U.S. Department of the Interior

Graphic of trees and lake scenery.

For More Information:

Chris Holmes
Office of Communications
(202) 208-7941

Contact OSMRE


Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards Winners

Wildlife on Reclaimed Land

Wildlife on Reclaimed Land.

Active Mine Awards

The Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards are presented to coal mining companies that achieve the most exemplary coal mine reclamation in the nation. Past winners have demonstrated a commitment to sound mining practices and effective reclamation plans that enhanced beneficial post-mining use of the land. OSMRE has honored high quality coal mine land reclamation since 1986. All winning projects go beyond reclamation requirements to achieve superior results in returning a site to productive use after completion of mining.

  • 2018 Winners

    • National Award Award:
    • Peabody Energy, Inc., Big Sky Mine Area B project in Rosebud County, Montana
      Big Sky Mine Area B was recognized for the creation of post-mining water sources in a reclaimed, semi-arid landscape. On-site monitoring between 2006 and 2011, has shown that water levels in the reclaimed area have risen between four and six feet. The site features stream channels and wetlands for use by livestock and wildlife.
      Landscape from Big Sky Mine
    • National Award Award:
    • Peabody Midwest Mining, LLC Wild Boar Mine Barren Fork Pit project in Lynnville, Indiana
      A majority of the 8,500-acre Wild Boar mining area was surface mined for its upper seams of coal before SMCRA was passed in 1977. The site contained 1.2 miles of dangerous unreclaimed highwall and more than three miles of polluted streams. While mining, the company took responsibility for cleaning up the mine, eliminating the abandoned highwall, and properly reclaiming 90 percent of the area mined before the passage of SMCRA. The company created approximately one hundred rock brush piles within the forested areas for wildlife habitat, and developed 11 shallow water sources for wildlife to properly reclaim the previously mined site. The company also restored eight streams among the reclaimed forest.
      Wild Boar Mine lake
    • Good Neighbor Award:
    • Trapper Mining Inc Trapper Mine project in Craig, Colorado
      The judges selected Trapper Mine for a Good Neighbor Award for a wide range of community related activities including building local soccer fields with mine equipment and workers, catering lunch for law enforcement agencies, contributing more than $700,000 to local communities and projects, creating a hunting and outdoors program for people with disabilities, and funding critical research on the Columbian Sharp-Tailed Grouse. Trapper Mining also set up a trust fund to provide grant money for future community activities after mining is complete.
      Sharp Tailed Grouse at Trapper Mine
    • Good Neighbor Award:
    • Peabody Energy, Inc. Bear Run Mine project in Carlisle, Indiana
      Peabody’s Bear Run Mine is the largest active surface mine in Indiana. Over the past three years, the mine has taken an aggressive approach to reclamation, with a 1.3:1 ratio of reclaimed land to mined land. The judges recognized Bear Run for its involvement in various community programs that the company either operates or supports through financial, in-kind, and volunteer donations, including the Coal Miner Christmas, during which the company raised over $70,000 to help children from local communities. Bear Run also provided a new roof for a local gym, constructed a new parking lot, provided funds for its backup generator and repaired its electrical and heating systems. The company also improved a local cemetery, hosted farmers during the Indiana Department of Natural Resources prime Farmland Field Day, provided ecotherapy opportunities to veterans and children with disabilities, and hosted a turkey hunt for veterans who had lost their vision.
      Bear Run Coal Miner Holiday Party
  • 2017 Winners

    • National Award Winners:
    • Cloud Peak Energy, Spring Creek Coal, LLC, Spring Creek Mine, Montana
      The judges chose Cloud Peak’s Spring Creek Mine as one of two National Award Winners based on the company’s innovative use of soil mixtures and a variety of planted and seeded vegetation over a large area. The growth of a large assortment of plants led to greater and denser habitat for threatened wildlife such as sage grouse, as well as songbirds, raptors, rabbits, mule deer and pronghorn antelope.

      Watch the 2017 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video about the National Award Winner project by Cloud Peak Energy.

      Spring Creek Mine Project Spring Creek Mine Project Spring Creek Mine Project
    • Arch Coal, Coal-Mac, LLC., Pine Creek 2 Surface Mine, West Virginia
      The judges awarded Coal-Mac’s Pine Creek 2 Surface Mine a National Award based on the development and use of multiple techniques to control threats to water quality, such as selenium pollution, total dissolved solids and conductivity. The company isolated and treated spoil that might lead to higher selenium pollution. The company also developed bioreactor systems to control selenium from entering into water that leaves the mine site leading to a 90% reduction in selenium discharges. Coal-Mac also utilized alternate topsoil material for planting in reclaimed sites leading to better vegetation in those areas.

      Watch the 2017 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video about the National Award Winner project by Cloud Peak Energy.

      Pond at Pine Creek 2 Surface Mine project site Aerial view of two reconstructed and reclaimed valley fills. Bioreactor systems were developed on the site to control selenium from entering into water that leaves the mine site. This led to a 90% reduction in selenium discharges.

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • For the first time ever, OSMRE honored a reclamation project that resulted from collaboration between mining companies and non-mining groups. That effort is recognized with this year’s Good Neighbor Award.

    • Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association – Five Coal Mining Companies in Northeastern Wyoming: Arch Coal, Inc.; Cloud Peak Energy, Inc.; Contura Energy, Inc.; Kiewit Mining Group, Inc.; Peabody Energy
    • The judges selected the Thunder Basin association for its innovative collaboration between non-coal organizations and coal companies to enhance area-wide reclamation. The association began in 1998, as a collection of 24 livestock and agricultural producers. The first coal company joined the group in 2001. Two years later, five more coal companies joined the collaboration. Over 14 years, the group has worked to maintain responsible economic use of land and mineral resources and effective stewardship of land and wildlife. The conservation effort covers more than 13 million acres, and the mining companies were integral to developing and then completing a comprehensive reclamation strategy in the area.

      Watch the 2017 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video about the Good Neighbor Award Winner project by Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association.

      Sagebrush seedlings ready to be planted during Arch Coal held tours with school groups to promote an understanding of the mining and reclamation process. Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association Project Peabody Energy Sagebrush seeding workshop.
  • 2016 Winners

    • In 2016, The Excelence in Surface Coal Mining Awards celebrated 30 years in recognizing mining companies that have gone the extra mile to reclaim the land, and the communities nearby, after mining is complete.

    • National Award Winner:
      The Northampton Fuels Supply Company, Nanticoke, PA won its first national award while taking advantage of a change in the law that allows remining of a previously mined site without having to go through the extensive permitting process associated with new mines. In this case, the company accepted the liability of reclaiming a 70-year old abandoned mine site that contained a pile of waste coal almost 700 feet high.

      The removal of more than a million tons of waste saved the state millions in AML funding while also providing the potential for future jobs in the small town.

      Watch the 2016 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video about the National Award Winner project by Northampton Fuels Supply Company.

      Loomis today: This photo shows how the company has removed the waste coal, and then reclaimed the site TAerial Loomis 1939 - This first aerial photo shows the size of the mine in 1939 Aerial Loomis 1959 - Just 20 years later, the mine has expanded across several fields, leading to the very large waste pile the company removed over a fifteen year stretch

    • Appalachian Regional Award Winner:
    • Westmorland Coal and Oxord Mining Company, Cadiz, OH
      Westmoreland Coal and the Oxford Mining Company have won three Excellence in Coal Mine Reclamation Award in five years in the same area, but for different projects. IN this case, the company reclaimed more than eight miles of dangerous highwalls from previously abandoned mines near roads, homes and business; creating more than seventeen thousand feet of continuous streambeds; filling dozens of old slurry impoundments; and turning some of the reclaimed areas into 23 acres of valuable wetlands, and still more grazing lands.

      Watch the 2016 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video about the Appalachian Regional Award Winner project by Westmorland Coal and Oxord Mining Company.

    • Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:
    • Solar Sources, Cannelburg Mining Complex, Cannelburg, IN
      Solar Sources has committed to performing reclamation while coal mining operations are going on in disturbed areas. To accomplish this, the company typically segregates topsoil that is ideal for farming, then replaces the topsoil and includes needed nutrients to bring the area back to a prime farmland designation when mining is completed.

      The company has demonstrated how decompacted soil, properly handled and treated, increased crop yields for different species. So far, the company has reclaimed more than 2500 acres, in addition to cleaning up 75 acres of abandoned mine land.

      Watch the 2016 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video about the Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner project by Solar Sources.

      The company also created several ponds and lakes to help with reclamation and farming Recreation Area  Wheat planted on the reclaimed site consistently yields higher bushels per acre, which is mostly due to the decompacted soil and replenished nutrients

    • Western Regional Award Winner:
    • BHP Billiton/Navajo Transitional Energy Corporation, Fruitland, NM
      BHP Billiton and the Navajo Transitional Energy Corporation determined that the original reclamation of a site first completed in 1976 was not performing up to the company’s standards. The operator decided that the original engineering-based reclamation should be removed in favor of the newer technique of geomorphic reclamation.

      After removing the originally built “drop structures,” the company rebuilt the site by moving more than 300,000 cubic yards of material, creating a central water source for wildlife and grazing. A move that in the long run saved the operators time and money that would otherwise go to fixing ongoing erosion from storm events.

      Watch the 2016 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video about the Western Regional Award Winner project by Solar Sources.

      Establishment of Seeded Species The creation of a central water source attracted ducks, geese, and other wildlife to an area that would normally not see animals without such a source Another Secondary Channel - BHP Billiton and the Navajo Transitional Energy Corporation moved hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of dirt to create the meandering streambed

  • 2015 Winners

    • The Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Awards are presented to coal mining companies that achieve the most exemplary mining and reclamation in the country.
    • Watch the 2015 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video.

    • Appalachian Regional Award Winner:
    • Paramont Coal Company, Hawk's Nest Mine, VA
      Paramont Coal Company leaves behind a legacy of a road well-traveled. Mining began at the site in 2004, in which almost 1200 acres were disturbed and nearly 1100 are now reclaimed. The site is unique in that it the permit was approved with multiple post mining land uses including agriculture, unmanaged forest land, and public use, but also industrial gas line development. That meant oversight from multiple local, state and Federal agencies.

      The site was also home to about 17-thousand feet of pre-SMCRA abandoned highwalls over 134 acres, all of which would need to be addressed. Working as contemporaneously as possible in each mining segment, the company flattened out huge swaths of land that was previously unusable. While doing so, the company built a network of connector roads to handle the coal and the spoils – but did so with a design.

      The connector roads also provided even more access for reclamation. Over several years, the company restored about 8500 feet of linear stream channel, incorporating natural stream restoration techniques with pools and riffles and native riparian vegetation.

      The company hosted several Arbor Day activities, welcoming sixth grade students from across the county to help with tree planting. Today, the county is developing new residential areas, and with them, recreational facilities. Before mining occurred, the county had little usable land in the area and now about 1500 acres with tennis courts, a track, basketball gym, horse rings, and an extensive playground.

      But the most lasting legacy from the project is the connection to a larger road – one that the county hopes will lead to increased development, a diversified economy, and possibly even tourism tied to another natural resource – the reintroduction of elk herds in the area.

      The development of a critical road system lead to the National Award for Paramont Coal Company’s Hawk’s Nest Mine in Buchanan, Virginia.

      Graded Coalfields Expressway running through the center Elk herd on Paramont Coal Company reclaimed mine land Completed stream mitigation work with native riparian species

    • Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:
    • Vigo Coal Company, Red Brush Mine, IN
      Vigo Coal Company saw an opportunity to make money mining coal while also carrying out an innovative reclamation of old pre-SMCRA mining pits. The 193 acre site began production in 2008, and eventually supplied more than 700 thousand tons of coal for power generation.

      By utilizing a hybrid method of highwall mining and then trucks and shovels to obtain the first seam, and then move the spoil to the previously abandoned pits, the company was able to clear two hurdles with one jump.

