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(a) A miner shall reclaim areas disturbed by a mining operation so that any surface that will not have a stream flowing over it is left in a stable condition.
(1) For the purposes of AS 27.19.100 (6) and this section, a stable condition that "allows for the reestablishment of renewable resources on the site within a reasonable period of time by natural processes" means a condition that can reasonably be expected to return waterborne soil erosion to pre-mining levels within one year after the reclamation is completed, and that can reasonably be expected to achieve revegetation, where feasible, within five years after the reclamation is completed, without the need for fertilization or reseeding. If rehabilitation of a mined site to this standard is not feasible because the surface materials on the mined site have low natural fertility or the site lacks a natural seed source, the department recommends that the miner fertilize and reseed or replant the site with native vegetation to protect against soil erosion; however, AS 27.19 does not require the miner to do so. Rehabilitation to allow for the reestablishment of renewable resources is not required if that reestablishment would be inconsistent with an alternate post-mining land use approved under AS 27.19.030 (b) on state, federal, or municipal land, or with the post-mining land use intended by the landowner on private land.
(2) If topsoil from an area disturbed by a mining operation is not promptly redistributed to an area being reclaimed, a miner shall segregate it, protect it from erosion and from contamination by acidic or toxic materials, and preserve it in a condition suitable for later use.
(3) If the natural composition, texture, or porosity of the surface materials is not conducive to natural revegetation, a miner shall take measures to promote natural revegetation, including redistribution of topsoil, where available. If no topsoil is available, a miner shall apply fines or other suitable growing medium, if available. However, a miner may not redistribute topsoil and fines over surfaces likely to be exposed to annual flooding, unless the action is authorized in an approved reclamation plan and will not result in an unlawful point- or non-point-source discharge of pollutants.
(b) A miner shall reclaim an area disturbed by a mining operation so that the surface contours after reclamation is complete are conducive to natural revegetation or are consistent with an alternate post-mining land use approved under AS 27.19.030 (b) on state, federal, or municipal land, or with the post-mining land use intended by the landowner on private land. Measures taken to accomplish this result may include backfilling, contouring, and grading, but a miner need not restore the site's approximate original contours. A miner shall stabilize the reclaimed site to a condition that will retain sufficient moisture for natural revegetation or for an alternate post-mining land use approved under AS 27.19.030 (b) on state, federal, or municipal land, or for the post-mining land use intended by the landowner on private land.
(c) A pit wall, subsidence feature, or quarry wall is exempt from the requirements of (a) and (b) of this section if the steepness of the wall makes them impracticable or impossible to accomplish. However, a miner shall leave the wall in a condition such that it will not collapse nor allow loose rock that presents a safety hazard to fall from it.
(d) If a mining operation diverts a stream channel or modifies a flood plain to the extent that the stream channel is no longer stable, a miner shall reestablish the stream channel in a stable location. A miner may not place a settling basin in the way of the reestablished channel location unless the fines will be properly removed or protected from erosion.
History: Eff. 7/30/92, Register 123
Authority: Sec. 2, ch. 92, SLA
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Last modified 7/05/2006