Pierce Run Subwatershed

Pierce Run is a 12.7 square mile subwatershed located within the Middle Basin of the Raccoon Creek Watershed in rural Southeast Ohio.  The subwatershed is located entirely within Vinton County in the Western Allegheny Plateau Ecoregion and is characterized by steep hillsides, narrow valleys, and flat open floodplains along the mainstem of Pierce Run.  The mainstem of Pierce Run flows from Northwest to Southeast along SR 160 for the majority of its 8.5 river miles.  Click on the map below to view a pdf version of the Pierce Run Subwatershed Map.

The subwatershed has been heavily coal mined and contains both abandoned surface and underground mines.  Land use in the subwatershed is mostly forested (69 %).  Other significant land uses according to 1994 Landsat data includes Ag/Open Area (19% - includes reclaimed surface mining), Barren 7% (includes active surface mining), Scrub 3% and Open Water 1%.  The USDA and the Scioto Land Company (Former Mead-Westvaco Corporation) cooperatively-managed 16,000 acre Raccoon Ecological Management Area, which is located partially within the subwatershed and consists of woodlands used for timber and forest research.  Ownership is mostly private and sparsely populated, with Scioto Land Company the largest landowner. The only village in the watershed is the town of Radcliff near the junction of SR 32 and SR 160, which is a remnant of a past mining town.  Waterloo Coal company also operates a large surface coal mine in the western headwaters portion of the watershed.  Based on land use and the Ohio EPA 1995 Technical Support Document silviculture and coal mining are the two dominant land uses affecting water quality within the basin.

Generalized bedrock is dominated by sandstones and shales with coal seams of economic interest including the Middle Kittanning and the Clarion.  The dominant soil classification in the subwatershed due to the hilly nature of the area is the Gilpin-Rarden-Germano series which is classified as moderately deep to very deep soils formed in residuum and colluvium from a sandstone or shale parent material. Mine Drainage at Oreton Seep