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Science for watershed decisions on abandoned mine lands; review of preliminary results, Denver, Colorado, February 4-5, 1998

March 1, 1999

From the Preface: There are thousands of abandoned or inactive mines on or adjacent to public lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service. Mine wastes from many of these abandoned mines adversely affect resources on public lands. In 1995, an interdepartmental work group within the Federal government developed a strategy to address remediation of the many abandoned mines on public lands. This strategy is based on using a watershed approach to address the abandoned mine lands (AML) problem. The USGS, working closely with the Federal land-management agencies (FLMAs), is key for the success of this watershed approach.

In support of this watershed approach, the USGS developed an AML Initiative with pilot studies in the Boulder River in Montana and the Animas River in Colorado. The goal of these studies is to design and implement a reliable strategy that will supply the scientific information to the FLMAs so that land managers can develop efficient and cost-effective remediation of AML.

The symposium 'Science for Watershed Decisions on Abandoned Mine Lands: Review of Preliminary Results' held in Denver, Colorado, on February 4-5, 1998, provided the FLMAs a first look at the techniques, data, and interpretations being generated by the USGS pilot studies. This multidisciplined effort already is proving very valuable to land managers in making science-based AML cleanup decisions and will continue to be of increasing value as additional and more complete information is obtained. Ongoing interaction between scientists and land managers is essential to insure the efficient continuation and success of AML cleanup efforts.