      The company cleared the highwall hazard it created while producing the coal, then filled the pits in with the spoil generated in that process. When the company moved to a second seam, it used the spoil there to eliminate extreme slopes that existed onsite.

      In both cases, the company segregated soils from the production areas and then added in supplemental soils for planting. The company used a low pressure bulldozer to prevent compaction of the targeted 48 inch root zone for new planting. Then, based on the recommendations of a soil consultant, it tested the soils for pH, organic matter, catalytic exchange and fertility.

      After planting the initial ground cover of rye, orchard grass, clover and other vegetation, the company diversified into other species including decoratives such as aster, coneflower and primrose, and then warm weather grass mixtures. Finally, with the solid foundation set, the company planted oak, walnut and hickory trees, some bald cypress, birch and dogwoods. And most especially, 450 American Chestnut seedlings to help reintroduce the threatened tree species.

      More than two years later, the tree survival rates are about 95%, and onsite water is near neutral in pH, acidity is low, and suspended solids are near premining levels. Which is why the judges selected VIGO Coal’s Red Brush Mine as its Mid-Continent Award winner for 2015.

      An American Chestnut seedling. 450 seedlings were planted throughout the site Ephemeral Stream Mitigation

    • Western Regional Award Winner:
    • Cloud Peak Energy Cordero Rojo Mine, WY
      Cloud Peak Energy set a goal for an operator to return a mined stream area to its premining hydrologic form and function, and to provide for the return of aquatic biota to that stream.

      The work at the Cordero Rojo Mine succeeded in a spectacular fashion, constructing almost 20-thousand feet of stream channel, that included floodplain pools and runs, alluvium perched aquifers, vortex rock weirs, armored scour pools and simulated backwater areas.

      The aquifers provide storage water for the vegetation on stream banks, which are stabilized to resist erosion, and are seeded with prescribed mixes of native plants. Both macroinvertebrates and invertebrates have returned to the post mined area, and so have fish.

      For returning a portion of the Wyoming Belle Fourche river to a close approximation of its premining state, the Western Region Award goes to Cloud Peak Energy’s Cordero Rojo Mine.

      Using a Surber sampler to collect macro invertebrate samples Wildlife graze the reclaimed land at the Belle Fourche River Opportunistic observations of aquatic species are another indicator of the successful reconstruction of the Belle Fourche River on mined and reclaimed lands

    • Good Neighbor Award Winner:
    • Mingo Logan Coal Company, Left Fork #2 Mine, Sharples, WV
      Mingo Logan Coal Company began producing coal at this West Virginia site in 1987, ended production in the early 90’s before starting work again in 2006. Because of the time span between production phases, the site provides a unique view of each phase of mining and reclamation in one area.

      To achieve the eventual post mining land use of building wildlife habitat, providing for outdoor education and opportunities to hunt, the company used an aggressive planting campaign in several phases. That included using a customized seed mix on areas to promote tree growth in Approximate Original Contour areas, designed to prevent erosion while also improving soil chemistry for tree planting and survival.

      At the same time, the company developed food plots for wildlife that included planting turnips and chicory. As part of an Earth Day celebration, local elementary school students did some of the planting of food crops, and older students built and placed wood duck boxes near waterways to encourage nesting. Working with professional foresters, the company then planted a variety of trees saplings that included native species such as oak, cherry, pine, persimmon and hazelnut, and complementary shrubs.

      In later stages, the operator hosted a “Women in the Outdoors” event to provide outdoor education, and training on firearms, archery, fly fishing and food. And still later on, the company hosted the first Wheelin’ Sportsmen event, which allowed people with disabilities to hunt and share the outdoor experience.

      For its commitment to restoring, enhancing and creating wildlife habitat, providing educational opportunities, and for aiding outdoorsmen and women with disabilities, the 2015 Good Neighbor Award goes to the Mingo Logan Coal Company of Sharples, West Virginia.

      Elementary Principle assisting students in placement of nesting box Students Sowing Seed in Wildlife Food Plot Area Wheelin’ Sportsmen Hunter Enjoying Some Action in Wildlife Food Plot

  • 2014 Winners

    • The Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Awards are presented to coal mining companies that achieve the most exemplary mining and reclamation in the country.
    • Watch the 2014 OSMRE Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards video.

    • Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:
    • Mississippi Lignite Mining Company Active Mine Land Reclamation Project, Ackerman, MS
      The judges felt that the Mississippi Lignite Mining Company’s Red Hill Mine (RHM) Company’s deserved recommendation for a National Award for their geomorphic techniques in utilizing naturally available materials for reconstructed stream bank stabilization. The RHM’s mining method involves the removal of 6 different lignite seams by the removal of the overburden and inter-burdens separating the seams. There are no naturally occurring, consolidated materials (i.e. rock) available for use at the Red Hills mine. The challenge for RHM was to develop and implement a stream restoration plan capable of stabilizing the stream reach while complying with surface coal mining, NPDES, and 404/401 regulations. The engineers allowed as much floodplain to be developed adjacent to the stream reach as possible while minimizing steep slopes within the surrounding, hilly reclaimed terrain.

      By reconnecting a stream to the floodplain, the flashiness of the stream can be reduced while retaining more nutrients within the system. Once the floodplain of the stream was reclaimed, a sinous channel was developed and woody debris was emplaced along with the following:

      • Large root-wads and logs salvaged from pre-mining operations were keyed into the banks to provide bank stability and aquatic habitat
      • Riffle runs and pools were created to provide a variable habitat to support an aquatic ecosystem
      • The banks were vegetated and a mixed-hardwood riparian corridor was planted

      In January 2012, approximately five-months after repairs were made to the stream, a baseline macroinvertebrate assessment was conducted within the reconstructed stream channel. Even though the post-repaired stream segment had only been functioning for five months, a number of different types of macro invertebrates were observed. Detected in the stream included; Ephemeroptera, Diptera, Chironomidae, Olgochaeta, Odonata, and Coleoptera. In addition, fish have been observed to have volunteered back into the stream.

      Stream channels have been dug and RHM is placing a rootwad along the outside curve of a meander 8 months after stream was reclaimed; hardwood seedlings and clover growing Buck photo taken with a game camera Overflow areas designed to prevent meander cutoff during highflow events Planting hardwood seedlings with a dibble bar

    • Western Regional Award Winner: Cloud Peak Energy Antelope Coal Mine
    • Cloud Peak Energy Antelope Coal Mine
      The second National Award recommendation is for Cloud Peak Energy-Antelope Coal LLC (ACLLC) for their sustainable control of cheatgrass on western reclaimed lands through innovative husbandry practices. Antelope Mine has successfully overcome the challenge of establishing and maintaining a sustainable native plant community that will meet or exceed bond release criteria on cheatgrass dominated areas without the use of chemical treatments or re-farming reclamation. The mine has successfully transformed over 400 acres of cheatgrass dominated reclamation into sustainable native perennial stands that achieve the post-mining land use.

      The techniques developed can be applied to cheatgrass impacted reclamation by other surface mining operations in the Intermountain West. The general concepts of integrating ecosystem based methodology to cheatgrass control have broad application to impacted lands in the Intermountain West. The use of these strategies will improve the ability to meet bond release criteria, improve species diversity and long-term habitat quality on mine land reclamation and in the Western United States.

      Long-term benefits also include the means to improve habitat for sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse. Sage-grouse are an endangered species. Technology used at ACLLA has demonstrated the ability to improve establishment and retention of native desirable plant species. The reclamation efforts at the ACLLA demonstrate Cloud Peak Energy’s voluntary commitment to enhance the science of reclamation and improve biodiversity.
      Large area following treatment with toolbar Reclamation area in agricultural production; 2 years after treatment Wildife on treated reclamation

    • Good Neighbor Award Winner:
    • Alpha Natural Resources of Elk Run Coal Company, Whitesville, WV
      Alpha Natural Resources makes significant contributions each year to the communities by donating their time and equipment and resources for community projects to ensure children in the community are provided for at different times of the year.

      Elk Run Coal Company, Inc. employs 530 people between their 5 deep mines, 2 belt mines, preparation plant and impoundment, all located in the Sylvester and Whiteville communities of Boone County, West Virginia. Last year, Elk Run donated $15,000 and used their equipment to install a scoreboard for the football field at Sherman High School. In addition, a handicapped swing was installed at Sherman Elementary to accommodate wheelchairs on the playground. Also, handicapped classrooms at Sherman High have been updated with tools that provide basic life skills to the handicapped. In total, over $2,300 was donated to update handicap classrooms, (e.g., refrigerator, sinks, range, counter tops, wall cabinets and other kitchen appliances).

      Elk Run donated labor, equipment and materials to repair the softball field at Sherman High. The repairs included:

      • Repaired and replaced drains in the infield to control water on the field
      • Repaired the scoreboard after it was struck by lightning
      • Regrading and dressed the infield
      • Installed a new fencing guard rail around the entire field
      • Repaired and painted the girls backstop and placed gravel under the bleachers
      • Provided equipment, labor and materials to build a press box and concession stand for the football field

      Each year, Elk Run hosts a variety of programs that provide for needy children and families by providing food, clothing and other donations also called “Love Bags.” Over 5,000 Love Bags and hygiene items have been provided to the community and school children. During the holidays, hams are given to underprivileged children.

      Elk Run recently helped finance a project by donating $57,450 to provide city water to the community of Blue Pennant, near Whitesville. This was a joint effort with the Boone County Commission and involved the installation of water lines from Rt. 3 to all residents of Blue Pennant.

      Elk Run also converted a gymnasium into a shelter at the Sylvester city park and hand built picnic tables. A total of $120,000 in improvements was donated to the park by Elk Run.

  • 2013 Awards - No Awards

  • 2012 Winners

    • National Award Winner:
    • North Antelope Rochelle Mine, Peabody Powder River Mining, LLC, Wright, Wyoming
      The National Award for Excellence in Surface Coal Mining was presented to the North Antelope Rochelle Mine, a Peabody Energy Coal Company facility in Wright, Wyoming.

      The complex is actually two mining permits merged into one. The original North Antelope mine began operations in 1983. The Rochelle mine started in 1985. The company merged the two in 1999, and together, they produced 109 million tons of coal in 2011. The complex employs approximately 1300 people. The complex is also large, with 46-thousand acres permitted. The area, about 65 miles southeast of Gillette, is semi-arid, but supports several forms of shrubs and grasses. The resident wildlife population includes mule deer, pronghorn, elk, sage-grouse, and numerous raptor species, including a variety of eagles, hawks, owls, and kestrels.

      Since Peabody began operations, it has reclaimed about 6000 acres, primarily for use as livestock grazing land. The company also recognizes the need to promote and enhance wildlife habitat, including building reservoirs, wetlands and planting vegetation.

      The company took a special interest in state and federal requirements that protect raptors during and after mining. Peabody carried out baseline wildlife studies prior to mining and documented 245 raptor nests in approximately 117 square miles. The company identified potential disturbances for nesting raptors, hired and funded a wildlife consultant, and developed mitigation plans to minimize the impacts of coal production.

      To help raptor breeding continue, the company made development of potential nest areas a priority, and also planned to move some nests as mining progressed. One method of keeping mated pairs near the area included building and installing artificial nest platforms. The company also contracted and funded a local non-profit bird rescue and rehabilitation facility.

      The success of the mitigation program is easily visible. Despite continued mining, the company has successfully maintained viable eagle, hawk, owl, and kestrel populations onsite. And, Peabody believes, it has developed a regime that is easily transferable across different kinds of mining and national borders.

      Ferruginous hawk with a small transmitter for tracking Worker placing nest material on golden eagle platform Pronghorn antelope fawn Golden eagle chick in nest Closer view of the golden eagle chick in nest A ferruginous hawk atop one of the platforms

    • Mid-Continent Regional Award Winner:
    • Cottage Grove Mine, Peabody Energy, Equality, Illinois
      The National Award for Excellence in Surface Coal Mining was presented to the Cottage Grove Mine, a Peabody Energy Coal Company near Equality Illinois.

