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Designing Mine Reclamation From Waste Rock to Treatment Gardens

The Holden Mine, WA Andrew Papke-Larson Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate 2017 Department of Landscape Architecture University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Table of Contents

Project Introduction


Abandoned Mines


Mine Remedial Critique

Holden Village & Mine Holden History Holden Mine Contamination Current Remedial Practice Passive Remedial Option Changing Climate

Holden Master Plan Passive Remedial Design Design Connections

6 9 19 27 29 37 41 45 47 55

Alpine Sludge Meadow


Holden Mine


Anoxic Treatment Garden Mine Portal & Tour

65 67

Anthropogenic Garden Design Concept / Program Overlook & Garden Entry Entry AllĂŠe & Wetland View Headwaters Entry & View Knoll Entry & View Renewal Bridge & Amphitheater Stepping Stone Crossing Earth Ring Design Concept Earth Ring Earth Ring Lookout Rest & Reflection Walk Wetland Walk & Water View The Expanse Design Resolution


71 73 77 81 85 87 89 91 93 95 97 99 101 103 107 109

Reclamation Timeline




Project Introduction

I am passionate about people and our interactions with the environment. Specifically, I am interested in the intersection of design and ecological reclamation. Reclamation is the process of rehabilitating or creating usable materials from what is currently seen as detrimental or waste. Reclamation design allows for the ecological healing of a site as well as a functional human use. Historically, we have separated the two functions (ecological restoration and human interaction). As we move into the Anthropocene, a new geological era, we must begin to recognize and design for co-habitation. Design thinking can break the current mine remediation discourse and prevent the loss of ecological biodiversity, cultural and historical awareness, and large-scale remedial systems. In the United States there are currently over 500,000 abandoned mines, spanning over millions of acres and tens of thousands of square miles (Berger, 2002; Berger 2008). With the mining industry now required to reclaim their mining operations and with unwavering current mine production rates, a vast new post-mined landscape will take form in the residue of American mining (Berger, 2008). In the last decade there has been a resurgence of interest in ecological and sustainable thinking behind the design and management of reclaimed mine landscapes (Berger 2008). The reclamation of mine sites is an extensive and lengthy process that requires an expertise of multiple professional groups. Reclamation professionals commonly contain concentrations within the scientific community: engineers, biologists, and ecologists. If landscape architects became a core professional group in the reclamation process, how would post-mined landscapes differ from current reclamation practices?

Photo of the Holden Mine remediation Phase 1

This project focuses the Holden mine, an abandoned mine in the Northern Cascade Mountains of Washington State. The mine, a designated superfund site is currently undergoing a remediation and restoration process through a federal mandate by the United States government and funded by the mining company Rio Tinto. Although the Holden mine is currently undergoing remediation and a restoration process there seems to be little thought about long-term sustainability and holistic reclamation solutions. Designing Reclamation proposes a re-evaluation and reforming of the design and ultimately the discourse of the landscape in the second phase of the Holden Mine Remediation project.


Birds eye view of the proposed Anthropogenic Garden, a wetland remedial system that is treating acid mine drainage coming from the Holden Mine.

Design Questions How would remedial practices at the Holden Mine change with the inclusion of landscapes architects? From the perspective of a landscape architect, what is holistic reclamation? How can innovative design thinking transform a perceived contaminate, acid mine drainage into a valuable resource? How can we integrate ecological systems, recognizing our industrial past, and connect to cultural practices in the design of a remedial treatment system? 2

Abandoned Mines Western Un ite

d State The Holden Mine

Federal Land Bureau of Indian Affairs Bureau of Land Management Bureau of Reclamation Department of Defense

Abandoned Mines

Fish and wildlife Service Forest Service

All Other


National Park Service



Other Agencies

Gold 3

Mining Introduction The United States, in our current consumerism culture is inevitably tied to the mineral resources that ensure basic conditions of daily life and economic development. Not only do we depend on mineral resources but also their common carrier, the land. Mining activities, specifically abandoned mines can create extremely environmentally destructive conditions that cause irreversible damage to surrounding landscapes (Zhang et al., 2011). Today the mining industry is required by law to reclaim their mining operations and with unwavering production rates, a vast new post-mined landscape is taking shape in the residue of American mining (Berger 2008). Unfortunately, many mining companies, due to the cleanup costs have abandoned their mines and left them to decay. Without a clear financially viable party to complete remediation, it can be difficult to reclaim many abandoned mine sites. In the western United States there are currently over 500,000 abandoned and active mines that span over millions of acres and tens of thousands of square miles (Berger, 2002; Berger 2008). Many abandoned mines are located on federal lands and can be traced back to the General Mining Act of 1872, in which federal law authorizes the right of all United States citizens to locate and make claim to economic minerals, such as gold, platinum, and silver, on federal public lands. (Bureau of Land Management, 2015) The U.S. Forest Service estimates Washington State has 1,956 abandoned hard-rock mines. Many abandoned mine sites pose serious threats to the health and safety of communities downstream. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that mining, mostly abandoned mines, have polluted over 40 percent of stream reaches of western headwater watersheds (EPA). Many of the contamination issues associated with hard-rock mines across the western United States may require water treatment for hundreds to thousands of years, possibly indefinitely as a result of mining contamination (, 2016).

Historic Photo of Holden Miners Holden Village

Holden Mine Inspection Rio Tinto

There are over 500,000 abandoned and active mines in Western United States. Above are images of the Holden Mine.

In the last decade there has been a resurgence of interest in ecological and sustainable thinking behind the design and management of reclaimed mine landscapes (Berger 2008). Reclamation began as a practical need, a public health necessity, a legal problem, and a technological challenge. Now reclamation has moved into a second phase, the point in which any craft, occupation, or activity reassess its performance, methods, and techniques (Berger 2008). The examination of reclamation practices has allowed for a shifting paradigm, to reform from a technical engineering solution to a holistic landscape solution. 4

Photo of the Holden Mine undergoing remediation and stabilization of the tailing piles (Remediation Phase 1)


Rio Tinto

Reclamation vs. Restoration: A New Paradigm

Reclaim is to recall from wrong or improper conduct (reform); to rescue from an undesirable state (rescue); to obtain from a waste product or byproduct (recover); to demand the return of or to regain possession of (return). Reclamation is the process of reforming a landscape that has been mined to a natural or economically usable state through first mitigating environmental concerns and then creating useful landscapes that meet a range of goals including the establishment of productive ecosystems, industrial re-purposing, and municipal resources. Holistic approach is to view both the macro as well as the micro, incorporating complete systems rather than focusing on individual sections. For example, Holistic Ecology integrates humans and the environment as a single system. Holistic Reclamation works to create a functional landscape by first stabilizing hazardous and contaminated materials, focusing on long term environmental and financial success as well as on an ecological and visual aesthetic, including community perceptions, histories, and cultural values.

With an ever-growing demand for natural resources it is increasingly important to focus on the reclamation of mine closures and abandoned mines (Berger 2008). Historically we have focused our resources on the restoration of abandoned mines, an attempt to heal anthropogenic scars and erase the signs of disturbance and disruption in the landscape by restoring the features of a former functioning condition (Berger 2008). Landscape restoration is often confused with landscape reclamation. Reclamation works to reform the function of a landscape, returning it to an appropriate ecological state. While reclamation may utilize native ecologies, returning the landscape to a historical ecological condition is not the primary goal. As landscape designers, we have the opportunity to question current mine restoration methods. Is the reintroduction of a historic condition the correct action in the post mining landscape?

The increasing scale and physical footprint left by mining industry has allowed reclamation projects to begin to break the current discourse of conventional restoration practices, as many mine projects begin to focus on larger ecosystem functions rather that historical conditions (Berger 2008). However, within most mine reclamation projects there is still a desire and underlying goal, within the fundamental vision of the project, to return to historic functioning or pre-disturbance conditions. In the context of the 21st century, restoring a landscape to a historic condition narrows the reclamation approach and creates an unattainable goal. The act of mining on the landscape is irreversible; underground tunneling only a few kilometers deep will leave geologic scars that last millions of years, if not eternally (Zalasiewicz et al., 2014). Tailing piles, consisting of rocks weighing in the 100’s of millions of tons, in many cases cannot be or will not be erased or moved from the landscape (Zalasiewicz et al., 2014). 6

