The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (BISO) is within the Cumberland Plateau area and straddles the Kentucky/ Tennessee state line. This region has been extensively mined for coal since the early 1900s and mining waste materials were typically dumped near the mines. Surface and ground water that comes in contact with mine spoils or that is discharged from the mines is often acidic and has elevated (toxic) concentrations of heavy metals. Contaminated mine drainage pollutes aquatic systems and is considered to be partly responsible for a reduction in biological diversity of lakes and streams in the Big South Fork area.
The National Park Service (NPS) developed mitigation and treatment systems for nine specific sites to a conceptual level during a prior environmental assessment (EA) effort. During that effort it was recommended that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared due to the scope and complexity of the project.
As a result, the NPS is now preparing a Contaminated Mine Drainage Mitigation and Treatment System Draft EIS. The Notice of Intent for the development of this document was published in the Federal Register on May 12, 2014. The purpose of this project is to address site specific contaminated mine drainage (CMD) remediation within the McCreary County, Kentucky portion of the park and to create a programmatic approach to considering future treatment options at former mining sites throughout the park. These actions will address the need to improve water quality in tributaries of the Big South Fork River. As part of this effort, the NPS will consider adjusting or refining the preliminary engineering plans to install mine drainage mitigation and treatment systems at the sites (those subject to detailed study in the earlier EA effort). A draft EIS has been prepared and is now presented to the public for review and comment, and will be followed by preparation and availability of the Final Contaminated Mine Drainage Mitigation and Treatment System EIS.
This draft EIS is available for public and agency review and comment from August 3 to September 17, 2018. The draft EIS will be available start August 3 through the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/BISOCMD/
. Limited copies may also be available upon request by contacting the park Superintendent. Public meetings will be held August 28 - 30, 2018.
August 28, 2018 - Oak Ridge, TN: Children's Museum of Oak Ridge, 4 - 6 pm Eastern
August 29, 2018 - Oneida, TN: Scott Count Visitor Center, 1 - 3 pm Eastern
August 30, 2018 - Stearns, KY: Stearns Ranger Station, 4 - 6 pm Eastern
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Blount, Chief of Resource Management, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, 4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, TN, 423-569-9778.