DOINews: OSMRE/VISTA Teams Highlight Most Recent Accomplishments for 2014

Last edited 09/05/2019

Each quarter, the award-winning OSMRE/VISTA Teams work hard to publish summaries highlighting their accomplishments to assist rural communities impoverished by environmental degradation and its consequences to make their home-place-watersheds healthier places to live and work.

To highlight their efforts, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has provided the following excerpts from both Team Summaries east and west (the Appalachian Coal Country Team and the Western Hardrock Watershed Team) for the third quarter of fiscal year 2014:

Group photo: OSMRE/VistaTeam - Spring 2014 - Appalachian Coal Country Team

The Appalachian Coal Country Team at the 2014 Spring VISTA Training in Beckley, W.Va.

Photo by Appalachian Coal Country Team.

Appalachian Coal Country Team
Focus: Promote Environmental Stewardship

Project: OSMRE/VISTA Takes Part in Opening Outdoor Classroom

OSMRE/VISTA Kathy Knotts was excited to play a part in the opening of a new outdoor classroom with the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable (Virginia). There has been funding available to restore abandoned operations, but there is no money available to reclaim mining related sites that weren't involved in the actual removal of the coal. Thanks to help from the community, the old Rand Osborne Coal Tipple Yard along the Powell River in Lee County, Virginia. has now become an outdoor classroom and community park.

A passing coal train is a reminder of better days for the industry as it passes Lee County's newest park. That coal history is not forgotten at the park, which is designed as an outdoor classroom. The transition from an old coal yard to environmental learning center has taken time and innovative ways of paying for it. "It took so many years to get the funding, but we finally got it. The actual project took almost going on four years to finish," said Carol Doss with the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable.

The project has been a total community effort, designed so that when families visit they learn about not only their surrounding environment, but the history behind it. There are 10 learning stations throughout the park.

Group photo : OSMRE-Vista Team - Spring 2014 - Western Hardrock Watershed Team
The Western Hardrock Watershed Team at the 2014 Spring VISTA Training in Mancos, Colo.

Photo by Western Hardrock Watershed Team.

Western Hardrock Watershed Team
Focus: Promote Environmental Stewardship
Project: Rio Puerco Alliance Holds Third Annual Cuba Cleanup

OSMRE/VISTA Sarah Meade, with the Rio Puerco Alliance or RPA in Albuquerque, N.M., worked with partners of the Cuba, N.M., community to facilitate the third annual Cuba Cleanup Day in June. This project was initiated by a community member several years ago, and has been an annual fixture of the RPA's OSMRE/VISTA project. Meade presented at a Cuba Village Council meeting about organizing this year's River Cleanup, but was then approached by a local father and his daughter about using the RPA's Bureau of Land Management funds to do a town-wide trash cleanup. This spurred the partnership of the RPA with these community members as well as many others in Cuba.

Meade wrote, “The outcry for this event and its continuation for years to come were clear from the start of my organizing as many community members stepped up and took on roles during the organizing and actual day of the Cuba Cleanup Day event. In our planning meetings, we spoke about the economic benefit that cleaning up Cuba would bring and that it would also inspire volunteers and passersby to get more involved in keeping Cuba trash free.”

The cleanup inspired dialogue around prevention of dumping, which is a major problem throughout the Rio Puerco Watershed. Meade will pass on event information and best planning practices to Cuba community members to ensure that cleanups and revitalization efforts continue in the hands of community members.

The Cuba Cleanup Day was on June 28, 2014, and about 65 volunteers came out. They filled a dumpster of trash (6080 lbs.), recycling (80 lbs.) and 72 tires, with partners from Step into Cuba, Imagine Youth, the City Council, and AMI Kids Sandoval.

Submitted by: T Allan Comp, Senior Program Analyst, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Sept. 12, 2014

Related Link:

OSMRE/Vista Initiative

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