Powell River Project

Powell River Project

The Powell River Project is a cooperative program of Virginia Tech, other educational institutions and environmental organizations, and natural resource industries serving the southwest Virginia coalfield region. 


The Powell River Project conducts research and education programs to enhance environmental restoration and water-resource protection in coal mining areas.

Research Programs

Powell River Project research has focused on developing practical, cost-effective solutions to natural resource problems in central Appalachian coal mining areas. Topics addressed include mine soil construction, mined land reforestation, management of coal-related residual products, water resource management and protection, and related topics.

Education Programs

Powell River Project education programs disseminate the results of completed research, with the goal of putting research results into practice. A series of "how-to" publications, published by Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, describe practical results of completed research. Powell River Project researchers have also been major contributors to Forest Reclamation Advisory publications by the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative.

Powell River Project staff work with school teachers and students to demonstrate scientific concepts in the field at the Powell River Project Research and Education Center in Wise County, Virginia. This 1100-acre center, owned by the former PVR Partners LLC (now a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners), hosts active coal mining, gas and timber production, and former mines, as well as long-term research sites and field-based education programs that focus on coal mining and the environment.


Powell River Project, a unique public-private partnership, has produced many positive impacts since it's 1980 beginning; research has developed effective, cost-efficient mine reclamation and environmental protection practices that are helping the Appalachian coal industry remain competitive while protecting the environment, and over 50,000 people have participated in environmental education programs at the Education Center.


For further information on Powell River Project programs, contact Carl Zipper, Director - Powell River Project. Mail Code 0404. Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, Virginia 24061. (540) 231-9782. czip@vt.edu . For further information about Powell River Project Research and Education Center and activities in Virginia’s coalfield counties, contact Phil Meeks at the Wise County Extension Office near Wise, Virginia. by calling (276) 328-6194 or by e-mail at pmeeks@vt.edu


Persons wishing to obtain information about Powell River Project research may contact the above parties or the research leaders.


This page created and maintained by Carl Z
26 February 99