OF-19-12 Colorado Abandoned Mine Land Inventory and Information Hub: Report on the Development and Data Sources


This report extends a wider, long-term multi-agency effort to inventory abandoned mine lands across the state. Digital PDF download. OF-19-12D

From the Introduction:

In late-2015, after the Gold King Mine spill, the Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) approached the CGS to discuss the creation of a state-wide abandoned mine land (AML) inventory. The CGS had completed an AML field inventory of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) property in the 1990’s; however, in 2015 there was no known comprehensive inventory of AML features for the entire state. WQCD recognized that a comprehensive statewide inventory would help identify other vulnerable sites and assist in prioritizing remedial activities. It was apparent at the start that the first step was to identify what other inventories might already exist at the time and then determine how those inventories could be combined in an easily accessible format. It was also recognized that this first step might lead to additional data gathering to fill data gaps, as necessary.

Accordingly, the goals of the project were to determine what electronic AML information sources exist (e.g., an inventory of electronic AML inventories) and to develop an accessible AML information hub containing this information. Between 2015 and 2018, the following tasks were completed:

— Identify and document existing AML electronic inventories for hardrock and uranium mines (e.g., the inventory of electronic AML inventories)

— Establish an AML steering committee (AMLSC) with representatives from various agencies to develop the scope and content of an AML information hub

— Develop an online AML information hub, based on the available electronic AML databases and information provided by other agencies

— Coordinate integration of the AML information hub with CDPHE’s existing Environmental Resource Assessment & Management System (eRAMS) platform developed and maintained by Colorado State University’s One Water Solutions Institute

— Provide public outreach at local watershed conferences and meetings

— Complete a report documenting the existing AML databases, AMLSC meetings, and other pertinent information

During the project, the CGS also helped develop the draining mines water quality data set into a usable abandoned mine ArcGIS data layer. In addition, CGS assessed the application of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology to mapping AML features in two areas in central Colorado.