Good stewardship of our Nation's natural resources demands that the extraction of exploitable, minable ore deposits be conducted in harmony with the protection of the environment, a dilemma faced by many land and water management agencies in the Nation's mining areas. As ore is mined, milled, and sent to the smelter, it leaves footprints where it has been in the form of residual trace metals. Often these footprints become remnants that can be detrimental to other natural resources. This emphasizes the importance of understanding the earth's complex physical and biological processes and their interactions at increasingly smaller scales because subtle changes in one component can substantially affect others. Understanding these changes and resulting effects requires an integrated, multidisciplinary scientific approach.
As ore reserves are depleted in one area, additional exploitable deposits are required to replace them, and at times these new deposits are discovered in previously unmined areas. Informed decisions concerning resource management in these new, proposed mining areas require an understanding of the potential consequences of the planned mining actions. This understanding is usually based on knowledge that has been accumulated from studying previously mined areas with similar geohydrologic and biologic conditions. If the two areas experience similar mining practices, the information should be transferable.
Lead and zinc mining along the Viburnum Trend Subdistrict of southeastern Missouri has occurred for more than 40 years. Additional potentially exploitable deposits have been discovered 30 miles to the south, within the Mark Twain National Forest. It is anticipated that the observation of current (2008) geohydrologic conditions in the Viburnum Trend can provide insight to land managers that will help reasonably anticipate the potential mining effects should additional mining occur in the exploration area.
The purpose of this report is to present a compilation of previously unpublished information that was collected as part of a larger multidisciplinary study of lead mining issues in southeastern Missouri. The report resulted from the application of a multidisciplinary approach to investigate current hydrologic and biologic conditions in streams of the Viburnum Trend and the exploration area in the Mark Twain National Forest.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrologic Investigations Concerning Lead Mining Issues in Southeastern Missouri