Assessing Impacts to Ecosystems from Uranium Mining in the Grand Canyon Region

Science Center Objects

The use of uranium is an alternative energy source to petroleum products and some of the United States’ highest quality ore is located on the Colorado Plateau. However, some regions where suitable mining efforts are conducted include areas that are near important environmental resources such as National Parks that provide viewscapes and habitat for wildlife.

Closed uranium mine (background) with detention pond (foreground) near the Grand Canyon North Rim. 2016
Closed uranium mine (background) with detention pond (foreground) near the Grand Canyon North Rim. 2016 Public domain.

The use of uranium is an alternative energy source to petroleum products and some of the United States’ highest quality ore is located on the Colorado Plateau. However, some regions where suitable mining efforts are conducted include areas that are near important environmental resources such as National Parks that provide viewscapes and habitat for wildlife. Research is ongoing to reduce the uncertainties of mining impacts and effects on water quality and quantity, and better understand the potential toxicological and radiological effects of mining on wildlife, as well as to evaluate the potential impacts on cultural and tribal resources.

Stacked mist-nets and acoustic detector outside boundary fence of closed uranium mine near the Grand Canyon North Rim, 2015.
Stacked mist-nets and acoustic detector outside boundary fence of closed uranium mine near the Grand Canyon North Rim, 2015. Public domain.
Habitat used by bats and insects at uranium mines along the Grand Canyon Strip
Acoustic bat detectors and light traps used to sample for bats and insects at detention ponds located on and near uranium mines adjacent to the Grand Canyon. Public domain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return to The New Mexico Landscapes Field Station or Ecosystem Dynamics