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Release Date: 08/01/12
Contacts: Chris Rose , 775-861-6480 ,
News Release No. NSO 2012-034

BLM Completes Closure of 148 Dangerous Abandoned Mine Sites in Humboldt and Lander Counties

Reno, Nev.— Nevada contains thousands of abandoned mine land (AML) features from the 1800s and early 1900s that now serve as habitat for bats and other valued wildlife and are hazards for off-highway vehicle riders and other recreationists. Sometimes there are remnants of former mining operations that can alert hikers and others to the presence of potential hazards, other times there is nothing more than a hole in the ground that can go down for hundreds of feet.

In the past, miners could just walk away from a claim which contributed to the estimated 265,000 to 310,000 AML sites across Nevada on both public and private land. Today, mining companies are required to reclaim mine sites when activities are completed.

“The funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and an interagency agreement among the BLM Nevada, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation has, and continues to be, an outstanding investment,” said Gene Seidlitz, District Manager for the BLM Winnemucca District. “Numerous AML sites in these counties have been closed which lessens the chances of public land users from being harmed.”

All AML features were surveyed for archaeological and cultural values, wildlife and rare plants. The results of the surveys determine what closure method is going to be used at each site and to ensure no valuable resources are harmed. Abandoned mines can be closed by backfilling, using gates that allow bats and wildlife to pass through them or with polyurethane foam. The BLM and the Nevada Division of Minerals collaborate to identify clusters of hazardous sites that receive significant public use that could be closed as groups to minimize the time and cost for the project.

Funding for the project was part of the $1.5 million received to permanently close dangerous abandoned mines in northern Nevada. A related project, also funded by the ARRA, closed 203 similar sites on BLM-managed lands in Clark County. Money from the project was spent in local communities where the work was being completed for supplies, crew support including lodging and meals at local establishments, vehicle maintenance and steel for the construction of bat gates.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

NEVADA STATE OFFICE   1340 Financial Blvd. Reno, NV 89502  

Last updated: 04-14-2015