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Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Award Winners

Winning projects go beyond reclamation requirements to achieve superior results in returning a site to productive use after completion of mining. Listed below is information on winners since 2017. For information on winners since 1992, please contact awards@osmre.gov.

OSMRE presents five awards:

  • One national award
  • One national award for small projects (restricted to projects receiving less than $1 million in a state or tribe that receives less than $6 million annually in AML funding)
  • Three region-based awards

 

2021 National Award Winner

DeRonde Site Southeast Iowa
Reclamation of the DeRonde site required cleaning up 70 acres of highwalls, spoil piles, polluted water bodies, and much more. 

 

2021 Regional Award Winners

Dutchman Canyon Site, New Mexico
The Dutchman Canyon Site project reclaimed nearly 200,000 cubic yards of coal waste, steep unstable piles, a local stream and more more. 

 

Wolf Branch Middle School, Illinois
The Wolf Branch Middle School suffered from a dangerous landslide that involved reclaiming the site and remediating the gymnasium, multi-purpose room, band room, kitchen, and lockers. 

 

Stineman Refuse Pile: Path of the Flood Trail, Pennsylvania
The Stineman Refuse Pile project reclaimed over 600,000 cubic yards of refuse, installed riparian buffers, and much more. 

 

2021 Small Project Award

Noonan Foamed Sand Project, North Dakota
Subsidence features within the Harris M. Baukol Wildlife Management Area, posed a hazard to the public. The site itself however posed a learning opportunity for the North Dakota AML Program. The reclamation efforts charted new techniques and innovation.


 

2020 National Award Winner

Ehrenfeld AML Pilot Reclamation/Recreation & Watershed Improvement Project, Pennsylvania
Approximately 70 acres of coal refuse piles located along the "Johnstown Path of the Flood Trail," posed multiple environmental threats to the area. Frequent erosion clogged an unnamed tributary to the Little Conemaugh River, as a result, highly acidic water leached into and subsequently impaired local streams, burning areas of refuse piles and degrading air quality for the residents. To address these hazards, Pennsylvania's AML Program removed the refuse piles, eliminated the surface burning conditions and improved the Little Conemaugh watershed. The reclamation project has resulted in new opportunities for recreation and tourism with the addition of a community park and safer walking trails.

 

2020 Regional Award Winners

Ridgeway Drive (Ferrell & McDaniel) Landslide Emergencies, West Virginia
In 2018, West Virginia received two different reports of landslides within the same neighborhood. Calls from concerned residents regarding these slides, and the subsequent investigations by West Virginia's AML program, revealed that more than 10 homes were threatened, while another home had slid partially downhill. With the threat to people's lives and property imminent, West Virginia's quick response abated the threats to the residents and helped to stabilize their properties, preventing further damage and economic loss. 

 

Buttermilk Highwalls, AML Site 1820, Indiana
Two large and dangerous highwalls located near a public road posed a danger to anyone driving, hiking, hunting or fishing near the Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area. Indiana's AML program worked with one of its sister agencies in the Indiana DNR to address the hazards. This collaborative effort eliminated 1,615 linear feet of dangerous highwalls while mitigating future acid mine drainage (AMD) problems, improving wetland areas, and providing better wildlife habitat, all of which improved recreational opportunities at the site. 

 

The Carrick Mine AML Project, North Dakota
A 20-acre abandoned mine site located near two popular recreation areas contained dangerous highwalls and a large, water-filled pit. The site not only posed a hazard to the public, but also raised liability concerns for private landowners who used the property as horse pasture and a hunting area. North Dakota's AML program addressed these issues by eliminating approximately 1,300 feet of dangerous highwalls, creating a pond that recharges fresh water, and preserving a prehistoric, petrified tree stump, estimated to be between 55 and 60 million years old. 

 

2020 Small Project Award Winner

Ruffner Mountain Portals AML Project, Alabama
Open mine portals in a nature preserve adjacent to several popular hiking trails posed a danger not only to the public, but also to the over 600 Tricolor bats that called the portals home. When a bat study confirmed the presence of White-nose syndrome within the bat population, the urgency to limit human entry to the portals was heightened. Alabama's AML program reclaimed the site, resolving public safety concerns while minimizing the ecological impact to the local area.