Reclamation vs. Restoration: A New Paradigm

Therefore, in mine reclamation historic conditions are impossible to recreate and we must instead search for deeper meaning in our need to reclaim. Setting goals to achieve preexisting conditions and functionally ignoring the historic industrial and the current cultural context of the site is a colonial tradition and a functional fallacy. We must now incorporate a holistic approach; an approach that encompasses not only a technical remediation solution and ecological lens but also a non-physical phenomena, such as community lens that incorporates community perceptions, histories, and cultural values (Baida, 2014). A holistic approach includes questions like: What ethical values determine thoughts and methods of reclamation? How does society view post-mined landscapes? Would society approve of altered landscapes that are transformed to support productive uses rather than being left to heal themselves? How will the post mine site and remedial systems function over time? What are the larger inputs and outputs of a technical solution? A holistic reclamation approach questions the conventional reclamation and restoration methods, creating a new discourse within mine reclamation. This discourse explores the rehabilitation, revitalization, and rejuvenation of a mine site through a long-term sustainable lens not only focusing on the environment but also on the community. The primary goal of a reclamation project is to create a functioning post-mining land use, first stabilizing hazardous and contaminated materials and then focusing on an ecological and visual aesthetic (Berger, 2008). In the reclaiming process designers understand that the ecological and “natural” communities are constructed and will adapt to their new environments over time. Reclamation attempts to set up a modified framework from which "new nature” may adapt and "new natural” processes may emerge in the condition of the reclaimed landscape (Berger, 2008). Instead of 7

designing and building every last detail of an historical ecological system that was lost in the mining process, reclamation works with the notion of designing open-ended ecologies that will continue to evolve long after reclamation is finished (Berger, 2008). The modifying of a framework from which nature may adapt to new natural processes is even more critical as we consider the changing climate. As we move into a period of unstable climate conditions and changing climactic patterns our remediation and reclamation techniques must be able to respond and adapt to create flexible and resilient systems. The framework for which we derive our reclamation or restoration is also critical as we consider our current geologic era, the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene is a geological era in which atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, and biologic systems have all been critically altered by human influences (Wilson, 2016). Working within the Anthropocene, we can begin to question the concept of nature and pristine wilderness. Landscape reclamation incorporates the reality of our geologic era and lets go of the concept that humans are separate from nature, natural systems, and wilderness. Nature is a process and not a product. Humans, although a part of nature also carry an inert or constructed sense of morality. Over the past two hundred years, human activities associated with industrialization have brought about changes in the global environment that are unprecedented in both scale and magnitude (Berger, 2008). Today species are disappearing at an accelerating rate, over 100 to 1,000 times greater than pre 1800’s extinction rates (Wilson, 2016). As we continue into the Anthropocene and see greater climatic variation, the question facing today's mine reclamation and remediation is this: what model should be used for rebuilding sites that have been heavily degraded by human activity, such as mine spoils or post-industrial landscapes? Restoration or Holistic Reclamation.

Andrew Papke-Larson

Holden Village

Andrew Papke-Larson

Railroad Creek Valley - Northern Cascade Moun-

Copper Mountain

Glacier Peak Wilderness

Holden Village Holden Mine Railroad Creek

Holden Village

Images of Holden Mine Remediation

Holden Village


Rio Tinto

Holden Village Retreat Center Introduction Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center is located in the northern Cascade Mountains of Washington State. The small village has a year-round staff that accommodates guests and visitors. Guest stay for anywhere from just a few days to a week, with some staying for a couple years. All are embraced by the community, encouraged to share in meals, worship and a wide range of activities. The Holden community includes a public school and a church congregation, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The arts are a rich part of everyday life at Holden, whether visitors want to participate or enjoy the performances and creations of others. Guest Accommodations In a traditional guest season, the usual stay is a week in length, although visitors can register for longer or shorter periods. At max capacity Holden Village can incorporate approximately 500 guests during peak summer season. Most guests are housed in comfortable lodge rooms which can accommodate between 2 and 4 people. Families are typically housed in one bunk/family room. Singles are periodically asked to share with another person during busy times. Holden Activities There is a great deal of freedom in deciding what you want to do when you are at Holden. Some people spend a lot of time outdoors exploring the wilderness area; others stay close by to take advantage of the outstanding program offerings. Visitors may try one of the many craft projects, such as pottery, basket weaving or spend time alone reading.

Holden Village

Amenities Holden’s facilities include a sauna, hot tub, children’s playground, bookstore, post office, ice cream snack bar, historical museum, library, first aid station, Hike Haus, pool hall and bowling alley. Access to some of these facilities depends on the time of year (some are closed October-May for electrical conservation) and on the availability of staff to maintain and operate them. On average the winter community is about 60 to 80 people. Typical village season operates from May through November. The winter season December and February through April offers special opportunities for renewal. January is reserved for “J-Term” college students. With our average snowfall of about 250 inches (total accumulation 12ft), cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and other winter recreations become popular activities. During winter, the Village is not accessible for people with physical disabilities due to the extreme snowfall in Railroad Creek Valley. While children are welcome to visit with their families, there are no children’s programs in winter.


* Above material sourced directly form from Holden Village website

Holden Advertisement for Artist-in-Residence

Holden Village


Holden Village

Holden Village

Holden Village Textures & Qualities

Andrew Papke-Larson

Copper Mountain contains 58 miles of mining tunnels. These tunnels have filled with groundwater and are continuously discharging water laden with heavy metals and an acidic pH.


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A view up valley of the Holden

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Holden Village & Mine Location and Transportation

Wenatchee National Forest Glacier Peak Wilderness Area

Lucerne Boat Landing

Holden Village

3 Hour Boat Ride

City of Chelan 1 Hour Bus Ride

Holden Village

2,000 ft Elevation Gain

Wilderness Area - Lands designated by Congress to be protected and preserved in their natural condition, without permanent improvements or habitation National Forest 13

Railroad Creek Valley - Northern Cascade Mountains

Holden Village Holden Mine

Lake Chelan

Railroad Creek Glacier Peak Wilderness Area Boundary


Holden Village - Lutheran Retreat Center


Holden Village Programing

= 6,000 Visitors

Number of Visitors a Year:

= 500 Visitors

Peak Number of Visitors in a Week: = 100 Visitors

Hotel Dinning Hall Bookstore Post Office

Agape Laundry




11 Chalet Hill

Lodge 6 First Aid Station Hike Haus



5 13


Agape Lodge 2

Koinonia Library Classroom Space Art Studio Pottery Studio


Lodge 3


3 2 1

Lodge 1 Lodge 4

Hotel Garbo Dock

Narnia School Daycare Playground


Hot Tub

Lodge 6


Railroad Creek 16

Village Center

Village Center Worship Space Gymnasium Pool Hall Bowling Alley Ice Cream Snack Bar Holden Museum


An Active Village

photo by Kevin Steffa


Visiting Holden Village - The Holden Experience


Villagers of all kinds form a community of worship, learning, hospitality, celebration and service. Holden welcomes all of God’s children, regardless of faith denomination, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age or political opinion.


While at Holden, visitors are invited to find their own pace and pursue their own unique renewal and interests. Visitors may participate in many of the classes, events and other opportunities—or very few.


Holden is a place of dialogue. Ideas and opinions are shared through mutual conversation. Holden values critical thinking, provocative discussion, and the integration of learning and experience.

Typical Visitor Daily Schedule







0R ela


PM: V espe







Holden is grounded and united in daily Gospel centered worship. Whether it is individually walking the labyrinth or collectively praying at Matins (morning) or Vespers (evening), worship is at the core of village life.














:Y ou

12PM te


rea plo re, and C


Re fl






12:00 - 1:30 PM: Lunch

ten , Ex : Lis PM






- 5:




g Enga



:S tu






0A 10:3

Holy hilarity returns us to the joy and freedom of the Gospel. Visitors will find that Holden is a place of extravagant (and at times, absurd) celebration based on humor and joy. Sometimes the hilarity is organized—like the silly competitions, other times there will be spontaneous pranks and laughter. Villagers relish both praying and playing together.



Learn AM :


Holden operates through the efforts of more than a thousand volunteers annually. Volunteers have been the traditional backbone of the Village from its very beginning. Short-term volunteers stay for three weeks or more, while long-term staff keep the Village operating year-round.






7 0-







es :R

Adult Programing

Meal Time

Children Programing

Evening Activities




Holden History Introduction: The Holden Mine reclamation project is in one of the most isolated places in the continental U.S., located near Lake Chelan in the remote reaches of north-central Washington State. It is only accessible by boat or float plane, nearly 25 miles up Lake Chelan to Lucerne, a boat landing. Vehicle access from Lucerne to the mine utilizes a 10 mile winding gravel road that climbs 640 m (over 2,000ft) in elevation. The mine is located on eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range in a “U� shaped valley, Railroad Creek Valley, at an elevation between 975 and 1,050 m (about 3,000ft +) above sea level. Railroad Creek Valley has a climate that is characterized by hot dry summers and mild to severe winters, with an average annual snowfall of 3.6 m. When in operation the mine excavated nearly 100 km (58 miles) of underground tunnels and approximately 8.5 million tons of mill tailings were placed on U.S. National Forest lands near Railroad Creek. A several hundred million dollar cleanup of the mine is currently in progress, funded by Rio Tinto (3rd largest mining company in the world by value of market stock). The mine is on the edge of Holden Village, a religious retreat center that hosts 5,000 to 6,000 visitors each year. The remediation and engineering design requires an integrated system of infrastructural improvements, surface water and sediment management, slope stability improvements, surface and groundwater collection and treatment, mill demolition, and restoration to re-establish vegetation consistent with the surrounding forest.

