OFFICE of SURFACE MINING
RECLAMATION and ENFORCEMENT

U.S. Department of the Interior

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Nicholas Grant
Natural Resource Specialist
ngrant@osmre.gov
(618) 463-6463 Ext: 5148


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Geomorphic Reclamation

Field tour caravan for the 2009 Geomorphic Reclamation Forum in Bristol, VA

The field tour caravan makes its way across a reclamation site giving attendees a first-hand look at geomorphic reclamation for the 2009 Geomorphic Reclamation Forum in Bristol, VA.

Traditional approaches to mined land reclamation frequently disturb the stability of the existing natural landforms and add expensive and often times unnatural measures to try to fix the resulting problems. Hills and valleys are flattened out into uniform slopes or terraced to create stable land forms. Streams are often replaced by rock lined ditches or removed entirely. Due to today’s modern advances in technology it is now possible to quickly and inexpensively design stable landforms and streams that mimic both the look and the functionality of nature. Using modern design tools and the geomorphic reclamation approach it’s possible to reclaim highly disturbed lands and create fully functional natural systems virtually indistinguishable from their surrounding landscapes. Steep rock lined ditches are replaced by meandering streams and uniform or terraced hillsides are replaced by slopes that look natural yet are specifically designed to efficiently convey water without excessive erosion or sediment loading.


Past Geomorphic Reclamation Events

  • Advances in Geomorphic Reclamation at Coal Mines: A Technical Interactive Forum and Field Tour
    Albuquerque, NM – May 20-22, 2014
    • Logo and announcement of Forum 'Advances In Geomorphic Reclamation at Coal Mines'
      Forum Program

      Overview: OSMRE organized its third national technical interactive forum on the science, technology, and field application of improving mined land reclamation through geomorphic reclamation techniques and principals. The forum included one day of talks in Albuquerque, NM by leading experts and practitioners and a choice of field trips to active or abandoned mine lands where these techniques have been implemented in the field.

      The Active Mining Field Trip visited the Navajo Mine, San Juan Mine, and the El Segundo Mine. The AML Field Trip visited the Swastika Mine/Dutchman Canyon Mine, Sugarite Canyon Mines and the Yankee Canyon Mine.

      Forum Papers and Presentations:

      Developments in Valley Fill Reclamation in Central Appalachia: the Design of Stable and Sustainable Landforms
      Dr. Leslie Hopkinson and Nathan DePriest, West Virginia University - Morgantown, WV
      Paper Presentation
      Assessment of Fluvial Geomorphology Projects at Abandoned Mine Sites in the Anthracite Region of Pennsylvania
      Dennis M. Palladino, P.E., Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection - Wilkes Barre, PA
      Paper Presentation
      Design of Stable Concave Slopes for Reduced Sediment Delivery during Geomorphic Reclamation
      Dr. Eric C. Drumm, Isaac Jeldes, Daniel C. Yoder, Dr. John Schwartz, The University of Tennessee - Knoxville, TN
      Paper Presentation
      Assessment of Stream Resources at Regulated Coal Mining Sites in Ohio
      Dr. Tarunjit S. Batulia, P.E., The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH, Robert Baker, Baker Environment Services & Testing, and Cheryl Scotch, Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Mineral Resources Management
      Paper Presentation
      Examples of Geomorphic Reclamation on Mines Lands in Spain: From Pioneering Cases to the Use of the GeoFluv Method
      José F. Martín Duque, The Department of Geodynamics, Faculty of Geology, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain and Nicholas Bugosh, GeoFluv - Parma, OH
      Paper Presentation
      Geomorphic Principles Applied to Reclamation at BHP Billiton’s Navajo Mine
      Cassandra Brandt, T. Ramsey, L. Raymond, BHP Billiton - Farmington, NM
      Presentation
      MCKINLEY MINE: A Commitment to Stable Land Forms and Geomorphic Principles
      Kyle Kutter, P.E., Mary Siemsglusz, P.E., Frank Rivera, P.E., Golder Associates - St. Louis, MO, and Scott Motycka, P.E., and David Burris EIT, Golder Associates - San Antonio, TX
      Presentation
      Topographic Comparison of Traditional and Geomorphic Reclamation Approaches at a Surface Coal Mine in Northwestern New Mexico
      Matt Owens, BHP Navajo Coal Company - Fruitland, NM, C. Brandt and C.K. Applegate, BHP Navajo Coal Company - Fruiltand, NM
      Presentation
      Evaluating Sediment Production from Watersheds at La Plata Mine
      Nicholas Bugosh, GeoFluv - Parma, OH, and E. Epp, BHP Navajo Coal Company - Fruitland, NM
      Paper Presentation
      Evaluation of Geomorphic Reclamation Performance and Models in the Southwestern United States
      Dr. Mark Stone, J., J. Stormont, C. Byrne, E. Epp, S. Rahman, R. Powell, W. Rider, and S. Perkins, University of New Mexico - Albuquerque, NM
      Presentation
      Geomorphic Reclamation of Abandoned Coal Mines on Vermejo Park Ranch near Raton, New Mexico: Design and Construction Oversight
      Kate Malers, P.E., R. Spotts, P.E., M. Brennan, P.E., R. Wade, P.E., Water & Earth Technologies, Inc. - Englewood, CO, and Z. Isaacson, New Mexico Abandoned Mine Land Program - Santa Fe, NM
      Presentation
      Geomorphic Reclamation of Abandoned Coal Mines on Vermejo Park Ranch near Raton, New Mexico: Reclamation and Revegetation
      Kenneth E. Carlson, Robin F. Bay, Richard Spotts, P.E., Habitat Management, Inc. - Englewood, CO, Zoe Isaacson, New Mexico Abandoned Mine Land Program - Santa Fe, NM
      Paper Presentation
  • OSMRE Geomorphic Reclamation Technical Sessions at ASMR 2013
    Laramie, WY - June 2-6, 2013
    • Logo and announcement of Forum 'OSM Geomorphic Reclamation Technical Sessions at ASMR 2013'
      Full ASMR Abstracts Full ASMR Proceedings

      2013 National Conference
      2nd Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Symposium and 30th Annual Meeting of American Society of Mining & Reclamation

      Background: OSMRE's Western Region Technology Transfer (WRTT) team participated in this annual event as an exhibitor. This conference provided an opportunity for scientists, researchers, regulators, and mining and reclamation personnel to exchange information, share ideas, and meet together. The target audience consisted of industry reclamation managers, researchers and technical staff, consultants, state and Federal agencies' natural resource and reclamation staff.

      Topics Covered: Innovations in Revegetation; Plant Community Diversity; Forestry; Landscape Stability; Below ground evaluation of reclamation success; Reclamation Success Evaluation Case Studies; Bond Release Case Studies; Coal Bed Methane Water Utilization/Disposal; Reclamation of Land Impacted by Coal Bed Methane, Natural Gas, and Oil Production; Acid Mine Drainage Impacts; and Reclamation of Hard Rock Mining

      Target Audience: Reclamation professionals.

      Forum Papers and Presentations:


      Abandoned Mine Land
      Geomorphic Reclamation of Abandoned Coal Mines on Vermejo Park Ranch Near Raton, New Mexico I. Design and Construction Oversight
      R. Spotts, M. Brennan, R. Wade, K. J. Mahlers, K. E. Carlson, and Z. Isaacson
      Paper Presentation
      Geomorphic Reclamation of Abandoned Coal Mines on Vermejo Park Ranch Near Raton, New Mexico II. Reclamation and Vegetation
      K.E. Carlson, R.F. Bay, R. Spotts, P.E., Z. Isaacson
      Abstract
      Active Mining
      A Comparison of the Vegetation Communities on Geomorphic and Non-geomorphic Reclaimed Mine Lands in Northwestern New Mexico
      J. Voss and T. C. Ramsey
      Abstract
      Achieving Contemporaneous Geomorphic Reclamation at El Segundo Mine, New Mexico
      Emily Hydrusko
      Abstract Presentation
      Integrating Geomorphic Reclamation with Undisturbed and Previously Reclaimed Areas Using A Multi-program Computerized Design Approach at McKinley Mine
      H. McCabe
      Abstract Presentation
      Natural Stream Design
      Stream Restoration Intiative at the Jewett Lignite Mine
      Jeremiah McKinney, Jacob Young, and Derrel Ezell
      Abstract Presentation
      A Comparison of Stream Chemistry in Three Restored Illinois Coal Basin Streams: Initial Conditions Vs. 10 And 20 Years Post-Restoration
      B. Borries, K. W. J. Williard, J. Schnoonover, and J. Nawrot
      Abstract Presentation
      A Comparison of Soil Condition, Vegetation Communities, and Soil Redux Characteristics of Surface Mined Wetlands and Natural Wetlands in Southern Illinois
      B. Borries, K. W. Williard, J. Schoonover, and S. Indorante
      Abstract Presentation
      Advances in the Science of Geomorphic Reclamation
      Comparative Analysis of Multiple Softwares Used in Aiding Geomorphic Reclamation
      Kristin M. Brown
      Abstract Presentation
      Evaluation of Geomorphic Reclamation Performance and Models in the Southwestern United States
      M. Stone, J. Stormont, E. Epp, C. Byrne, S. Rahman, R. Powell, W. Rider, and S. Perkins
      Abstract Presentation
  • Mid-Continent Region Natural Steam Design Workshop
    Mount Vernon, IL - May 17-19, 2011
    • Logo and announcement of Forum 'Mid-Continent Region Natural Stream Design Workshop'
      Forum Program

      Background: Arguably more than anywhere else in the United States, streams within the Midwest are highly impacted by centuries of anthropogenic impacts predominately rooted in agriculture, drainage improvements, and navigational development. Riparian buffers were reduced or lost and stream beds were channelized resulting in increased nutrient load, increased sedimentation, channel incision, and aquatic habitat loss. Traditional mining and reclamation methods often replace these streams with rock lined ditches or remove them entirely. However, due to today’s modern advances in technology, it is now possible to design streams that mimic both the look and the functionality of nature. Steep rock lined ditches are replaced by meandering streams specifically designed to efficiently convey water without excessive erosion or sediment loading and provide a proper mix of habitat zones essential for sensitive aquatic life. Today, mine reclamation may provide a unique opportunity to not just return a Midwestern stream to its pre-mined state, but improve functionality and restore/create a more natural and ecologically sound system.

      In recent years, increasing pressure has been put on the mining industry to improve landform reclamation and mitigation of stream impacts. In response, OSM sponsored a forum entitled “Geomorphic Reclamation and Natural Stream Design at Coal Mines” in Bristol, Virginia that addressed many aspects of natural landform and stream design from a national scale. Since that forum, state and industry personnel within the Mid Continent Region (MCR) have identified a need for more focused discussion and education on stream design, construction, and monitoring elements unique to the region. The response was to design a workshop more accessible to Midwestern personnel. The workshop focused attention on the unique challenges and ecological benefits of utilizing natural stream design methods and practices for coal mine reclamation in the Midwest. In addition, this workshop provided valuable support to OSM’s and the State’s current charge of improving protection for streams affected by surface coal mining.

      Topics Covered: Midwestern Stream Characteristics, Design and Engineering, Regulatory Issues, Monitoring, and Stream Reclamation Case Studies. This field intensive workshop included two full-day tours to reclaimed stream projects of widely varying size and age within Southern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana.

      Target Audience: Regulators, Industry, and Academia involved in stream reclamation of surface mined lands in the Midwest.

