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Hardrock Mining in Rocky Mountain Terrain -- Upper Arkansas River, Colorado

The confluence of St. Kevin Gulch (left) and Shingle Mill Gulch (upper middle), Colo.
The confluence of St. Kevin Gulch (left) and Shingle Mill Gulch (upper middle), Colo. St. Kevin Gulch is orange because it receives acid mind drainage from abandoned mine sites in the watershed. Understanding how inflows from cleaner streams, such as Shingle Mill Gulch, affect the transport of metals downstream will help develop better cleanup programs.

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Mined watersheds in the Rocky Mountains are characterized by high altitudes, significant runoff and numerous contaminant sources dispersed through the watershed. Research on hardrock mining contamination in Rocky Mountain terrain is focused in the Arkansas River Basin. Acid mine drainage containing metals enter streams via runoff from mine wastes and tailings and ground-water pathways. The metals and acidic conditions are toxic to aquatic life. Scientists have studied contaminant source mechanisms, transport and transformation in streams, and how to use this knowledge to determine effective remedial strategies.

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Other Acid Mine Drainage Remediation Related Activates

Other USGS Information on Acid Mine Drainage and Abandoned Mine Lands

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