Rio Tinto

Mine Beginnings: In 1896 a prospector by the name of James Henry Holden discovered a sizable amount of ore at the at the base of Copper Mountain, a snow covered peak sitting within Railroad Creek Valley. After two decades and Mr. Holden's death, the mine was developed by Howe Sound Mining Co. and the start of ore mining began in 1938. In peak operation the Holden mine produced about 200 million pounds of copper, 40 million pounds of zinc, 2 million ounces of silver and 600,000 ounces of gold from almost 10 million tons of ore. Approximately 58 miles of tunnels were excavated under Copper mountain leaving 8.5 million tons of mill tailings, ground rock left over after the minerals have been extracted on 90 acres of U.S. National Forest land near Railroad Creek. Another 1.5 million tons of tailings were placed back into the mine. 19

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Coleman, Ern Holden Bus Entry. 2011

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Holden Village Mission:

-Over the course of 50 years now, Holden Village has been transformed from a copper mining town to a vibrant place of education, programming, and worship. It has been a rich journey of faith. Holden welcomes all who seek contemplation and community in the remote wilderness of the beautiful Cascade Mountains. Rooted in Lutheran traditions, we invite people of all ages to come and experience our rhythms, which inspire and equip travelers for a sustainable life of faith outside the Village. And we continue to listen to and reflect on our story and history as we seek to discover our place in God’s creative mission in our world. Source: Holden Village

Rio Tinto


Holden Mine Textures & Qualities

Andrew Papke-Larson

The Holden mill ruins, buried in the first phase of remedial work


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Copper creek remediation

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Historic mine core samples

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Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

Historic photos take from the Holden Mine and Railroad Creek Valley between 1938 - 1957.

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

Village History: At the height of operations, Holden was a mining village housing over 600 people, including the mine workers’ families. After 19 years of production the mine became financially unprofitable, the price of copper dropped lower than the cost of extraction and the mine closed. The mine and village were abandoned. After the closing in 1957 over 100 mining homes were demolished and burned by the U.S. Forest Service as a prevention method against wildfires. In 1960 Howe Sound Co. sold the mine and village to the Lutheran Bible Institute. With start-up funding from several national Lutheran youth groups and hard working volunteers, the non-profit Holden Village, Inc. was formed and the village was renovated into a retreat center. Although the village center and dormitory buildings were restored and maintained, the mine and mine tailing piles were left to decay in the fashion in which they had been dumped in the 1940's and 1950's. Contamination and environmental impact from the mine and mine tailing piles prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to declare the Holden mine as a Superfund site in the late 1980’s. The EPA identified Rio Tinto, one of the worlds largest mining companies, who through acquisition has acquired mining rights to the Holden mine, as the responsible party for the cleanup of the Holden mine. 23

Remediation Overview Remediation strategies and agreements started in the mid1990’s with a Record of Decision issued in 2012. The first phase of multi million-dollar remediation project was scheduled to start in 2012 and finish in 2015, but with many holdups, such as the Wolverine Wildfire, deadlines have been pushed back and heavy construction will be completed in November of 2017. After a 5 year break for monitoring of remediation techniques and ecological systems the second phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2022. The Wolverine Wildfire, a large fire stretching from Lake Chelan to just west of Holden Village was a large threat to the village in September of 2015. The village had to be evacuated and was fortunate to be nearly missed by the fire, thanks to hardworking staff, the forest service, and a local hotshot crew.

This historic photo encompass a view of the main mine entrance and milling complex. In the background you can see Copper Mountain, the only source of high grade ore in the valley. Today Copper Mountain contains approximately 58 miles of mining tunnels, all excavated during the mining operations.

Rio Tinto


Rio Tinto

Holden Mine Tailings

Holden Village

US Forest Service Road *The only road into and out of Holden Village

Water Treatment Facility


The Holden Mill, buried in Phase 1 Remediation

The Holden Mine

Mine Entry Portal

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

US Forest Service

US Forest Service

Andrew Papke-Larson


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Abandoned Mine Conditions Diagrammed Site Plan

Copper Mountain Groundwater Infiltration Precipitation Holden Mine (58 Miles of Tunnels)

Mine Portal Discharge

Holden Village Railroad Creek

Waste Rock Tailing Piles


Tailings Placed in Mine 1.8 Million Tons of Exposed Sulfide-Bearing Rock

Historic Conditions of Holden Mine

Discarded minerals exposed at the surface and within the Holden Mine have been weathered by rain, snow melt, surface and ground water creating an acidic runoff called acid mine drainage. Acid mine drainage lowers the pH of contaminated water allowing heavy metals to become soluble and enter the water system. Overtime the metals are deposited in the bottom of streams and creeks creating a deep orange color. This process can be detrimental to aquatic ecological systems. 27

Holden Mine - Acid Mine Drainage One of the largest concerns from the Holden Mine site is acid mine drainage. Acidic water, stemming from the tailing, waste rock piles, and mine portal collects and carries heavy metals into Railroad Creek which has largely affected the river ecosystem. The release of ferric sulphate from the mine tailing piles and main portal entrance (high levels of iron and other metals) solidify and cement to the bottom of Railroad Creek. The cemented iron oxide precipitate has prevented benthic microinvertebrates from occupying the river. This has created a dead zone streatching 10 miles below the abandoned mine. In several locations there are high enough concentrations of heavy metals to pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Human health concerns include ingestion of and dermal contact with soil and ingestion of groundwater. Another large concern is the stability and stabilization of tailing or rock waste piles. Containing high concentrations of metals, the piles are easily wind blown throughout the valley. The rock piles are steep and due to the valley's location, along a seismic fault, slope stability is of large concern.

US Forest Service

US Forest Service


US Forest Service

US Forest Service

Current Remedial Treatment Plan Copper Mountain Groundwater Infiltration

Mine Portal Sealing Vegetation & Evaportranspiration Holden Mine *Estimated contamination treatment length ranges from anywhere 80 yr - 200+ yrs - an unknown lenght

Groundwater Barrier Wall Railroad Creek

Increased Mine Water *Decreased oxygen Levels due to mine portal sealing with a goal to slow water contamination

Grading & Capping

Tailings Placed in Mine


Mine Portal Pipe Groundwater Collection Pipe

*Oxidization allows metals to become soluble and contaminate groundwater

Active Chemical Water Treatment Plant

Remedial Plan for the Holden Mine

In the current Holden Mine remediation plan (phase 1), mine portal and groundwater are collected and routed to a water treatment plant through underground pipes. The tailing piles or waste rock piles are re-graded to increase stabilization and reduce ground and surface water run off. A new layer of topsoil is added to cap the tailing and waste rock piles as well as act as a planting layer for new vegetation. The vegetation will reduce the amount of surface water through evapotranspiration. 29

Holden: Phase 1 Remediation

Remediation Goal The overarching goal is to address the ongoing release of hazardous substances, restore natural resources, and protect human health and then environment. The US Forest Service and Rio Tinto will meet this goal by re-grading and capping of the tailing piles; the implementation of an impermeable groundwater barrier wall to catch and treat contaminated ground water; Railroad Creek realignment and restoration; the realignment of surface water distribution in Copper Creek; and the routing of mine portal drainage directly to a water treatment plant. Stabilization and Re-grading of Tailings The slopes and foundations of the tailing piles, located along Railroad Creek were improved to reduce erosion and provide greater stability under steady state and seismic conditions. This includes using earth-moving equipment to re-grade the slopes (decreasing the slope), contour the surfaces to promote maximum run-off and reduce infiltration, and constructing benches for erosion control and buttressing. Following the re-grading and stabilization, the tailing piles were covered with a layer of soil and they will be re-vegetated (*planting will start in the summer of 2017). To cover the newly graded tailing piles several rock quarries were excavated on the surrounding U.S. Forest Service land. Conifer trees will be planted to match the surrounding forest and provide additional protection from water and wind erosion.

Rio Tinto

Images of the Holden Mine tailing piles and remediation efforts to create stable slope conditions 30

Rio Tinto

Above Ground Systems

Mechanic Garage

Active Chemical Water Treatment Facility

Garbo/Vehicle Garage

Diesel Storage (Rio Tinto) Water Treatment Lodge (Rio Tinto)

Vehicle Storage (winter snow plows)

Analysis Key

Diesel Storage (Holden Village)

Remedial Maintenance Roads 10ft Contours Surface Water Routed Around Waste Rock Surface Water On Waste Rock Sludge Filter Storage Facility (30 yr storage space) Settlement Pond

0ft 31




Holden Mine Remediation Phase 1

Railroad Creek Alignment

Railroad Creek Railroad Alignment Creek Alignment

Surface water control and diversion: Surface water in Railroad Creek has been impacted by groundwater discharge from the main mine portal (entry), seeps, and contact with tailings (waste rock). Regrading and planting of the tailing piles will prevent surface water from leaching into the waste rock and subsequently slow and stop acid mine discharge from the tailing piles. Stormwater interception channels up gradient from tailing piles will divert surface water running down the mountains around the piles in East and West directions.

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

Copper Creek Diversion: Railroad and Copper Creek have excess concentrations of metals above water quality standards. Copper Creek, which divides the tailings was modified and improved to reduce the risk of erosion and contamination. The creek was lined to stop the infiltration of clean surface water into the tailing piles. Active Chemical Water Treatment Rio Tinto has selected an active chemical treatment facility to clean the ground water and mine portal drainage on site. An active chemical treatment uses lime in the treat of the contaminated water and is highly effective but produces a sludge byproduct. Currently the plan is to place this sludge byproduct in an infill, located on mine tailing piles. There have been laboratory and pilot scale tests using sludge as a capping layer for waste material, since it is in an inert condition. While many remediation techniques call for adequately capping the sludge, some techniques allow for the sludge to remain uncapped. The current remedial plan calls for a capping of the sludge after the storage facility has filled. The infill sludge storage facility is designed to will hold 30yrs worth of treatment sludge. This becomes a problem as the treatment for the tailing piles and mine portal drainage is estimated to take anywhere from 80 to 200+yrs, and it is possible that waters draining from the mine may need to be treated perpetually.