      The project is actually five different mine sites near the town of Equality. Peabody carries out active mining 24 hours a day on the site, which is more than 3500 acres. Approximately 250 people work in the area, producing coal from seams that go as deep as 120 feet. The mine produces about 2.3 million tons of coal each year. About 85% of Cottage Grove sits on prime farmland, and because the mine complex is located in some of the most productive agricultural land in Illinois, it can be difficult to meet Federal post-mining Proof of Productivity standards.

      To address that challenge, Peabody investigated soil conditions before mining started, and decided to remove all topsoil from the area. It then stored the topsoil in stockpiles. After mining was completed, the company used the unconsolidated topsoil as rooting medium for new plant life. Using trucks, then pressure dozers and eventually Caterpillars equipped with GPS units, workers spread the retained topsoil to specified depths and contours. It then planted a wide variety of alfalfa, orchard grass, medium red clover, alsike clover, perennial ryegrass and winter rye to produce hay. Periodic mowing of the hay provides ground cover, food for insect life, and prevents erosion.

      The company maintains the hay crops for two years to ensure the reclaimed land will meet the required productivity standards. Then, when conditions are right, they rip the field and allow it to sit another year. This is the final preparation for the return of row crops. From 2004 until 2010, the fields produced 64 successful hay yields before they were allowed to lie fallow. During this down time, the field provided food for wildlife, and geese, deer, and other animals have returned to Cottage Grove.

      Today, many of these same fields are used to grow corn, and those yields have averaged over 200 bushels per acre, well above the county average. As for the company, it has transferred many of its techniques to other mine sites, allowing those sites to see similar reclamation successes.

    • Western Regional Award Winner:
    • Dave Johnston Mine, Glenrock Coal Company, Glenrock, Wyoming
      The Dave Johnston mine, which began operation in 1958, is located 14 miles north of Glenrock, covering more than 13-thousand acres, all of which are more than a mile above sea level. Typical of Wyoming, weather can be severe, with temperatures ranging from minus 30 in winter to 98 during a hot summer day, and winds average 15 miles per hour - every day.

      Glenrock ended operations at the mine in September 2000, after exposing almost 5000 acres of short-grass prairie to produce more than 104 million tons of coal. But the company actually began reclamation on the mine in 1965, while still producing coal. By 2000, Glenrock had reclaimed about a third of the disturbed area. The remaining 3100 acres were reclaimed between 2000 and 2005.

      Looking at photos 35 years apart, there is a stark contrast between the time when the mine was in operation, and as it stands today. But that is only part of the story. The mine sits in a semi arid portion of Wyoming, averaging 10 inches of precipitation each year. There are no permanent streams in the mine area, and only a few ephemeral watersheds. So, the pre-mining vegetation is sparse.

      Typically, most western mine reclamation plans have focused on growing grass quickly to stabilize the soil. But that does not necessarily serve the entire ecosystem’s needs. As always, water, or the lack of it, will determine how much and how well reclamation can be done. When crews began backfilling the Dave Johnston mine, they noticed something; weeps were forming in highwalls and other areas. Water – that could be captured for use in reclamation.

      Between 2001 and 2004, the company developed six of the weep areas into man-made springs. Using three different capture methods, the company placed discharge pipes into the soil, then built outfall tanks using old haul truck tires to hold the water. Each of the tanks provided between 12 and 17 gallons of water an hour, beginning in 2002.

      Today, with all six providing water on a consistent basis, the mine site is home to mule deer, antelope, grouse, and other birds of prey. In addition, the mine is still producing electricity. It is home to 158 wind turbines constantly turning. 45 of those are on the reclaimed mine site.
      High Wall Weep area The large electricity-generating wind farm now in operation on the old mine site Mule deer around the company's collection system Collection system built from old haul truck tires

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • Alcoa Sandow Mine, Alcoa, Inc., Rockdale, Texas
      Although better known for its aluminum products than coal mining, coal plays a key role in ALCOA’s business. The company’s Sandow Texas mine is 17,000 acres. ALCOA has mined about 12-thousand of those, producing more than 200 million tons of lignite coal, which ALCOA burned to produce 25 billion pounds of aluminum.

      Beginning in the early 1970’s, before federal reclamation standards existed, ALCOA began its reclamation efforts by leveraging community groups, including the Boy Scouts, to plant trees and help develop water resources. Some of those former Scouts later became ALCOA employees. In 2000, ALCOA developed companywide sustainability targets that furthered its reclamation efforts. Those targets were designed to engage local communities.

      In 2003, ALCOA formed a Community Advisory Panel for its Rockdale operation. 15 people serve on the panel which was established to provide a forum for citizens to ask questions and for the company to provide information to citizens. Panel meetings are open to the public and media. In 2003, the company also began its ten million trees program, with a goal of planting the specified number of trees around the globe by 2020.

      ALCOA also submits annual Wildlife Management Plans, working closely with Texas state biologists. Some of the work includes doing animal census counts, providing supplemental food and water when needed, and enhancing land to provide both water and food crops for a variety of species. ALCOA has also developed a bee pollination program. The program supports several hives on reclaimed coal mines that produce honey, which is then distributed to employees and the community.

      Most recently, ALCOA introduced its Green Works initiative. In April 2011, the company held an activity day to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship. Echoing its past efforts, the company invited 21 Boy Scouts, several families and the Milam County Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden to take part in reclamation-related activities.

      The day included stocking fish in one of the mine’s lakes, and transferring 200 fish from one existing pond to another, a move made necessary because of drought conditions. The groups also planted 200 tree seedlings, including cedar elm, bald cypress, willow oak, wax myrtle and water oak trees. Each participant was also given a tree to take home. Finally, ALCOA also presented the Boy Scout troop that participated in the event with a grant to continue its activities.
      Boy Scout planning trees as part of community program Photo of Boy Scout beekeeper Photo of fish relocating

    • Antelope, Cordero Rojo, and Spring Creek Mines, Cloud Peak Energy Resources LLC, Gillette, Wyoming
      Of the three mines in the Cloud Peak group, two are in Wyoming and one is in Montana. The three sites employ about 1500 people. It is because of the distance between the mines and the size of the workforce that Cloud Peak determined it needed to do extensive community outreach.

      Part of its environmental effort included work on building new shrub habitat on reclaimed areas. In semi-arid climates, it is sometimes difficult to establish native plant populations. Cloud Peak has developed successful methods to building shrub habitat, and held a workshop with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and Wyoming state agencies to help spread the use of the technique.

      As part of its community efforts, Cloud Peak also developed museum based interactive displays to explain how coal mining and reclamation is done. The company held awareness events with school science events, on Earth Day, at the Wyoming State Fair, and with the Montana Audubon Nature Center. As part of its public service activities, Cloud Peak also contributed to organizations such as the American Legion Auxiliary, the Converse County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Skills-USA, which provides practical education opportunities that often lead to mining related jobs.

      When flooding struck northeast Wyoming and Southeast Montana, Cloud Peak also donated food supplies and water to those affected, and helped coordinate and deliver supplies to evacuee centers.

      The company also provided more than 60-thousand dollars to the Montana and Wyoming Meth Projects, which are designed to prevent teenagers from using or becoming addicted to methamphetamine.

      Finally, the company provided almost a half-million dollars in donations to a wide variety of community organizations, ranging from the Boys and Girls Clubs, to economic development non-profits, to a long list of medical and health service organizations, and to the Salvation Army.

      The company said that helping increase public knowledge of the coal industry and reclamation, promoting science and education, and helping build healthy communities is in the company’s and the industry’s best interests to keep coal mining as a sustainable industry.
      Instructors are discussing how to optimize seeding Cloud Peak Energy display at the Wyoming State Fair Flood relief efforts to parts of northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana Wyoming's Gillette College, a Mine Technology class Cloud Peak Energy tour with school group

  • 2011 Winners

    • Director's Award Winners:
    • Western Energy
      Western Energy won the 2011 Director's Award for its longtime use of geomorphic reclamation at its Thin Breaks site in eastern Montana. The company replanted native species in the area, increased shrub diversity, and reclaimed ponderosa pine and sagebrush habitat. To achieve a natural-looking topography, the company showed equipment operators undisturbed areas near the mine to give them an idea of how to create the topography, and later put computers on the bulldozers to help the operators achieve the proper contours.
    • Big Sky Coal
      Big Sky Coal won the 2011 Director's Award for its Big Sky Mine Area B project. The company used a cost-effective and successful geomorphic approach to create stable and sustainable landforms, establish native vegetation, and build post-mine land uses. Big Sky developed sustainable landforms in reclamation, restored land use function and utility, and protected the public while maximizing the recovery of the coal resource.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Oxford Mining Company Columbus, Ohio
      Oxford Mining won for embracing the goals of a reforestation initiative developed by OSM in concert with the states, academia, and the mining industry. Using the Forestry Reclamation Approach at its Jockey Hollow West mine site, Oxford reclaimed more than 85 acres of land, planted more than 80,000 trees, and perfected a land reclamation technique that minimized erosion during water runoff.
    • Big Horn Coal Company, Sheridan County, Wyoming
      Big Horn won for executing an integrated geomorphic mine reclamation plan. Big Horn’s effort covered 705 acres and fully reclaimed a large coal pit; restored a 2,500-foot portion of the Tongue River; reclaimed pre-SMCRA subsidence; designed and constructed a permanent post-mining reservoir; and integrated each project into the surrounding landscape using sound geomorphic and engineering principles.

    • Good Neighbor Award Winner:
    • Oxford Mining Company Columbus, Ohio
      Oxford Mining won for a wide array of community projects it has carried out in Harrison County, Ohio. The company allowed groups to use its Jockey Hollow West site as an outdoor classroom for state, industry, and landowner groups to study reforestation and for training coal mine inspectors. It also allowed the American Chestnut Foundation to use the site as a production source for blight resistant chestnut tree seeds.

  • 2010 Winners

    • National Award Winners:
    • Antelope Coal, LLC Gillette, Wyoming
      The company successfully established wildlife habitat at its mine site through a three-phase approach. After evaluating the post-mining topographic surface to identify land areas with the highest shrub potential, the company then used features such as basins and ridgeline breaks to enhance moisture collection and improve deep soil moisture conditions for perennial shrub species. In the final phase, the company used an advanced planting technology that targeted optimal planting dates, planting rates, and specialized drilling equipment for shrubs. By following this approach, the mine operators developed consistent, high-quality habitat for elk and mule deer antelope.
    • Coal-Mac, Inc. Holden, West Virginia
      This award winner emphasized protecting the environment and the public during construction and the operation of its slurry line system. The operator built a seven-mile overland slurry line system to carry slurry from the preparation plant to an existing impoundment and installed cameras along the slurry line to allow for instantaneous monitoring. The company also eliminated truck traffic on public roads through the use of the overland beltline, thereby increasing public safety during surface mining operations.
    • Larry D. Baumgardner Coal Company, Inc. Lanse, Pennsylvania
      The mine operator remined about 60 acres of this site in central Pennsylvania, including 7,740 feet of highwall and underground mines. The remining effort not only eliminated the abandoned highwalls but also resulted in the recovery of topsoil-type material that had been buried by previous mining. This material was saved during the operation to be later used for planting. This allowed the site to be restored to a post-mining land use of forestland and some industrial and pasture land. The local environment benefited from reductions in iron and acid at the site, which resulted from the operator’s remining effort.
    • Western Fuels – Wyoming, Inc., Gillette, Wyoming
      The company took steps to minimize disturbing wetlands when it established a road and conveyor route at its mine. The company also built its conveyor along a route that lessened the impact on water quality than other available options and used a wide arch span for a bridge, which reduced the project’s impact on the wetlands. The benefits of the project’s design and construction techniques will have short- and long-term benefits. These benefits include immediate reestablishment of wetlands and stream conditions, without the 60- to 70-year delay typically expected from a facility that will be in existence for decades.

