In the fall of 2018, Coal Program staff oversaw the reclamation of the Horizon coal mine, a bond forfeiture site in Carbon County. It took roughly three months to remove the coal mine’s five-acre footprint and re-contour the site to match the surrounding landscape. Topsoil recovered from stockpiles was placed on the final grade of the hillslopes above the riprap-hardened channels. Straw mulch was spread and incorporated into the soil by creating large divots called pocks that aid in soil stability and water retention. Two seed mixes, riparian and shrub/grassland, were spread before the winter season started.
In 2018, staff contracted with the Utah Correctional Industries (UCI) horticulture program to grow native plants to be used at the site. UCI runs an impressive greenhouse used to train inmates in all aspects of growing ornamental species. This was an opportunity for them to add native species to their teaching curriculum. UCI propagated some species from “mother” plants and others from seed. Plants were ordered for delivery in 8-inch long tubeling size for ease of carrying, planting and watering-in. However the plants were so vigorous that many had been transplanted into one and two gallon pots.
In early October staff returned to the site to plant approximately 1,000 plants to aid in the revegetation efforts. A planting schematic was created by Coal Program Biologist Todd Miller detailing where each species should be planted. Four employees from Millcreek Gardens were sub-contracted by UCI to complete the work over four days. Coal Program staff from Price and Salt Lake City were on site daily to deliver water from a 1,000 gallon water tank and 400 feet of hose. Staff also hauled water using backpack sprayers to hundreds of plants out of reach of the hose. Staff also spent a full day spraying and removing noxious weeds.
Coal Program staff would like to thank the crew from Millcreek Gardens who encountered the less than ideal conditions of hard soil and rocks; UCI Officer Todd Barszcz and the inmate staff who nurtured the plants over the year; and the Division of Wildlife Resources for their time and water truck.
The following upland and riparian species were grown:
|Upland Species||Riparian Species|
|Birchleaf mountain mahogany|
|Willow (peachleaf and coyote)|