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Aerial Liming Underway in WV’s Monongahela Forest

leah kirk

West Virginia’s has renewed a decades-long battle to treated more than 50 streams in the highlands with limestone sand to help neutralize the effects of acid rain. These effort permit trout and other forms of aquatic life to survive and even thrive in waters in many otherwise sterile environments.

Limestone sand is being used by the Monongahela National Forest to treat acid-damaged soil in an experimental project where a helicopter is carrying four-ton bucket loads of limestone sand to these waters. Applying limestone on the ground improves the soil and the ability of a watershed to resist the effects of acid rain. The limestone sand is being spread over almost 800 locations on both sides of the Lower Williams River

The helicopter liming site is among the most acid-plagued locales in the Monongahela, although there are several areas even more severely damaged, including the Otter Creek Wilderness. Soils in this geologic formation are not resilient to the high level of acid rain inputs that the region has received over the last century.