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • Energy West Mining Company Huntington, Utah
      Energy West Mining Company developed an ambitious and innovative spring development and pipeline project with the North Emery Water Users Special Service District (NEWUSSD). The goal of the project was to provide a long-term, dependable water supply to a water treatment plant in Huntington Canyon that would not be interrupted or affected by surface activities, or by underground coal mining activities which are common to the area. The mining company donated time needed for the project’s permitting activities, and worked closely with NEWUSSD to develop mitigation measures and help the District supply water to their constituents.
    • ICG Beckley, LLC, Eccles, West Virginia
      ICG completed numerous community projects and environmental improvements in and around the town of Eccles. Some of these projects and improvements included partnering with the West Virginia Department of Highways to re-pave approximately one mile of local roads and more than one mile of access roads to the mine site, reclaiming an abandoned refuse site while enhancing more than 3,100 feet of stream, and installing fan insulation coatings and refuse bin insulation in order to reduce noise for nearby residents. The company also donated laptop computers to a high school and bleachers for a Little League field in the community.

  • 2009 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Luminant Mining Company
      The Luminant Mining Company's Environmental Research Program received the Director’s Award for its funding of graduate studies of the company’s environmental footprint. University graduate students were offered the use of research facilities and living quarters near one of Luminant’s power plant and mine facilities. By the end of 2008, Luminant had provided more than $4.6 million in funding, and the program has produced more than 120 completed independent student theses and dissertations. Specific, on-the-ground results included increasing prime farmland soils at Luminant’s Big Brown facility from about 5 percent to more than 58 percent.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Peabody Energy, Black Beauty Coal Company, Viking Mine, Daviess County, Indiana
      Viking Mine’s Corning Pit offered a reforested area designed to create wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, promote biodiversity and provide for a future timber supply.
    • Spring Creek Coal, LLC, Spring Creek Mine, Decker, Montana
      Spring Creek Mine identified a wide diversity of vegetation types in the pre-mine vegetation and soil surveys, then successfully incorporated the same type of diversity into the post-mining landscape.
    • San Juan Coal Company, La Plata Mine, La Plata, New Mexico
      San Juan Coal Company’s reclamation efforts used the highest technology regrading method available to control erosion and sedimentation, and to achieve enhancement of wildlife habitat and related environmental resources.
    • Peabody Energy, Caballo Mine, Campbell County, Wyoming
      Caballo Mine’s stream channel reclamation and construction of associated pools of the North Tisdale Creek Wetlands Reservoir effectively re-established riparian vegetation and wetland conditions.

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • Coulterville Coal Company, LLC, Gateway Mine, Randolph County, Illinois
      Gateway Mine recruited employees from surrounding southern Illinois communities to participate in technical training and education programs for local students, provide mine tours and open houses for the local community and its schools, participated in Arbor Day projects, and donated steel to build a local high school.
    • Patriot Coal Company, LP, Patriot Surface Mine, Henderson County, Kentucky
      Patriot Coal assumed the reclamation liability on a permit in western Kentucky left behind by the mine’s former owners and reclaimed a 32-acre final pit impoundment, achieved hay productivity, and proposed merging a portion of the area into a local county park system.
    • North American Coal Corporation, Red Hills Mine, Choctaw County, Mississippi
      Red Hills Mine presented hands-on technology training to rural teachers, built a public overlook, gave tours, and provided presentations to help address negative stereotypes associated with surface mining. The mine also employed exemplary reforestation techniques to provide property owners with new stands of loblolly pine trees.

  • 2008 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
      The 2008 Director's Award was presented to Luminant Mining for reforestation at the Big Brown, Martin Lake, Monticello, Oak Hill, and Thermo Mines in Texas. These mines show how sound science and dedication to stewardship can produce useful land for commercial forestry, food supply for wildlife, and actually add to wetlands. In 2007 alone they planted 1,637,825 trees, including 32 species, 16 of which are hard mast producers for wildlife.

    • National Award Winners:
    • International Coal Company, ICG Eastern, Birch River Complex, West Virginia
      ICG pioneered development of bench refuse disposal, avoiding hollow fill impoundments and using materials handling methods that prevent acid mine discharges. Careful use of innovative practices’ analyzed and evaluated in partnership with West Virginia University were used resulting in exemplary post mining water quality, soil suitable to support 750,000 trees, vegetation and forage for a wide variety of wildlife, a task complicated by re-mining a pre-law mined site.
    • Rio Tinto Energy America, Jacobs Ranch Mine, Wyoming
      Above and beyond regulatory requirements, this company uses sound science to establish and maintain a high level of forage for area ranches, deer, and antelope while recreating ephemeral streams and building natural reservoirs supporting cattle and wildlife. The rigorous environmental standards Rio Tinto required covered air and water quality, water quantity, mineral and non mineral waste management, hazardous material and contamination control, land use stewardship, and environmental management systems.
    • Peabody Energy, Black Beauty Coal Company, Miller Creek Mine, Sugar Ridge Pit, Indiana
      Careful soil analysis and handling, close cooperation with Mid-Western Universities and soil fertility management planning turned this mined land into prime farmland with high yields. When soils are returned to the mined land, they are layered and lightly compacted enabling high yields. Water impoundments as large as 26 acres on the permit area enhance farming land uses and are stocked with fish. This is exemplary reclamation supporting corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa and is also deserving of special mention for involving the community in planning for enduring use of agricultural land.
    • Massey Energy, Road Fork Development, Superior Surface Mines, West Virginia
      As an integral part of the mine plan at an area with 50 acres of prelaw mined land, Superior Surface mines took an approach that would strengthen a prelaw slurry pond, one of the largest and oldest in the world. Their innovative and practical approach demonstrates that good engineering and a commitment to the environment can go together with efficient mining. Where once refuse material had caught fire and seepage occurred at the pond toe, Superior’s efforts have buttressed the pond walls with alkaline material ensuring safety and environmental protection for the heavily populated Main Island Creek Watershed.

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • Arch Coal, Thunder Basin Coal Company, LLC, Black Thunder Mine, Wyoming
      Well known for its high levels of reclamation for ranching and wildlife, along with community involvement, Arch Coal’s Black Thunder Mine has developed an unusual program, ensuring that raptors thrive along with other wildlife while mining and reclamation go on. Partnered with national and international wildlife and ecological associations, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, this company goes beyond habitat conservation adding to our body of knowledge of raptor migration patterns and involves area students in the practical scientific work of ground observation.
    • Rio Tinto Energy America, Antelope Mine, Cordero Rojo Mine, Jacobs Ranch Mine, Wyoming
      Rio Tinto’s strong commitment to environmental excellence and reclamation included developing self sustaining projects appropriate to area economies and went well beyond the company’s strong financial support for community projects. Assessing community needs during mining and looking to the future after mining and reclamation are complete; Rio Tinto contributed time and expertise to advisory boards, planning teams and active involvement in ecosystem and wildlife education and preservation merging their efforts with local schools.
    • Arch Coal, Coal-Mac Inc., West Virginia
      This award honors the company’s involvement in the community with special emphasis on its educational efforts. From kindergarten through high school and into college, the personal involvement of managers, executives, and employees were both extensive and exemplary. Mining and reclamation were demonstrated and explained as educational excellence and effort were encouraged.

  • 2007 Winners - No Awards

  • 2006 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • TXU Mining Company, D1 Mining Area, Oakhill, Texas
      The Director's Award this year was given to TXU Mining Company, D1 Mining Areain Oakhill, Texas. The site is comprised of hardwood forests and wildlife wetlands. Selective thinning produced nearly 1,700 tons of pulpwood and pine straw harvested for commercial and residential landscaping.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Pritchard Mining Company, Lens Creek Mine #2, Kanawah and Boone Counties, West Virgina
      Careful planning by the engineers, advances in equipment and fine tuning of practices by skilled equipment operators resulted in a competitive product with reclamation that meets or in many cases exceeds all State and Federal regulations. The resulting forest growing on steep topography – with scenic ponds – blends in with the surrounding natural growth.
    • Peabody Energy Seneca Coal Company, Seneca II West Mine, Routt County, Colorado
    • Peabody Coal Company, Lynnville Mine, Warrick County, Indiana
      Thanks to carefully planned work with soil placement and selection, there has been remarkable success with trees. Of the 3,382 permitted acres, 1,721.6 are forest land use, and 1,617.5 are wildlife habitat. Today at the Lynnville mining complex, closed since 1999, a substantial forest is growing— the result of the high survival rate from the planting of over 6.7 million trees.
    • Paramont’s Black Bear Mine, Virginia
    • United Minerals and Black Beauty Coal Company, West Fork Mine, Daviess County, Indiana
      United Minerals took on an aggressive reclamation program which included reforestation, creation of both land and aquatic habitat as well as eliminating the health, safety and environmental problems.
    • North American Coal Corporation, Red Hills Mine, Ackerman, Mississippi
      North American Coal put a level of design and construction rarely seen into its drainage channels, using erosion control fabrics, rock check dams and large rip-rap. Limestone coverings to complete the channels were trucked in from 170 miles away. Innovative sequential plantings of millet and Bermuda grass -- developed with landscape experts -- enabled native trees, shrubs and grass to naturally move into the reclaimed area establishing a healthy foundation for a long term use of commercial forestry.
    • Black Beauty Coal Company, Cedar Creek Mine, Schuyler County, Illinois
      Innovative mining at this area by contract miner United Minerals involved replacing subsoils to depths of five to seven feet as a non-compacted, extended rooting material resulting in high yields of corn and soybeans, and terraces were constructed to control erosion.
    • Alcoa Sandow Mine, Rockdale, Texas
      The Sandow reclamation plan established diverse plant species in support of habitat and is based on its commitment to returning mined land to a more productive level than existed before mining. Sandow has reclaimed previously mined land at this site in addition to reclaiming land as its own mining proceeded.

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • AEP Kentucky Coal, Lick Creek, Kentucky
      Not only did AEP Kentucky give careful consideration to the community in its reclamation plan, the company met with the community, discussed their concerns and rerouted the coal haul road so the entire deposit was mined without disturbing the homes and schools of Lick Creek.
    • Thunder Basin Coal Company, Black Thunder Mine, Wright, Wyoming
      When a tornado struck the nearby town of Wright, Thunder Basin's response was immediate. Surface Mine Rescue teams arrived to search for survivors, provide first aid, supplies, and electric generators. Thunder Basin employees gave up their company picnic to provide a community meal to the people of Wright. To expedite cleanup, the mine arranged with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality to dispose of non-hazardous debris from the town as backfill at the mine, thereby saving the county over $200,000.
    • Western Energy Company, Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana
      Rosebud is part of a farming and ranching community near the Northern Cheyenne reservation. The company's outreach extends to all its neighbors. It has mined around and preserved petroglyphs from ancient peoples, established buffalo herds for traditional ceremonies and opened reclaimed land for cattle grazing and crop production by local farmers and ranchers at no cost. Protecting the area's history, settlers cabins and an early post office have been preserved for future generations.