 

2019 National Award Winner

Dessecker Mine Project, Ohio
The land owned by the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation and the Boy Scouts, was subjected to a number of health, safety, property and general welfare threats from historic mining, including acid mine drainage, open mine portals, and hazardous equipment left in the open. To address the hazards, Ohio’s AML Program sealed the portals, eliminated a dangerous highwall, removed hundreds of tons of debris, and preserved historically significant mining assets for the next generation. The state formed a partnership with the community to solve many of the AML problems. The result now allows Scouts, visitors and people living nearby to enjoy the former mine site safely. 

 

2019 Regional Award Winner

Roger Cornett Slide, Kentucky
On a rainy Friday night in April 2018, Kentucky received a call from a resident concerned about a sudden landslide near his home, his rental properties, and a neighbor’s house. The landslide brought down tons of mud, trees, and old coal, threatening people’s lives and property. Kentucky’s quick response abated the threats to the residents and the safety of their property. 

 

Narrow Lake Abandoned Mine Land Site 1805, Indiana
A dangerous and large highwall loomed above a road and a lake in the Greene-Sullivan State Forest, posing a danger to anyone driving, hiking, or fishing near Narrow Lake. Indiana’s AML program worked with two sister agencies in the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to address the AML hazard. The collaborative effort removed almost 4,000 linear feet of highwall, and the agencies created additional cabin areas, built a new boat ramp, constructed more than a mile of trails, and added new fish habitat, all of which improved recreational opportunities at the site. 

 

Wise Hill Underground Fire Mitigation, Colorado
One of the biggest underground mine fires in Colorado burned for more than 70 years, frustrating repeated efforts to contain or extinguish it. After several unsuccessful attempts to suffocate it, the fire migrated thousands of feet, grew in size, and threatened a nearby coal mine, and a town. The fire also generated toxic gases and heat that could have ignited surface vegetation, potentially leading to wildfires. Colorado’s program used methods learned from a previous underground mine fire project to mitigate the threat and contain the fire deep underground, minimizing the danger of wildfire and toxic fumes. 

 

2019 Small Project Award Winner

Marvel Gob Fire, Alabama
An ongoing mine fire at Alabama’s old Marvel mines caused havoc in a small community with surface temperatures reaching as high as 930 degrees Fahrenheit on the surface. More than an acre of gob material was burning, generating noxious odors, smoke and fog. Alabama’s AML program put out the fire, and reclaimed the site in 50 working days. The project is considered small in scale by reclamation standards, but for people living nearby, Alabama’s AML Program solved an important community concern. 

 

2018 National Award Winner

Logan Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Project, Iowa
Prior to reclamation, the site’s barren, eroded spoil piles and pits were concealed by invasive shrubs, stunted trees, and a small plot of pines. The Logan Reclamation Project provided several opportunities to adopt and refine new approaches to overcome technical challenges. The site was seeded with plants that attract pollinators, in particular monarch butterflies. The effort is already showing results. The vegetation is attracting local wildlife, including a goose nest and a beaver dam. 
 

 

2018 Regional Award Winners

Joan Bernat Slide Project, Kentucky
The Joan Bernat Slide High Priority Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Project was completed at the historic coal camp town of Hardburly, near Hazard, Kentucky. In May 2016, local residents reported that a slide had occurred on a hillside above multiple residences and feared that further movement would threaten their homes. Hazard KDAML Emergency Branch personnel hastily worked to reroute the drainage above the slide, controlling drainage and silt from the slide, and improving drainage structures near the homes. The actions of the state and partners brought peace of mind to the residents of Hardburly. 


Snow Hill Abandoned Mine Land Site 882 Project, Indiana
The Snow Hill Abandoned Mine Land project addressed public safety concerns and environmental damage caused by two large, coarse, coal refuse piles, with a total area of 40 acres on each side of North Coal Creek in Vigo County, Indiana. Acid mine drainage and eroding coal refuse from the two refuse piles clogged the North Coal Creek channel and substantially degraded its water quality. The Division of Reclamation took actions to make the area safe for the community by installing drainage structures, establishing a wetland, and regrading the coal refuse embankments. 
 