Above: Rerouting of Railroad creek to for restoration and remedial efforts Below: The lining of Copper creek, preventing contamination from tailing piles

Rio Tinto


Underground Systems

Rail ro

ad C

Hydro Power Plant



Active Chemical Water Treatment Facility

Historic Diesel Shed Bedrock

Lime Storage Silos

Buried / Capped Mill Ruins

Analysis Key Remedial Maintenance Roads

Water Storage Tank (Holden Village) Main Mine Portal

10ft Contours Ground Water Collection Pipes

Water Supply (Holden Village) Clean Water Discharge

Ground Water Barrier Wall Mine Portals Jet Grout Columns (cement stabilization columns)

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Holden Mine Remediation Phase 1

Groundwater Containment, Collection, and Treatment: Groundwater beneath the tailing piles and along the edges of Railroad Creek exceeds drinking water standards. A fully penetrating groundwater containment barrier - a wall 1,430 m in length and with depths ranging from 40ft to 90ft - was installed 3/4 of the way around the tailing piles to intercept contaminated groundwater that would otherwise enter Railroad Creek and the lower portion of Copper Creek. Collected groundwater will be conveyed to a mine water treatment facility. Portal Bulkhead Installation and Hydraulic Control: Concrete bulkheads were constructed in 2014 to control discharge from the main mine portal. Air restricting adit plugs were placed in the upper mine ventilation to minimize air flow through the mine, thus reducing the rate of oxidation of sulfidic materials and attenuating contaminant concentrations in the portal discharge. The main portal bulkhead was equipped with a valve discharge pipe to allow controlled flow from the mine. The bulkheads enable the mine workings to function as a hydraulic equalisation reservoir by allowing water to build up to 400ft behind the bulkheads. This allows for remedial workers to slow the release of water in the spring during snow melt and increase the flow during late summer, providing a consistent flow and volume of water to the active treatment system.

Above: Plugging of the main mine portal, slowing the release of acid mine drainage Below: Construction of an active chemical treatment facility next to the Holden Mine

*Remedial material was all taken from the Holden Mine Record of Decision (USDA Forest Service, 2012)


Longterm Sustainable Remediation Solution “Rio Tinto’s goal is to complete the remediation of past environmental problems at the old Holden Mine site safely, cost-effectively, and in a way that creates a sustainable socioeconomic future for Holden Village and other nearby communities." - Holden Mine Cleanup Project Manager -

Phasing and Cost It has taken Rio Tinto over two years to complete a majority, all but the planting of vegetation, of the first phase of this remediation project. Rio Tinto has come in significantly over budget, spending over $50,000,000, more than twice their initial estimates. In addition to initial construction costs, the operation of the active water treatment plant may cost over $600,000 dollars a year in raw materials. The plant also requires 11 employees, ensuring the treatment plant is operating year round. Rio Tinto estimates that the water treatment facility will operate for over 80 years before contamination will be mitigated. The US Forest Service estimates that due to the anthropogenic lake, partially filled with mine waste rock within the mountain the process will take 200+ years. In all reality, the problem many never cease to exist, as contamination may only stop when the mountain uplifts and geological processes erode the mine caverns. For this reason, it is essential for financial resources, carbon emissions, and the long-term success of the remedial project to find a passive treatment option. A second phase of the project could incorporate a passive treatment system that, in a treatment train approach, would mitigate acid mine drainage in a carbon neutral, financially responsible, and successful treatment manner.

Holistic Remediation? The Holden mine remediation project is a large-scale environmental challenge. Due to the remote location and limited resources, technical solutions can be challenging. Although the remediation plan chosen by Rio Tinto and the U.S. Forest Service is a fairly encompassing solution, there are several areas in which the plan could be improved. The current plan leaves several long-term sustainability questions. The remedial plan also fails to address Holden Village, the Lutheran retreat center directly adjacent to the remediation project. Energy Requirements There are several key environmental and human factors that have been missed in the Holden Mine remediation. The current process of cleaning acid mine drainage includes an active chemical treatment facility. Due to the remote location of the Holden Mine, the water treatment facility has a large environmental footprint. With an unreliable clean energy source, the current water treatment facility uses diesel to power the facility and clean the contaminated water. If the facility burns the amount of diesel it keeps in storage, it would release approximately 2,200 tons of carbon a year. This is equivalent to approximately the amount of carbon produced by 111 USA residents in a year. 35

Current Acid Mine Drainage Treatment

2,200 Tons of CO2


111 USA Residents a Year

Clean Water Lime Storage Silos $100,000 of Lime used in a year Active Chemical Water Treatment Plant 50 year lifespan Sludge Storage Facility Designed for 30 years of operation

480V Diesel Generators


Acid Mine Drainage

Diesel Storage Tanks $500,000 of Diesel used a year

Remedial Plan for the Holden Mine The current water treatment plant uses a lime powder additive to reduce the water pH and allow for the precipitation of heavy metals. The plant currently runs off of two 480V diesel generators that power the plant and the employee lodge. The water treatment plant stores over enough diesel and lime for 6 months of usage to reduce supply trips over winter months when there is heavy snowfall and hazardous transportation. 36

Proposed Passive Treatment System Design Passive Treatment Opportunity


Flush 2x yr Compost addition every 2 yrs

Periodic Dredging

15 yr

30 yr

Life Expediency

Current Mine Water Pipe


Mine Portal



Anoxic Drain & Bioreactor

Aerobic Wetland Flushing Valve

Anoxic Limestone Drain

Wetland Soil

Sulfide Bioreactor

pH Tolerant Vegetation Limestone Aggregate Clay/Synthetic Liner Aeration

Limestone Aggregate

First, in an anoxic (low oxygen) cell, limestone slowly dissolves raising the pH of the acidic mine drainage. As pH increases metals become insoluble in water and precipitate out of solution. Because the underground cell is not completely anoxic, precipitated metals will clog the system. Therefore SAPS Cells require a flushing twice a year to remove precipitate buildup.


Railroad Creek

Next, a compost layer utilizes microbial activity to consume sulfuric conditions within the water. Within the compost, more microbes, sulfate-reducing bacteria, oxidize organic material and produce bicarbonate. Bicarbonate increases the pH and alkalinity of water and reduces sulfates to sulfides, allowing metal ions to begin to precipitate out of the water and deposit in the soil.


After the pH of the water has been raised, an aerobic wetland allows for the precipitation of insoluble metals. The addition of phosphorus, added in the SAPS cell binds with metals and is deposited in the substrate. Subsequently, the increased nutrients improves vegetation growth under suboptimal water conditions.

Passive Treatment Cell Design Overflow Valve

Drop Inlet

Flushing Valve

Influent Synthetic Liner Wetland Substrate Limestone Aggregate

Under Drain

Passive Treatment Systems

need to be lined, to prevent groundwater infiltration into the tailing piles and therefore would also reduce the amount of groundwater treatment. The passive treatment system is designed to utilize gravity as an energy source. Instead of using diesel to power an active treatment, this passive treatment system utilizes the natural slope, terracing the treatment cells to allow gravity to pull the water through each treatment pod. This passive treatment process brings the water treatment to the surface and attention of visitors, creating a sense of place. It reveals the treatment process allowing visitors and staff members of Holden Village to interact with the treatment, identifying the consequences of mining and our responsibility to remediate struggling ecological landscapes. The design of the treatment wetland also creates a sense of identity to the Holden Mine. Instead of erasing the anthropogenic scar, the passive treatment system mitigates contamination as well as highlighting the incredibly large and technical challenge required to clean contaminated mine water.

A combination of anoxic (underground low oxygen) treatment cells and an anaerobic wetland treatment system would have large upfront financial costs, but would easily outweigh long-term costs of an active treatment plant. This system could be implemented specifically to take the long-term mine portal drainage (anthropogenic lake) off line from the active treatment plant. The wetland passive treatment system could innovatively be implemented on top of the tailing piles, as the this is the only location that is currently large enough and flat enough to hold a wetland of appropriate size to treat the acid mine drainage. The size of the passive wetland treatment system would be based off of alternative 13M, a passive treatment system proposed in the current location of the active water treatment facility. This previous system was not chosen as a treatment method due to spatial requirements, topographical change, and healthy riparian forest located in the proposed space. A passive wetland treatment system on top of the tailings would 38

Typical Passive Treatment Design *Anoxic Pretreatment Required

Influent Acid Mine Drainage (Approx pH 3.8)

Aquatic Plants Used in Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Wetlands

Effluent Clean Water (Up to 98% Metal Reduction)

Macrophytes (Emergent plants) Species

pH Tolerance

Cattails (Typha)

pH 4 - 10

Reeds (Phragmities communis)

pH 2 - 8

Rushes (Juncus)

pH 5 - 7.5

Bulrushes (Scripus)

pH 4 - 9

Sedges (Carex)

pH 5 - 7.5


Proposed Passive Location

Alternative 13M Engineered Wetland *Treatment plan proposed but not selected by US Forest Service

Mine Portal Pipe

Analysis Key

Effluent Clean Water (Up to 98% Metal Reduction)

Main Mine Portal

Remedial Maintenance Roads 10ft Contours

Proposed Passive Wetland (~size and Placement)