      Forum Presentations:

      The Interwoven Roles of Geologic Setting, Human Disturbance, and Time in Shaping the Geomorphic Characteristics of Midwestern Streams
      Faith A. Fitzpatrick, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Water Science Center
      Presentation
      A Survey of Stream Restoration Projects in Illinois
      Don Roseboom, U.S. Geological Survey, Illinois Water Science Center
      Presentation
      OSM’s New Stream Protection Rule
      Paul Ehret, Office of Surface Mining
      Presentation
      Mitigation and Monitoring Requirements
      Mike Ricketts and Sam Werner, US Army Corps of Engineers
      Presentation
      Stream Restoration at Midwest Surface Coal Mines – Keys to Success
      Richard Williams, Peabody Energy
      Presentation
      Lessons Learned from a Thousand Streams
      Wayne Kinney, Midwest Streams, Inc.
      Presentation
      The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
      Russell Retherford, US Army Corps of Engineers
      Presentation
      Hydrology and Sediment Transport Characterization and Management Considerations
      Timothy Straub, US Geological Survey, Illinois Water Science Center
      Presentation
      Pipestone Creek and Pyramid State Park
      Pat Malone, Illinois DNR
      Presentation
      CONSOL Burning Star 4
      Bill O’Leary, Illinois DNR
      Presentation
      West Fork Creek Mitigation Area
      Dave Beeson, ENVIRON Int.
      Presentation
      The Squiggly Ditch – The Third Time Around
      Dan Hause, Indiana DNR Division of Reclamation
      Presentation
  • Geomorphic Reclamation and Natural Stream Design at Coal Mines: A Technical Interactive Forum
    Holiday Inn, Bristol, Virginia, April 27-30, 2009
    • Logo and announcement of Forum 'Geomorphic Reclamation and Natural Stream Design at Coal Mines: A Technical Interactive Forum'
      Speaker Bios Abstracts Forum Program Proceedings

      Forum Papers and Presentations:

      1st Session: Advances in Geomorphic Reclamation
      Chairpersons: Roger Calhoun OSMRE, Charleston, WV
      A Geomorphologist’s Perspective on Stream Restoration in Mined Land
      Dr. J. Steven Kite, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
      Presentation
      Science Basis for Reclamation of Low-Order Streams
      Dr. Peter R. Wilcock, Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
      Presentation
      Hydrological Functioning of Surface-Mined Watersheds in Western Maryland: Restoration or Reclamation?
      Dr. Keith N. Eshleman and Brian C. McCormick, M.Sc., P.E., Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Frostburg, MD
      Presentation
      Disturbed Land Reclamation Using Geomorphic Techniques: McKinley Coal Mine, New Mexico, Mining Area 12C
      Richard Spotts, P.E., Water and Earth Technologies, Inc. (WET)
      Marie Shepherd, P.E., Chevron Mining Inc.
      Melissa Robson, E.I., & Ryan Wade, E.I., (WET) Fort Collins, CO
      Wayne Erickson, CPESC, Habitat Management, Inc.
      Presentation
      Disturbed Land Reclamation Using Geomorphic Techniques: McKinley Coal Mine, New Mexico, Mining Area 12C
      Richard Spotts, P.E., Water and Earth Technologies, Inc. (WET)
      Marie Shepherd, P.E., Chevron Mining Inc.
      Melissa Robson, E.I., & Ryan Wade, E.I., (WET) Fort Collins, CO
      Wayne Erickson, CPESC, Habitat Management, Inc.
      Presentation
      Tools for Integrating Geomorphic Reclamation into Planning for Eastern Coal Surface Mines
      Dr. Charles Yuill and Michael Hasenmyer, Natural Resource Analysis Center, Environmental Design Visualization Group, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
      Presentation
      2nd Session: Geomorphic Reclamation in Appalachia
      Chairpersons: Craig Walker OSMRE, Knoxville, TN
      Challenges of Applying Geomorphic and Stream Reclamation Methodologies to Mountain-Top Mining and Excess Spoil Fill Construction in Steep Slope Topography (e.g. Central Appalachia)
      Peter Michael and Lois Uranowski, OSMRE, Pittsburgh, PA
      Mike Superfesky, OSMRE, Morgantown, VA
      Presentation
      Can Appalachian Mine Reclamation be called Sustainable using Current Practices?
      Nicholas Bugosh, Carlson Software, Ft. Collins, CO
      Presentation
      Geomorphic Restoration of Coldwater Fork Following Oct. 2000 Slurry Spill
      George Athanasakes, P.E., Stantec, Louisville, KY
      Not Available
      Modeling Sediment Loss on Geomorphic Regraded Forest Lands in Kentucky
      Dr. Richard Warner, Dr. Carmen T. Agouridis and Dr. Christopher D. Barton, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
      Presentation
      Stream Restoration on the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee
      Dennis Clark, OSMRE, Knoxville, TN
      Tim Slone, IRTEC, Caryville, TN
      Presentation
      Case Study ‐ Kentucky: Recreating a Headwater Stream on a Head of Hollow Fill
      Dr. Carmen T. Agouridis, Dr. Christopher D. Barton, and R.C. Warner, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
      Presentation
      Use of Natural Stream Channel Design Techniques in the Coal Fields of Virginia
      Lance DeBord, D.R. Allen and Associates, Abingdon, VA
      Presentation
      3rd Session: Geomorphic Reclamation in the West
      Chairpersons: Mychal Yellowman OSMRE, Denver, CO
      Integrating Natural Processes with Drainage Reclamation Design in Montana
      Tom Golnar, Shannon Downey, and Julian Calabrese, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Helena, MO
      Presentation
      The Application of Geomorphic Reclamation Methods in Wyoming
      Marcello Calle and Jonathan Stauffer, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Cheyenne, WY
      Scott Belden, Peabody Energy, North Antelope/Rochelle Mine, Gillette, WY
      Presentation
      Geomorphic Reclamation in New Mexico: A Regulator’s Perspective
      Dave Clark, New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division, Santa Fe, NM
      Presentation
      Geomorphic Reclamation at BHP Billiton New Mexico Coal – Successes, Challenges and Future
      Daphne Place, Collette Brown, and Cary Cooper, BHP-Billiton New Mexico Coal, Farmington, NM
      Presentation
      4th Session: Geomorphic Reclamation in the Mid-West
      Chairpersons: Bryce West Peabody Energy, Evansville, IN
      Anthropo-Geomorphology of Streams, Wetlands and Landscapes of the Illinois Basin, and Restoration Techniques
      Tim Sandefur , Wetland Services, Inc., Corydon, KY
      Presentation
      Current Stream Mitigation Requirements & Results
      Mike Ricketts and Sam Werner, US Army Corps of Engineers, Newburgh, IN
      Presentation
      From Rip Rap to Riffles: The Evolution of Stream Reclamation in the Indiana Coal Fields
      Ramona Briggeman, Indiana DNR, Division of Fish & Wildlife, Jasonville, IN
      Presentation
      Illinois Perspective – Past & Current Practices, Benefits and Challenges
      David Lamb, Associated Engineers, Inc., Madisonville, KY
      Darrin Parrent, T.H.E. Engineers Inc., Lexington, KY
      Presentation
      Illinois Stream Restoration - Opportunities for Habitat Enhancement: Policy, Principles and Practices
      William G. O’Leary, Illinois DNR, Office of Mines and Minerals, Benton, IL Jack Nawrot, Cooperative Wildlife Research Lab, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
      Presentation
      Industry Perspective: Past and Current Practices, Benefits and Challenges
      Scott McGarvie, Peabody Energy, Evansville, IN
      Presentation

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 5/26/15

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