Hydraulic Pit Reclamation Project, Alaska
Coal mined in the first half of the 20th century by various companies created 3.5 miles of large open pits along the south side of Healy Creek. The highwall extended for 1,600 feet in length and stood as high as 265 feet. The reclamation project eliminated the dangerous high wall, improved safety, conserved and improved water quality, enhanced wildlife habitat, and augmented recreation opportunities. 

Watch the 2018 Alaska Regional Award Winner video here.
 

 

2018 Small Project Award Winner

Mid-Lothian Mines Park Project, Virginia
The historic Mid-Lothian Mines abandoned mine land features the remains of the first documented mining in Virginia’s Richmond Coalfields. Unfortunately, the features were in serious disrepair and disintegration. Open shafts, subsidence areas and falling structures were huge safety hazards to the surrounding residential areas. After the landowner donated the land to Chester County, the state was able to close two vertical openings, stabilize and close two hazardous equipment and facilities structures, close one subsidence area, and stabilize two pits and three slumps. Today, the Mid-Lothian Historical Mines Park comprises the 42-acre reclamation site and is the most visited park in the county.

Watch the 2018 Small Project Award Winner video here.
 

 

National Award Winner:

2017 National Award Winner

Huling Branch AML Reclamation/ATV Recreation and Watershed Improvement Project, Pennsylvania
This AML reclamation project is responsible for the elimination of dangerous highwalls, removal of spoil piles and the reduction of acid mine drainage impacts on surface and groundwater. As a result the site is now open to allterrain vehicles (ATVs). The project team also used the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) to reforest the land.


2017 Regional Award Winners

Bell Central School HP AML Reclamation Project, Kentucky
This project stabilized a landslide area near a school access road and parking lot that posed a serious threat to student and staff safety. Reclamation was finally completed after previous unsuccessful attempts to secure funding.

 

Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area 2 Project, Indiana
This AML reclamation project fixed several dangerous highwalls and an eroding gob pile near a fish and wildlife area. The project was further complicated by excess water from a flooded underground mine near the site.

 

Madrid Low Impact Stormwater Project, New Mexico
This AML reclamation effort brought together an assorted group of citizens living and working in a small historic coal town to address sediment-producing gob piles from a mining site dating back more than 180 years.

 

2017 Small Project Award Winner

Hurricane Fork Gob Pile Project, Virginia
This AML reclamation project leveraged new technologies and community partnerships to address one of southwest Virginia’s worst mine-related watershed impacts.

 

2016 Winners

National Award Winner: 

Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:

Western Regional Award Winner: 

Small Project Award Winner:

2015 Winners

National Award Winner: 

Appalachian Regional Award Winner:

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

Small Project Award Winner: 

2014 Winners

2014 Abandoned Mine Land Presentation Video

National Award Winner:

  • The AML Site 309, Mill Creek Highwall Project, Pike County, Indiana

Appalachian Regional Award Winner:

  • The Aaron Run Watershed AMD Remediation Project, Westernport, Maryland

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Goff AML Reclamation Project, Marion County, Iowa

Western Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Smith Hill Coal Mine Reclamation Project, Crested Butte, Colorado

Small Project Award Winner: 

  • The Big Ben Emergency Shaft Project, Springfield, Missouri

2013 Winners

  • No Awards were given for projects this year

2012 Winners

National Award Winner:

  • The Dents Run AML/AMD Ecosystem Restoration Project, Benezette Township, Elk County, Pennsylvania

Appalachian Regional Award Winner:

  • The Lower Rock Creek Watershed Restoration Project, McCreary County, Kentucky

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:

  • The I-72 Piers 3 Sag Subsidence Emergency Project, Sangamon County, Illinois

Western Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Spring Meadow Lake Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana

Small Project Award Winner: 

  • The Maclean 3 Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project, Carbon County, Utah

2011 Winners

National Award Winner: 

  • The Newport North Project, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania

Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Kempton Refuse and AMD/AML Project, Tucker County, West Virginia

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:

  • The Westercamp AML Reclamation Project, Mahaska County, Iowa

Western Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Kleenburn Coal Mine AML Site Project, Sheridan County, Wyoming

