30 CFR 784.12 - What must the reclamation plan include?

§ 784.12 What must the reclamation plan include?

(a)General requirements. Your application must contain a plan for the reclamation of the lands to be disturbed within the proposed permit area. The plan must show how you will comply with the reclamation requirements of the applicable regulatory program. At a minimum, the plan must include all information required under this part and part 785 of this chapter.

(b)Reclamation timetable. The reclamation plan must contain a detailed timetable for the completion of each major step in the reclamation process including, but not limited to -

(1) Backfilling.

(2) Grading.

(3) Establishment of the surface drainage pattern and stream-channel configuration approved in the permit, including construction of appropriately-designed perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral stream channels to replace those removed by mining, to the extent and in the form required by §§ 784.27, 784.28, 817.56, and 817.57 of this chapter.

(4) Soil redistribution.

(5) Planting of all vegetation in accordance with the revegetation plan approved in the permit, including establishment of streamside vegetative corridors along the banks of perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral streams when required by §§ 817.56(c) and 817.57(d) of this chapter.

(6) Demonstration of revegetation success.

(7) Demonstration of restoration of the ecological function of all reconstructed perennial and intermittent stream segments.

(8) Application for each phase of bond release under § 800.42 of this chapter.

(c)Reclamation cost estimate. The reclamation plan must contain a detailed estimate of the cost of reclamation, including both direct and indirect costs, of those elements of the proposed operations that are required to be covered by a performance bond under part 800 of this chapter, with supporting calculations for the estimates. You must use current standardized construction cost estimation methods and equipment cost guides or up-to-date actual contracting costs incurred by the regulatory authority for similar activities to prepare this estimate.

(d)Backfilling and grading plan.

(1) The reclamation plan must contain a plan for backfilling surface excavations, compacting the backfill, and grading the disturbed area, with contour maps, models, or cross-sections that show the anticipated final surface configuration of the proposed permit area, including drainage patterns, in accordance with §§ 817.102 through 817.107 of this chapter, using the best technology currently available.

(2) The backfilling and grading plan must describe in detail how you will conduct backfilling and related reclamation activities, including how you will -

(i) Compact spoil to reduce infiltration to minimize leaching and discharges of parameters of concern.

(ii) Limit compaction of topsoil and soil materials in the root zone to the minimum necessary to achieve stability. The plan also must identify measures that will be used to alleviate soil compaction if necessary.

(iii) Handle acid-forming and toxic-forming materials, if present, to prevent the formation of acid or toxic drainage from acid-forming and toxic-forming materials within the overburden. The plan must be consistent with paragraph (n) of this section and § 817.38 of this chapter.

(e)Soil handling plan -

(1)General requirements.

(i) The reclamation plan must include a plan and schedule for removal, storage, and redistribution of topsoil, subsoil, and other material to be used as a final growing medium in accordance with § 817.22 of this chapter. It also must include a plan and schedule for removal, storage, and redistribution or other use of organic matter in accordance with § 817.22(f) of this chapter.

(ii) Except as provided in paragraphs (e)(1)(iii) and (iv) of this section, the plan submitted under paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section must require that the B soil horizon, the C soil horizon, and other underlying strata, or portions of those soil horizons and strata, be removed separately, stockpiled if necessary, and redistributed to the extent and in the manner needed to achieve the optimal rooting depths required to restore premining land use capability and to comply with the revegetation requirements of §§ 817.111 and 817.116 of this chapter.

(iii) The plan submitted under paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section need not require salvage of those soil horizons which you demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the regulatory authority, are inferior to other overburden materials as a plant growth medium, provided you comply with the soil substitute requirements of paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

(iv) The plan submitted under paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section may allow blending of the B soil horizon, the C soil horizon, and underlying strata, or portions thereof, to the extent that research or prior experience under similar conditions has demonstrated that blending will not adversely affect soil productivity.

(v) The plan submitted under paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section must explain how you will handle and, if necessary, store soil materials to avoid contamination by acid-forming or toxic-forming materials and to minimize deterioration of desirable soil characteristics.

(2)Substitutes and supplements.

(i) You must identify each soil horizon for which you propose to use appropriate overburden materials as either a supplement to or a substitute for the existing topsoil or subsoil on the proposed permit area. For each of those horizons, you must demonstrate, and the regulatory authority must find in writing, that -

(A)(1) The quality of the existing topsoil and subsoil is inferior to that of the best overburden materials available; or

(2) The quantity of the existing topsoil and subsoil on the proposed permit area is insufficient to provide an optimal rooting depth. In this case, the plan must require that all available existing topsoil and favorable subsoil, regardless of the amount, be removed, stored, and redistributed as part of the final growing medium unless the conditions described in paragraph (e)(2)(i)(A)(1) of this section also apply.

