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Monongahela Forest Restoration

Notice: This project page is no longer being updated as of January 2023.

Healthy and diverse forests are more resilient to variations in the climate.

Some native plants have traits that make them more adaptable to changing climate conditions. Restoring soils can increase infiltration, recharge groundwater, and slow runoff. These changes help to make the forest and surrounding area more resilient during droughts, extreme temperatures, and intense rainfall. 

Areas within the Monongahela National Forest were mined for coal in the 1970s and 1980s. To reclaim the land after mining, trees and grasses were planted to stabilize slopes and control soil erosion. However, many of the species that were planted were non-native.  In addition, efforts to reshape the landscape to its original contour compacted the soil. Today, the U.S. Forest Service is working with partners to restore these areas and enhance their long-term resilience to climate change. These efforts will also help to improve the watershed, provide wildlife habitat, and restore native ecosystems. 

The U.S. Forest Service is partnering with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI). ARRI is dedicated to restoring forests on coal mined lands in the Eastern United States. Core Team members come from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) as well as a number of State agencies that regulate coal mining. In this project, the Forest Service and ARRI joined with Green Forests Work, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, and many other partners to make restoration a success.

Available resources from this tour:


Huttonsville, WV

Project Status



U.S. Forest Service, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science