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winner:
    • Roy Karo

  • 2005 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Arch of Wyoming Seminoe I Mine, Hanna, Wyoming
      This year, the award was presented to Arch of Wyoming Seminoe I Mine, Hanna, Wyoming, for dedication and commitment that resulted in developing an innovative reclamation technique that creates a more efficient way of doing the work and improves final reclamation. The Seminoe I Mine’s shrub success greatly exceeded regulatory goals and standards. The new methods employed at this mine established shrubs, grasses and forbs, and specific habitat features were constructed. The results were, outstanding livestock grazing and wildlife habitat in arid Wyoming conditions.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Peabody Western Coal Company, Kayenta/Black Mesa Mines, Navajo County, Arizona
      In 1998, the Peabody Western Coal Company began developing a grazing management program on reclaimed lands. They met with Native American stakeholders, and evaluated data that would help establish management guidelines for livestock grazing. By 2004, 18 families were grazing livestock on 3,700 acres of pasture.
    • Red River Coal Company, Humphries Enterprises Inc., Job 1 and 2, Norton, Virginia
      The Red River Coal Company’s innovative techniques helped eliminate more than 4,800 feet of dangerous, abandoned highwalls during mining. Red River also worked with Virginia Tech, testing reforestation techniques for reclaimed land. Different mixtures of trees and soil preparation were tested, as well as methods of applying herbicides to control competing vegetation around tree seedlings.
    • Foundation Coal Holdings Inc., Delta Mine, Harrisburg, Illinois
      Innovative reclamation at the Delta Mine resulted in a variety of topography, as well as land uses. The 3,800 acre area integrates cropland with forests, lakes and wildlife habitats, providing viable, long-term land use for this rural Illinois community.
    • Western Energy Company, Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana
      The reclamation plan at the Rosebud Mine was modified to preserve the valuable habitat provided by pre-mine topographic features. By leaving a large area above the final cut untouched, regrading the reclaimed land minimized disturbance and reduced the area of the final highwall. More than 5,000 mature ponderosa pine trees and associated plant and animal species were saved. The preservation of native slopes, sandstone cliffs, and established forest has created a reclaimed mine site that is already characteristic of the surrounding Montana landscape.
    • United Coals Inc., Stenger/Bond Surface Mine, Clarksburg, West Virginia
      This 90-acre coal mining and reclamation operation had been previously mined, and contained more than a mile of reclamation.
    • Kennocott Energy, Spring Creek Coal Company, Spring Creek Mine, Decker, Montana
      Native vegetation has been reestablished by a unique combination of grading and seed mixtures. It took a thorough understanding of local topography to sculpt features that would support the diverse vegetation, providing both a wildlife habitat and livestock grazing.
    • Peabody Coal Company, Universal Mine Slurry Wetland, Indiana

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • Peabody Energy, Black Beauty Coal Company, Farmersberg Mine, Vigo and Sullivan Counties, Indiana
      The company ran educational mine site activities, and provided needed improvements at a local high school. It installed lights at local baseball fields, and constructed an entrance road for a new town park. It also built a cemetery monument, and donated land to construct a treatment plant for the town of Farmersburg.
    • Peabody Western Coal Company, Kayenta/Black Mesa Mines, Navajo County, Arizona
      Post-mining livestock grazing at the Kayenta/Black Mesa Complex supports a traditional way of life—with cultural ties going back hundreds of years. Peabody worked with local residents, establishing The Surface Mining Law requires establishment of a healthy, permanent vegetation cover on all land affected by coal mining.
    • Powder River Coal Company, North Antelope Rochelle Mine,Gillette, Wyoming
      The North Antelope Rochelle Mine, the world’s largest coal mine, produced nearly 82.5 million tons of subbituminous coal in 2004. Frequent demonstrations at the mine site, and educational school tours have taught hundreds of children about modern Powder River Basin mining and reclamation. The company has been the major contributor to the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association and actively works to increase awareness about stewardship of Wyoming’s natural resources.

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winner:
    • Ralph Sutton, United Coals, Stenger/Bond Surface Mine, West Virginia

  • 2004 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Arch of West Virginia
      This year, the award was presented to Arch of West Virginia for reclamation of abandoned mine land problems as part of active mining and reclamation at the Ruffner Mine.Reclamation at the Ruffner mine eliminated 9.4 miles of dangerous abandoned highwalls, cleaned up numerous abandoned refuse disposal areas, and eliminated a large underground mine fire. This reclamation work was done as part of the active mining and required no cost to the state or federal government.

    • National Award Winners:
    • San Juan Coal Company, San Juan Mine, Waterflow, New Mexico
      Mining company employees recreated the slopes with characteristics of the undisturbed lands. Using a slope design process based on fluvial geomorphic principles, the reclaimed topography is more stable, diverse, and resistant to damage from flash flooding than traditional reclaimed land in this arid environment.
    • TXU Mining Company, Tatum Lignite Coal Mine, Beckville, Texas
      A pond-in-series design resulted in five wetland areas being developed. Native grasses and forbs were planted and more than 40 acres of hardwood species are now established. This wetland resource serves the east Texas community with wildlife, fish, diverse aesthetics, sediment retention, and groundwater recharge for years to come.
    • Patriot Mining Company, Guston Run Mine, near Pursglove, Pennsylvania
      Incorporated coal ash from a local power plant to prevent acid problems. The ash spread on the pit floor, mixed in the backfill, and on the final slopes prior to topsoil placement acted as a sealer and neutralizing agent. Good reclamation practices and use of the ash has resulted in good water quality discharges and postmining land that should remain productive for years in the future.
    • Consolidation Coal Company, Illinois
      Worked to develop a successful reclamation method in prime farmland conditions on its Illinois surface mining operations. Research results showed soil loosening was needed to eliminate compaction problems and a special plow was developed. Capable of plowing to depths of 48 inches, the 17-inch lifting motion fractures compacted soils and creates soil conditions that can consistently meet performance standards.
    • Shafer Brothers Construction, Payne Mine, Morgantown, West Virginia
      The company used coal ash from a power plant to minimize acid mine drainage from the acid-producing layer just below the coal. Ash was primarily used to seal the pit floor by creating a dish that prevented water from getting into the potential acid-producing material. This reclamation resulted in water discharges that meet all effluent standards without treatment and an excellent hay crop that is being harvested by the landowner.
    • Jacobs Ranch Coal Company, Jacobs Ranch Mine, Wright, Wyoming
      Created intermittent wetlands used by waterfowl as well as antelope, deer, and elk. This year-around habitat and seasonal water supply has been reestablished even though mitigation is not required by the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers.

    • Special Award for Reclamation Using Government Financial Reclamation Contracts
    • Coal Loaders, Inc., Hoffer Mine, Unity Township, Pennsylvania
      A 1940s surface mine left abandoned highwalls, sinkholes, acid mine discharges, and piles of coal refuse. The coal remaining was not enough to justify permitting, so the project was completed as an abandoned mine project funded by the mine operator. Through two contracts, Coal Loaders was able to mine the remaining coal, fully reclaim the site, and complete improvements to the property.

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • Coteau Properties Company, Freedom Mine, near Beulah, North Dakota
      The company designed and developed the Harmony Lake Wildlife Management Area. The 45-acre lake, and 637-acre wildlife area which was donated to the state of North Dakota, is a great long term resource.
    • Coal-Mac, Inc., Phoenix Surface Mine, Ragland, West Virginia
      The company initiated education programs and worked with schools on environmental issues in the classroom and on-site at the mines. Children in local schools were presented monetary education incentive awards established by Coal-Mac
    • Trapper Mining Company, Trapper Mine, Craig, Colorado
      Examples of community involvement include building a fitness center and donating it to the community college; providing personnel, machinery, and funds to construct nine holes of the Yampa Valley Golf Course; and, working with the community leaders, providing labor, machinery, and funds to build an athletic complex.

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winners:
    • Cottonwood Pit reclamation at the San Juan Coal Company, New Mexico
      • Larry Tsosie, Equipment Operator
      • Collette Brown, Environmental Specialist
      • Nicholas Bugosh, Senior Hydrologist
      • Tim Ramsey, Senior Reclamation Specialist
      • Jim Luther, Environmental Coordinator
      • Gary Lindsdale, Mine Manager
      • and others

  • 2003 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • United Minerals Company and Black Beauty Coal Company
      This year, the award was presented to both the United Minerals Company and Black Beauty Coal Company, for working together to create exemplary wetlands at the Deer Ridge Mine. Reclamation resulted in 44 shallow wetlands covering approximately 160 acres. They range in size from less than one to more than 20 acres, and all have variable water depths. In addition, there are now 72 permanent impoundments covering approximately 246 acres. Many of the impoundments were constructed with remnant standing timber that provides protected bird nesting sites.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Squaw Creek Coal Company, Squaw Creek Mine, Chandler, Indiana
      Reclaimed with a mixture of cropland, pasture land, forest, water impoundments, wildlife habitat, and a residential area. In 2000 the mining company purchased a special warm season grass drill for planting native grasses – Indian grass, big bluestem, little bluestem, and switch grass. These grasses produce hay crops, yield additional seed for planting natural grass areas, and provide wildlife with a unique habitat.
    • TXU Mining Company, Monticello Mine, East Texas
      Reclamation at this 412 acre site included native grasses, pasture, hardwood trees, and ponds. The area now contains all elements of food, water, and cover to support and perpetuate resident as well as migratory wildlife. Twenty-two different species of trees were planted with upland and bottomland oaks emphasized around the wetland areas. They provide both fast growing cover and wildlife corridors.
    • Drummond Company, Inc., Cedrum No. 4 Mine, Townley, Alabama
      Extensive mitigation of premining natural areas was accomplished by constructing wetlands that now provide a diverse plant and animal community. Following mining 2,600 feet of stream was replaced and improved to provide additional habitat for the endangered flattened musk turtle. Four cemeteries were located on the property. They were not disturbed and are all integrated into the landscape.
    • Castle Gate Holding Company, Castle Gate Mine, near Price Utah
      The entire area was covered with soil and graded to include small basins about four feet wide and two feet deep. This prevented water runoff and eliminated the need for hundreds of feet of silt fence. This is a great model for other sites with historic mine problems in dry, steep terrain. Today, it’s a magnificent, picturesque mountain canyon.
    • Kennecott Energy, Antelope Coal Company, Antelope Coal Mine, Wyoming
    • Peabody Energy, Caballo Coal Company, Caballo Mine, south of Gillette, Wyoming
      Reclamation returned the land to a livestock grazing and wildlife habitat. Small ponds were constructed replacing wetlands that were eliminated during mining. These areas are an oasis for waterfowl and shore birds and provide a dependable source of water for the native wildlife.
    • Consolidation Coal Company, Burning Star Number 5 Mine, Illinois

    • Good Neighbor Award Winners:
    • Bridgeview Coal Company, Schmunk Mine, Farmington, Pennsylvania
      Bridgeview Coal Company mined and reclaimed just over 800 acres that is now actively farmed just as it was before mining. A dangerously twisting township road was changed to a safe, reasonably straight road. The company donated a water truck to the local fire department and built a stock car racetrack that is the principle source of fund raising for the fire department. A ball field was constructed at the local park, and the company made their excavators and loader available for township use. A safe shooting range was built for a nearby hunting and shooting club. Culverts and drainpipes were installed, and township roads resurfaced.
    • Vigo Coal Company, Cypress Creek Mine, Boonville, Indiana
      The Vigo Coal Company constructed a 45 acre wetlands/flood control area at its Cypress Creek Mine in Boonville, Indiana. Vigo hauled approximately 2 million yards of excess spoil to create the 250 acre-feet of storm water storage for the drainage system. Today the water discharge goes through a 36 inch diameter pipe, and a 15 foot wide grouted riprap channel acts as an emergency spillway. The benefits to the community are obvious: downstream flooding has been eliminated and the integral wetland area is enjoyed by the community.
    • Peabody Western Coal Company, Kayenta and Black Mesa Mines, Arizona
      Located just South of Monument Valley on the Navajo and Hopi Indian reservations, the Peabody Western Coal Company’s Kayenta and Black Mesa Mines have reclaimed more than 12,000 acres. The company provided a supply of potable drinking water; 150 miles of local roads are maintained and graded by the company on a regular basis; and 24-hour emergency medical clinic, equipped with a modern ambulance. Peabody provides fence and homesite improvements as well as a water delivery service for homes and livestock.