Ground Water Collection Pipes 2% Minimum Slope Mine Portals

0ft 40




Climate Projections - Hot Dry Summers 5

2040s Summer Precipitation Change 2040s Summer Precipitation Change


20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0 0.0 3


Degrees C



Degrees F


Increase Precipitation

-10.0 4


Decreased Precipitation






Future Soil Moisture Climate Predictions 2080s 2020s


Regionally averaged temperature change Normal Soil




Drier Soil Conditions


5 -1






4 41

Citations: Elsner et al. 2017, Mote et al. 2015,

Changing Climate - Less Summer Moisture

Holden Village

Predominant Tree Species Selections for Climate Variability

Holden Mine

Western hemlock Western redcedar Douglas-fir Western white pine

Sitka spruce Black cottonwood Bigleaf maple Quaking aspen

Red alder Tree Species at Risk Under a Changing Climate Engelmann spruce

Subalpine fir Pacific silver fir Mountain hemlock Noble fir

Grand fir Alaska yellow-cedar

Glacier Wilderness Boundary Area

South Cascade Glacier Analysis Key



September 24, 1955 (Austin Post)

September 27, 2004 (John Scurlock)

Douglas Fir Forest Subalpine Fir Forest Silver fir / MTN. Hemlock Forest 42

Linking Landscape to Place

Anthropogenic History The current remediation plan calls for a planting of over 90,000 trees in addition to groundcover and shrub plantings. The trees will be planted in a random pattern, not only to mitigate the groundwater infiltration but also in an attempt to mimic the natural environment and erase the anthropogenic mark created by mining. This remedial approach, an approach focused on removing the anthropogenic mark on the landscape, although warranted ecologically, is not a holistic reclamation tactic. Instead it further removes people from landscape, hiding the history and ideological view that has led to the separation of humans and the natural environment. Instead, a reclamation completed ecologically and aesthetically pleasing while connected to history, the current use of space, and the remedial processes taking place on the site begins to connect people to the natural environment and gives us an understanding of the consequences of our current cultural practices. A holistic reclamation, from the perspective of a landscape architect, would include a strong ecological base but also tell the anthropogenic story of this unique landscape as well as connect to the spiritual retreat center occupying the valley.

Planting Challenges With projections predicting warmer temperatures and less rain fall than normal in late summer, many existing ecological communities will begin to struggle. Harsh conditions will also proivde a challenge to revegetation and the planting of the tailing piles. It may be a challenge for succesfull establishment of young seedlings as the growing medium consists of only 18" of topsoil with a compacted subgrade of high iron content rock. Success rates decrease with the predictions of variable climate conditions and no reliable water supply. Fortunately, in a second phase, a passive treatment wetland could be utilized as a clean water source and reliable water supply throughout the summer, drastically increasing the re-vegetation success rate and remediation success.

Holden Reclamation Subgrade Soil

Climate Change & Planting Success The US Forest Service and Rio Tinto have an impressive challenge ahead of them, with a goal of planting 90,000 trees on the mine tailing piles. The mine tailing piles will only be covered in 18" of top soil, with a base of waste mine rock. As our climate continues to change as we move into the Anthropocene, climate variability and increased intensity of rain and drought events are expected. In the Northern Cascades of the Pacific Northwest the climate is expected to become warmer with decreased precipitation in late summer. This will produce drier than normal soil conditions. 43

Anthropogenic Caverns

Holden Underground Mine Workings The act of mining on the landscape is irreversible, underground tunneling only a few kilometers deep will leave geologic scares that last millions of years, if not eternally

Maximum Water Level *Potential Water Supply in a passive treatment design

1500 Level Mine Portal

Railroad Creek Mine Tailings Holden Village





Holden Mine Master Plan Holden Village

Alpine Sludge Meadow

Anoxic Treatment Garden

Holden Mine Portal


Copper Creek

Holden Mine Master Plan A holistic reclamation plan, an integration of remediation, history, ecology and Holden Village culture. Highlighting the processes that actively heal the landscape as well as integrating moments that take advantage of the natural and human context.

Railroad Creek

Anthropogenic Treatment Garden

0ft 46




Reclamation Master Plan (Phase 2 Final)

Reclamation Master Plan Design A combination of underground anoxic (low oxygen) treatment cells and anaerobic wetland and aeration system provide not only remedial treatment but an opportunity to reduce long term financial costs and create beautiful space that connects people, history, and place. This system is designed to specifically take the long-term mine portal drainage, or water from the underground lake, off line from the active treatment plant. This holistic reclamation plan, from the perspective of a landscape architect, provides a series of nodes that can be designed through the remedial approach to reveal the anthropogenic nature of the landscape through a series of treatment gardens. The treatment gardens also reflect not only the history of the landscape but connect people to its current cultural use, a spiritual retreat center.

Sludge Meadow Garden

Anthropogenic Wetland Garden

Mine Portal & Anoxic Treatment Garden

0ft 47




Remedial System Integrated into Design Treatment Location Anoxic Treatment Gardens

Anthropogenic Treatment Garden


Pipe Additions for Anoxic Treatment Existing Mine Portal Pipe

Analysis Key

Pipe Additions for Wetland Treatment

Existing Ground Water Collection Pipes Proposed Additional Pipes

0ft 48




Reclamation Master Plan (Phase 2 Initial)

Phasing Stages of the Treatment Garden Master Plan For a successful reclamation, design and implementation of the treatment gardens, there needs to be a strategic plan in place to ensure remedial success. Success includes not only the treatment of the water but also the reestablishment of vegetation throughout the mine site. The anaerobic wetland is the engine and fuel for this reclamation design, as it utilizes the once contaminated water to increase planting success rates. In the first stages of phase 2 remediation, a gravel bed tree nursery would be implemented at the bottom of tailing piles. A continual and unlimited water supply from the wetland and mine caverns would serve as an irrigation system for the gravel bed tree nursery. The gravel grown trees would then be moved and planted throughout the reclamation site.

0ft 49




Wetland Treatment Systems Treatment Location

Gravel Grown Tree Bed Nursery

Water Treatment Plan


Wetland Treatment Systems Gravel Grown Tree Benefits Increase in fibrous roots Increased community engagement Increased Tree Success Rate Decreased labor cost Gravel Bed Planting Locations Decreased per tree cost

Analysis Key Gravel Grown Planting Locations Drip Irrigation Planting Locations Remedial Road Network 51

Wetland Treatment System

Drip Irrigation Planting

Phasing Stages of the Treatment Garden Master Plan Gravel bed tree nurseries are specifically designed to increase the amount of fibrous rooting within the plant. Fibrous roots increase the probability of successful establishment, especially in drought susceptible areas. Growing the trees in a gravel environment also allows for easy lifting and transportation of the trees as mass quantities of heavy soil are not transported with the root system. A drip irrigation line could be installed around the treatment garden, utilizing a slow and steady supply of clean water. The drip irrigation line could then be moved down slope as trees become successfully established. The slow and controlled water supply would increase the successful establishment of trees around the garden and therefore reduce the amount of groundwater contamination.

Drip Irrigation Benefits

Drip Irrigation System

Controlled / Steady Irrigation Efficient Water Usage Consistent Water Application Increased Tree Success Rate Drip Irrigation Location Years 1 & 2

Years 3 & 4

Years 5 &6


Wetland Treatment Systems

Anthropogenic Treatment Garden The Anthropogenic Treatment Garden (anaerobic wetland) is the engine and fuel for the success of this remedial effort and design. The phasing of the remedial project and garden park design is constructed for future climate change. With the climate changing, driven by anthropogenic sources, the Northern Cascade mountains are becoming drier throughout the summer months. Historically, the valley has relied on glacial snow melt as a water source in late summer, however, this water source is slowly disappearing. The name Glacier Peak Wilderness Area may soon be a name representing ghosts of the past, as glaciers melt with the warming climate. The remedial tree planting and vegetation establishment on the tailing piles relies on the treatment and use of the contaminated mine water as valuable resource. Design thinking turns the perceived contaminate into a remedial strategy and design opportunity. Using the mine as an underground cistern allows for a steady supply of water throughout the late summer months. After treatment in both the underground anoxic treatment cells and anaerobic wetland the water can then be used to irrigate plantings on the tailing piles and within the gravel bed tree nursery. Railroad creek valley has three main forest ecoregions: Douglas Fir, Subalpine Fir, and Silver Fir/Mountain Hemlock. Subalpine Fir and Silver Fir ecoregions will both struggle to adapt with the changing climate. Selecting trees from the Douglas Fir forest ecorregion allows a planting strategy to develop that selects species with the greatest ability to adapt to climate projections. In a similar fashion, a selection of understory vegetation that are drought and pH tolerant allow for greatest remedial planting success. Blue Elderberry


Pacific Dogwood

Sitka Alder

Pacific Willow

Scouler Willow

Pacific Madrone

Nootka Rose


Black Huckleberry

Snowberry Bush


Snow Bush

Oregon Grape


Holden Tree Planting Palette Hiking Trail to the Anthropogenic Treatment Garden

Site Plan

Tree Planting Section

Remedial Road

Douglas Fir

Lodgepole Pine

Spitka Spruce

Western Hemlock


Western Red Cedar

Quacking Aspen

Railroad Creek

Black Cotton wood

Current Trail Network Existing Trails

Length (Miles)

