Serious impacts of coal mining on stream dwellers

Coal mining is well known to have negative impacts on the quality of water in streams, and now new findings show that fish, invertebrates, and salamanders are badly affected by the resulting pollution. A synthesis demonstrated that animal numbers declined by more than half (53%), and species numbers declined by one third, in streams affected by coal mines. These impacts happened in spite of current federal statutes (the 1972 Clean Water Act and 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act), and persisted even after cleanup efforts post-mining. More stringent regulations are needed to keep streams clean and healthy in the presence of coal mining. The new research was conducted by Zingli Giam, SAFS professor Julian Olden, and Daniel Simberloff, and is published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Mountaintop coal mining in Kentucky, impacts on stream quality, and species affected by mining: spring salamander, blue-winged olive mayfly, diamond darter, tuxedo darter, and Kentucky arrow darter.
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