Jun 20, 2008

Science Team Contemplates River Restoration Project

Members seek to improve water quality through erosion control, dam removal

Portions of the South River in Waynesboro, W.Va., may soon get a much-needed facelift. The South River Science Team (SRST) is considering a plan to restore eroded riverbanks and remove obsolete dams to improve water quality and aquatic habitats, especially by alleviating mercury pollution."The section of riverbank that we're targeting for the restoration is upstream of Rockfish Run," said Mike Liberati, SRST member and project director for DuPont's Corporate Remediation Group. "It's an example of a riverbank that, because of erosion, introduces mud into the river. One of the South River Science Team's leading hypotheses for ongoing sources of mercury in the system is from eroding banks, so we not only have mud coming off the banks but potentially have mud containing mercury coming off the banks.""I would expect that the bank will have more of a natural contour rather than a cliff-like exposure, and vegetation established to keep it from eroding," Liberati said of the design-stage Bank Restoration Pilot Project. He added that dam removal will help prevent the warming of water temperatures, which can threaten downstream trout.