GARRETT COUNTY (WJZ) — After years of restoration efforts, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that the native brook trout had returned to once uninhabitable streams.

Crews spent the past few decades restoring the Casselman River watershed in Garrett County after it spent nearly fifty years being polluted by abandoned coal mines in the area.

The chemical pollutants nearly wiped out the population of brook trout in some parts of the Casselman River. prompting a partnership between the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Youghiogheny River Watershed Association.

The groups chose 15 sites for the restoration project where limestone treatment systems were built to enhance and improve water quality.

Freshwater biologists sampling several streams in the Casselman River watershed saw that over the summer, several streams in Savage River State Forest that were previously fishless due to acidic conditions now support brook trout populations.

Alexander Run, Tarkiln Run, and the upper parts of Big Laurel Run all now support native populations of more than 1,000 trout per mile.

The state will continue to restore the stream and monitor native brook trout populations in the area.

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