Nominations must be received by October 1 of each year
Nominations should be made on the Surface Mine Reclamation Award Nomination Form [see Files at right].
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has established annual awards to recognize outstanding reclamation of surface mines. These awards honor mine operators and reclamation plan designers who contribute to surface mine reclamation in an exemplary manner. The awards also recognize reclamation efforts on mine sites exempt from the Surface Mining Act (chapter 78.44 RCW) because of size or because the site was abandoned by earlier mine operators prior to 1971.
Criteria for evaluating entrants are described by award category (see The Award Process below). If no mine reclamation has occurred that meets the stringent criteria of a category, no award may be granted for that year.
Nominations for awards can be made by the public, permit holders, DNR, or other agencies. Nominations received by October 1st of each year will be eligible for that year's award certificate.
Recognition for Reclamation Award
To receive this award, an operator or reclamation plan designer must meet or exceed DNR requirements for an approved reclamation plan. Exemplary reclamation may have the following attributes:
- Demonstrate innovation or creativity in reclamation, such as creating unique wetlands or enhancement of wildlife and fish habitat or topographic elements.
- Include voluntary reclamation of mined land that is exempt from reclamation under the Act.
- Use native plant species in revegetation.
- Use innovative research and approaches to reclamation that can be applied at other mines.
- Show attention to water quality and erosion prevention.
- Display orderly segmental mine development resulting in high-quality reclamation.
- Demonstrate a consistent long-term commitment to reclamation.
The Award Process
Annual awards for outstanding reclamation are made in the following categories:
- Reclamation work performed by a small private operator (less than 16 acres)
- Reclamation work performed by a large private operator (16 acres or more)
- Reclamation work performed by a public service operator
- Best permit application and reclamation plan approved by DNR
DNR surface mine reclamationists will present the candidates to a panel of judges that includes representatives from DNR, other state environmental agencies, the mining industry, and environmental interest groups. Because the judges may not have opportunities to visit the nominated mine site, photos, 35-mm slides, unaltered digital images (JPEG), or videos are needed to clearly show conditions before, during, and after reclamation. At least twelve color images are preferred.
A written description should also be included, qualifying why the nominee's reclamation work or plan should be awarded. Written descriptions of site reclamation will help the panel reach their decision and may include the history of reclamation, planned development, partnerships made with neighbors, and direct benefits to the immediate environment, as well as specific information about water control, sloping, topsoil handling, re-vegetation, and other interesting aspects of the reclamation.
Winners will receive an award certificate and public recognition from DNR.