Dysart Woods in jeopardy:
Movement arises to save ancient
Over the last 200 years, Ohio lost 99.996 percent of its original
old-growth forest that once covered 95 percent of Ohio to logging, coal
mining and development. Dysart Woods is among the remaining .004
percent of the original old-growth forest left in Ohio.
But Ohio Valley Coal Company (OVCC) has a pending permit to mine
directly underneath Dysart Woods.
Meanwhile citizens have formed Dysart Defenders to mobilize a
grassroots defense of Dysart Woods.
Dysart Defenders is a statewide organization devoted to the preservation
of the 4,170 acre watershed buffer zone from all types of mining.
Dysart Defenders is working on many fronts to protect Dysart Woods.
Lands Unsuitable Petition appeal
Dysart Defenders appealed the Lands Unsuitable Petition Decision
that was filed to form a buffer zone protecting Dysart Woods from mining.
The Lands Unsuitable Petition was filed by the Buckeye Forest Council and
Ohio University. But the Ohio Division of Mines and Reclamations
(ODMR), which regulates coal mining in Ohio, has said that it would not
forbid mining even directly underneath Dysart Woods.
Dysart Defenders' appeal requests that no mining be allowed within
the full 4,170 acre watershed buffer zone of Dysart Woods. Dysart
Defenders has filed about a dozen motions and attended two hearings and
a full-day deposition to keep the appeal alive. After an intensive
search, Dysart Defenders secured a probono lawyer, John Sproat of Columbus
to represent the organization.
Dysart Defenders has also filed to block the issuance of OVCC
permit D 0360-9 to mine directly underneath Dysart Woods, asking that it
should be delayed until the appeal of the Lands Unsuitable Petition is
OVCC violations of law
And Dysart Defenders worked to investigate and publicize OVCC's
violation of Ohio law when the coal company began destroying a valley before
it received the permits it had filed for with the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and ODMR. OVCC was issued notices of violation
by the EPA and the ODMR, but the agencies have yet to announce what the
punishment for Ohio Valley Coal Company will be.
The permits are for an extension onto a 500+ acre polluted nightmare
to fill a formerly forested valley with about 300 feet of polluted waste
coal that OVCC wants to dig from under Dysart Woods.
The site is already contaminating Captina Creek, one of the few
creeks left in Ohio that are designated exceptional warm water habitat
by the EPA. Dysart Defenders intends to appeal the permits if they
are past by the EPA and ODMR.
Delineating the old-growth forest
Dysart Woods is a 455-acre nature preserve owned by Ohio University
that has been designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department
of Interior. But OVCC claims there is only 55 acres of old-growth
forest. In fact, there are old-growth trees and forest throughout
the 455 acre preserve, making the entire area important to save.
But the ODMR will currently only consider saving those areas that have
been officially designated. Dysart Defenders is lobbying OU and the
ODMR to protect the full 455 acres that has all been designated a National
Citizen help is desperately needed
A relatively small group of people have done a tremendous amount
in the effort to save Dysart Woods. We need more Dysart Defenders
organizing, publicizing and donating if we are to save the last ancient
forest of its type in Ohio. Dysart Woods is truly an amazing forest,
representing the last benchmark to show what the entire southeastern third
of Ohio once was like.
Ecologically, Dysart Woods is among the most endangered ecosystem
in the world according to a 1995 report by Reed Noss of the U.S. Department
Funds are needed to get depositions and expert witnesses for the
appeal before the Ohio Reclamation Commission. Thousands of dollars
are needed to have an adequate hearing. Ohio Valley Coal Company
is spending millions of dollars to get permission to mine under Dysart
Please donate to Dysart Defenders and help in this critical cause.
We must save this ancient forest into the next millennium and beyond.
It is among the only places in Ohio with 100 percent native species.
Checks can be made to "Dysart Defenders" and mailed to P.O. Box 31, Athens
Dysart Defenders membership Please become a Dysart Defenders member.
Though contributions are not necessary for membership, please consider
donating to help defray costs:
Grassroots $5 _______
Supporter $25 _______
Dysart Defender $100 _______
Ancient Oak $500 _______
see our web site for more information: