Watershed Group Makes Strides With Doser Project

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A conservation group is slowly but surely bringing life back to a polluted stream in Meigs County.

The stream is Leading Creek and the group is the Leading Creek Watershed Group.
The Leading Creek Group took a big restoration step recently with the construction of the Thomas Fork Doser Project.
"Dosers treat acid mine drainage by dosing the stream with a limestone product and that increases the PH of the stream," said Lisa Prince, an Americorps worker with Leading Creek.
"Acid mine drainage is a sulfuric acid.  It comes from mining, when you expose a rock called pyrate, the water reacts with the sulfur compounds and creates sulphuric acid.  It's so harmful because it lowers the PH of the water, and then fish
and other aquatic insects or vertebrates can't live in the streams."
Prince says the Thomas Fork Doser Project is Leading Creek's first acid mine drainage project.
"This doser specifically is just in Meigs County, it's on the Thomas Fork branch of the Leading Creek, so it treats the lower part of the Thomas Fork before it enters into Leading Creek," said Prince.
The project is located on property owned by the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District.
The creek being treated is the largest source of acidity and metals in the Leading Creek Watershed.
Prince says the doser has been in action since January, and already the group is seeing signs of improvement in the quality of life around the creek.
Leading Creek starts in Athens County and runs for about 30 miles through Meigs and Gallia counties before flowing into the Ohio River near Middleport.
It took a devastating blow in 1993 with what is commonly referred to as the Meigs Mine Disaster. 
An enormous quantity of polluted water was released when a mine wall collapsed and a large section of Leading Creek was devastated.
Fish and other water creatures were killed.  
The Watershed Group has been battling back with a variety of projects.
"We have a newsletter that we send out to hundreds of people. We also go into schools and do different environmental education things, like we're going to teach kids how pollution in water gets started. And we have a photo contest going on right now," said Prince.
Prince says education is an important part of their mission.
"It's always great to get children interested in the environment and once people are interested in watershed and different issues, then it decreases the problem," said Prince. "Especially when it comes to litter and we get more volunteers to
help these restoration efforts."
Reintroducing fish is another part of the effort.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Ohio State University helped with one fish release last fall.
Other releases are planned for this year.