miles from the junction of the Big and Little Coal rivers at Alum Creek. It’s estimated that at least a thousand tires now litter that area. This is not only an eyesore, but creates issues for kayakers and other recreational boaters trying to navigate the stream.

The cleanup is organized by the Coal River Group, with participation from members of AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and any other volunteers who are willing to help with this difficult but worthwhile effort. The DEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) group will properly dispose of the tires pulled from the river. Volunteers are to meet at 11 a.m. each day of the cleanup at the Coal River Group Center in Tornado.

For more details about the cleanup and/or to volunteer to help, please contact the DEP’s Dennis Stottlemyer at 304-926-0441 or Dennis.O.Stottlemyer@wv.gov, or call the Coal River Group’s Rob Bratton at 304-722-3055.

This tire cleanup is part of a much larger effort to improve the Coal River Watershed. Over the last decade, the DEP has been working with the Coal River Group, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and West Virginia Conservation Agency on a multi-million-dollar project to restore the stream’s ability to move heavy sedimentation caused by decades of logging and mining activities, oil and gas exploration, construction and general population growth.

One phase of the project involved the installation of approximately 300 stream structures, constructed of natural materials such as boulders and logs, on 27 miles of the Little Coal from Madison to the river’s confluence with the Coal River. Another phase, involving the installation of such structures along an eight-mile stretch of the Coal below the confluence of the Big Coal and Little Coal rivers, is being evaluated and is anticipated to begin in 2016. These structures are designed to redirect the flow of water back to the center of the stream channel, increase bank stability, remove silt and create new fish habitat. The ultimate goal is to improve opportunities for recreation and tourism to boost economic development along the entire river corridor.

For more DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, be sure to connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about our REAP (Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan), West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia Watershed Improvement Branch, Youth Environmental Program and Human Resources initiatives, connect on Facebook. 


Kelley Gillenwater