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winner:
    • Johnny Pappas, Senior Environmental Engineer - Castle Gate Holding Company, Utah

  • 2002 Winners

    • Director's Award Winners:
    • The 2002 award was presented for exemplary reclamation that resulted in outstanding cultural, historical, or archaeological preservation on reclaimed coal mine land, and the Award was presented to two companies, The Falkirk Mining Company in Underwood, North Dakota, and Peabody Western Coal Company, Kayenta Mine, located in Navajo County, Arizona.
    • Falkirk Mining Company, Underwood, North Dakota
      The Falkirk Mine is located in a landscape that was home to prehistoric indigenous Indian groups. Permitting over the past 25 years has required many archaeological and historic site surveys, resulting in preservation before mining. In addition, Falkirk made discoveries during mining that included prehistoric burial and bison-kill sites. Mining operations were halted until all evidence could be recovered and permanent protection established.
    • Peabody Western Coal Company, Kayenta Mine, Navajo County, Arizona
      At the Peabody Kayenta Mine there is a long history of archaeological research. Information from Navajo and Hopi traditional medicine men, herbalists, and Black Mesa residents identified special plants. Local seed was collected and planted. Since the project began 10 years ago, more than 234,000 cultural plant seedlings have been planted on nearly 170 acres. Federal antiquity laws dictate that before mining, a thorough investigation has to be made and detailed reports filed.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Consolidation Coal Company, Burning Star No. 4 Mine, Cutler, Illinois
      Almost nine miles of Galum and Bonnie creeks were restored after being temporarily diverted during the mining. The high-quality wildlife habitat surrounding the streams includes deep water, wetlands, floodplain, and upland vegetation communities. Approximately 350,000 trees were planted in association with the stream restoration.
    • Signor Brothers, Babb Creek Operation, Bloss Township, Pennsylvania
      Signor Brothers designed refuse-removal and stream bank protection methods that eliminated 22,000 tons of refuse without harming the creek. Downed trees with the root wads on the stream bank turned Babb Creek away from the refuse and improved the fish habitat. Another innovative technique was the use of large equipment to load the refuse during frozen winter weather. This greatly reduced possible sediment problems.
    • Mingo Logan Coal Company, Low Gap Surface Mine No. 2, Wharncliffe, West Virginia
      The Mingo Logan Coal Company used contour and mountaintop removal mining methods that resulted in the postmining land use being transformed into a world-class 18-hole golf course. The 330 acres are characterized by rolling terrain and high mountain meadows.
    • Red River Mining Company, Coushatta, Louisiana
      Reclamation of the mine site was mostly commercial forestry, a traditional use of land in this moist lowland landscape. Loblolly pines have been planted since 1991 and are now growing into stands of marketable forests. Smaller areas have been planted in pasture land and permanent ponds have been constructed to increase land value and provide water for cattle. Pond features include hardwoods, forbes, and grassland species that provide both shelter and food supplies for waterfowl, deer, and other wildlife.
    • Carbon Coal Company, Carbon No. 2 Mine, Gallup, New Mexico
      Reclamation included four permanent impoundments and intervening drainage channels that have prevented flooding of the adjacent town of Gallup. This 300-acre reclaimed site supports a remarkable diversity of plant and animal life. More than 100 vascular plant species have been established including grasses and shrubs, and revegetation carrying capacity has more than doubled.
    • RFI Energy, Inc., Mine No. 208, Perry Township, Pennsylvania
      Reclamation eliminated large disturbed areas and prevented soil erosion. Before mining there were 88 acres of abandoned mine lands with 8,000 feet of highwalls and accompanying spoil piles and mine pits. Today, there is no visible difference between this reclaimed land and that of the virgin mine areas.
    • Arch of Illinois, Inc., Captain and Denmark Mines, Cutler, Illinois
      When combined with the adjacent Denmark Mine, the reclaimed land area was well over 11,000 acres. Located just west of Pyramid State Park, the reclaimed land has been purchased by the state, making it the largest state park in Illinois. Before the land transfer, reclamation was aimed at recreational/ wildlife use. This included a mix of farmland, lakes, wetlands, and forests. Many of the trees planted in the 1980’s are now becoming mature forests.

    • Special 25th Anniversary Award Winners:
    • Commemorated 25 years of mining and reclamation under the Surface Mining Law three mine operations were selected from all of the past award winners as the most successful reclamation under the Surface Mining Law.
    • Gold Award: Solar Sources, Inc. - Sky-Point Mine, Indiana
    • Silver Award: Bellaire Corp. - Indian Head Mine, North Dakota
    • Bronze Award: Trapper Mining Inc. - Trapper Mine, Colorado

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winner:
    • Daniel Fescemyer, Mine Superintendent, and Larry Morrison, Pit Supervisor, RFI Energy, Inc., Pennsylvania

  • 2001 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Black Beauty Coal Company
      The 2001 Director’s Award was presented to the Black Beauty Coal Company for reclamation on their Indiana and Illinois surface mining operations. With about 60 percent of the acreage containing prime farmland, special soil handling methods were needed to meet productivity standards. Excavators and trucks were used to remove all soil. The spoil was regraded and the subsoil and topsoil replaced. This method of soil handling decreases the potential for compaction, since minimal equipment is driven on the land. After one growing season, the soil is tilled to a depth of 24 to 30 inches with a chisel tool that further reduces compaction. The results of this special care can easily be seen in the crop yields. Corn and beans continually produce higher yields than on the non-mined standard.

    • National Award Winners:
    • RAG (Previously Colorado Yampa Coal Company), Mine 1 and Eckman Park, Oak Creek, Colorado
      In the aspen/mountain shrub environment, topsoil was salvaged and immediately placed on the regraded site. This provided a native seed source for future vegetation. Large shrubs such as Big Sage, Woods Rose, Snowberry, and Serviceberry were planted on the reclaimed land to quickly reestablish the native environment.
    • Penn Coal Corporation, Bluewater Deep Mine No. 1, Wilsondale, West Virginia
      This West Virginia mine site received an award for reclamation of an underground mine entrance and the supporting surface facilities. Closure included backfilling the mine entrance and associated highwall. A stream that ran through a culvert under the support facilities was reconstructed to natural conditions, and the entire area revegetated with native plants.
    • McCoy Elkhorn Coal Corporation, Burke Prep Plant & Loadout Facility, Kimper, Kentucky
      The entire site was landscaped with shrubs and trees. The company’s pride and commitment was evident.
    • P & N Coal Company, Urey Mine, Urey, Pennsylvania
      The P & N Coal Company in central Pennsylvania is a small mine operator that reclaimed over 50 acres of abandoned mine land as part of its Urey operation. The topsoil was carefully removed and saved from areas that were not previously mined.
    • TXU Mining Company (Previously Texas Utilities Mining Company), Monticello Mine, Mt. Pleasant, Texas
      When a final pit was being reclaimed as a pond, engineers designed a 30-acre two-tier floodplain that provides both flood storage and a forested wetland. Machine planting of containerized seedlings resulted in a 77 percent survival rate and a dense stand of trees and shrubs. Today, established wetland oaks, pecan, sweetgum, blackgum, persimmon, and red maple cover the upper tier, and bald cypress, water tupelo, and water hickory cover the depressions and wet areas.
    • Kindill Mining, Inc., (Previously Old Ben Coal Company), Mine No. 2, Petersburg Indiana
      Reclamation of this Southern Indiana mine site has resulted in the development of “Lake Woods Wildlife Management Area,” a planned landscape, managed to promote fish, wildlife, and related environmental values. More than 1,200 acres have been reclaimed, and are being managed around a “multi-species” concept, from crickets to deer.
    • Triad Mining Inc., Switz City Mine, Switz City, Indiana
      When it began operation in 1991, the Switz City Mine site contained about 300 acres of abandoned spoil piles. The company eliminated the abandoned mine problems, and productivity has been restored. Wetlands were created to provide a diverse wildlife habitat. In addition to the productive agricultural land, much of the area was reclaimed with trees and shrubs. This mining operation recovered the coal resource, eliminated abandoned mine problems, and reclaimed the land to productive use.
    • The Coteau Properties Company, Freedom Mine, Beulah, North Dakota
      Reclamation has returned the land to an agricultural use — wheat production and livestock grazing. Shrub patches, and shelter belts are also included in the reclamation. Over 150,000 trees and shrubs have been planted to establish windbreaks and wildlife plantings. An increase in wetland acreage provide waterfowl habitat, and critical diversity for wildlife in this agricultural setting.
    • Bellaire Corporation, Indian Head Mine, Beulah, North Dakota
      Today it’s been completely reclaimed as cropland and native grassland for cattle grazing. The sloping topography, marginal soils, and semi-arid climate made reclamation difficult and thus even more outstanding. Land productivity exceeded required standards — crops by about 20 percent, hay and pasture land by about 45 percent, and native grassland by about 35 percent.
    • Glenrock Coal Company, Dave Johnston Mine, Glenrock, Wyoming
      The reclamation resulted in topographic diversity, a wide range of plant species, and active efforts to reintroduce animals. Vegetation specialists at the mine developed and used four different seed mixtures, employed both broadcast and drill planting methods, and planted during different seasons.

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winner:
    • Chet Skilbreth, Vegetation Specialist, Glenrock Coal Company, Wyoming

  • 2000 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Peabody Coal Company, western Kentucky
      The 2000 Director’s Award was presented to the Peabody Coal Company, western Kentucky mine operations. Peabody’s tree planting efforts at coal mine sites in Western Kentucky began voluntarily in 1948, long before reclamation was required, and continues today. Its pioneering planting techniques on surface mined-lands are now used throughout the country.

    • National Award Winners:
    • TXU Mining (Previously Texas Utilities Mining Company), Big Brown, Monticello, Termo, Martin Lake, and Oak Hill Mines, Kentucky
      TXU was awarded a 2000 National Award for its extensive, ongoing reforestation efforts on about 72 percent of reclaimed mine land. Since the early 1970’s, over 15 million trees have been planted. Seedling survival rates are high and the established stands are sustaining growth as good as or better than pre-mine forests. The project also enhanced watershed protection, air quality, recreation, and aesthetics.
    • Peabody Coal Company, Ken Surface Mine, Ohio County, Kentucky
      Peabody Coal Company was awarded a 2000 National Award for reclaiming a site which had been mined for over 50 years, to award winning standards. Substantial amounts of native and western grasses were used, over 200,000 trees and shrubs were planted, and 12 permanent impoundments were reclaimed. Water quality problems associated with years of mining were cleaned up, and the area is used for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.
    • Stone Mining Company, Grants Branch Lake, McVeigh, Kentucky
      Stone Mining Company was awarded a 2000 National Awardfor reclaiming a large coal slurry impoundment into a county park which includes a 21-acre lake with 6,200 feet of shoreline. Stocked with more than 10,000 fish, it is a serene, peaceful setting complete with paved roads, parking, and picnic areas.
    • Rosebud Mining Company - McCollough Mine, Pennsylvania
    • Virginia Energy Company, Twin Star Mine #2, Hurley, Virginia
      A 2000 National Award was given for reclaiming over 8,000 feet of hazardous abandoned mine highwalls and outslopes into productive hay and pasture land. As the amount of coal to be mined in Virginia decreases, mining operations live Virginia Energy have demonstrated that previously mined lands can be remined, the environment improved, and productive land created.
    • Drummond Company, Arkadelphia 5761 Mine, Arkadelphia, Alabama
      Drummond Company was awarded a 2000 National Award for exemplary reclamation at this mine site which now produces hay, seed, and timber crops. Forestry is an extremely important industry in the economy of this part of Alabama, and Drummond has now planted over 600 acres of developing young forest. Professional foresters have estimated the growth potential of the pine plantations is greater than that of the unmined surrounding area.
    • Big Sky Coal Company,Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, Montana
      A 2000 National Award was given to Big Sky Coal Company for exemplary reclamation which returned the former mine site to a livestock grazing area. Vegetation monitoring shows the levels of cover and production to be equal to or better than native vegetation adjacent to the site.
    • Seneca Coal Company, Seneca II Mine, Hayden, Colorado
      Seneca Coal Company was awarded a 2000 National Award for its outstanding reclamation which reclaimed over 1,800 acres at the site during the mine’s 30-year life. The company has concentrated on reestablishing native vegetation, including grasses, forbs, and shrubs. About 200 cattle grazed on the reclaimed rangeland each summer. The wildlife habitat is also enhanced. Deer and elk graze on the native grassland. Marmots and other rodents live in constructed rock-piles, and sharp-tailed grouse mating grounds have been established.
    • Amerikohl Mining, Inc., Leon Mine, Laurelville, Pennsylvania
      Amerikohl Mining Inc. was awarded a 2000 National Award for mining and reclaiming a partially mined site that was discharging acidic water containing large amounts of metals.

