Reclaiming the Sierra

Conference Brief: Prioritization Track

March 12, 2015

Developing a comprehensive strategy for abandoned mine land cleanup at Reclaiming the Sierra 2015

California’s mining history remains with us today. Mercury from mine-scarred landscapes in the State’s headwaters contaminates our watersheds from theSierra to the Bay, and physical hazards riddle public and private lands. The Sierra Fund’s third bi-annual conference, Reclaiming the Sierra 2015: The New Gold Rush, will devote an entire conference track to prioritizing efforts to address legacy contamination and physical hazards, the 150-year-old legacy of California’s Gold Rush.

The prioritization track at Reclaiming the Sierra 2015, April 20-21 at Sacramento State University, invites government representatives, researchers, consultants, and more to develop a proactive, collaborative, comprehensive strategy for abating contamination and physical hazards posed by abandoned mine lands across California. Reclaimingthe Sierra 2015 will lay the groundwork for a smarter and more effective method of prioritizing and coordinating remediation efforts statewide.

Local land use authorities, such as counties and water districts, are burdened by abandoned mine lands which hinder smart growth and contaminate local streams and rivers. Development of standardized protocols for assessing mine scarred lands and their discharges will enable local land use authorities to prioritize abandoned mine lands in their jurisdiction for remediation. Water and land use managers, upstream and downstream, can use watershed predictive models to inform decisions on prioritizing remediation projects.

The prioritization track, facilitated by Dr. Stephen McCord of McCord Environmental, will frame a statewide approach for collaborating, regulating and funding efforts to prioritize mine sites. Featured speakers include Glenda Marsh of the Department of Conservation’s Abandoned Mine Lands Unit, Carol DiGiorgio of the Department of Water Resources, Dr. Charles Alpers of the United States Geological Survey, and Alex Keeble-Toll of The Sierra Fund.

For more information about this conference track, and the three other tracks of the conference sessions on Tuesday, April 21, refer to the issue papers at: http://reclaimingthesierra.org/agenda/conference-tracks/.

A full list of speakers, along with short biographies, can be found at: http://reclaimingthesierra.org/agenda/speakers/.


The Sierra Fund is a nonprofit community foundation dedicated to increasing investment in the natural resources and communities of the Sierra Nevada. In 2006 we launched our “Reclaiming the Sierra” Initiative to address the long term human health, environmental and cultural impacts of legacy mining in California. To learn more about The Sierra Fund, visit our website www.sierrafund.org.