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Restoring shores impacted by colliery spoil dumping

Lookup NU author(s): Natalie Barnes, Professor Christopher Frid


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1. Areas of the Northumberland and County Durham (UK) coasts have been used for colliery spoil dumping for around 100 years. Recent mine closures have opened the way for restoration of these highly degraded sites. 2. Faunal and sediment core samples were taken from low water neap tide level at six sites ranging between a contemporary dump site, undumped controls and sites not dumped on for between 3 and 41 years. 3. MDS ordination of the community composition of the study sites identified distinct variation between impacted and non-impacted sites and various degrees of recovery at former dump sites. PCA of particle size distribution, and coal and organic carbon content of the sediment, at each site indicated that the dumping of colliery spoil was an important factor determining community composition, rather than the presence of coal per se. 4. Recovery at a site not dumped on for 28 years showed that recovery does occur and suggests that it can be accelerated by the removal or consolidation of the waste. However, one post-impact site showed similarities to the impacted sites even more than 40 years after dumping ceased. This suggests slow natural recovery rates. 5. Restoration of former disposal sites is therefore dependent on the replacement of coal by natural particles. Natural recovery of the shore occurs over decadal time scales on the north-east coast of England. Restoration in a shorter time frame would require active manipulation of the sediments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barnes N, Frid CLJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Year: 1999

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Pages: 75-82

Print publication date: 01/01/1999

ISSN (print): 1052-7613

ISSN (electronic): 1099-0755

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0755(199901/02)9:1<75::AID-AQC325>3.0.CO;2-Z


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