RATON, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico has been working to clean up legacy mining sites around the state. Now, the Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is recognizing the state for the work it has done to clean up a mine site near Raton, New Mexico.

“The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Awards honor the best examples of AML reclamation in our nation,” Acting OSMRE Director Owens said in a press release. “Our state and Tribal partners work diligently to address health hazards and mitigate environmental problems affecting coal communities. These awards showcase what is possible in reinvigorating those impacted coal communities.”

New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) has been working on the Raton site for years. In 2012, they stabilized a series of eroding coal gob piles and restored a stream channel that had been altered by mining activity. Then, recently, EMNRD worked with Oxbow Ecological Engineering and Sweatt Construction to rework the streambed to prevent erosion and vegetation growth.

“Most of the work on this project occurred during COVID restrictions in 2020 and 2021, which made for very challenging working conditions here in New Mexico,” Mike Tompson, EMNRD’s Abandoned Mine Land Program Manager, said in a press release. The “team persevered, and now the stream channel is showing exceptional stability, vegetative growth, and unprecedented wildlife use. It has held up through storms and has shown remarkable resiliency. We are very pleased with how this project turned out.”

The project cost $979,786. That’s about $31,000 under budget, the department says.