NEWS RELEASES

ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT: ORO GRANDE'S DESERT HABITAT RECLAMATION

Our Oro Grande project is located north of Victorville in the Mojave Desert.  The land is richly steeped in history, dating back to the Gold Rush when miners flocked to the region in hopes of striking it rich (Oro Grande translates to "big gold" in Spanish).  Mining on the site began in the 1950s and continued through until the mid-to-late nineties when reclamation – or the preparation of the site for its next best use – began.

 

The original reclamation and revegetation plan for our Oro Grande facility was prepared and approved in 1995. But our reclamation team took an adaptive management approach to the site and over time, adjusted the plan as more effective restoration methods became available. While the original plan required restoring the land to open space using native plants, it lacked specificity. We upgraded the plan to cover the entire site, not just the previously mined areas. The new plan focused on the restoration of a desert environment with improved seed mixes that included additional materials that were the favorites of the Mohave Desert Tortoise, a resident sensitive species.

 

Our manager of reclamation and special projects, Doug Sprague, sees reclamation as a process that evolves as the reclamation team learns more about the nature of the site, and as regulations change both on the state and federal levels.  "Our goal is to establish a credible, state-of-the-art habitat restoration program that you will be proud of in the end," Doug says. In 2010, the Oro Grande Project was the recipient of the State of California's Department of Conservations, Office of Mine Reclamation's top award - Outstanding Reclamation Plan - for demonstrating well-defined and innovative planning.

 

Now that revegetation has concluded, the process of monitoring the site has commenced to control weeds and make sure there is proper germination. This will take place in two phases: horticultural monitoring, which includes visual inspection of weed growth, erosion and stabilization, and the more intensive biological monitoring, in which species richness, cover and diversity will be measured. We expect to reach our benchmarks in approximately five or six years.

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Adaptive Management: Oro Grande's Desert Habitat Reclamation

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August 2011