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Interim report on the scientific investigations in the Animas River watershed, Colorado to facilitate remediation decisions by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, March 29, 2000 meeting, Denver, Colorado

Open-File Report 2000-245

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION The joint U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture Abandoned Mine Lands Initiative (AMLI) was developed as a collaborative effort between the Federal land management agencies (FLMA, that is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 1996. The stated goal of the AML Initiative was to develop a strategy for gathering and communicating the scientific information needed to develop effective and cost-efficient remediation of abandoned mines within the framework of a watershed. Four primary objectives of the AMLI are to: 1. Provide the scientific information needed (in the short-term) by the FLMAs to make decisions related to the design and implementation of cleanup actions, 2. Develop a multi-disciplined, multi-division approach that integrates geologic, hydrologic, geochemical and ecological information into a knowledge base for sound decision making, 3. Transfer technologies developed within the scientific programs of the USGS to the field and demonstrate their suitability to solve real, practical problems, and 4. Establish working relationships among involved members of land management and regulatory agencies within the framework of a watershed approach to the cleanup of abandoned mines. Long-term process-based research, including development of analytical tools, is recognized as being critical to the long-term success in remediating watersheds impacted by historical mining activities (AML 5-year plan, http://amli.usgs.gov/amli). In a meeting of Federal agencies (U.S. Bureau of Land Management [BLM], U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [BOR], U.S. National Park Service [NPS], U.S. Forest Service [USFS], the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [F&WS]), and State agencies (Colorado Division of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Division of Mines and Geology), several watersheds were examined within the state whose water quality was presumed to be impacted by historical mining activities. The Animas River watershed (fig. 1) was selected by the State and Federal agencies as one of two watersheds in the U.S. to be studied in detail by the USGS in the AML Initiative. Beginning in October 1997, each of the four Divisions of the USGS (Water Resources, Geologic, Biological Resources, and National Mapping) initiated a collaborative integrated science study of the watershed. Funds were provided from USGS base funding to each of the four Divisions in response to the priorities set by Congressional action and within the flexibility provided by the budgetary framework funding individual research programs. The AML Initiative provides for a five-year focused scientific effort in the two watersheds with final synthesis of the scientific results from each to be published in 2001. Publications are released on the AML web site on a regular basis (http://amli.usgs.gov/amli). On March 29, 2000, the USGS hosted a meeting for the BLM and USFS to discuss remediation options that were under consideration for the summer of 2000. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the scientific rational provided by the USGS to meet objective one above, and to summarize our preliminary interpretations of our data. Additional information from sites on private lands have been collected by the State of Colorado, EPA, and the ARSG. Unfortunately, these data have not been fully supplied to the USGS so our conclusions are based only upon our data. These interpretations provide science-based constraints on possible remediation options to be considered by the FLMA, the State, and local property owners in the Animas River watershed. The report is presented in outline format to facilitate discussion of remediation options at the March 29, 2000 meeting. Not all historical mining sites within the watershed are on public lands. This should not be construed to be a final report of the USGS

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Interim report on the scientific investigations in the Animas River watershed, Colorado to facilitate remediation decisions by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, March 29, 2000 meeting, Denver, Colorado
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2000-245
Edition:
Version 1.0
Year Published:
2000
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
34 p., :col. ill., maps (some col.) ;28 cm.