Coal companies are reluctant to include wetland development in reclamation plans partly due to a lack of information on the resulting characteristics of such sites. It is easier for coal companies to recreate terrestrial habitats than to attempt experimental methods and possibly face significant regulatory disapproval. Therefore, we studied a young (10 years) wetland on a reclaimed surface coal mine in southern Illinois so as to ascertain soil and water characteristics such that the site might serve as a model for wetland development on surface mines. Water pH was not measured because of equipment problems, but evidence (plant life, fish, herpetofauna) suggests suitable pH levels. Other water parameters (conductivity, salinity, alkalinity, chloride, copper, total hardness, iron, manganese, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, and sulfate) were measured, and only copper was seen in potentially high concentrations (but with no obvious toxic effects). Soil variables measured included pH, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, aluminum, iron, sulfate, chloride, and percent organic matter. Soils were slightly alkaline and most parameters fell within levels reported for other studies on both natural and manmade wetlands. Aluminum was high, but this might be indicative more of large amounts complexed with soils and therefore unavailable, than amounts actually accessible to plants. Organic matter was moderate, somewhat surprising given the age of the system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change