AML oversees the reclamation of abandoned mine lands within the state – and there are past and ongoing initiatives to restore these lands to safe conditions. Over the years, we have put thousands of acres of damaged lands back into productive use by hiring consultants and contractors to clean up and restore abandoned coal, bentonite and uranium open pit mines.
To assist with the work to restore that ecosystem, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) created the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Native Plants Project, also partnering with the Wyoming Department of Corrections, Lander Middle School, The Nature Conservancy and the Institute of Applied Ecology.
The Reliance Coal Mining District is one of the largest and most varied coal mine reclamation projects completed by the Wyoming Department of Environment Quality, Abandoned Mine Land Program (AML).
The Powars II Paleoindian Archaeological Site in Sunrise – believed to be the oldest known mining operation in both North and South America – would have been wiped out if former Sunrise resident Wayne Powars hadn’t shown up for a school reunion one day before the scheduled demolition.
Since 1977, states have been successful reclaiming and remediating historic abandoned mine lands throughout the country. Even with these successes, thousands of sites remain. Open mine pits and shafts, mine subsidence features from historic underground mining, mine fires and impacted watersheds all pose public health and safety risks. Our continued efforts will return the lands back to previous use and re-establish appropriate habitat for wildlife.