Abandoned Mine Lands

  A BLM interdisciplinary team evaluating closure remedies for a dangerous mine in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains. 
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
  • shafts
  • 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

Step-by-step puff-closure on BLM land, administer by the Motherlode field office. Beginning on the top right, corner we can see foam been added to the shaft for filling, and showing almost a finish project on the bottom right corner.

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

Abandoned Mine Lands


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Recent News

November 2014- Abandoned Mine Land Inventory Study for BLM- Managed Lands in California, Nevada, and Utah: Site and Feature Analysis.

April 27, 2011- Sacramento Valley Groundwater Quality (USGS) article.

January 27,2011- Mercury contamination in California's South Yuba River (USGS) article.

June 16, 2010- California Remote Lost Arch Historic Mining Camp benefits from ARRA funding.

Field Office information on
Abandoned Mine Lands

Palm Springs 
El Centro 

Central CA  
Mother Lode - For more information contact the field office
Ukiah - For more information contact the field office
Bakersfield - For more information contact the field office 
Bishop - For more information contact the field office

Northern CA 
Redding - For more information contact the field office