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Welcome to the Office of Mine Reclamation

About Us

The Office of Mine Reclamation (OMR)

In 1991, following significant revisions to the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (SMARA), the Office of Mine Reclamation was created to provide a measure of oversight for local governments as they administer SMARA within their respective jurisdictions.  To accomplish this goal, the Office of Mine Reclamation may provide comments to lead agencies on a mining operation’s reclamation plan and financial assurance and may initiate compliance actions that encourage SMARA compliance.  While the primary focus is on existing mining operations and the return of those mined lands to a usable and safe condition, issues relating to abandoned legacy mines are addressed through the Abandoned Mine Lands program.

What's New

Rollout of Lead Agency Review and Assistance Program

The Department of Conservation's Office of Mine Reclamation (OMR) is pleased to announce three upcoming public workshops for Lead Agencies responsible for administering the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (SMARA).

In 2006 the Department of Conservation's Office of Mine Reclamation established the Lead Agency Review Team (LART) to assist lead agency's with meeting their responsibilities under SMARA. From 2007 to 2012, 47 out of 112 lead agencies were reviewed under the LART program. Following a review and evaluation of the six-year LART program, OMR has made a number of changes to the lead agency review process. The proposed changes to the Lead Agency Review and Assistance (LARA) program will be discussed at three separate workshops throughout the State. LARA workshops will be held on December 15, 2015 in Redding, on December 16 in San Luis Obispo, and on January 8, 2016 in Orange County.

The revised lead agency review and assistance program will cover a variety of topics related to the new LARA program and we welcome your participation and input on the revised program. Some of the topics will include:

  • When, why and how lead agencies are selected for review
  • Performance review and expectations
  • Review procedures and coordination
  • Mine inspection process review
  • Development of report findings
  • Consultations on initial report and preparation of final reports

Please visit the workshops​ webpage for more details about the three half-day workshops and registration or contact Bret Koehler at or at (916) 916-323-9198.

New Statement of Responsibility Form

In an effort to assist lead agencies and mine operators to comply with SMARA section 2772(c)(10), requiring the submittal of a statement of responsibility (SOR) with a reclamation plan and also when a new mine site operator is going to assume legal and operational responsibility for an existing mine, the Office of Mine Reclamation has developed a convenient Statement of Responsibility Form.  This specific form is not required, but is recommended by OMR. 

Mining Operation Annual Report Requirements and Reporting Fee Update

A courtesy notice was sent on April 24th, 2015, to all Owners of Mining Operations regarding the SMARA requirement to submit your 2014 Mining Operation Annual Report (MRRC-2) and Reporting Fee to the Department of Conservation by July 1, 2015 deadline.  For your ease of access and use, beginning April 24, 2015, the 2014 Annual Report Form and instructions will be available electronically in a “fill and print” version on the Forms section of OMR’s website.

Mine Reclamation Nuggets - Technical Notes and News Bulletins
OMR’s website now contains Technical Notes and News Bulletins.  These Notes and Bulletins replace the SMARA Update newsletter providing a more timely and accessible source of information on SMARA and abandoned mines.  The notes and bulletins will be posted and archived on a frequent basis.  Notes, Bulletins, and old SMARA newsletter articles, will be indexed for easy reference.  Please check the Mine Reclamation Nuggets page frequently for answers to common SMARA and abandoned mines questions and related news.

SMARA Reclamation Plan Submittal Procedure

Under the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (SMARA) Section 2774 (c), local lead agencies are required to submit reclamation plans and plan amendments to the Director of the Department of Conservation (i.e., OMR) for review prior to approving such documents. However, OMR often receives submittals that are incomplete or inadequate, resulting in delays to the review process. The SMARA Reclamation Plan Submittal Procedure page addresses the types of supporting documentation that should be included with a submittal, and the minimum standards under state law regarding the preparation of documents by qualified professionals.

SMARA Lead Agency Inspection Notice Form

Earlier this year a letter was emailed to all SMARA Lead Agencies as a reminder that submittal of an Inspection Notice along with the MRRC-1 Inspection Form is required under SMARA (PRC2774[b]). To assist the lead agencies with the requirement, the Office of Mine Reclamation has developed a convenient Inspection Notice Form. This specific form is not required, as SMARA states only what content is to be included in the notice.

New Surface Mining Inspection Report Form Adopted

On July 11, 2013 the State Mining and Geology Board (SMGB) approved a new Surface Mining Inspection Report Form (Form MRRC-1). According to the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act, all surface mining operations must be inspected annually using a form adopted by SMGB. Lead Agency use of the new form is mandatory effective July 17, 2013.

The new form includes instructions for its use. Additionally, the Office of Mine Reclamation will include instructions on the use of the form at its regular workshops.