This is a valuable reference if you mine in Utah. It is also valuable if you are simply interested in the story of mining in Utah, the abandoned mines in Utah, and what one state is planning to do to address conditions that impact water resources.

I refer to the 2005 volume Nonpoint Source Management Plans for Abandoned Mines in Utah published by Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Quality.

There are some 17,000 to 20,000 abandoned mines in Utah. As the management plan notes, pollution from these mines is widespread, diverse, and probably contributes to impairment of the quality of water in numerous streams in the State. Without intervention, most sites will not return to their pre-mining state, and it may take decades and even centuries for natural processes to return non-point discharge from the sites to non-impacting levels. To do something is, however, difficult due to the complex and overlapping jurisdictional, legal, political, and economic issues involved.

The management plan sets out to start a process of action. Its most generally applicable contribution to the wider mining industry is a summary of the Best Management Practices for addressing situations commonly encountered at abandoned mines.

Other content in the management plan of general interest is information about the location of mines and mining districts in Utah, the topography, climate, vegetation, and landownership of Utah. All these data are presented in high quality maps. Of more local interest is the information about the regulatory processes and departments involved in mining in Utah. Overall, this is a well produced volume, of general interest to those involved with mining, abandoned mines, reclamation, and activities in Utah.