A team from Ridgecrest field office and contractors inspect a dangerous abandoned mine shaft.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California, Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program, has approximately 24,400 abandoned mine sites on public lands. Many of the AML’s on BLM’s public lands are a result of California’s historic gold rush. Public lands that contain abandoned mine sites consist of physical and environmental safety hazards.
Physical safety hazards affect public health, safety and wildlife. Typical physical safety hazards include:
- mine openings
- sluice tunnels
- pit lakes
Environmental issues that impact water quality, soil and air consist of:
- contaminated mine tailings
- toxic materials
- hazardous waste
Between 2006 and 2010 the BLM and its partners re-mediated hundreds of AML physical hazard sites and major water quality sites. Over 2,000 features were inventoried, and sites characterization was completed on 1,800 sites.
BLM’s AML program goals are to improve safety for the public when visiting public lands and improve damages to the environment, prioritizing on populated places and high use recreational areas. The California BLM-AML program goals tiers off the National Strategic Plan for the Abandoned Mine Lands.
Step-by-step shaft puff-closure on the BLM lands