(B) The use of the overburden materials that you have selected, in combination with or in place of the topsoil or subsoil, will result in a soil medium that is more suitable than the existing topsoil and subsoil to support and sustain vegetation consistent with the postmining land use and the revegetation plan under paragraph (g) of this section and that will provide a rooting depth that is superior to the existing topsoil and subsoil.

(C) The overburden materials that you select for use as a soil substitute or supplement are the best materials available to support and sustain vegetation consistent with the postmining land use and the revegetation plan under paragraph (g) of this section.

(ii) For purposes of paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section, the regulatory authority will specify the -

(A) Suitability criteria for substitutes and supplements.

(B) Chemical and physical analyses, field trials, or greenhouse tests that you must conduct to make the demonstration required by paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section.

(C) Sampling objectives and techniques and the analytical techniques that you must use for purposes of paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(B) of this section.

(iii) At a minimum, the demonstrations required by paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section must include -

(A) The physical and chemical soil characteristics and root zones needed to support and sustain the type of vegetation to be established on the reclaimed area.

(B) A comparison and analysis of the thickness, total depth, texture, percent coarse fragments, pH, and areal extent of the different kinds of soil horizons and overburden materials available within the proposed permit area, based upon a statistically valid sampling procedure.

(iv) [Reserved]

(v) You must include a plan for testing and evaluating overburden materials during both removal and redistribution to ensure that only materials approved for use as soil substitutes or supplements are removed and redistributed.

(f)Surface stabilization plan. The reclamation plan must contain a plan for stabilizing road surfaces, redistributed soil materials, and other exposed surface areas to effectively control erosion and air pollution attendant to erosion in accordance with §§ 817.95, 817.150, and 817.151 of this chapter.

(g)Revegetation plan.

(1) The reclamation plan must contain a plan for revegetation consistent with §§ 817.111 through 817.116 of this chapter, including, but not limited to, descriptions of -

(i) The schedule for revegetation of the area to be disturbed.

(ii) The site preparation techniques that you plan to use, including the measures that you will take to avoid or, when avoidance is not possible, to minimize and alleviate compaction of the root zone during backfilling, grading, soil redistribution, and planting.

(iii) What soil tests you will perform, together with a statement as to whether you will apply lime, fertilizer, or other amendments in response to those tests before planting or seeding.

(iv) The species that you will plant to achieve temporary erosion control or, if you do not intend to establish a temporary vegetative cover, a description of other soil stabilization measures that you will implement in lieu of planting a temporary cover.

(v) The species that you will plant and the seeding and stocking rates and planting arrangements that you will use to achieve or complement the postmining land use, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and achieve the streamside vegetative corridor requirements of §§ 817.56(c) and 817.57(d) of this chapter, when applicable.

(A) Revegetation plans that involve the establishment of trees and shrubs must include site-specific planting prescriptions for canopy trees, understory trees and shrubs, and herbaceous ground cover compatible with establishment of trees and shrubs.

(B) To the extent practicable and consistent with other revegetation and regulatory program requirements, the species mix must include native pollinator-friendly plants and the planting arrangements must promote the establishment of pollinator-friendly habitat.

(vi) The planting and seeding techniques that you will use.

(vii) Whether you will apply mulch and, if so, the type of mulch and the method of application.

(viii) Whether you plan to conduct irrigation or apply fertilizer after the first growing season and, if so, to what extent and for what length of time.

(ix) Any normal husbandry practices that you plan to use in accordance with § 817.115(d) of this chapter.

(x) The standards and evaluation techniques that you propose to use to determine the success of revegetation in accordance with § 817.116 of this chapter.

(xi) The measures that you will take to avoid the establishment of invasive species on reclaimed areas or to control those species if they do become established.

(2) Except as provided in paragraphs (g)(4) and (5) of this section, the species and planting rates and arrangements selected as part of the revegetation plan must be designed to create a diverse, effective, permanent vegetative cover that is consistent with the native plant communities and natural succession process described in the permit application in accordance with § 783.19 of this chapter.