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winners:
    • Bryce G. West, Manager of Reclamation, Black Beauty Coal Company
    • Don Rhodes, Reclamation Manager Vigo Coal Company, Columbia Mine, Indiana

  • 1999 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • XU (formerly the Texas Utilities Mining Company) Big Brown and Monticello Winfield Mines
      This year the award was presented for exemplary prime farmland reclamation. The 1999 award was presented to the TXU (formerly the Texas Utilities Mining Company) Big Brown and Monticello Winfield Mines located in East Texas. TXU not only reclaimed existing prime farmland soils, it also improved soils during reclamation that resulted in an additional 9,000 acres of highly productive prime farmland.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Paramont Coal Corporation, Cane Branch Mine, Clintwood, Virginia
      Paramont Coal Corporation was awarded a 1999 National Award for reclaiming a 600-acre site, which included 13,000 feet of abandoned highwalls from previous mining, changing the area from a barren wasteland into an aesthetically pleasing landscape with productive hay and pasture land. Paramont Coal Company has shown that previously mined and abandoned land can be remined, the environment restored, and productivity increased.
    • Cyprus Amax, Warrick Holding Company, Ayrshire Mine, Evansville, Indiana
      Reclamation at this Virginia site resulted in removing 1,250,000 tons of coal and eliminating 13,000 feet of abandoned mine highwalls. This is another example that previously mined and abandoned land can be remined, the environment reestablished, and productivity restored. Indiana, where reclamation has led to a unique fish and wildlife habitat which will benefit the community for years to come.
    • Panther Creek Partners, Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania
      Panther Creek Partners was awarded a 1999 National Award for reclaiming 150 acres of coal waste as part of a coal recovery operation on anthracite coal refuse. The company’s special effort to control water runoff from the refuse resulted in immediate improvements to nearby streams. In addition, topsoil that was constructed using ash and other waste materials has provided an excellent seed bed, and vegetation is growing on the site for the first time in over 70 years. The improvements are so dramatic that a housing development has begun adjacent to the site.
    • Western Energy Company, Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana
      Western Energy, a mining subsidiary of Montana Power, operates a large surface mine that provides coal to an adjacent power plant. Western Energy was recognized for their far-reaching accomplishment in wildlife conservation. These efforts resulted in reestablishing a habitat for the sharp-tailed grouse, an important Montana game bird.
    • Jamieson Construction Company, Permit No. 863-0280, Langnay, Kentucky
      Jamieson Construction Company was awarded a 1999 National Award for its reclamation efforts which helped to preserve Rockcastle River, one of the last “wild” rivers remaining in Kentucky. Special care was taken to keep sediment from leaving the mine site and draining into the river. Diversion ditches were constructed to control the flow of water through ponds. Today the ponds are used for livestock and wildlife. Completed two years ago, it’s now difficult to distinguish from the surrounding countryside.
    • Basin Resources, Inc., Golden Eagle Mine, Weston, Colorado
      Basin Resources Inc. was awarded a 1999 National Award for reclaiming a 30,000-acre mine site, which was an important wildlife habitat for bear, deer, mountain lion, turkey, and the second largest elk herd in the state. Once reclamation was complete, the company transferred the land to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The site is now used for public recreation and a greatly expanded wildlife area.
    • RAG (Previously Amax Coal West, Inc), Belle Ayr Mine, Gillette, Wyoming
      A 1999 National Award was given for reclamation which preserved the historical integrity of the mine site. In 1865, an expedition that was establishing a wagon road to the western gold fields had several skirmishes with the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Tribes. At the proposed mine site, the expedition had dug rifle pits or shallow bunkers, that were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winner:
    • Bruce Waage, Senior Reclamation Specialist, Rosebud Mine, Montana
  • 1998 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Jamieson Construction Company, Miller Branch Mine, Bimble, Kentucky
      The Director's award was presented to the Jamieson Construction Company, Miller Branch Mine located near Bimble, Kentucky. Exemplary reclamation by the Jamieson Construction Company resulted in high quality hay and pasture land. In addition, the flat land created during reclamation has greatly increased the property value for development of home sites. This outstanding reclamation is a credit to Larry Jamieson and his employees and a model that all mine operators throughout the country should strive to meet.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Centralia Mining Company (Now TtransAlta Centralia Mining LLC), Centralia Mine, Washington
      Centralia Mining Company was awarded a 1998 National Award for reclamation of a large 14,000-acre mine site. Reclamation at the mine includes planting native Douglas fir, Red alder, and other native trees and has the special benefit of resulting in diverse wildlife habitats that range from upland forests to wetlands.
    • Aluminum Company of America, Sandow Mine, Rockdale, Texas
      Aluminum Company of America was awarded a 1998 National Award for reclaiming a lignite coal mine site using native vegetation. The reclamation has improved the quality of a wildlife habitat and provided a richly diverse plant community which will continue to grow and enhance the reclaimed Texas landscape.
    • Peabody Western Coal Company, Black Mesa and Kayenta Mine, Navajo Reservation (Arizona)
      Peabody Western Coal Company was awarded a 1998 National Award for reclamation at mine sites on the Navajo and Hopi Indian reservations which resulted in planting vegetation that restores plants significant to the tribal cultures. The reclaimed land will provide long-term benefits to the Navajo and Hopi people who retain traditional values.
    • Texas Utilities Mining Company (Now TXU Mining), Big Brown Mine, Fairfield, Texas
      TXU Mining was awarded a 1998 National Award for reclaiming a two and one-half mile section of Prairie Creek. The creek which runs through the mine site, was transformed from an eroded, narrow, steep-sided channel, into a natural stream configuration integrated into the surrounding wildlife habitat of trees, grasses, and wetlands.
    • U.S. Generating/Northampton Fuel Supply Company, Kaminski Bank #14, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
      U.S. Generating/Northampton Fuel Supply Company was awarded a 1998 National Award for reclaiming 80-100 foot high piles of anthracite coal waste at an underground mine site. This work ultimately provided fuel to generate electricity, eliminated an abandoned mine hazard near a populated area, and stopped environmental degradation, while providing a valuable property which can now be returned to beneficial and productive use.
    • Western Energy Company, Rose Bud Mine, Colstrip, Montana
      Western Energy Company was awarded a 1998 National Award for using special mining and reclamation techniques to save a local landmark located in the middle of the mine site. Known as Eagle Rock, the landmark was a camp site for ancient native peoples. A plan was developed to mine around the large sandstone outcrop rather than mining through the area and destroying it.

  • 1997 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Coteau Properties Company, Freedom Mine, North Dakota
      The Director's award was presented to Coteau Properties Companyfor work conducted at the Freedom Mine in North Dakota

    • National Award Winners:
    • Buffalo Coal Company, Davis Mine, West Virginia
      Buffalo Creek Company was awarded a 1997 National Award for exemplary reclamation that redirected Pendleton Creek from a subsidence crater to its natural course, resulting in enhanced wetland and wildlife habitat in the area and the Davis Mine, West Virginia
    • Bellaire Corporation, Indian Head Mine, North Dakota
    • Triton Coal Company, Buckskin Mine, Wyoming
    • Peabody Coal Company, Gibraltar Mine, Kentucky
    • Drummond Company, Kellerman Mine, Alabama
    • Cumberland River Coal Company, Ridgeline Mine, Kentucky

    • Best-of-the-Best Award Winner:
    • Donn Steffen, P.E. Senior Mining Engineer - Indian Head Mine, North Dakota

    • Hall-of-Fame Award Winnerss:
    • Coal-Mac, Inc. and the Rifle Coal Company, Debord Mine, Kentucky
    • Solar Sources, Inc., Lynnville Mine, Indiana
    • R & F Coal Company, Cheslock-Hendershot Mine, Ohio
    • W.H. Bowlin Coal Company, Whitley County Mine, Kentucky
    • Bellaire Corporation, Indian Head Mine, North Dakota
    • Kerr-McGee Corporation, Jacobs Ranch Mine, Wyoming
    • Western Energy Company, Rosebud Mine, Montana

  • 1996 - No Awards

  • 1995 - No Awards

  • 1994 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • McKay Coal Company, Ohl, Pennsylvania
      The Director's award was presented to the McKay Coal Company for exemplary reclamation that eliminated acid mine drainage from previous mining at its mine near Ohl, Pennsylvania.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Cumberland River Coal Company, Ridgeline Mine, Jackson, Kentucky
      Cumberland River Coal Company was awarded a 1994 National Award for exemplary reclamation of a fish and wildlife habitat at its Ridgeline Mine, near Jackson, Kentucky.
    • Lee Ranch Coal Company, Milan, New Mexico
      Lee Ranch Coal Company was awarded a 1994 National Award for successful use of new methods for controlling weeds when reestablishing native vegetation in arid conditions. This company also received the "Best-of-the-Best" award for achieving the year’s best overall reclamation at its mine near Milan, New Mexico.
    • Branham & Baker Coal Company, Pikeville, Kentucky
      Branham & Baker Coal Company was awarded a 1994 National Award near Pikeville, Kentucky, for exemplary reclamation and long term management of the donated reclaimed land.
    • B & N Coal Company, Ullman Pit, Lower Salem, Ohio
      The B & N Coal Company near Lower Salem, Ohio, was awarded a 1994 National Award for exemplary remining and no-cost abandoned mine land reclamation.
    • Peabody Coal Company, Broken Aro Mine, near Coshocton, Ohio
      Peabody Coal Company was awarded a 1994 National Award for exemplary reclamation of a previously mined slurry disposal area.
    • Jamieson Construction Company, Atkinstown, Kentucky
      Jamieson Construction Compnay was awarded a 1994 National Award for outstanding reclamation achieved by a small coal operator adjacent to an endanagered species habitat.
    • Falkik Mining Company, Underwood, North Dakota
      Falkik Mining Company was awarded a 1994 National Award for its sensitive and successful handling of Native American skeletal remains uncovered during mining.
    • Bridger Coal Company, Jim Bridger Mine, Rock Springs, Wyoming
      Bridger Coal Company was awarded a 1994 National Award for its exemplary techniques to mitigate conflicting nesting/highwall use by raptors.
    • Rawl Sales & Processing Company
      Rawl Sales & Processing Company was awarded a 1994 National Award for the construction of a bridge used by the company and local residents in Sprigg, West Virginia.

  • 1993 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Hobet Mining Company, Madison, West Virginia
      The Director’s award was presented to the Hobet Mining Company for exemplary reclamation with wildlife habitat as a post-mining land use at its mine near Madison, West Virginia.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Peabody Coal Company, Moorman Mine, Kentucky
      Peabody Coal Company was awarded a 1993 National Award for exemplary reclamation that resulted in outstanding crop yields at its Moorman Mine in western Kentucky.
    • Buffalo Coal Company
      Buffalo Coal Company was awarded a 1993 National Award for exemplary contemporaneous reclamation at its Difficult Mine in West Virginia.
    • Peabody Coal Company,River King Operation, Illinois
      Peabody Coal Company's River King operation located in southern Illinois, was awarded a 1993 National Award for reclaiming 2,500 acres that provided varied aquatic habitats and recreational opportunities.
    • Centralia Mining Company, Centralia, Washington
      The Centralia Mining Company was awarded a 1993 National Award for outstanding reclamation that created a wide range of wildlife habitat that added vegetative diversity to the company’s forest plantation.
    • Kerr-Mcgee Coal Corp., Jacobs Ranch Mine, Gillette, Wyoming
      Kerr-Mcgee Coal Corps. was awarded a 1993 National Award for exemplary reclamation achieved under western (arid) conditions.
    • Red River Coal Company, Flat Gap Mine, Virginia
      Red River Coal Company and its mine operator S.R. Mullins Excavating Company was awarded a 1993 National Award for exemplary reclamation at the Flat Gap Mine remining operation in southwestern Virginia.
    • W.H. Bowlin Coal Company, Kentucky
      W.H. Bowlin Coal Company operating in eastern Kentucky was awarded a 1993 National Awardfor outstanding reclamation achieved by a small mine operator.

