November 13, 2019

Using Emerging Technologies to Rethink and Enhance Coal Mine Reclamation Programs in the Western United States

Kara Haas, Paul Nazaryk, and Linda S. DeLay

Coal mining reclamation in the western United States faces some unique challenges due to the harsh environment and often rugged landscapes. Over the last 10 years, mining companies have begun to use new approaches to reclamation including geomorphic reclamation methods, global positioning systems (GPSs), and new design software to improve landform stability. These new reclamation procedures are more effective at utilizing precipitation to harvest moisture by mimicking natural landforms. Yet until now, the final and most intricate aspect of reclamation—revegetation—has been relatively stagnant in terms of technological advancement.

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