Coal Program Reclamation Study

The Coal Program worked closely with PacifiCorp and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) to approve an innovative reclamation technique called pocking at the Cottonwood/Wilberg Mine in Emery County. Pocking is a relatively new hillslope stabilization technique used as an erosion control measure that consists of deep gouging the final hillslope grade with irregularly oriented depressions of 18 – 24 inches. 

Traditionally one large sedimentation pond is required to remain in place at a reclamation site for at least two-years after regrading and seeding to capture run-off. This pocking method replaces the large pond with multiple smaller catchment basins encouraging water retention and revegetation of the disturbed area. 

PacifiCorp and Division staff convinced OSMRE to allow removal of the pond at Cottonwood/Wilberg and use the pocking method instead. The Division received funds from a Utah State University (USU) grant to monitor mine reclamation success using drones. The Division is funding a USU graduate student for two years to conduct scientific research on the pocking at Cottonwood/Wilberg to provide a quantitative tool to efficiently and economically evaluate the success of land reclamation activities, specifically the effectiveness of pocking as an erosion control measure.