10 Mile Falls

Existing Trails

Length (Miles)


Copper Basin


Monkey Bear Falls


Holden Lake


Hart Lake


Dole Lakes


Lyman Lake


Heart Lake Trail / Holden Lake / Lyman Lake

Monkeybear Falls Trail Ten Mile Falls

Honeymoon Heights Trail

Analysis Key

Copper Basin Trail

ADA Accessible Trail Lake Chelan Trail / Dole Lakes

10ft Contours 55





Proposed Trail Network Proposed Trails

Length (Miles)

Sludge Meadow


Sludge Meadow


Mine Portal


Anthropogenic Garden


Settlement Basin


Sludge Meadow Loop

Settlement Basin Loop

*Additional ADA Accessible Loop

Mine Portal Loop

Anthropogenic Garden Loop 56

Connecting Existing and Proposed Trails Systems Existing Trail Network

Proposed Trail Network

Analysis Key Proposed Structures

Existing Trail Network Proposed Trail Network Proposed Structures

0ft 57




Connections and Constraints

Connecting the Nodes After the development of the treatment nodes and analyzing the current trail systems at Holden Village, it became apparent that there was a lack of short (half day) hiking trails. The treatment nodes provide an opportunity to develop destination points within the mine tailing piles. The destination points can then be re-connected to Holden Village to create a comfortable looped hiking trail. This provides visitors with an opportunity to experience and learn about the reclamation work as well as provide variety to Holden's existing trail network. Working Within Constraints Design of this trail network has a number of limitations. Remediation of the site has a proscribed set of interventions that are required to monitor the stability and quality of the tailing piles. Two of the greatest limitations manifests in the remedial road network and Site topography. This limitation can also serve as a benefit, as a structured backbone and outline for design interventions, such as the proposed passive treatment and developed trail networks between the key nodes.

Remedial Road Constraint

Topographic Constraint Remedial Road Network

High Relief Areas

Analysis Key

2:1 Slopes (50% Slope) 3:1 Slopes (33.5% Slope) 0ft





1:20 to 3:1 Slopes (5 - 33.5% Slope)





Reclamation Master Plan Plan Location

Sludge Meadow Sludge Meadow Overlook

Star Gazing Mounds

Sludge Meadow Entry

Sludge Meadow Gathering (Emergency Heliport)

0ft 59




Sludge Meadow Entry

Alpine Sludge Meadow The first node in the Holden Mine reclamation master plan is the sludge storage facility. This is the location that the active treatment plant stores its sludge byproduct currently. The proposed stairs that bring a visitor into this space are designed to reflect the metals taken out of the Holden mine as well as the color and materiality of the sludge byproduct. An overlook provides a programed space for education and a view of the anthropogenic oddity. The sludge storage facility is designed to fill within 30 yrs, once filled the sludge will be capped and an alpine meadow will be planted. Conifer trees frame the meadow and a view towards the anthropogenic garden. This view connects the visual line between the nodes. The center of the meadow is left open as a gathering space. The open area also serves as an emergency heliport landing for medical or wildfire emergencies.


Sludge Storage Overlook


Alpine Sludge Meadow ~30yr


Reclamation Master Plan Plan Location

Holden Mine Portal

Anoxic Treatment Garden


Mine Portal Overlook

Hike up to the Mine Portal & Anoxic Treatment Gardens After visiting the sludge meadow visitors can hike up to the mine portal and underground anoxic treatment gardens. Strategically placed resting and viewing platforms are located within a set of switchbacks zig-zagging up the 300 foot climb. These resting locations are strategically located to provide resting opportunities as well as views of the valley and Holden Village itself. Next, a visitor encounters the anoxic treatment gardens, a series of underground water treatment cells. These three cells aid in the reduction in pH of the acid mine drainage. The first cell is constructed of mixed limestone aggregate that dissolves as water flows through. The second two treatment cells are compost bioreactors, utilizing Holden Villages compost to again reduce the pH of the water. All of these treatment cells allow for the heavy metals to deposit in the sediment once reaching the anaerobic wetland. The treatment cells also become an educational feature above ground as the treatment cells are lined with a corten steel and filled with locally quarried aggregate. The long linear structure of the treatment cells allows for a view to the mountains up valley. This view would be preserved as the vegetation fills in over time.

Underground Water Treatment 0ft 63




Up to the Mine Portal


Anoxic Treatment Garden Treatment Cells Master Plan

Treatment Location

Treatment Garden Perspective

Treatment Cell Section

Water Movement

Anoxic Cell Section

Anoxic Limestone Cell (60 ft Cell Length)

Compost Bioreactor (60 ft Cell Length)

Compost Bioreactor (60 ft Cell Length) 0ft




Anoxic Treatment Gardens


Current Mine Portal Remedial State Existing Plan View Developing Erosive Gully Remedial Road

Covered Portal Entry Existing Mine Portal Wood Frame

Existing Entrance

Current Mine Portal The existing mine portal is a ruminant of the past, as it still holds on to its original wood frame. Through the remedial process, the mine entry has been cemented shut and a large culvert bulkhead has been placed within the old wood frame. The large culvert bulkhead holds back over 400 ft of water built up within the mine. This water is stored to ensure a steady and reliable treatment throughout the seasons. 67

Proposed Mine Portal


Proposed Mine Portal Treatment Cells Master Plan Mine Portal Design Mine Portal Birds Eye Location

The design of the mine portal serves as an educational and reflective space for individual visitors or structured groups. The portal entry is designed to display the current cultural relationship between humans, natural resources, and the environment. Two large corten steel retaining walls stabilize the hill slope and serve as historic artwork. Etched into each panel are photos of Holden miners and a section of the underground mine workings. Additional signage marks the location of the portal relative to the other treatment gardens. The portal entry is perforated corten steel, allowing visitors to view into the mine portal. The design also allows for the Holden Village naturalist to bring visitors to the portal entrance and provide an opportunity for portal entry tours. Inside the portal educational signage would allow visitors to learn about the environment they are walking through. A switch at the end of the tunnel could provide guests with a unique experience as the LED lighting system could be turned off. Without lights, visitors would experience complete darkness, an experience similar to the anthropogenic caverns of the Holden Mine.


Proposed Mine Portal Tour


Reclamation Master Plan Plan Location

Anthropogenic Treatment Garden

Anthropogenic Treatment Garden The Anthropogenic Garden, an anaerobic wetland, is modeled through the analogy of the garden of Eden. The garden represents humans' self separation from nature and the understanding that all gardens are social constructs or our cultural representation of nature. In addition to remedial treatment wetlands, the anthropogenic garden creates a valuable and beautiful space connecting to Holden Village. 0ft 71


500ft N

Wetland Treatment Systems Wetland Treatment Cell

Treatment Location

Cell #4

Cell #3

Cell #7 Cell #5

Cell #2 Cell #1

Cell #6


Treatment System Design The wetland treatment system functions in a series of treatment cells. Upon entry to each cell water must move through the substrate of the wetland, this is where the precipitation of the metals occur. The water next moves into a limestone aggregate base, which continues to lower the acidic qualities of the water. To complete this treatment the system needs to be terraced, allowing gravity to power the treatment process.

Anthropogenic Garden Design Concept Holden Mine Section

Release Compress

Mine Entry Tunnel

Mine Cavern

Mine Caverns

Mine Caverns Adjusted 4


3 5

2 1





2 6

1 6

Mine Entry Tunnel

Mine Caverns


Mine Caverns Adjusted

Design Concept Translated to Master Plan

Designed Views into the Garden

Compress / Sight Line of Prospect AllĂŠe

Release / Opening view of Garden

Concept Integrated to Plan

Mine Tunnel Extended






7 2


2 1




Mine Entry Tunnel


Mine Caverns Adjusted

Entry Tunnel Extended


Mine Entry Tunnel


Mine Caverns




Anthropogenic Garden Movement

Hierarchy Key Priority Paths Secondary Paths Tertiary Paths


Anthropogenic Garden Programed

Treatment Cells Programed The design concept of the Anthropogenic Treatment Garden is modeled after the underground mine tunnels and cavern networks within the mountain. The East-West cardinal line represents the entry quarter mile tunnel into the mountain. Each treatment cell is then representative of the large open mine caverns, where large ore bodies have been removed from within the mountain. Key design concepts such as compress and release inspired space creation, forming enclosed vegetated environments that lead to open views within the wetland. These moments featuring open and closed spaces, provide visitors with beautiful views of the valley, treatment wetlands, and Northern Cascade Mountains. Each treatment cell is also programmed with an experiential quality. These treatment spaces allow for a connection to the programing of Holden village. The treatment spaces also allow for the delineation of a path network connecting the treatment spaces. Next, the design concept allows for the key moments that exemplify the design qualities of the landscape, history, and place. These key moments manifest in the design nodes within the antrhopogenic treatment garden.

