Sedimentation in and flooding of the West Branch Shade River and its tributaries have been major concerns of residents and State and local officials. The area was extensively surface mined for coal between the mid-1940's and the early 1960's. Reclamation efforts immediately after mining were unsuccessful. The results have been elevated sediment loads and the subsequent loss of channel conveyance.
Two sediment and stream-gaging stations were established on the West Branch Shade River and one station was established on the East Branch Shade River. These three stations will provide data to evalute the effectiveness of current reclamation activties on reducing sediment loads.
From June Through September 1983, suspended-sediment yield was 18 times higher in West Branch (218 tons/mi2) than East Branch (12 tons/mi2) Shade River. In addition, acidity is higher, pH is lower, and concentrations of dissolved sulfate and metals are higher in the West Branch Shade River basin than in the East Branch Shade river basins.