Nevada ARRA Projects

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Northern Nevada Abandoned Mine Lands
Project Eliminates Hazards on Abandoned Mines in Northern Nevada

Project: Permanently close dangerous abandoned mines in northern Nevada by environmentally and culturally sound methods, which will preserve historic features and wildlife habitat as appropriate. Such methods will include wildlife gates, polyurethane foam, and backfilling with dirt and rock.

ARRA Funding Level: $1,501,000

Progress:

February 2, 2011: $1,500,598 obligated, $1.1 million was spent.  The preparation of plant surveys will be conducted during the spring and summer months.

May 2011: Plant surveys are being conducted.  There will be a few repeat surveys for bats. All other surveys have been completed.

Contracts: The project is funded through a $1.5 million interagency agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. The work is being done by crews from the Bureau of Reclamation’s Snake River Area Office in Boise, Idaho.

Local purchases: Include supplies, crew support, vehicle maintenance, lodging and meals for crews, and steel for construction of bat gates

Completion date target: September 30, 2012.

Jobs: The project is expected to employ a variety of contract fabricators and equipment operators who may have been formerly employed in the logging, construction, and mining industries.

Benefits and Needs: Thousands of historic abandoned mines are scattered throughout northern Nevada County. These abandoned mines can be hard to see for off-highway vehicle recreations and can be an attractive, dangerous nuisance for hikers and other outdoor recreationists.

Background: Abandoned mines are among the most recognizable and attractive national icons of the western landscape and many of them are also habitat for bats and other valued wildlife.  Nevada contains thousands of abandoned mines from the 1800s and early 1900s when miners simply walked away. The BLM is working with the state of Nevada to locate these sites, and to prioritize the remediation and securing of these sites. Mining companies today are required to reclaim mine sites when activities are completed. Location and remediation of abandoned mines on public lands is a national priority for both the Department of the Interior and the BLM.

A typical abandoned mine safety hazard within this project. This steep decline is very deep and largely concealed, making it typical of sites that will be addressed by this project.     Another very deep and dangerous abandoned mine being remediated in this project clearly shows the instability of the geology of these mines, most of them along seismic faults.
A typical abandoned mine safety hazard                Another very deep and dangerous abandoned
within this project. This steep decline is very           mine being remediated in this project clearly
deep and largely concealed, making it typical         shows the instability of the geology of these 
of sites that will be addressed by this project.         mines, most of them along seismic faults.
                                                                        Note the wooden beam in the upper center 
                                                                        in the mine, installed to prevent the hanging
                                                                        wall and foot wall from collapsing
                                                                        into each other.