The Passage

The Thought

The Release

The Experience

The Renewal The Entry

The Reflection

Nodes Key Garden Moments

Creation Care Amphitheater Wetland Walk

Wetland View

Stone Crossing

Water View Earth Ring

The Lookout

The Renewal

The Tunnel Entry View

Wetland Lookout

The Entry

Rest & Reflection The Knoll


The Release

The Expanse

Anthropogenic Garden Master Plan

Up-Valley Overlook Entry AllĂŠe

Entry Tunnel Entry Garden View

0ft 77




Anthropogenic Garden Birds Programed Eye View Plan

Up-Valley Overlook & Entry Gate This brings us to the entry into the anthropogenic garden. First, visitors would come across an overlook. After a 200 foot hike up to the garden, the overlook provides an unimpeded view up valley into the Glacier Peak Wilderness. After the lookout visitors enter the garden through the tunnel, a retention wall that compresses the visitors datum level. The tunnel is designed to resemble the entrance of the Holden Mine and serves as an entry gate to the garden and remedial treatment space. 78

The Tunnel (Garden Entrance)


The Tunnel (Garden Entry Gate)


Garden Entry Allée

Entry Allée & Entry Garden View After walking through the entry tunnel (gate) visitors are guided to the anthropogenic garden by a two hundred foot long allée. The allée acts as a strong line of sight, creating prospect and drawing visitors into the treatment garden. At the end of the allée the garden opens up to the first two wetland treatment cells. Using the design concept of compression and release, the view opens visitors to a view of Buckskin Mountain and creates sight lines to other garden views.


Anthropogenic Treatment Garden Entry View


Anthropogenic Garden Master Plan

Stepping Stone Crossing

Knoll & Headwater Design

Creation Care Amphitheater

One of the first paths within the anthropogenic garden takes visitors to an overlook or to the headwaters of the mine portal water. In both locations visitors have the opportunity to read and learn about the treatment process. At the headwaters, the visitors begin to experience the metals dropping out of the solution and solidifying on the limestone substrate. This process produces an eerie orange coloration on the rock and gives the visitors a visual cue of the contaminated water. A view from the knoll, the upper vantage point, allows visitors to gain an otherwise hidden understanding of the anthropogenic design. Their eye may be drawn to a landform within the middle of the garden - a treatment cell that contrasts with the biomorphic construction of the valley and mountains surrounding it.

The Renewal

Knoll & Headwaters






The Knoll and Headwaters Section Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)

Sitka Spruce

(Picea sitchensis)

Low Oregon-Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Snowberry Bush

(Symphoricarpos albus)

Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii)

Headwaters Dock

The knoll

(Garden Overlook)

Contaminated Mine Water Wetland Soil Limestone Aggregate

Mine Portal Water Water entering the treatment wetlands has undergone a pre-treatment process in the anoxic treatment garden. The pre-treatment has lowered the pH of the water, allowing a portion of suspended metals to precipitate out once they reach the treatment wetlands. The deposition of the metals in the wetland will slowly turn the treatment containers a red-orange color over time. The treatment process will continue throughout the wetland system as water moves through the wetland substrate and a mixed limestone aggregate. 84




Headwaters Dock Entry


Headwaters Dock View


Knoll Overlook Entry


The Knoll Overlook


The Renewal

Renewal Bridge The renewal bridge is a location that allows visitors to gain a 360 degree view of the treatment wetlands and anthropogenic garden. Education signage allows visitors to also connect with the history of the mine, the contamination of the water, and the treatment process. The opening also allows visitors to visually connect to other programmed hotspots within the garden, connecting a visual map to the ample signage. 89

Amphitheater Section

Creation Care Amphitheater The Renewal View of Buckskin Mountain from Amphitheater

4.5' Rise

20' Stage

Obscuring Direct Line of Sight (Prospect & Refuge)

Creation Care Amphitheater A small gathering space that is designed for naturalist classes, small worship services or other small gatherings. The amphitheater is designed to enclose and obscure the wetland garden from visitors until they walk over a small berm. The amphitheater then opens up the view to the anthropogenic treatment garden and Buckskin Mountian. The amphitheater is also designed to shade visitors from direct sun rays during sunrise and sunset gatherings. Control of the treatment wetland depth allows for the control of vegetation, ensuring an open view of the garden for visitors. 90

Stepping Stone Crossing (Summer)


Stepping Stone Crossing (Spring Snow Melt) Stepping Stone Crossing Design A visitor crossing a treatment cell towards the large anthropogenic form in the middle of the garden could walk over the stepping stone crossing. This crossing, a functional weir is an edge of a treatment cell. The weir is designed to function as an intimate water crossing as well as a safety overflow. During spring snow melt when water levels are much higher, the weir acts as a safe guard against a potential blowout of the treatment cell wall.


Anthropogenic Garden Master Plan

Earth Ring

0ft 93


125ft 125ft

250ft 250ft



Earth Ring Design Concept

Copper Mountain & Holden Mine

Traditional Mine Reclamation Land Art

Earth Ring Plan View

Earth Ring Design


Earth Ring Section

(26ft Height)

(32ft Height)

Treatment Water Flow Treatment Water Flow

Rest and Reflection Walk

Earth Ring Design

Earth Ring Cavern Treatment Wetland

(15ft Platform)

(50ft Cell Length)

Wetland Walk

Treatment Wetland (50ft Cell Length)




The Earth Ring landform is designed at a scale that represents massive caverns and ore bodies within the mountain and also reflects the large anthropogenic history of the landscape. Design is largely an exercise in creating contrast, which is used to define hierarchy. The manipulation of this landform contrasts the natural environment and redefines a visitor's relationship with the Anthropogenic Garden. The Earth Ring pulls the attention of visitors away from the biomorphic surrounding landscape yet once within the landform, an opposite effect takes place as a new datum by the rising of the horizon line focuses the individuals attention to the mountaintops up valley. The large U shaped land art form pushes the view of the visitor either internally, into a meditational state as visitors are surrounded by calm water, or externally, to the mountain tops of the Glacier Peak wilderness area. The ring is also designed to hold its form throughout the treatment process of the mine water and still be recognizable as a human made landform 200+ years into the future. The landform creates and facilitates the space to think about our interactions and experiences with nature. 95

Earth Ring view Design Concept


Anthropogenic Garden Master Plan

Central Garden Features In the middle of the anthropogenic treatment garden there are several unique experiential spaces. The termination of the entry path within the Earth Ring forces visitors to choose a secondary path. Each secondary path is programmed differently, allowing visitors distinct experiences as they continue throughout the garden.

Wetland Walk Water View

Earth Ring Lookout Rest & Reflection Walk

0ft 97




Earth Ring Lookout

Earth Ring Lookout A small viewing platform located over one of the wetland treatment cells provides a new vantage point for visitors as well as a view of the Earth Ring.


Rest & Reflection View Rest & Reflection On the south end of the Earth Ring is the Rest and Reflection walk. The path in this section is cut into the slope of the earth ring and provides visitors with an exposed view of the garden. The walk also provides visitors with opportunities to rest as seating is incorporated above or below the main walking path, giving visitors a chance to stop, enjoy the view, and reflect upon their experience within the Earth Ring.


Rest & Reflection Section Native Cattail Typha latifolia

Rest & Reflection Sections

Hardstem Bulrush Scirpus acutus

Rest & Reflection View

Needle Spike Rush Small Spike Rush Eleocharis acicularis


Wetland Vegetation Ledge

Slough Sedge Carex obnupta

Main Garden Path

Resting Location

Earth Ring Dike

0ft 100



Wetland Walk Section




8' Path

Anthropogenic Wetland Garden A ~10 acre wetland in an upper valley of the Northern Cascade Mountains is an anthropogenic oddity. The geological formation of step slopes, large topographic relief, uneven terrain, and sandy soil would typically prevent a wetland of this size from forming naturally. A wetland of this size also requires a steady supply of water, which is also not typical in the Northern Cascade Mountains. This provides visitors with a truly unique experience, walking within wetland vegetation within an upper valley of the Northern Cascade Mountains. 101

Water View

Water View Perspective

A resting location within the anthropogenic garden utilizes the gravitational treatment design of the wetland to create a dynamic visitor experience. The topographic change between the two cells allows for up to 6ft elevation change. This allows visitors to interact with the wetland garden at water level. Educational signage allows visitors to locate their position within the treatment garden and gain an understanding of the remedial processes.


Anthropogenic Garden Master Plan

The Expanse

0ft 103




Anthropogenic Garden Birds Programed Eye View Plan

The Expanse (Down Valley Overlook) At the end of the anthropogenic garden is an overlook and waterfall. The clean water within the treatment system is released from the end of the overlook, jump-starting the aeration process. Visitors have a chance to walk below the overlook and stand behind the falling water. This provides visitors with their first chance to reach out and touch the water. The final vista allows visitors to gaze down valley, following the line of water as it flows through a limestone rock channel into a settling pond at the base of the tailings pile. The final view of the garden marks the end of the treatment process and anthropogenic garden.

