Pennsylvania Mine clean-up crews look to go underground

July 25, 2011
By Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news
After extensive surface-level investigations, officials with the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety plan to go underground to seek ways to prevent Pennsylvania Mine water leakage from continuing to pollute waters flowing into the Snake River.
“We support this approach. It makes sense to us,” said Summit County manager Gary Martinez. The county government is among several agencies collaborating to make the project happen, including the EPA, the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, the Blue River Watershed Group, Trout Unlimited and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“We still have to get underground to see if we can control the water coming out,” said Mark Rudolph of the state department.

Thousands of old mines pollute Colorado waters, with no help in sight

May 31, 2011

Today’s gridlock deeply frustrates leaders in some mountain communities where, for years, watershed groups have been ready to restore ruined streams.

“In short, perfect is the enemy of the good,” said Elizabeth Russell, manager of mine-restoration efforts for the conservation group Trout Unlimited.

Read more: Thousands of old mines pollute Colorado waters, with no help in sight – The Denver Post

SLV restoration project earns BLM award

October 25, 2010

Pueblo Chieftain

VILLA GROVE —  Trout Unlimited’s Kerber Creek Restoration Project has received the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s 2010 Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award.

The BLM award is given to organizations that highlight environmental stewardship and acknowledges exceptional track records of meeting or exceeding federal, state or local reclamation requirements.

“This project would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of our project partners at the BLM and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, as well as from local landowners who are invested in restoring the creek from the effects of mining,” said Elizabeth Russell, Trout Unlimited’s manager for the project.

Cleaning up a mine field

October 25, 2010
Pueblo Chieftain
Cleaning up old mining districts in Leadville has been a contentious issue in the community.An Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site was set up in California Gulch more than 20 years ago following releases of toxic metals that killed fish in an 18-mile reach of the Arkansas River.

Issues with blockage in the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Leadville Tunnel erupted two years ago, leading to a major drilling project to relieve pressure from water backed up in drain tunnels.

The goal of the Lake Fork group is to avoid the same sort of controversy over cleanup efforts by bringing agencies, landowners and environmental groups together, said Melissa Wolfe, another faculty member who works with the team.

“The outreach has been a challenge, but we’ve had good participation from the agencies that are involved,” Wolfe said.

 A core of landowners who helped form the working group are still active but do not attend meetings as often as in the past, said Cathy Patti, CMC contract administrator.

Federal agencies include the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, EPA, Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

State agencies include the Department of Public Health and Environment, Division of Wildlife and the Division of Reclamation and Mining Safety.

 Local government, landowners and Trout Unlimited are also connected to the process.

EPA OKs mine cleanup in San Luis Valley

August 26, 2010
Summit County Citizens Voice
by Bob Berwyn

“This is great news—we have been working on this project for  years and are glad that the (EPA has provided TU with this additional protection,” said Elizabeth Russell, project manager. “The risk of a release of hazardous waste from the tailings was very minimal, but we are grateful for the agency’s faith in TU to achieve results,” Russell said.

The Kerber Creek project is located at the north end of the San Luis Valley in Colorado. Historic mining along Kerber Creek led to metals pollution and a degraded stream channel, requiring it to be places on the list of Colorado’s most impaired waterways.

Since 2008, Trout Unlimited and its partners have spent more than $1.3 million on restoration efforts along Kerber Creek. Working with the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado’s Nonpoint Source Program, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and local landowners, the goal is to treat 60 acres of mine tailings using lime, limestone and compost, and to restore the stream for fish and wildlife habitat.

Trout Unlimited, EPA agree on creek cleanup

August 23, 2010
Pueblo Chieftain

Elizabeth Russell, who manages Trout Unlimited’s efforts on Kerber Creek, said the mine tailings the group encountered on private lands were hazardous enough that it wanted protection from liability. That led to a year of negotiations that resulted in the draft, she said. If finalized, the agreement would cover Trout Unlimited’s past actions.

The  agreement is only the second of its kind, following on the heels of one the agency and Trout Unlimited signed to clean up the American Fork River in Utah.

Udall bill would help clean up mines

October 15, 2009


Elizabeth Russell, who works on Kerber Creek and other mine cleanup projects for Trout Unlimited, said the legislation also would likely free up funding from government agencies and other organizations who might have shied away from doing so because of the liability concern.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” she said.

The bill, titled the “Good Samaritan Cleanup of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act” is in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.