Project Location: The project area is located near Ore Knob, Ashe County, North Carolina in the northwest corner of the state. The site is 12 miles south of the Virginia state line, 45 miles southeast of Bristol, Tennessee and 60 miles northwest of Winston-Salem North Carolina. The proposed project site is within the South Fork of the New River Sub-Basin and in the Blue Ridge Province of the Appalachian Mountains.
Project Description: The project goal is to remediate a degraded aquatic ecosystem caused by discharges, seeps, and surface water run-off from an abandoned copper mine; providing significant aquatic improvements along 6 miles of Peak Creek and Little Peak Creek. Contaminants from the mine are received by Ore Knob Branch Creek, which discharges into Little Peak Creek, which discharges into Peak Creek, a tributary of the South Fork of the New River. The substrates of Ore Knob Branch and those sections of Little Peak Creek and Peak Creek that receive drainage from the mine site are extensively armored from metal precipitates. For nearly 3 miles from its confluence with Ore Knob Branch to the South Fork of the New River, Peak Creek is essentially biologically sterile. In addition, the South Fork of the New River is adversely affected for a distance of 0.5 miles. General concepts to achieve the desired aquatic ecosystem restoration involve diversion of discharges away from a highly contaminated tailings area where copper ore is processed; isolation of the tailings area to prevent harmful discharges; passive treatment of acid discharges; and vegetating spoil areas.
Points of Interest:
- Local Sponsor: North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
- Congressional District: Congressional District 10
- Authorization: Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (PL 104-3031)
- Project Stakeholders: North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources; downstream users of the water resources of the New River.
Project Status: A Preliminary Restoration Plan (PRP), which indicated a feasible project could potentially be identified for Ore Knob, has been approved. The Feasibility Report is complete and approved. Project construction is on hold due to lack of Federal funding.
Fiscal Year 2009 Activities (Oct 08 - Sep 09):
- Execute Project Cooperation Agreement
- Obtain real estate by local sponsor
- Initiate construction