Eric Merriam is a doctoral candidate in Forest Resource Sciences at West Virginia University (WVU). He received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology from Marshall University in West Virginia and received his master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources from WVU.
Merriam’s research focuses on the influence of mountaintop mining on aquatic systems in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. As a research collaborator with the West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI), he has presented his findings at WVWRI-sponsored state water conferences.
“What our research tries to do is to place coal mining, specifically mountaintop mining, within the context of other activities on the landscape and we try to get a holistic picture of how mining interacts with everything else,” said Merriam.
“Mining tends to occur where there is housing or residential development which, due to lack of infrastructure, can also have a negative impact on streams. The idea is to continue to mine but use the money that a coal company pays to mitigate the effects of mining towards things like