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November 8, 2023

Title: USGS decision support tools for hazard assessment, science coordination, and reclamation strategies on mined lands

Speaker: Dan Jones, Physical Scientist, USGS Utah Water Science Center

Date: November 17, 2-2:30 ET


Active and abandoned mined lands can pose many environmental and human hazards; thus, there is broad interest in their reclamation potential. Similarly, potential economic benefits of reprocessing mine wastes may help offset reclamation costs but require extensive evaluation and coordination to accomplish. To effectively evaluate hazards and prioritize, execute, and track reclamation efforts on mined lands across the US, centralized data resources and best management practices are needed. To address this, a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) effort is underway to develop online decision support tools built on existing DOI resources to serve as a centralized mined land assessment and reclamation resource. The application leverages existing geospatial datasets to identify potential hazards and environmental justice concerns, guide on-the-ground site assessments, and provide metrics to prioritize, execute, and track reclamation activity success. Tools are being developed in coordination with internal (USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, Mineral Resources Program, Environmental Health Program, the Colorado River Basin Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science and Technology) and external (DOI agencies, Federal Mining Dialog, Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation and Enforcement, etc.) partners to ensure the use of best available science and data, and to align tools with the needs of decision makers. This talk will showcase project progress to date and discuss opportunities for collaboration and expansion beyond mined lands.

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