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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Toxics Program Remediation Activities

Abandoned Mine Lands Initiative

Type Site Characterization
  • Animas River, Colorado
  • Boulder River, Montana
Contaminants Metals

The USGS is conducting an Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Initiative during fiscal years 1997 through 2002, to provide technical assistance in support of Federal Land Management Agency actions to remediate contamination associated with abandoned hard rock mining activities. This initiative is part of a larger strategy by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to coordinate activities for the cleanup of federal lands affected by AML. The strategy employs a watershed approach, in which contaminated sites are identified and remediated based on their effect on the water and ecosystem quality of a targeted watershed. The initiative has been implemented on a pilot scale in two watersheds, the Boulder River basin in southwestern Montana and the Upper Animas River basin in southwestern Colorado.

More Information
  • Herbert Buxton, USGS, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, West Trenton, NJ,
  • Paul von Guerard, USGS, Colorado Water Science Center, Grand Junction, CO,
  • David Nimick, USGS, Montana Water Science Center, Helena, MT,
Buxton, H.T., Nimick, D.A., von Guerard, P., Church, S.E., Frazier, A.G., Gray, J.R., Lipin, B.R., March, S.P., Woodward, D.F., Kimball, B.A., Finger, S.E., Ischinger, L.S., Fordham, J.C., Power, M.S., Bunck, C.M., and Jones, J.W., 1997,
A Science-based, Watershed Strategy to Support Effective Remediation of Abandoned Mine Lands, in Fourth International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage (ICARD) May 30-June 6, 1997, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Kimball, B.A., 1997,
Use of tracer injections and synoptic sampling to measure metal loading from acid mine drainage: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-245-96, 4 p.
Kimball, B.A., Bencala, K.E., and Besser, J.M., 1999,
Synthesis of Watershed Characterization for Making Remediation Decisions: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4018A, p. 3-7.
Nimick, D.A., and von Guerard, P., 1998,
Science for Watershed Decisions on Abandoned Mine Lands--Review of Preliminary Results, Denver, Colorado, February 4-5, 1998: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-0297.
Runkel, R.L., and Kimball, B.A., 2002,
Evaluating Remedial Alternatives for an Acid Mine Drainage Stream -- Application of a Reactive Transport Model: Environmental Science and Technology (ES0109794 ASAP PAPER).
U.S. Geological Survey, 1999,
The USGS Abandoned Mine Lands Initiative, Protecting and Restoring the Environment Near Abandoned Mine Lands:
U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 095-99. U.S. Geological Survey, 2000,
Interim report on the scientific investigations in the Animas River watershed, Colorado, to facilitate remediation decisions by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, March 29, 2000 Meeting, Denver, Colo.: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-0245, 36 p.

USGS Acid Mine Drainage Remediation Projects

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