West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed

Mine Drainage Remediation

Streams across the West Branch Susquehanna River (WBSR) watershed, which encompasses about 7,000 square miles in central Pennsylvania, are still polluted from abandoned mine drainage (AMD) from old coal mines. Cleaning up these impaired waters will cost millions of dollars, but these expenditures will provide a tremendous boost to the largely rural local economy. This report describes and quantifies the local and statewide economic benefits stemming from remediation of the WBSR watershed.

In a report by Downstream Strategies for Trout Unlimited and the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiate, a computer tool was use to estimate how expenditures on watershed improvements impact the local economy. By evaluating real economic data, Downstream Strategies considered the impact of the purchase of local goods and services. They considered how employee wages would be spent locally as well.

From the report: “Another way to consider this concept is that for every $1 of external funds spent on local AMD (abandoned mine drainage) remediation, local economies actually receive $1.36 to $1.87 in local economic activity in addition to healthy streams. In other words, the businesses and workers in the watershed not only gain economically from the cleaner, safer environment; they also receive wages and make purchases from regional businesses that amount to more than the remediation expenditures. New treatment systems create direct green-collar jobs to build and maintain the systems, as well as indirect jobs based on the cycled or multiplied spending of wages and the secondary purchase of necessary inputs.”

Learn more by reading the full report on the Downstream Strategies site: AMD Remediation of the West Branch of the Susquehanna