Source: US State of Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Mineral Resources Management’s Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program will invest more than $275,000 to eliminate a dangerous highwall — a steep, exposed cliff left over from Ohio’s pre-reclamation law mining era — in Salem Township, Jefferson County.
“ODNR’s award-winning AML program continues to make tremendous progress around the state,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “The health and safety of Ohioans is our top priority, and we’re excited to restore this area for the community’s use.”
Located a quarter mile north of State Route 43 on Circle Green Road in East Springfield, the highwall is about 1,000 feet long and ranges from 10 to 30 feet in height. The highwall is located within 40 feet of the road and 100 feet of the Laney community baseball field.
After eliminating the highwall’s dangerous features, the reclamation project will create usable space for the community park to expand and support community and economic development goals. Plans include building a multi-use field that will host a youth soccer program.
Funding for the project comes from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s AML Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program. The intent of the pilot program is to explore and implement strategies to return legacy coal sites to productive uses.
ODNR administers both a state and federal AML program. Prior to 1972, Ohio statute did not require restoration of desirable environmental conditions to surface mined areas. In August 2019, ODNR’s AML program received the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior for its work on the Dessecker Mine Project in Tuscarawas County.
The Division of Mineral Resources Management oversees the safe and environmentally sound development and restoration of mineral and fossil fuel extraction sites. The division also restores abandoned mine land, enforces mining safety laws, and ensures the protection of citizens, land and water resources.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.