What is Reclamation?
The process of reclamation includes maintaining water and air quality, minimizing flooding, erosion and damage to wildlife and aquatic habitats caused by surface mining. The final step in this process is often topsoil replacement and revegetation with suitable plant species.
The following are examples of successful reclamation projects:
One mining company in Ventura County reclaimed its mining pit to a strawberry field.
A gravel extraction area at Mississippi Bar in Sacramento County was returned to a riparian (water) wildlife habitat.
An aggregate mine on agricultural land in Yolo County operates in four phases. The intent is that not more than 95 acres is out of agricultural production at any time during the project's life.
Other mined lands have been reclaimed to grazing and production of crops such as alfalfa, corn, grapes and tomatoes.
For information on the reclamation of the old Leviathan Mine in Alpine county, click here.
ANNUAL RECLAMATION AWARD
OMR is sponsoring an award program to recognize excellence in the implementation of mine reclamation in California. An annual award will be given for Excellence in Reclamation. The winner will be featured in our SMARA Update newsletter, on our website, and will receive the award from the Department of Conservation Director Mark Nechodom. Announcements of the award winner will also be forwarded to local newspapers and industry organizations. Mining companies and their employees, regulatory authorities, and members of the general public may nominate a reclamation project for an award. Nominations must be received by July 31, 2013. For more information, click here.
Special Publication 123: Rehabilitation of Disturbed Lands in California - A Manual for Decision Making (PDF) (14MB)
SP123 represents the compilation of information on vegetation, rehabilitation and restoration that has become available in the last 20 years. This manual focuses on moderately to severely disturbed lands, such as those commonly associated with mining. The information in this manual should also provide planners and practitioners of less disturbed areas with a guide for designing projects in a wide variety of other situations where rehabilitation is needed. Included is a 112 page appendix containing information on plant species commonly used in rehabilitation by geographic subregions.
You will need Adobe Acrobat version 4.0 or greater to read this publication.
SP123 can either be downloaded by right clicking on the link above, or purchased from the California Geological Survey for $25.00
Now available on line! Small Mine Reclamation Plan Prototype.
This form is intended to assist smaller-scale mine operators in environmentally non-sensitive areas to conform to the requirements of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) and related Board regulations. It serves as an example of an acceptable reclamation plan format. The form is available in MS Word or Adobe.
National Association of Abandoned Mine Programs | California Geological Survey | State Mining & Geology Board
Department of Toxic Substances Control | California State Lands Commission
Bureau of Land Management | Mine Safety & Health Administration
Office of Surface Mining | | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Forest Service | U.S. Geological Survey