Baseline Condition Survey: Weogufka Creek, Alabama

A mining company has a claim along the Weogufka Creek and needed to document baseline conditions prior to the mine opening. Many times this type of baseline documentation takes the form of a few transects near the project site and spot surveys at access locations in the larger area. Using traditional methods, the access points were too few and far between in this remote location to gain reliable data. This lack of access to appropriate sites would have made it difficult to pinpoint any direct impact on the creek due to the mining practices. In only one day, the HDSS techniques were used to collect a fully integrated suite of stream and streambank metrics for 17 miles of Weogufka Creek around the project location. Now regulators and the mining company can see any future direct impacts from the mining operation and work quickly and effectively to remedy any negative problems that may arise. An additional benefit arose from using the HDSS approach in that the survey video forms a highly useful archive of the conditions when the mining company first began operations. Over time, as other development occurs within this stream reach, impacts such as increased sedimentation resulting from bank clearing by farmers or homeowners will not be attributed to the mining operation by default as the largest project in the area. The geo-video survey allows site-specific impacts to be separated from cumulative impacts associated with general on-going development.