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Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) - Overview of Passive Treatment: What you can use it for and what can it achieve

Timothy P. Danehy, QEP has been involved with the implementation of passive technology since 1996. After co-founding BioMost, Inc. in 1998, he has been responsible for the design of over 100 passive treatment systems located throughout the coalfields of Appalachia and the Tri-State mining district. His experience includes the operation and maintenance of dozens of systems for watershed groups as well as mine operators. Recent work has focused assessment and rehabilitation of large-scale systems constructed over the past two decades. He is co-inventor on several patents related to mine water treatment and his firm has constructed and rehabilitated some of the largest passive systems in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.

Predicting TDS Release from Appalachian Coal Mine Spoils and Valley Fills

Over the past twenty years, water quality compliance criteria for active Appalachian coal surface mines shifted dramatically from limiting acid-mine drainage (AMD) impacts to concerns related to total dissolved solids (TDS) release. This seminar focuses on a collaborative multi-state (KY, VA, and WV) study to predict and limit regional TDS impacts, particularly from valley fills. Assuming acid-forming materials are avoided, relative TDS risk is strongly related to pre-mine weathering extent and rock type but can be reliably predicted with simple lab pH and SC tests. Our combined results indicate that TDS emissions from most properly constructed valley fills should drop to relatively low levels (< 350 mg/L) with time, but that may take decades following closure.

W. Lee Daniels, Ph.D. is the Thomas B. Hutcheson Professor of Environmental Soil Science at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in Agronomy/Soil Science from Virginia Tech in 1985. Lee’s areas of specialization include stabilization and restoration of disturbed lands including areas disturbed by mining, road building, waste disposal, urbanization, and erosion. Lee is also an original member of ASMR/ASRS. Full publications and details available at:

“Building Better Mine Rock Stockpiles for Effective and Sustainable Outcomes - or - Wouldn’t it Better if…. “The Best” Reclamation Cover System Was One You Didn’t Need”

Mine rock stockpiles (MRSs) represent the substantive percentage of risk for acidity generation, and therefore metal leaching and acid rock drainage (ML-ARD) risk on a mine site; greater than that arising from all other landforms arising from mining activity combined. Status quo in the mining industry is to utilize reclamation cover systems and collection-treatment systems to manage this risk. The result, most often, is unrecognized and underfunded liability during operations and closure. Strategic placement of run-of-mine (ROM) rock within an MRS has far greater influence on an MRS’s hydraulic, geotechnical, geochemical, and geomorphological behavior during operations and closure, as compared to that which can be imposed by a cover system alone. This webinar discusses how we can apply net present value (NPV) to inform reclamation/closure decisions throughout the mine-life cycle to address our industry’s challenge of unrecognized and unfunded liability. This will frame, and focus, on technical content of the webinar in describing, from a closure planning and mine planning perspective, what is a “better” MRS, as well as assessment metrics to define “better,” and indeed, what is “best.”

Mike O’Kane, M.Sc., P.Eng., MAusIMM, founded Okane Consultants (Okane) in 1996, a company providing integrated mine planning and closure outcomes to the mining industry internationally. Mike continues to work with Okane as a senior technical advisor, using his wide-ranging technical expertise and knowledge on risk management best practices as tools for development and communication of closure planning and project-specific objectives and designs. He is an expert on the application of unsaturated zone hydrology and geochemistry for mine waste management. Mike is a director of the Landform Design Institute and chair of its Technical Advisory Panel. In 2014 Mike received the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Achievement Award in 2014 for “Global Development of his Business and Corporation, and Philanthropy.”

Innovative Use Cases: Drones for Reclamation Monitoring

Large or remote areas of land are challenging and expensive to monitor for landform stability or ecological parameters using ground-based methods. Drone imagery is becoming a prevalent part of environmental monitoring with more data than ever before available for analysis. Recent developments in computer vision and artificial intelligence, combined with knowledge in ecological characterization, can allow for the analysis of large volumes of rapidly compiled remote sensing data for relevant signals and provide new understanding. For this presentation, we will discuss the state of the science of drones for remote sensing and then present several relevant case studies of successful application of remote sensing and AI technologies for monitoring environmental and reclamation projects.

Mike Rawitch is a geologist and geographer specializing in the implementation of geospatial technologies to optimize environmental problem-solving. At Ramboll, his focus is on remotely sensed data analysis, collection and visualization applied to environmental monitoring. Mike’s team at Ramboll uses aerial imagery and image analysis to understand site conditions, reduce uncertainty and help efficiently characterize and monitor environmental sites. Mike is an Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) team member and is a co-author on the ITRC Chapter for Advanced Site Characterization Tools. He is also a certified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Remote Pilot, is a senior Unmanned Aerial System (UAS or drone) operator within the Ramboll’s global drone practice group, and serves on industry advisory boards at Kansas State University and the University of Kansas for his expertise in UAS

Reclamation in Teaching

Reclamation sciences are incorporated into undergraduate curricula in various ways, from major requirements to electives, and from in-class to in the field. Teaching reclamation sciences is critical for developing the next generation of reclamationists and engaging in conversation around reclamation pedagogy is critical for continued innovation in teaching. This webinar will feature three academics engaged in teaching reclamation in various contexts and at various institutions. Each instructor will provide an overview of their course, highlighting particularly effective pedagogy, followed by an informal conversation around challenges faced and lessons learned.