Small Project Award Winner: 

  • The Thomas Acid Mine Drainage Reclamation Project, Carroll County, Ohio

2010 Winners

National Award Winner: 

  • The Crellin Elementary School Environmental Remediation and Education Project, State of Maryland Department of the Environment, Abandoned Mine Lands Division

Appalachian Award Winner:

  • The Barnes-Watkins Refuse Pile Reclamation Project, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Mid-Continent Award Winner

  • The 6lst Street North SW Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Project, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Abandoned Mine Land Program

Western Regional Award Winner:

  • The Temple Mountain Project, Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining, Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program

Small Project Award Winner: 

  • Cranes Nest Gob Pile Project, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Division of Mined Land Reclamation

2009 Winners

National Award Winner: 

  • The West Suscon Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Jenkins Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania

Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Belden AMD Reclamation Project, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mineral Resources Management, Carroll County, Ohio

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Mabel New-Superior AML Reclamation Project, Railroad Commission of Texas, Surface Mining and Reclamation Division, Live Oak County, Texas

Western Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Millsap Creek Tailings Reclamation Project, Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, Inactive Reclamation Program, Teller County, Colorado

Small Project Award Winner:

  • The Waal West Reclamation Project, Section II, Iowa Abandoned Mine Land Program, Mines and Minerals Bureau, Mahaska County, Iowa

Small Project Award Winner: 

  • The Suntrana Tipple AML Project, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, AML Program, Healy Creek Valley, Alaska

2008 Winners

National Award Winner(s):

  • The Peanut Mine Reclamation Project, Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, Inactive Mine Reclamation Program, Crested Butte, Gunnison County, Colorado
Category II Winner: 
  • The Yankee-Vukonich Coal Reclamation Project, New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Mining and Minerals Division, Abandoned Mine Land Program, Colfax County New Mexico
The National Award, Category II award is reserved for states or tribes receiving less than six million annually in AML funding and for projects less than one million dollars

Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Fishing Run Restoration and Maude Mine Reclamation Project, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, South Fayette Township, Allegheny County Pennsylvania

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Log Creek Church AML Reclamation Project: Sites 900 & 2040, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Reclamation, Pike and Warrick Counties, Indiana 

Western Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Cottonwood Wash Reclamation Project, Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, San Juan County, Utah

2007 Winners

National Award Winner(s): 

  • The Real De Dolores Mine Safeguard Project, New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division, Mine Reclamation Bureau
Category II Winner:
  • The Buchanan County Park Highwall Elimination Project, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Division of Mined Land Reclamation
The National Award, Category II award is reserved for states or tribes receiving less than six million annually in AML funding and for projects less than one million dollars

Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Kalp and Melcroft AMD Abatement Project, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Overman AML Reclamation Project, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Surface Mining Section

Western Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Kemmerer Coal Reclamation Project: 17H, Phase I, Contract A, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Abandoned Mine Land Division

2006 Winners

National Award Winner: 

  • The Comet Mine and Millsite Project, Montana (Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Abandoned Mine Section)
Category II Winner: 
  • The Shallmar Coal Refuse Site Project, Garrett County, Maryland (Maryland Department of Environment, Bureau of Mines) 
The National Award, Category II award is reserved for states or tribes receiving less than six million annually in AML funding and for projects less than one million dollars

Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Monongahela South No. 1 Highwall Mine Project, Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation)

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Trinkle Reclamation Project, Iowa (Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship)

Western Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Garrison Abandoned Mine Land Project, North Dakota (North Dakota Public Service Commission)

2005 Winners

National Award, Appalachian Regional Award, and People's Choice Award Winner: 

  • The Spewing Camp Branch Refuse AML Project, Kentucky

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The AML Site 380 Project, Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area, Indiana

Western Regional Award Winner:

  • The Mesa State Collect/Environmental Restoration Education Project, Colorado

2004 Winners

National Award and Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Neds Branch Impoundment Project, West Virginia

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Coles Creek Project, Indiana

Western Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Cerrillos South Mine Safeguard Project, New Mexico

People's Choice Award Winner: 

  • The Snake River Gravel Pit Project, Wyoming

2003 Winners

National Award and Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Taylor Creek Impoundment Project, West Virginia

