March 22, 2006

Reserved: Members of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, (ARRI), the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Office of Surface Mining presented the ARRI 2005 Excellence in Reforestation Award to Apogee Coal Company for their successful implementation of the Forestry Reclamation Approach on the Ruffner mine in Logan County. Students from Ralph R. Willis Vocational-Technical School were on hand to assist in a tree planting activity. Apogee Coal Company has reclaimed this 1,335 acre mountaintop removal mine site to a post mine land use of commercial woodland. Special care was taken to construct the best possible growth medium for forestry purposes with overburden materials on site. Compaction of the growth medium was minimized. This will help infiltration of rain water, reduce runoff, and improve productivity of the future forest. A tree compatible ground cover was established, and to date, over 700,000 commercially valuable, native hardwood seedlings have been planted. Tree species include red oak, white oak, chestnut oak, green ash, yellow poplar, sugar maple, red maple, black walnut and sycamore. The Ruffner mine is an example of industry, academia and regulators working together to reclaim mine sites to their most productive and beneficial uses for society.

Brad Edwards (OSM WV) planting a Red Oak with a student from local WV vocational school.