Members of the Soils and Overburden Technical Division


Michele ColemanMichele Coleman
Mine Reclamation Inc
NB Power
515 King St
Fredericton NB E3B 5G4
(506) 458-4929

Christopher R. JohnstonChristopher R. Johnston
1673 Terra Ave
Sheridan WY 82801
(307) 672-8945

The following is a member listing of those who have selected Soils and Overburden as a technical division of interest.

Barnhisel, Richard
Darmody, Robert
Geidel, Gwendelyn
Hu, Zhenqi
Knight, Robert
Lindbeck, Keith
O'kane, Mike
Orndorff, Zenah
Schladweiler, Brenda
Skousen, Jeff
Van Houten, Lisa
Vories, Kimery
Zipper, Carl

Message from a Co-Chair Michele Coleman

ASRS – Soils and Overburden Technical Division

April 8, 2015

As I review the membership list in this technical division, I note the diversity of scientific and engineering backgrounds and the widespread geography. We come with an expertise in flora ranging from lichens to grasses to agriculture to forests. Some have the saturated soils interest from wetland development. We have members from all over the US, covering both coasts and everything in between, and several members from Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Our climates range greatly, as does our geology, which makes for research in the complete spectrum of precipitation levels, freeze/thaw impacts, vegetation type and density, overburden weathering, and soil generation. Our reclamation goals and conditions vary widely but we can learn so much from what others have done, what challenges they have overcome, and what new approach, technique or analysis is showing promise. With so many perspectives and so many ideas, it is an increasing wealth of knowledge about soils and overburden handling and impact during mining, during soil replacement, and after reclamation. So much has improved in the past few decades with our increased knowledge about reclaiming the soils and overburden on mine sites. But one thing has stayed the same- we all benefit from staying connected to an organization such as the American Society of Mining and Reclamation because of the exchange of information that occurs through the publications and from interactions at the annual conferences.

Technology is allowing us to do some aspects of our jobs so much easier, but the requirements of what we have to accomplish is also rapidly expanding and yet the time we have to act is not. However, we should always consider the benefit of contributing to expanding the knowledge base. At this 2015 conference in Lexington, Kentucky, five papers and several posters are being presented in soils and overburden sections by students. They will be our new source of wonderful ideas. Several additional students present on the final day during the daylong soils and overburden session. Let us support these students and encourage them to also publish their work in the ASMR publications "Reclamation Matters" and Journal of the American Society for Mining and Reclamation (JASMR). This allows the material to reach many other ASMR members, who may not have been able to attend the conference, and for others who are interested in the reclamation of soils and overburden. All of us should be publishing our results to share and disseminate our knowledge. With so much knowledge and so little time, we should be relying more on a great source of untapped assistance. During our 2014 meeting in Oklahoma, it was proposed that we take advantage of the greatest source of knowledge with possibly more available time to participate within ASMR - our retirees. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience and some are more than willing to assist to review a paper, offer some advice, and proffer some direction. It is a change from researcher to mentor for preparing the next generation of researchers and practitioners.

Moreover, isn't this the kind of renewal that should happen in reclamation? The "more mature" overburden is still the looser bedrock and foundation of the reclamation project but it ages, settles, weathers and breaks down to create new and rich mineral soils. These then become the new mediums of reclamation projects. Therefore, the cycle continues.

We also need to think about recognizing members who have made significant contributions to reclamation and acknowledge those contributions with an award nomination. As we are sitting in talks this June, we should keep notes on who may possibly be very deserving of recognition for their work. Jerry Schuman, the awards committee chair, welcomes nominations any time of year, so when better than just after you heard a great presentation, from a deserving person, to take the time to submit the nomination. We should also recognize those students that have committed to a presentation or poster session at this conference and encourage them both in their work and to remain involved in ASMR so that they can continue to benefit from and enrich the society.

Nevertheless, these meetings are still about the personal interactions, the rekindling of friendships, the sharing of stories and the planning for future collaborations.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you in Lexington in June and hope that you plan to attend the Soils and Overburden Technical Division Business Meeting on Monday, June 8.

Michele Coleman
Co-Chair, Soils and Overburden Technical Division


The Soil and Overburden Technical Division of ASRS encompasses a wide range of professionals who are involved in the use and management of soil, geological and waste materials associated with mining and mine site reclamation in the USA and worldwide.

Scope and Objectives:

  1. To disseminate both good and bad reclamation knowledge, experience, and outcomes, and to promote good practices and innovation
  2. To conduct and publish research (investigations and case studies) for reclaimed mine sites in the USA and globally.
  3. To provide a forum for discussion and collation and exchange of information within ASMR and other global like-minded professional groups through technical cooperation and collaboration on soils and overburden research and applications in the field.
  4. To assure that our professionals are involved in reclamation planning, implementation, regulations, and enforcement in the USA and to share experience globally.
  5. To help inform the public with respect to the sustainable and safe mining of minerals that society needs through the implementation of good planning and reclamation practices.
  6. To co-operate with the other ASRS Technical Divisions to promote our common goals.

Subcommittees will be called on an as-needed basis.

Chair's Responsibilities:

  1. Coordinate the review of papers submitted for JASMR, Reclamation Matters and abstracts or papers submitted for the annual meeting of ASMR.
  2. If requested by the conference organizers, either chair the Soils and Overburden session(s) of the annual meeting or arrange to have moderators for those sessions.
  3. Chair the annual Soils and Overburden Technical Division business meeting.
  4. Serve as conduit for information exchange among members of the Technical Division and with the Technical Division Representative to the ASMR National Executive Committee (NEC).
  5. Recommend chair replacement when stepping down, through solicitations from the Soils and Overburden membership.

Topics for consideration at the 2016 meeting in Spokane

Exchanges and information arising from the Draft Soils and Overburden Business Meeting Minutes:

Potential Soils and Overburden Topics for the 2016 Spokane, Washington meeting.

From Dennis Neuman

  1. reclamation of abandoned hard rock mines in the western U.S. and Canada;
  2. remediation of contaminated soils at mega-Superfund sites.
  3. Getting the Canadians and research scientists from Alaska would be great.

Stuart Jennings suggested

Northern Idaho is the subject of a very large scale mine cleanup related to historic lead and zinc mine wastes. For example: , .

I believe total cleanup costs may reach $1B. There are many soil contamination issues: repository construction, residential yard cleanup, smelter fallout, riparian mine waste, food chain bioaccumulation of Pb and Zn, sediments… There are many experts working on this cleanup that could contribute papers or be involved in ASRS.

A colleague of mine with BLM (Jeff Johnson) is the federal restoration coordinator so he knows all the players. I'm sure he would be able to help identify some good speakers… I conducted a soil bioengineering training for the Forest Service (with Len) in Coeur d-Alene (30 minutes east of Spokane) and we used several excellent soil/revegetation field sites for tours during that week…

For example: I've been to this site multiple times and it is a great story that would make a great presentation.