Kenton Sena is a lecturer in the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches the honors foundations seminar (HON 101), as well as Restoration Ecology in the Commonwealth (HON 152) and The Ecology of Middle-Earth: Environmental themes in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (HON 301). His research engages in forest restoration in both reclaimed surface coal mines in Appalachia and reforested urban sites in central Kentucky.

Jennifer Franklin is a Professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries at the University of Tennessee. She teaches courses in ecosystem restoration, tree physiology, and prescribed fire management, and directs the Restoration and Conservation Science concentration within the Forestry major. Since 2003 her research has focused on restoring native hardwood forests to reclaimed surface mines of the eastern US, identifying factors important in the successful establishment of native plant communities.

Brad Pinno is an Assistant Professor – Silviculture in the Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta. He has conducted extensive research in forest land reclamation and silviculture collaborating with industry, academic, and government partners. His forest land reclamation research focuses on re-establishing forests after oil sands mining in the boreal forests of northern Alberta. He teaches Introductory Field School, Silviculture, and Forest Operations with a focus on field experiences and connecting operational treatments to management objectives.

The Four R’s – What Is It?

Brenda Schladweiler, Ph.D. is the president and owner of BKS Environmental Associates, Inc. which has been in business since 1981. She has been the recipient of the Wyoming Women of Influence Award in the Energy & Utilities category and received the Reclamationist of the Year Award from the American Society of Mining and where she served as President of that organization in 2015. Educational background includes a Ph.D. in Soil Science, University of Wyoming; M.S. in Soil Science, University of Wyoming; and B.S. in Range Management (Land Rehabilitation), Colorado State University.

Peter D. Stahl, Ph.D. is an ecologist and soil scientist appointed to the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at the University of Wyoming in 2000. Dr. Stahl received his B.S. in 1978 from Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D. in 1989 from University of Wyoming. Before returning to Wyoming, he completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the U.S. National Science Foundation Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University and worked as a soil microbiologist at the USDA/ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory. He, his students, and colleagues have published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers on Soil Microbial Ecology and Ecosystem Recovery on restored lands.

Jeff Skousen, Ph.D. is a Professor of Soil Science and the Reclamation Specialist at West Virginia University. He received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, and M.S. and B.S. degrees from Brigham Young University. Jeff has more than 40 years of experience in coal mining and reclamation. He teaches courses in Soil Science, Environmental Science, and Reclamation of Disturbed Soils. Dr. Skousen’s research areas include acid mine drainage control and treatment, overburden and soil analyses, oil and gas site reclamation, revegetation of disturbed lands, remediating contaminated soils and water, reforestation, native plant restoration, biomass for bioenergy, and post-mining land use development. He has published over 350 articles in journals, proceedings, books, extension publications, and other media outlets. He works with other faculty, directs graduate student research, publishes results in journals and proceedings, and presents findings at professional meetings. He also organizes the annual Acid Mine Drainage Task Force Symposium, conducts seminars and workshops on mined land reclamation, and consults with state and federal agency personnel, landowners, coal operators, and consultants. He edits the magazine Reclamation Matters. He travels overseas to work on land reclamation issues in Asia and Europe. In 2020, he and a colleague published the book Appalachian Coal-Mined Landscapes: Resources and Communities in a New Energy Era.

Early Career Professionals (ECP) – How to Interview. What you need to know once you are out in the “big world”

Determining a life career and forging a path to that goal can be daunting. Several fields of discipline funnel into reclamation. Often, reclamationists are generalists or have a specific expertise within reclamation. It is an exciting field to which you can tailor your own personality and goals. As Early Career Professionals, the American Society of Reclamation Sciences has gathered five speakers that represent various occupations that will share their career paths in reclamation. They represent the following: a large consulting company, educator/researcher, regulatory environment, and a small consulting company/business owner. As part of this presentation, each speaker will discuss their personal path, as well as recommendations for you as an Early Career Professional during your academic and professional pursuits. The American Society of Reclamation Sciences is committed to assisting all young people who have decided their passion is reclamation and hope this presentation will give you a wide variety of ideas to consider as you travel your own path.

