ST. LOUIS, Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A flourishing watershed at Peabody Energy's Farmersburg Mine has earned one of Indiana's highest environmental honors. The Indiana Society of Mining and Reclamation recognized the mine team with the 2010 Indiana Excellence in Mining and Reclamation Award for Natural Stream Restoration at the organization's 24th annual Technology Transfer Seminar in Jasper, Ind.
The award honors the company's successful work to reconstruct a nearly 6,000-foot section of the West Fork Busseron Creek, in Sullivan County, Ind. Forrest Crowe, Environmental Engineer at Peabody Energy's Bear Run Mine in Indiana, also was recognized with the 2010 Vance "Pat" Wiram Award for innovation in land restoration.
"Watersheds are vital to the environmental health of any community, and the Peabody team's work at West Fork Busseron Creek is a model for the Midwest. The team restored a stream and floodplain that sustains wildlife, enhances water quality and provides excellent habitat for fish and other species," said Peabody Energy Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Eric Ford. "This recognition reinforces our enduring commitment to stewardship, innovation and sustainability."
Peabody employed state-of-the-art techniques in natural stream restoration, designing and constructing a stream channel that improves stability while providing essential biological habitat. Natural rock and wood materials promote in-stream stability, while an adjacent floodplain stores water during peak flow events. Construction was initiated in 2005. Since then, the creek has flourished amid multiple natural challenges, including nearly 15 inches of rainfall during a 24-hour period in 2008. Many local roads, levees and flood control structures failed at the time, but the stream required no repair.
The stream and watershed are improving water quality and contributing to a flourishing ecosystem. Similarly, the team's work to embed rock in the channel bottom and install structures including log vanes, root wads and large boulders created vital habitat. In many instances, the restored section of West Fork Busseron Creek is more stable and enjoys a higher density of aquatic life than in nearby sections of the stream that were not part of the mining operation.
"Modern coal mining and restoration is truly a sustainable process," said Mark Yingling, Peabody Energy's Vice President of Environment and Conservancy. "The prevalence of sensitive species in the restored West Fork Busseron Creek further demonstrates that mining is a temporary use of the land, and that energy resources can be recovered while creating superior post-mine habitat."
Peabody's Farmersburg Mine has previously been recognized for its prime farmland restoration and Good Neighbor practices by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The honor is the fourth major award Peabody received in 2010 for excellence in safety, environmental practices and social responsibility in Indiana. During the year, the company has earned more than a dozen environmental and safety honors nationwide while restoring nearly 3,700 acres of mined lands, often to a condition that is better than before mining occurred.
Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) is the world's largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in clean coal solutions. With 2009 sales of 244 million tons and $6 billion in revenues, Peabody fuels 10 percent of U.S. power and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.
Editor's note: Images depicting the project can be downloaded at PeabodyEnergy.com.
SOURCE Peabody Energy