The issue of aesthetics has already been introduced. In many ways, it can be the most challenging obstacle to popular acceptance of mining in an area, because, to many, anything less than complete restoration of the land is unacceptable. However, mine operators have learned to minimize the aesthetic impact of mining by avoiding extremely visible sites, by using screens (e. g., trees left in place as a visual barrier or revegetated topsoil stockpiles placed in locations where they hide the mine pit from view), by minimizing the duration of impact, and by ensuring that regrading and revegetation proceeds as quickly as possible.
Finally, the issue of ultimate land use of the reclaimed land must be considered. Nowadays, this is actually addressed as part of the permitting process. Some mine operators have successfully created planned industrial sites, some have created highly productive farmland, but much of the mined land is reclaimed for wildlife use. Costs for seed and plantings are relatively low, and plans are often coordinated with local conservation groups to reclaim the land in an appropriate manner for wildlife use. To be effective in this regard, these reclaimed lands must be physically connected to other areas where such wildlife currently exists; isolated fragments of habitat will not serve the desired purpose of restoring wildlife use disrupted by mining activity and road construction. With regulatory approval, ponds can be left in locations where they will serve migratory bird populations or provide watering areas for permanent wildlife populations.
Coal, Chemical and Physical Properties • Coal Industry, Energy Policy in • Coal Mining, Design and Methods of • Coal Mining in Appalachia, History of • Coal Preparation • Coal Storage and Transportation • Nuclear Power Plants, Decommissioning of • Uranium Mining: Environmental Impact
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