  • 1992 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • R&F Coal Company, Hart Mine, Newcomerstown, Ohio
      The Director’s award was presented to the R & F Coal Company for exemplary reclamation resulting in pasture or grazing post-mining land use at its Hart Mine, near Newcomerstown, Ohio.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Consolidation Coal, Mahoning Valley Mine, Fairpoint, Ohio
      Consolidation Coal was awarded a 1992 National Award for exemplary reclamation at its Mahoning Valley Mine near Fairpoint, Ohio.
    • Coteau Properties Company, Freedom Mine, Beulah, North Dakota
      Coteau Properties Company was awarded a 1992 National Award for exemplary reclamation achieved under arid Western conditions at its Freedom Mine near Beulah, North Dakota.
    • Catenary Coal Company, Maggard's Branch, Benham, Kentucky
      Catenary Coal Company was awarded a 1992 National Award for exemplary reclamation of pre-existing underground mine refuse at the Maggard’s Branch site near Benham, Kentucky.
    • Charolais Coal Corp., Hopkins County, Kentucky
      Charolais Coal Corps. was awarded a 1992 National Award for outstanding reclamation of pre-1977 abandoned mine land at its mine site in Hopkins County, Kentucky.
    • Lower Colorado River Authority, Powell Bend Mine, Bastrop, Texas
      A 1992 National Award was awarded for outstanding reclamation by a small mine operator at the Powell Bend Mine near Bastrop, Texas
    • Bellaire Corporation, Indian Head Mine, Zap, North Dakota
      Bellaire Corporation was awarded a 1992 National Award for innovative reclamation of “wooded draws” at its Indian Head Mine near Zap, North Dakota.
    • Western Energy Company, Rose Bud Mine, Colstrip, Montana
      Western Energy Compnay was awarded a 1992 National Award for innovative reclamation and exemplary preservation of cultural and historic sites in Colstrip, Montana.
    • Arch of Illinois, Denmark Mine, Percy, Illinois
      Arch of Illinios was awarded a 1992 National Award for innovative restoration of Pipestone Creek at the Denmark Mine near Percy, Illinois.
    • Leeco Inc., Jeff, Kentucky
      A 1992 National Award was awarded to Leeco Inc. for innovative design and operation of a preparation plant and refuse disposal area at its operation near Jeff, Kentucky.
    • Mingo Logan Coal Company, Black Bear Preparation Plant, Gilbert, West Virginia
      Mingo Logan Coal Company was awarded a 1992 National Award for innovative design of a preparation plant at its Black Bear Preparation Plant near Gilbert, West Virginia.

  • 1991 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Central Ohio Coal Company, Muskingham Mine, Cumberland, Ohio
      The Director’s award was presented to the Central Ohio Coal Company and its parent companies, Ohio Power and American Electric Power, for exemplary reclamation resulting in recreation as a post-mining land use at its Muskingham Mine, near Cumberland, Ohio.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Coal-Mac, Inc., Debord, Kentucky,
      Coal-Mac, Inc., and its contract operator Rifle Coal Company, was awarded a 1991 National Award for innovative remining and reclamation at a mine site near Debord, Kentucky. Rifle Coal reclaimed the mountainous terrain at the site into a series of terraces, eliminating the flat-top landscape typical of a mountaintop removal operation.
    • Drummond Company, Morris Mines, Morris, Alabama
      Outstanding reclamation by Drummond resulted in the right-of-way for a section of Interstate 65, and airport for a remote-control model airplane club, rerouting and improving county roads, and enriching the soil and municipal sludge.
    • Foertsch Construction Company, Little Sandy Mine, Montgomery, Indiana
      Foertsch restored more than 99 percent of the mine site to prime farmland conditions even though regulations did not require so high a level of reclamation
    • Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA), Sandow Mine, Austin, Texas
      Alluminum Company of America was awarded a 1991 National Award for reclamation which resulted in new pasture lands and wildlife habitat at ALCOA’s Sandow Mine, near Austin, Texas.
    • Boich Mining Company, Betsy Mine, Bloomingdale, Ohio
      Boich Mining Company was awarded a 1991 National Award for exemplary remining and reclamation of the 850-acre Betsy Mine, near Bloomingdale, Ohio. Boich created a recreation area for hunting and fishing.
    • Patriot Mining Company, Steyer, Maryland
      Patriot Mining Company was awarded a 1991 National Award for exemplary reclamation and drainage control at its mine near Steyer, Maryland.
    • R & F Coal Company, Phillips Mine, Barnesville, Ohio
      R&F Coal Company, a subsidiary of Shell Mining, was awarded a 1991 National Award for reclaiming the abandoned Phillips Mine area, near Barnesville, Ohio. R & F turned the site into productive agricultural land and natural wildlife habitat.
    • KEM Coal Company, Shop Hallow Mine, Hazard, Kentucky
      KEM Coal Company, a subsidiary of Acecoal was awarded a 1991 National Award for its reclamation at the Shop Hollow Mine, near Hazard, Kentucky. KEM reclaimed the 600-acre mountaintop removal operation and constructed a regional airport, including a 3,500-foot runway and a terminal building.
    • Savitski Brothers Coal Sales
      Savitski Brothers Coal Sales is the first anthracite operator to win an OSMRE reclamation award for exemplary reclamation by a small coal mine operator.
    • Solar Sources, Inc., Elberfeld and Perry Mines, Pettersburg, Indiana
      Solar Sources, Inc. was awarded a 1991 National Award for exemplary reclamation of pre-existing abandoned mine problems at its Elberfeld and Perry Mines, near Lynnville and Petersburg, Indiana.

  • 1990 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Centralia Mining Company, Centralia, Washington
      The Director’s award was presented to the Centralia Mining Company for exemplary reforestation reclamation at its mine located near Centralia, Washington.

    • National Award Winnerss:
    • Martiki Coal Corporation, Martiki Mine, Inez, Kentucky
    • Saarcar Coal, Inc. and Rifle Coal Company, Kentucky
    • Trapper Mining, Inc., Trapper Mine, Craig, Colorado
    • Western Energy Company, Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana
    • Bridger Coal Company, Jim Bridger Mine, Rock Springs, Wyoming
    • R & F Coal Company, Cheslock-Hendershot Mine, St. Clairsville, Ohio
    • The Carter Mining Company, Rawhide and Caballo Mines, Gillette, Wyoming
    • Fowler Excavating, Inc. and A & P Pit, U.S. 50 Mine and Bullock Mine, Montgomery, Indiana

  • 1989 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Peabody Coal Company, Will Scarlet Mine, Carrier Mills, Illinios
      The Director’s award was presented to the Peabody Coal Company, for exemplary wetlands reclamation at its Will Scarlet Mine, located near Carrier Mills, Illinois.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Vigo Coal Company, Discovery No. 1 Mine, Buckskin, Indiana
    • Texas Utilities Mining Company, Monticello-Winfield North Lignite Mine, Mount Pleasant, Texas
    • Drummond Coal Company, Kellerman No. 2 Mine, Jasper, Alabama
    • Basin Cooperative Services, Glenharold Mine, Stanton, North Dakota
    • Lee Jay Corporation, Coal Refuse Dump, Clarksville, Pennsylvania
    • Associated Electric Cooperative, Bee Veer Operations, Clifton Hill, Missouri
    • Southern Ohio Coal Company, Martinka No. 1 Mine, Fairmont, West Virginia
    • R & S Coal Company, J & B No. 3 Mine, Lamar, Arkansas

  • 1988 Winners

    • Director's Award Winner:
    • Texas Utilities Mining Company, Big Brown Mine, Fairfield, Texas
      The Director’s award was presented to the Texas Utilities Mining Company, Big Brown Mine, Fairfield, Texas.

    • National Award Winners:
    • Kerr-McGee Coal Corp., Jacobs Ranch Mine, Gillette, Wyoming
    • Sabine Mining Company, Longview, Texas
    • Fuel Fabricators, Inc., Preparation Plant, Bigler, Pennsylvania
    • Drummond Coal Company, Mill Creek Mine, Jasper, Alabama
    • B & N Coal Company, Dexter City, Ohio
    • Rogers Group and Black Beauty Coal Company, Arlen #1 Mine, Epsom, Indiana
    • Carter Mining Company, Carballo and Rawhide Mines, Gillette, Wyoming
    • Aloe Coal Company, Neville Island, Pennsylvania

  • 1987 Winners

    • National Award Winners:
    • Western Fuels-Utah Incorporated, Deserado Mine, Colorado
      Nominated by the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Division for demonstrating that mining and transportation operations can be conducted compatibly with wildlife and other resource values. Six big games overpasses were installed along a 3.5 -mile stretch of the mine’s conveyor coal transportation corridor. Elk, deer and antelope used the animal crossings, enabling the wildlife to continue migratory routes unimpeded.
    • Arch of Illinois, Captain Mine, Illinois
      Nominated by the Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals for its vast and pioneering research in soil reconstruction. The company was the first in the history of the coal industry to win first place State and national awards for the excellent quality of honey produced on reclaimed mine land. More than 7 ½ tons of grapes per acre were grown on reclaimed land, with the harvest used to make both red and white wine. Prime farmland crop yields achieved for forage, wheat, soybeans, trees and corn, as well as grapes.
    • R&F Coal Company, Harrison County Home Mine, Ohio
      Nominated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Reclamation Division for improving the mined land’s utility and value, for providing direct economic benefits to the county government, for staging public tours to increase public awareness and understanding of the mining industry, and for demonstrating the results achievable under the surface mining law.
    • Peabody Coal Company, Sinclair and Homestead Mines, Kentucky
      Nominated by the Kentucky Department for Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for establishing waterfowl refuges on reclaimed mine land to reintroduce Canada geese to Western Kentucky. Small flocks of this big bird were rediscovered in 1962 after the species was thought to be extinct. The company established a 340-acre waterfowl refuge at Sinclair Mine and a 750-acre waterfowl refuge at Homestead Mine. Food plots were planted annually and systems were installed in both refuges to maintain open water year-round to provide safe habitat for the geese.
    • John Duckworth Coal Company, Maryland
      Nominated by the Bureau of Mines, Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The company operates under a “good neighbor” policy, refusing to use explosives close enough to homes that noise or vibration could upset the residents. The company also built a new loading and processing facility in an isolated area, responding to complaints about dust at a leased loading facility. Once Duckworth backfills and replaces topsoil on an area, all rocks are removed by hand and the area is seeded.

    • Honorable Mention:
    • Drummond Company Incorporated, Segco No. 1 Mine, Walker County, Alabama
      The Alabama Surface Mining Commission nominated Company Incorporated for reclamation in connection with mine closure due to depletion of coal reserves. The mined land was reclaimed to enhance timber production, as well as for viable alternative use as grazing land. Drummond also won honorable mention in the 1986 competition.
    • P-V Mining Company, Dubois County Operations, Indiana
      The Indiana Department of Natural Resources nominated P-V Mining Company for exceeding reclamation standards, using 30 inches of soil depth for land restoration rather than the required 12 inches for forests, pasture and hay-land, and 18 inches for cropland.
    • Island Creek Coal Company, Gauley Division Operations, Nicholas County, West Virginia
      The West Virginia Department of Energy nominated the Island Creek Coal Company for its voluntary reclamation of 200 acres of abandoned coal refuse piles, along with remining and reclaiming 130 acres of surface and underground mined land. The reclamation resulted in the elimination of nearly two miles of highwalls and two impoundments.

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 3/15/18

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240
(202) 208-2565 | TTY: (202) 208-2694 | Email:

Accessibility | Disclaimer | FOIA | No Fear | Notices | Privacy | DOI |