Friday, May 25, 2012

Green Dragons along the Salt Fork

If you are out paddling this Memorial Day weekend, see if you can spot  a green dragon. They will not harm you, are not at all scary and are a thing of unique beauty.  Green Dragons (Arisaema dracontium)  are a  native perennial. They are  now out and blooming along the shady floodplains of the Salt Fork River. The plant is about three feet tall and will  have a naked white flower stalk.The one pictured here also has a small offshoot which is one way they spread.   Sometimes you get lucky and find a group of Green Dragons.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Coal Mining and the Salt Fork River

Sunrise Coal, of Terre Haute, Indiana, has been planning to develop a coal mine in an approximately 70 square mile area of Vermilion and Champaign counties, and over the past two years has been obtaining leases for mineral rights from landowners. Recent articles in both the News-Gazette and The Leader have reported that the Village of Homer is partnering with Sunrise Coal to provide the necessary water – both from wells and from the Salt Fork River - for coal operations.

Some of the wastewater from the coal extraction, crushing, and washing operations will apparently be deposited into the Salt Fork River basin. This has the potential for adding sediments and pollutants such as heavy metals and salts into waters now used for drinking water supplies, fish and wildlife habitat,and livestock watering.

This has raised concerns for ourselves and for neighbors, farmers, landowners, anglers, paddlers, scout activities at Camp Drake, and the ecological health of the river and adjoining riparian corridor. We are interested in bringing together the stakeholders of this region in an effort to have a full and transparent discussion. Hopefully, it would be possible to work together to voice shared concerns and obtain answers to open questions with a goal of identifying solutions that can ensure the vital life of the Salt Fork River and its watershed, as well as a sustainable future for our communities. For more information, see Stand Up to Coal and the links above