Rachel Philbrook People are the heart of GeoEngineers, and Rachel is responsible for finding the best and putting them on our team. Rachel manages all phases of recruitment, including identifying recruiting needs, interviewing, onboarding, and orientation for all new hires. She also assists with benefit administration and employee retention programs. “The recruiting and hiring process was always my favorite responsibility in my previous jobs,” Rachel says. “I love talking to people, and now I get paid to do what I love.” Prior to GeoEngineers, Rachel worked in the hospitality industry for more than a decade, managing up to 80 employees. This role included hiring, recruiting, orientations, scheduling, accounting, sales, marketing, and day-to-day responsibilities of running a restaurant. Being an energetic and creative people person, Rachel says she made the switch to GeoEngineers because she wanted to specialize in recruiting.

Gwen Geidel, Ph.D., JD, is a hydrogeologist working with mine tailings reclamation and is an environmental attorney focusing on contamination and water quality in the context of land management, reclamation, and utilization. She joined the faculty of the University of South Carolina in 1984 and, in addition to teaching, has served in a number of administrative capacities and research roles within USC and the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment (SEOE). Most recently, she served as the Undergraduate Director of the SEOE from 2009 to 2020 and has worked with hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students preparing them for their careers upon graduation. Her research efforts also impact policy issues, and she has served on the Leaders’ Alliance ExCom of the Global Council for Science and the Environment for 10 years. She is also active in many community organizations including the Central Midlands Council of Government environmental committee and the Gills Creek Watershed Association. In 2018-19 she was President of ASRS and has been an active member for many years.

Robert W. Nairn, Ph.D., serves as the David L. Boren Distinguished Professor and Sam K. Viersen Family Presidential Professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at the University of Oklahoma. He holds a B.S. from Juniata College and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, both in Environmental Science. He was employed as a Research Biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Mines Pittsburgh Research Center prior to graduate school. His current research focuses broadly on natural infrastructure, especially how functions and services provided by natural and engineered ecosystems benefit environmental quality (specifically emphasizing processes contributing to metal contaminant retention in passive treatment systems and receiving stream ecological recovery). He consults internationally on related environmental challenges.

Kyle Wendtland, M.S., is currently the administrator of the Land Quality Division of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Mr. Wendtland has served in several environmental management capacities including reclamation and regulatory in Wyoming and Montana. He holds a B.S. degree in Range Management with a focus on disturbed land reclamation and a M.S. degree in Range Management both from the University of Wyoming. His career accomplishments range from recognition in environmental stewardship to developing advanced reclamation practices in establishing shrub communities and mitigating cheatgrass in disturbed land reclamation. Mr. Wendtland’s professional career has spanned 30 years in the mine and reclamation industry.

Brenda Schladweiler, Ph.D., is the president and owner of BKS Environmental Associates, Inc. which has been in business since 1981. She has been the recipient of the Wyoming Women of Influence Award in the Energy & Utilities category and received the Reclamationist of the Year Award from the American Society of Mining and where she served as President of that organization in 2015. Educational background includes PhD in Soil Science, University of Wyoming; M.S. in Soil Science, University of Wyoming; and B.S. in Range Management (Land Rehabilitation), Colorado State University.

NEPA at Work – Tracking the Evolution of the Stibnite Gold Project

Recent years have brought several changes to Midas Gold and the Stibnite Gold Project – Plan of Restoration and Operations (SGP PRO). In addition to a company name change (to Perpetua Resources), a shift in the corporate center of gravity to Boise, Idaho, and a listing on the NASDAQ (PPTA), the SGP has likewise evolved. The long journey through the NEPA process thus far has wrought an improved and refined SGP (the ModPRO2) with reduced environmental benefits deriving from a smaller footprint and a leaner operation. Despite all this change, Perpetua’s commitment to private investment and environmental cleanup at an abandoned mine site has never wavered; the ModPRO2 preserves all the restoration benefits of the original PRO. Additionally, a recent agreement with the USFS and EPA allows for cleanup of the century-old Stibnite Mining District to initiate pre-mining and will provide environmental benefits ahead of the long NEPA curve. A flyover of the last 4+ years will highlight the important milestones that Perpetua Resources has achieved and will take a look at the opportunities that are yet to come.

Dale Kerner, MS is a Professional Geologist licensed in the State of Idaho. He currently serves as the Permitting Manager for Perpetua Resources, working to obtain the many permits and approvals required for the Stibnite Gold Project in central Idaho. Prior to joining Perpetua Resources predecessor, Midas Gold in 2017, Dale had an 18-year career in environmental consulting that included geological exploration, mine planning & permitting, and NEPA project planning and coordination. Dale obtained degrees at Boise State University (MS Geology) and the University of Wisconsin/Eau Claire (BS Geology). Dale is an active member of the SME Boise Section, the Idaho Mining Association Conference Planning Committee, and the American Exploration and Mining Association. He utilizes these platforms to build meaningful connections between the mining industry, the public, and the educational institutions that are developing our nation’s future mining workforce.