Southeast Kansas mining reclamation project raises some concerns - KOAM TV 7

Southeast Kansas mining reclamation project raises some concerns


Vicky Johnson believes in the mine pits of Southeast Kansas.

"They are the fishing, the hunting, they are the coal mining in our bloods," said Johnson.

The Cherokee County resident feels that the Dear Creek II reclamation project, a $3.5 million dollar fill endeavor in the works, will have a grave effect on the community, wildlife and tourism.

"Last year my husband and I went out and there was like 10 cars and campers and bicycles and boats."

On Monday, Johnson spoke at the Cherokee County commissioner meeting about her concerns over the project.

Officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment say that much of the mined land in the state poses safety risks. In particular, the site of Deer Creek II, which exists along Lawton Road and NW 100th street.

"It's the most hazardous site in the state of Kansas as far as past coal mining sites are concerned," said Murray Balk, Chief of Surface Mining Section, Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

According to Balk, the federal government mandates state officials to fix mined areas that are potentially dangerous.

David Jenkins, a Kansas wildlife manager, understands many are concerned over the fill project. He says the current state does not illustrate its potential. Once completed, the project will be replaced with 15 acres of wetland, a new pond basin and 130 acres of native grass.

"There is going to be better angler access and a better boat ramp installed also," said Jenkins.

"It takes patience," says Balk "It's going to look completely different in four to five years."

The project is scheduled to completed by the end of 2014.



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