The Effects of Deep-Ripping Reclamation on Abandoned Non-Coal Surface Mine Soils in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

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Since 2016, with the help of Kent State faculty and students, staff at Cuyahoga Valley National Park have been studying the effects of deep-ripping reclamation on abandoned non-coal mine sites within the park. The ultimate goal of this study and deep-ripping reclamation is to reforest the sites which otherwise have failed to support native tree growth post-abandonment. At 5 mine sites and 4 forested reference areas we have collected 205 ρbulk soil samples and 289 soil probe samples for grain size distribution analysis and have performed 66 infiltration rate measurements to determine Ksat. Soil textures encompass silt loams, loams, and sandy loams. ρbulk of the top 5 cm of soil is significantly higher in the mined sites than the forest areas, though values are not high enough to restrict root penetration. However, ρbulk samples at depth exceed root restriction values. Mine sites also have significantly slower Ksat values than reference areas. Deep-ripping reclamation was conducted at one site in September 2017. Near-surface bulk density samples and Ksat measurements were collected post-ripping. Deep-ripping did not appear to significantly alter ρbulk or Ksat. Deep-ripping reclamation was conducted at a second site in September 2018. Prior to deep-ripping we installed soil moisture sensors at two locations of different slope within the site: on a slope of 20.51% and a slope of 6.00%. Two sensors were installed at each location at depths of 20 and 50 cm to collect baseline soil moisture data for four months before they were removed for the deep-ripping. Post-ripping, three sensors were installed on the sloped portion of the site at a depth of 10 cm in rips running parallel and perpendicular to the slope and in a cross-rip. Two sensors were installed to a depth of 10 cm on the flat portion of the site: one in a cross-rip and one not in a rip. All five sensors continue to collect data and analyses of changes in moisture regimes are currently underway.