(3) The species selected as part of the revegetation plan must -

(i) Be native to the area. The regulatory authority may approve the use of introduced species as part of the permanent vegetative cover for the site only if -

(A) The introduced species are both non-invasive and necessary to achieve the postmining land use;

(B) Planting of native species would be inconsistent with the approved postmining land use; and

(C) The approved postmining land use is implemented before the entire bond amount for the area has been fully released under §§ 800.40 through 800.43 of this chapter.

(ii) Be capable of stabilizing the soil surface from erosion to the extent that control of erosion with herbaceous ground cover is consistent with establishment of a permanent vegetative cover that resembles native plant communities in the area.

(iii) Be compatible with the approved postmining land use.

(iv) Have the same seasonal characteristics of growth, consistent with the appropriate stage of natural succession, as the native plant communities described in the permit application in accordance with § 783.19 of this chapter.

(v) Be capable of self-regeneration and natural succession.

(vi) Be compatible with the plant and animal species of the area.

(vii) Meet the requirements of applicable state and federal seed, noxious plant, and introduced species laws and regulations.

(4) The regulatory authority may grant an exception to the requirements of paragraphs (g)(3)(i), (iv), and (v) of this section when necessary to achieve a quick-growing, temporary, stabilizing cover on disturbed and regraded areas, and the species selected to achieve this purpose will not impede the establishment of permanent vegetation.

(5) The regulatory authority may grant an exception to the requirements of paragraphs (g)(2), (g)(3)(iv), and (g)(3)(v) of this section for those areas with a long-term, intensive, agricultural postmining land use.

(6) A qualified, experienced biologist, soil scientist, forester, or agronomist must prepare or approve all revegetation plans.

(h)Stream protection and reconstruction plan. The reclamation plan must describe how you will comply with the stream reconstruction requirements of §§ 784.27 and 817.56 of this chapter for ephemeral streams and the stream protection, stream reconstruction, and functional restoration requirements of §§ 784.28 and 817.57 of this chapter for perennial and intermittent streams.

(i)Coal resource conservation plan. The reclamation plan must describe the measures that you will employ to maximize the use and conservation of the coal resource while using the best technology currently available to maintain environmental integrity, as required by § 817.59 of this chapter.

(j)Plan for disposal of noncoal waste materials. The reclamation plan must describe -

(1) The type and quantity of noncoal waste materials that you anticipate disposing of within the proposed permit area.

(2) How you intend to dispose of noncoal waste materials in accordance with § 817.89 of this chapter.

(3) The locations of any proposed noncoal waste material disposal sites within the proposed permit area.

(4) The contingency plans that you have developed to preclude sustained combustion of combustible noncoal materials.

(k)Management of mine openings, boreholes, and wells. The reclamation plan must contain a description, including appropriate cross-sections and maps, of the measures that you will use to seal or manage mine openings, and to plug, case or manage exploration holes, boreholes, wells and other openings within the proposed permit area, in accordance with § 817.13 of this chapter.

(l)Compliance with Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. The reclamation plan must describe the steps that you have taken or will take to comply with the requirements of the Clean Air Act ( 42 U.S.C. 7401et seq.), the Clean Water Act ( 33 U.S.C. 1251et seq.), and other applicable air and water quality laws and regulations and health and safety standards.

(m)Consistency with land use plans and surface owner plans. The reclamation plan must describe how the proposed operation is consistent with -

(1) All applicable state and local land use plans and programs.

(2) The plans of the surface landowner, to the extent that those plans are practicable and consistent with this chapter and with other applicable laws and regulations.

(n)Handling of acid-forming and toxic-forming materials.

(1) If the baseline geologic information collected under § 784.19(e)(3) and (4) of this part indicates the presence of acid-forming or toxic-forming materials, you must develop a plan to prevent any adverse hydrologic impacts that may result from exposure of those materials during either the face-up process or disposal of underground development waste. At a minimum the plan must -

(i) Identify the anticipated postmining groundwater level for all locations at which you propose to place acid-forming or toxic-forming materials.

(ii) When approved in the permit, place acid-forming and toxic-forming materials in an excess spoil fill or a coal mine waste refuse pile, using one or both of the following techniques, as appropriate:

(A) Completely surround acid-forming and toxic-forming materials with compacted material with a hydraulic conductivity at least two orders of magnitude lower than the hydraulic conductivity of the adjacent spoil or coal mine waste.

(B) Treat or otherwise neutralize acid-forming and toxic-forming materials to prevent the formation of acid or toxic mine drainage. This technique may include the blending of acid-forming materials with spoil of sufficient alkalinity to prevent the development of acid drainage.

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 16 - CONSERVATION
U.S. Code: Title 30 - MINERAL LANDS AND MINING