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BRINGING LIFE BACK TO AN HISTORIC MINE
Thompson, T. | Technical Sessions: Smart Mining: Resources for a Connected World, 24-27 Feb 2019, Denver, Colorado. p 107, 2019

The Swan River has a long history of mining. Using turn of the century methods in the early 1900s, dredge boats unearthed gold that existed 80 ft belowground. An historic mill existed and deposited tailings through the valley. Scars from these practices are glaring as sterile rock dominates the landscape. As a result, the Swan River, its riparian corridor, and surrounding uplands ceased to exist. A large-scale restoration project sought to reestablish the Swan River and reclaim the valley. Studies were conducted to understand groundwater and estimate pre-mining hydrology. The design involved significant site grading to create a new, meandering stream channel, resulting in a stream mimicking natural conditions. Aquatic habitat was created by constructing a natural riffle/pool system. The valley was transformed to create riparian and upland habitat in place of the barren dredge rock. Historic tailings were removed from the corridor, capped, and vegetated. The restoration work reclaimed the valley from an example of mining's historic impacts to an example of what creative reclamation can achieve. More information: https://summitcountyco.gov/1183/Swan-River-Restoration.



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