Friday, July 24, 2015

West Meets East in Virginia Elk Herd

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (has honored the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for creating a positive impact on the industry by presenting the organization with its Civic and Environmental Partnership Award. The the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation used both funding and volunteer manpower as part of a collaborative effort to assist with the reintroduction of more than 100 elk on their native Virginia range.

What does elk reintroduction have to do with Mines, Minerals and Energy?

After stripping the top off of mountains to get coal, and pushing the slag into creek bottoms, thereby killing the creeks, the now-flat mine site is then skinned over with a layer of dirt and is then "haired over" with a layer of grass seed. A flat field at the top of a mountain is pretty perfect habitat for elk, and the presence of elk changes the story, which is something the coal mining industry is always desperate to do.

Water pollution, black lung, horrible mine safety, and damn few jobs created?

Disappeared mountains, air pollution, and all the profits shipped to New York City?

Let's not talk about that! Let's talk about the elk!

“Reclaimed coal surface mines, natural gas well locations and pipeline right of ways have created fragmented forests with grass-covered fields that now offer grazing habitats for the elk herds, along with shrubs and trees branches for wintertime grazing. This partnership has been successful and continues to bring rewards to the environmental restoration and civic awareness in Virginia.”

Notice that cutting down the forest is presented as a positive: creating fragmented forests. As if we needed any more of that!

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