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Victory Mine Project, Site 82, Indiana

Western Regional Award and People's Choice Award Winner:

  • The Cove 3 Project, Navajo Reservation

2002 Winners

National Award and Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Sunshine Mine Reclamation Project, Indiana

Appalachian Regional Award Winner:

  • The Kempton Coal Waste Stabilization and Doser Installation Project, Maryland

Western Regional Award and People's Choice Award Winner: 

  • The Sugarite Canyon Coal Mine Reclamation Project, New Mexico

Special Engineer of the Year Award Winner:

  • John Kretzmann, Chief Design and Project Engineer with the New Mexico Abandoned Mine Land Bureau

2001 Winners

National Award and Appalachian Region Award:

  • The Vindex Reclamation Project, Maryland

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:

  • The West Huntington Joint Reclamation Project, Arkansas

Western Regional Award Winner:

  • The Sunnyside Project, Utah

2000 Winners

National Award Winner:

  • The Monument Valley 2 AML Reclamation Project, Navajo Reservation

Appalachian Regional Award Winner:

  • The Blackwater River Limestone Drum Station, West Virginia

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:

  • The Oklahoma Partnership Approach to Reclamation of Abandoned Mine Land, Oklahoma

Western Regional Award Winner:

  • The Socorro West Mine Safeguard Project, Socorro West, New Mexico

1999 Winners

National Award Winner:

  • The Monument Valley 2 AML Reclamation Project, Navajo Reservation

Appalachian Regional Award Winner:

  • The Blackwater River Limestone Drum Station Project, West Virginia

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:

  • The Oklahoma Partnership Approach to Reclamation of Abandoned Mine Land, Oklahoma

Western Regional Award Winner:

  • The Socorro West Mine Safeguard Project, Socorro West, New Mexico

1998 Winners

National Award Winner:

  • The Long Fork Sedimentation Project, Virginia

Appalachian Regional Award Winner:

  • The Muddy Creek East Project, Pennsylvania

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:

  • The Poffenbarger Project, Iowa

Western Regional Award Winner:

  • The Sunrise Mining District Project, Wyoming

1997 Winners

National Award and Appalachian Regional Award Winner: 

  • The Upper Lehigh Project, Pennsylvania

Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:

  • The ALCOA Project, Texas

Western Regional Award Winner:

  • The Silver Reef Project, Utah

1996 Winners

  • No Awards were given for projects this year

1995 Winners

National Award:

  • The Aladdin Coal Tipple Interpretive Site Project, Wyoming
  • The Summit Reclamation Project, Utah
  • The City of Mines Project - Independence Mine and Mill, Colorado
  • The Gage Mine Safeguard Project, New Mexico
  • The Middle Fork Duck Creek Watershed Project, Ohio
  • The Rattlesnake Reclamation Project, Tennessee
  • The North Fork Watershed Project, Virginia
  • The Rock Springs Subsidence Abatement and Public Utility Repair Project, Wyoming

Director's Award: 

  • The Meadow Creek Project, Tennessee - Winning project for the Elimination of acid mine drainage

1994 Winners

  • The Harrison County Road 51 Project, Ohio
  • The Shirley Basin Uranium District Project, Wyoming
  • The Adrian Southeast Project, Pennsylvania
  • The Eckhart Coal Waste Stabilization Project, Maryland
  • The Colorado Bats/Inactive Mines Project, Colorado
  • The Tintic Project, Utah
  • The Richmond Shafts Project, Virginia
  • The Rush Run Portals Project, West Virginia
  • The Crook County Bentonite Project, Wyoming

1993 Winners

  • The Boonville Hospital RAMP Project, Indiana
  • The Coppermine Abandoned Mine Project, Navajo Reservation
  • The Gay Branch Gob Pile Project, Virginia
  • The Lead and Zinc Mine Sites Reclamation Project, Illinois
  • The Ocean Refuse Removal Project, Maryland
  • The Pine Creek Mine Shafts Project, West Virginia
  • The Pyramid Coal Company Reclamation Project, Illinois
  • The Shiloh Reclamation Project, Arkansas
  • The Veca Pit and Spoils Project, Wyoming
  • The White Oak IV Reclamation Project, Ohio