The Expanse


The Expanse


The Expanse


Designing Reclamation Holden Mine Design From the perspective of a landscape architect, the design of the second phase of the Holden Mine is a holistic reclamation. The remedial design includes a long-term remedial focus that recognizes and utilizes the anthropogenic mark created in the landscape. The remedial design integrates ecology with the history and current cultural use of the land, highlighting the beauty found within the landscape. Designing reclamation at the Holden Mine requires philosophical shift from the current remedial goals to holistic reclamation focused goals, encompassing an understanding of our current geologic era and changing climate to create a resilient post mining landscape. The proposal for the second phase of the Holden Mine remediation project incorporates an innovative passive treatment train to acid mine drainage. The passive treatment train, innovatively located on the mine tailings piles focuses on the long-term mine portal discharge. The system is then creatively forms space in which education, history, recreation, and ecology are integrated to reclaim the Holden mine. The concept and design of a wetland of this scale in the Northern Cascade Mountains is an anthropogenic oddity. The unusually flat surface, created by the mine tailings piles is not a natural form found within the upper valleys of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. The underground mine workings act as a large cistern, storing large quantities of water as natural sources become rare with the changing climate. Highlighting these features with the design of the Holden Mine brings the true nature of the landscape to the forefront of visitor's attention. Design interventions with the landscape utilize local materials, many of which can be sourced from within the valley. Space creation is driven throughout the remedial process but integrally linked to Holden Village and the users of the landscape. Although the design in modeled after a historic perspective and anthropogenic form (mine tunnels and caverns), it also connects to the future uses of the people, biotic community, and use of natural resources (water supply). In the treatment, remediation, and design of Holden mine, the reclamation must not only be ecologically productive, remedially productive, but also anthropogenically productive. The reclamation design must tell the story of history, current use, and beauty of the landscape while providing thought provoking and meaningful questioning of the past, revealing the history and story of a place in time.

Alpine Sludge Meadow

Anoxic Treatment Garden

Mine Portal


Mine Portal Tour

Garden Entry AllĂŠe

Holden Mine Master Plan

Holden Village

Alpine Sludge Meadow

Anthropogenic Treatment Garden

Anoxic Treatment Garden

Holden Mine Portal


Knoll Overlook

Headwater Dock

Renewal Bridge


Reflection Walk



The Expanse



Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is polluted water discharge from mine waste undergoing the oxidation process and acidic transformation carrying heavy metals in a soluble form. AMD can cause severe water quality problems. Active Treatment are remediation techniques that require continual additives and maintenance to achieve remedial properties. AMD active treatment involves continuous application of an alkaline material to counteract acidic mine water allow the precipitate of metals. AllĂŠe is a walkway lined with trees or tall shrubs. Traditionally used in formal garden or park design. Anoxic greatly deficient in oxygen. Surface or groundwater that are depleted of dissolved oxygen. Anthropocene is Earth's most recent geologic time period as being human-influenced, or anthropogenic, based on overwhelming global evidence that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, biospheric and other earth system processes are now altered by humans.

Anthropogenic is relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature. Something that is made by humans.

Datum is a fixed point of scale. A line, plane, or volume that, by its continuity and regularity, serves to gather, measure, and organize a pattern of forms and spaces. Holistic approach is to view both the macro as well as the micro, incorporating complete systems rather than focusing on individual sections. For example, Holistic Ecology integrates humans and the environment as a single system. Holistic Reclamation works to create a function of a landscape, returning it to an appropriate ecological state while disregarding the sites historical ecological or functional condition, first stabilizing hazardous and contaminated materials and then focusing on an ecological and visual aesthetic, including community perceptions, histories, and cultural values


Passive Treatment are remediation techniques that require relativity little input after initial construction. AMD passive treatment options often relies on biological, geochemical, and gravitational processes. Reclaim is to recall from wrong or improper conduct (reform); to rescue from an undesirable state (rescue); to obtain from a waste product or byproduct (recover); to demand the return of or to regain possession of (return). Restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. Often attempting to heal the scars and erase the signs of disturbance and disruption in the landscape, restoring the features of a former functioning condition. Reclamation is the process of reforming a landscape that has been mined to a natural or economically usable state through first mitigating environmental concerns and then creating useful landscapes that meet a range of goals including the establishment of productive ecosystems, industrial re-purposing, and municipal resources. Tailing piles are the materials left over after the milling process of ore, in which the separating the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of ore is completed through a crushing and chemical processing of the rock. Historically, the left over material has been commonly piled in large heaps next to the mine and milling factory. Waste Rock is the rock material pulled out of a mine before reaching the high grade rock deposits. This rock is not milled due to its low grade mineral contents and therefore left in larger sized deposits than the mine tailings which have been crushed by the a mill.


Reclamation & Landscape Timelinehitecure Theory Time-

Timeline Development This timeline shows critical moments within the mining (specifically hard-rock mining) history that are connected to the development of landscape architecture and mine reclamation theory. The new concept of Holistic Reclamation ties in theory of previous landscape architects as well as multidisciplinary fields, such as ecological restoration and environmental engineering, to develop a new discourse surrounding mine reclamation.

A goverment publication recongnizes the impact of mining facilities degrading other economic activities.

General Mining Law 1872 To encourage development of the West congress allows unfettered prospecting on public land. This law is still in effect today.

Landscape Architect Kenneth Schellie works with the National Sand and Gravel Association, National Industrial Sand Association, and the Univesity of Illinoins on post mine reuse, not only material but also landscape. SMCRA - Mining law is passed. Mine Reclamation and Restoration drastically increases for surface mining, hard-rock mining still recives no federal assistance. Clean Air Act

Mine waste resources are seen as potential profit but are economically unvialbe as a resource.

Water quality Act

All western States enact laws requiring National Evrionmental Policy Act (EPA) reclamation for hardrock mines

Ecological Restoration becomes an common theory and practice.











Mineral Policy Act Threatened and Endagered Species Act




Department of Energy allowed SMCRA mining tax to be used on hard-rock mines within coal mining states.






rastically l assistance.

Current Reclamation Theory There are currently several fundamental gaps within mine reclamation; a lack of long-term remedial focus, an integration of developing ecological communities, and an integration of human culture and community. The timeline below begins to show the major changes in reclamation thinking. With the thorough integration of landscape architects, as lead thinkers within a mine reclamation team, we will begin to see a broader and more holistic approach to mine reclamation in the 21st century.

Formalized Minning Association in Landscape Architecture

Integration of Landscape Architects in Hard-Rock Mining

Restoration Focused Reclamation

Restoration Theory Changing to Reclamation Thorough Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage



Anthony Bauer - Formation of a Surface Mining Group in the American Society of Landscape Architects

Long-term Focus of Acid Mine Drainage



Alan Berger - Reclaiming the American West

Massimo Negrotti - Theory of Artifical

Bradshaw - Reclamation of Derilect land and Ecology of Ecosystems.

Stephaen Robers - Landscape Aesthetics and Surface Mine Reclamation Diz, H- Chemical and Biological Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage For the Removal of Heavy Metals and Acidity

Johnson & Hallberg - Pitfalls of passive mine water treatment


Holistic Reclamation - The integration of long-term remedial porcesses, deveoping ecological communites, cultural & histrorical interpretation, and community integration.

Buchko, J - Integrating Landscape Architecture into the Mining Process an alternative reclamation Legwaila, I A - Landscape architects strategy perception of their role in the mining industry in England

Johnson & Hallberg - Acid mine drainage remediation options: A review MacMahon Disturbed Lands Ecological Theory


Alan Berger - Designing the Reclaimed Landscape

Kate Hayles - Post Human Landuse

James Corner - Recovering Landscape Roberts - Thesis calling for Landscape Architects to enter the mining industry

Holistic Reclamation

Baida, M - Healing Wounded Landscapes : The Role of Landscape Architects in Achieving Post-Mining Sustainability

Capstone Committee Laura Musacchio

Capstone Chair, Associate Professor

John Koepke

Committee Member, Professor

Dan Shaw

Committee Member, Adjunct Professor

Acknowledgments Mario Isaias-Vera

Holden Mine Remedial Project Manager

Peg Carlson-Hoffman

Holden Village Director

Chuck Hoffman

Holden Village Director

Travis Houle Holden Village Utilities Andrew Lund

Holden Village Utilities


Citations Kuyucak, Nural. "Acid Mine Drainage Prevention And Control Options." Mine, Water, And Environment. IMW A Congress. Sevilla, Spain (1999): N. Pag. Print.

Work Cited Literature

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USDA Forest Service. 2012. “Record Of Decision Holden Mine Site Chelan County, Washington”. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Usda Forest Service In Cooperation With Us Environmental Protection Agency And Washington State Department Of Ecology. Web.

Berger, Alan. 2008. Designing The Reclaimed Landscape. London: Taylor & Francis, Print. Berger, Alan. Reclaiming The American West. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2002. Print.

Sheoran, A.S., And V. Sheoran. 2006. "Heavy Metal Removal Mechanism Of Acid Mine Drainage In Wetlands: A Critical Review." Minerals Engineering. 19.2: 105-16. Web

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Zhang, Jianjun, Meichen Fu, Ferri P. Hassani, Hui Zeng, Yuhuan Geng, And Zhongke Bai. "Land Use-Based Landscape Planning And Restoration In Mine Closure Areas." Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011. Environmental Management, Feb. 2011. Web.

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Internet Source

Bureau of Land Management., "About AMLs." Abandoned Mine Lands, 7 May 2015. Web.

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Legwaila, I. A. 2015. “Landscape architects perception of their role in the mining industry in England.” African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 9(12), 800-804.

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Andrew Papke-Larson Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate 2017 Department of Landscape Architecture University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Designing Mine Reclamation - From Waste Rock to Treatment Gardens  

Can a post mined landscape become a place for healing (spiritually, ecologically), a place for recreation, and place for wilderness, while s...

Designing Mine Reclamation - From Waste Rock to Treatment Gardens  

Can a post mined landscape become a place for healing (spiritually, ecologically), a place for recreation, and place for wilderness, while s...